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PUMA Clyde Hardwood Performance Review

Puma Clyde Hardwood

Colorway: White-hot pink

Release Date: November, 2019

Style Code: 193663_02

Price: $100

Puma Clyde Hardwood Traction

Throwback milk crate traction patterns were used at the midfoot and heel of the PUMA Clyde Hardwood while herringbone was placed in the forefoot. Add in that the rubber compound used on these things was tacky as hell, and you’ve got yourself a banger in terms of traction.

I don’t think I’ve had traction this good and this consistent since the Nike Kobe 9. Yeah, it’s been a while.

One downside to having rubber as tacky as the kind used on the Clyde Hardwood is that dust finds its way to the outsole. At least the bottom of it. On the worst conditioned court I had to wipe regularly to maintain the type of super-grip that the shoe offers. The rubber wraps up the toe and every once in a while my toe would drag on this same dusty floor and then grip the court so hard it’d trip me up a bit.

On every other court I played on I never had to wipe the soles at all. For whatever reason, the combination of pattern and rubber compound just gripped — and gripped hard in most cases.

Damn near Kobe 9 level traction.

I loved how the pattern takes a more aggressive approach in the forefoot where needed most while the heel is taken care of mostly by the compound in the moments it’s needed.

Slashing, off-ball cuts and change of direction, hard plants or rolls into jump shots – the outsole did its part with little to no lag. Switching off screens? Did its job. Keeping shifty guys at bay? Did its job. The times I couldn’t stay between my opponent and the hoop, it was defensive error, definitely not the traction.

Everywhere I played – outdoors included – was a near flawless experience except for one badly finished floor, which is unfortunately the most convenient court for me to test at. Even there, it took a bad finish and a ton of dust build up to really have a negative effect on the Clyde Hardwood. Overall, these are one of the most trustworthy outsoles I’ve used this year.

Puma Clyde Hardwood Cushion

The cushion is the one area that I wish was a bit better. It’s not horrible, but it is as basic as it gets.

ProFoam is a marketing term for PUMA’s EVA. Much like Micro G, Phylon, or 3D Ultralite (for those wanting to take it back a couple of decades), ProFoam is a standard foam that offers a responsive ride that’s low to the ground. Great for those wanting a low profile setup without a bunch of mushy cushion under-foot. Mushy cushion can sometimes lead to a slight delay in a players timing as they feel they’re sinking into the platform rather than being propelled by it. It all depends on what you want and need out of your footwear.

I don’t mind the setup at all. Never had shin splints or any type of fatigue or pain during or after play. However, I don’t quite understand why it was caged with additional TPU layers. These layers help cage the foot in, which I love, but the foam isn’t unstable at all so I don’t really see the need for so much extra TPU/rubber.

This wound up creating a bottom heavy ride that may be bothersome for those easily affected by a few extra ounces. For those wanting a stable, low profile ride, these should perform well for you.

Comparing the Clyde Hardwood to a recent shoe we’ve tested and reviewed, the Under Armour Curry 7, the Curry 7 offered a similar feel in terms of cushion, but left me with a desire for something a bit more premium feeling everywhere else. That’s where the PUMA Clyde Hardwood starts to shine.

Man, did it scare me how firm it felt underfoot. It scared me so much so that I went back home to further investigate what exactly PROFOAM is, and yeah…its EVA. Heavily caged EVA.

I was initially disappointed, but this is WearTesters right? Staying on brand, I weathered a light storm of break-in, and the midsole isn’t all that bad – though not great either. If you are looking for pure response, decent-but-not-amazing comfort, and a stable platform, these will work for you. If you are like me and prefer a little more cushioned feel, you still may be okay with these.

The same way the Puma Legacy somehow kept my legs and feet feeling fresh enough through hours of play, the Clyde Hardwoods did the same with even less tech. Go figure.

Puma Clyde Hardwood Materials

I absolutely love the material setup.

The forefoot is pretty traditional in terms of modern performance footwear. Textiles and synthetics are the primary offering. However, things get switched up to my type of traditional, 90’s era materials, with genuine leather used from the midfoot to the heel.

This type of build offers that premium feeling that I feel is lacking from footwear today. But it does it in a way where those looking for lightweight mesh/textile builds will still be able to get what they desire. The upper isn’t heavy or restrictive. Its just a great feeling build that moves like a second skin to the foot. Support is where you need it while mobility is where you’d want it.

