Friday, January 8, 2016

Puma Bolt evoSPEED electric V2/V3 REVIEW and comparison

I have been using Puma sprint spikes since 2013.  I have seen changes in this brand, fairly significant in my view.

Although the full length spike plate is essentially unchanged, the fit, weight and finish of these spikes aren't what they used to be.  (These full length spike plate models are not to be confused with the 3/4 spike plate Puma's - the TFX Sprint).

The new 2015-16 evoSPEED electric V2 and V3 - essentially the same - don't fit as tight as the two previous generations - the 2013 Puma Bolt FAAS 007 and the 2014 Puma Bolt evoSpeed Sprint LTD.  The '13 version was the most narrow.  The '15-16 versions have a noticeably boxier heel and toe.  The heel cup on my '15 model shoes was 1/4" wider and almost 1/2" taller.  With these, they are so much larger, I could wear the same size with socks.   With the older versions, socks were out of the question ... as they fit the way I wanted them to, very tight - like a second skin.  The new 2015-16 evoSPEED electric V2 and V3 required a lot more lace tightening and the toe felt a bit loose.  I could use these '15-16 spikes to train in with socks.

The earliest version - the '13 Puma Bolt FAAS 007 seemed to be the lightest (slightly) and most minimal.  Although I've had to re-glue the soles of the '14 model (near the heel), the '14 Puma Bolt evoSpeed Sprint LTD remains my race spike of choice.  The only reason I had to abandon my '13 Puma Bolt FAAS 007 was that the spike holes got stripped.  The material used for the new '15-'16 evoSPEED electric V2 / V3 is not like the 'dimpled golf ball' texture of the previous.  It seems a bit heavier and less 'high tech' ... but perhaps more durable.   This is perhaps the cause of the slight weight difference.  The 'dimpled golf ball' texture is something that Nike had developed for the '12 Olympics in it's Turbo speed suits,  claiming tests showed it was better in the wind.  Puma seemed to adopt that technology but has now has abandoned it.

I need to independently verify this but the published weight for the new '15-'16 evoSPEED electric V2 / V3 is 6.1 oz, where the '14 Puma Bolt evoSpeed Sprint LTD is 5.9 oz.  I'll update this when I get them to a scale.

Appearance and style isn't important to me, although I'm partial to the Jamaican green... but it seems notable that the new '16 evoSPEED electric V3 may be only available in one color, a sky blue.  This, and the lack of any changes or improvements in the shoe, may indicate Puma is trying to cut costs and cash in on their Usain Bolt marketing, resting on their laurels rather than trying to design a more high tech cutting edge spike.

As mentioned above, the new models - '15-16 Puma Bolt evoSPEED electric V2 / V3 aren't an improvement over the previous models, except possibly in comfort and durability.   For me, a racing shoe needs to fit right and if it does, it is inherently tight and somewhat uncomfortable.  These new models run a bit wider than the previous, are slightly heavier, and lack any substantial technical improvements.  I'm sticking with the 2014 - Puma Bolt evoSpeed Sprint LTD's and I'm thankful I have 2 pair.  Kind of nice that my old black pair still has some French dirt on them from Lyon'15.

The previous versions of this shoe was made in China, the new versions in Vietnam.  Both these shoes are size M6.5 US (yes, small feet).  The new versions are clearly wider, bigger.  Note the dimpled upper in the previous, smooth in the new version (speckled color, but smooth).  New version seems 'low tech' in comparison.

listed as the same size, but much different fit
New version (R) has a much bigger heel cup, not as snug

Evolution of Puma sprint spikes

These are the names of the generations of Puma sprint spikes:

2013 - Puma Bolt FAAS 007

2014 - Puma Bolt evoSpeed Sprint LTD

2015-16 - Puma Bolt evoSPEED electric V2 / V3

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