The Puma Fast-R was a wild, fun, attention-grabbing running shoe. The Puma Fast-R 2 doubles down on both the crazy looks and the fun factor. It’s the most aggressive shoe in Puma’s lineup and is road race ready at any distance.
Puma Fast-R 2
Release Date: February 22, 2024
Weight: Men’s 8.5 oz., Women’s 7.4 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The Puma Fast-R 2 is a bold and bouncy marathon racing shoe with assertive geometry and aesthetics. It gets better the faster you go.
Puma took the decoupled midsole from the Fast-R and brought it back for the Fast-R 2. The carbon plate is once again visible at the midfoot but Puma tweaked everything else.
There’s more foam in both the heel (40mm) and forefoot (32mm) and now both sections get Nitrofoam Elite whereas last year’s model had EVA (ProFoam) in the heel. The result is a shoe that feels much more consistent from heel to toe. The Puma Fast-R 2 is more heel striker friendly than its predecessor.
Puma also elongated the carbon plate so that it protrudes beyond the toe of the Puma Fast-R 2. The idea is to allow extra ground contact during toe off and create a lever that propels the foot as it pushes off the ground. But does it actually deliver increased force on push off?
I’d say it does, at least a little bit. The Puma Fast-R 2 feels super bouncy and my toe off felt fast and efficient. The faster I went in the Fast-R 2, whether it was a race or a workout, the better the shoe felt. Like in the first iteration, I was rewarded with increased oomph the more time I spent on my toes.
However, when I got tired and slowed down at the end of a half marathon (it was a long, intense week and racing that weekend probably wasn’t the best idea…YOLO) I felt like my heel was a lower drop than my forefoot which in turn felt unstable and resulted in the back of my heel and achilles getting extra tired from having to do more work than usual.
That last bit’s not surprising. All the best race day shoes struggle when form breaks down. The Puma Fast-R 2 is one of the most aggressive race day shoes and is built for better form than I could maintain at the end of a tiring week. Keep that in mind and opt for a stabler race day option if your form breaking down at the end of a race can be a limiting factor as a shoe like this will only exacerbate the issue.
The Puma Fast-R 2’s upper is made with Ultraweave. It’s 20% lighter than last year’s monomesh but feels similar to both last year’s material and Nike’s Vaporweave. The tongue is still a comfy knit.
The Ultraweave is crunchy but comfortable. It largely gets out of the way and, thanks to various PWRTAPE overlays and underlays, keeps the foot exceedingly stable for such a rocket of a shoe. You won’t slide off the footbed even when taking 90 degree corners at 10k pace and above.
The pull tabs at the heel and tongue are functional and helpful at getting the shoe on foot. That said, it’s a lot easier to put on the Fast-R 2 than some other race day shoes. It’s a sock like fit that’s vertically accommodating.
But is it horizontally accommodating? More on that in a bit.
At this point, I sound like a broken record. Puma Grip is amazing and any shoe with a Puma Grip outsole provides trustworthy traction. The Puma Fast-R 2’s outsole didn’t slip, not matter how wet, humid, or drenched the road conditions.
Asphalt, concrete, brick, or cinder path, the Puma Fast-R 2 felt like it was digging into the ground (Editor’s Note: which is not possible without spikes). The result was complete confidence in the Fast-R 2 on turns or when facing curbs or other obstacles.
Is the Puma Fast-R 2 wide foot friendly?
No, the Puma Fast-R 2 is not wide foot friendly. The midfoot and heel have a bit of room but the forefoot is tight. Wearing the Fast-R 2 would be akin to the wide footers that stuffed their feetsies inside the original Vaporfly Next%. Doable…sure. Ideal…not even close. Nowadays wide footers have super shoe options…go with a different option that better accommodates your foot.
However, the Puma Fast-R 2 does fit true to size lengthwise. Order your normal Puma running or Puma basketball size and you’ll enjoy a perfect length.
Is the Puma Fast-R 2 worth $260?
The Puma Fast-R 2 is worth $260. With the majority of top end marathon racing shoes rushing towards the $275 price point, Puma showed some restraint. The Fast-R 2 has high end racing chops, lots of tech, and a very dynamic, energetic build. Puma could have charged $275 and been “right” from an industry perspective.
But going $260 makes the Fast-R 2 more appealing. Customers end up getting similar performance for less money. They’ll remember that in the future when deciding between Puma and other brands.
Puma Fast-R 2 Summary
The Puma Fast-R 2 is a bold, sassy marathon racing shoe that brings a huge helping of get up and go alongside the alien geometry and aesthetics. It worked better when I went faster and I’ve heard the same from friends and other reviewers. If you want the most aggressive shoe on the market, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m really liking Puma’s approach to super shoes. Go bold with one of them in terms of style and design and make another that’s still stylish but looks and feels like a normal shoe (Puma Deviate Nitro Elite series). That allows each customer to choose which shoe works best for them across a range of factors and provides a little something for everyone on race day.
With the Fast-R 2, Puma put together a shoe that hangs with anything on the market and does it with a style and panache unmatched by anything else in the industry.
How does the Author Run?
Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Runs daily with a once a week rest day. Runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and a growing affinity for long-distance races. Regularly competes in marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races.
While Puma did provide a pair of the Puma Fast-R 2 to facilitate this review, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.