The only thing I could complain about is that I’d have liked a bit more leather on the shoe, but this is also coming from a guy that still prefers to play in something like the Kobe 1 Protro over most modern releases.

Materials are, simply put, a near perfect balance of old and new. Good leather in the rear, supportive knit up front, and a few hits of suede – what’s to complain about? All I can think of as a nitpick is of course the white knit upper gets destroyed almost as soon as you take them on the court to really play, so that takes away from the otherwise seamless transition off court.

But seriously, the Clyde Hardwood is awesome with materials. Even the significantly less premium touches like the felt overlay panels are twice as good as fuse for comfort. The plastic caging the entire lateral side of the midsole doesn’t give like a Yeezy 350 V2 per se, but like the midsole, it breaks in and flexes well to aid transition. Puma gives you just about everything you could hope for here.

Puma Clyde Hardwood Fit

I was warming up in the pair PUMA Hoops had gifted, but when I was beginning to loosen up a bit, it felt like the shoe was too long. When I initially tried them on I had mentioned that they were snug, but also had a slight bit of length to them. That snug feeling went away while warming up, and I was left with a bit of additional length that I don’t like in my shoes. Especially shoes with softer textiles being used in the forefoot.

I went to my local retail and found a pair in a 1/2 size down, tried them on, and felt the length after that was perfect. Just enough give to the materials so my toes wound’t get beaten to death on-court, but enough of a snug fit to feel nice and contained.

Lockdown was solid overall. The rear section of the shoe really stands out here as there is nothing better than a nicely broken-in leather shoe. It hugs and wraps around any foot shape beautifully and once you’re laced up you’re good-to-go. I found the textile forefoot to be a bit different as the more I wore them the more I could feel the materials stretch a bit. This caused me to really yank on the forefoot lacing, which worked, but there isn’t quite enough padded between the foot and the nylon lacing cables to protect the foot and pinky toe.

I know Nightwing feels these guys run a little long and went a half size down. For me, I had no issues. I may have a little more space near the toe than I started out with, but not enough to make me feel I should’ve considered sizing down.

Even if length were an issue for me, what I really like is the lacing starts far up in the forefoot, and I could feel the nylon cabling hug the foot nice and snug if I needed extra lockdown.

Since we have two people that to my knowledge aren’t heavily leaned towards either side of the width spectrum, and only one of us went with a half size smaller so I’m not going to make any recommendations other than to try these on first if you have the option to – the shoe appears widely available. No one knows what will be comfortable for your feet better than you.

Puma Clyde Hardwood Support

Once I had a pair that I felt fit my feet perfectly, the support fell in line quickly. I’m glad I went down 1/2 size so everything remained one-to-one with my foot even after breaking them in.

The base itself is flat, and very old school, so there were no issues there. Torsional support was pretty much covered due to the extensive TPU midsole cage. Heel support was solid as well.

Find a good fit and all should be well in the world for you support-wise. As mentioned, there are nylon cables for the first few sets of eyelets to lock you down in the forefoot, along with plastic along the lateral side to give a little support along the sidewall. I loved the use of the external heel clip for reinforcement in that area and the Clyde Hardwood just has an overall nice, relatively flat platform for you to sit upon. No disappointments here either.

Puma Clyde Hardwood Overall

I thought PUMA did a solid job with its first outing — the PUMA Clyde Court — but they really nailed it with the Clyde Hardwood.

They were able to blend the old with the new in a way that should be ideal to most players. If you prefer softer textiles — they’ve got that. If you prefer genuine leathers and suedes — they’ve got that.

Traction is beastly while cushion is basic. Overall, a very solid pair of sneakers that work well on the court and look great off the court.

Sorry to use a baseball metaphor, but Puma really knocked it out the park with the Clyde Hardwood. What better way to represent the model’s legacy than producing one of the best-looking shoes out with the performance to go with it?

If you are nervous about the initial feel of the Clyde Hardwood underfoot as I was, I would just remind you things changed rather quickly for me once I was able to put even a little bit of good wear into them. If you get to that point, I feel there is just enough to satisfy the needs of all types of players.

If we weren’t in the age of hype, everyday releases, and excessive judgment, I’d like to think these would go down as an all-time classic – just like the original Puma Clyde.

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Puma Clyde Hardwood Scorecard
  1. Has anyone tried “uncaging” the profoam? I mean, if I took an Xacto knife and carefully cut away the plastic cage, would the shoe get softer and bouncier?

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