At ARION we are on a mission to decode human movement. After a decade of research, six years of operation, and thousands of hours of recorded movement data, one thing has become very clear to us. Movement is exceptionally unique.
We all have our own body types, varied techniques, unique philosophies and personal goals. All of these elements heavily influence the way we move. Each contributes to our individual biomechanical profile, into what we call, your unique running identity.
To explore this, in this content series we will highlight that there is no such thing as the perfect running shoes. It all depends on your own completely unique biomechanics and your individual goals. We will be testing eight of the latest and greatest running shoes. Utilising our groundbreaking technology shows how one shoe can have two very drastic results on two very seemingly similar people.
We don’t review the shoes based on their general performance. We simply highlight the diverse results generated by different people. Each month we will put a new pair of shoes to the test before finally reviewing it all together with a final summary of our movement experiment.
As always, it’s the same conditions (treadmill), same shoe, same size, same pace, same distance, and very different results! The last up is the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite…
Puma Deviate Nitro Elite
The PUMA Deviate Nitro Elite is a neutral running shoe with a heel-to-toe drop of 8mm. The shoe is designed for explosive, race day propulsion. Technology such as a carbon fiber INNOPLATE for maximum energy transfer at toe-off, NITRO Elite foam for max cushioning, lightweight monomesh and durable PUMAGRIP LT rubber for multi-surface traction help runners with an effortless run.
1. The Runners
Let’s introduce our runners in a bit more detail. Runner 1 is Manouk. She runs around once every two weeks for a longer run, and every week a couple of short runs to conduct research for ARION. Her preferred distance is around 5k with a pace between 5:15 and 5:30 min/km. A future goal for Manouk is to finish a quarter triathlon. She likes to run because she wants to stay in shape and doesn’t have time to take part in other sports.
Our second runner, runner 2 is Elzemieke. She runs around three times a week for long runs. Her preferred distance is around 5k with a pace between 6:15 and 6:30 min/km. A short-term goal for Elzemieke is to run a 10k race. Elzemieke likes to run because it clears her mind and to stay in shape.
For both runners, we will compare the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite to a baseline shoe. This baseline shoe will be an average of how both runners run. For both runners, the baseline shoe is a neutral running shoe with a lower heel-toe drop and stack height (low mid-sole thickness). With this baseline shoe, Manouk is a forefoot lander and Elzemieke is a rearfoot lander. Manouk is neutrally balanced whereas Elzemieke uses her left foot a little more than her right. Both runners have an average cadence for a recreational runner and a relatively high stability profile with little variation in the foot placement with each step.
2. The Results
3. The Insights
One of the first things we can compare between the shoes is their effect on footstrike. Remember that a footstrike of 0% would indicate a foot landing that is as far as possible towards the heel, and a footstrike of 100% indicates the foot lands right at the tip of the toes. In our baseline shoe, we’ve already seen that Elzemieke is a rearfoot lander, landing her foot a little bit away from the back of the heel with a footstrike of 15.9%. On the other hand, in the exact same shoe, Manouk is very clearly a forefoot lander with a footstrike of 78.2% when wearing the baseline shoe.
With 8 mm, the Puma shoe has a relatively high heel-toe drop which often encourages runners to land further back on the foot. For both Elzemieke and Manouk, we do indeed see this effect with a slightly more pronounced heel strike of 3.0% for Elzemieke and a less extreme forefoot strike of 66.5% for Manouk.
We can also look at the footstrike in relation to how the foot is placed on the ground from the outside to the inside of the foot. This metric is referred to as Footstrike X, where 0% indicates the foot lands entirely on the inside of the foot and 100% entirely on the outside of the foot. Elzemieke landed on the outside of her foot in the baseline shoe (62%), and now lands slightly more on the inside with the Puma shoe (55.8%). In contrast, Manouk’s landing was more towards the outside of the foot with the Puma as compared to the baseline shoe with a Footstrike X of 88.5% in the Puma shoe and 80.8% in the baseline shoe. This nicely illustrates how two runners can respond differently to the same shoe.
Manouk in particular shows a much more evenly distributed bioload profile when running with the Puma shoe in comparison to the baseline shoe. On the other hand, Elzemieke seems to be responding to this carbon-plated shoe with slightly increased loading in the lower leg and hips, and a reduction in the upper leg, resulting in an overall slightly more distributed loading profile, but we do also see a slight increase in the lower back. This suggests the Puma shoe changes the loading of different structures and tissues for both runners and may also result in more active recruitment of muscle groups during running.
Contact time/Flight time ratio
For both runners, we see a decrease in contact times and substantial increases in flight times. Manouk’s contact time decreased from 262ms in the baseline shoe to 251ms in the Puma shoe. Her flight time increased from 117ms in the baseline shoe to 137ms in the Puma shoe. Elzemieke’s contact time decreased from 299ms in the baseline shoe to 276ms in the PUMA shoe, whereas her flight time increased from 88ms to 102ms. If we look at the contact time/flight time ratio, both runners increased substantially, meaning that both Manouk and Elzemieke spend less time on the ground and more time in the air with the Puma shoe versus the baseline shoe. Suggesting that amongst other indicators, a more reactive and potentially more efficient running style for both runners when wearing the Puma shoe.
Stability and balance
Stability indicates how consistently the foot is placed on the ground. Slightly varying the way your foot contacts the ground, and thus decreasing the stability metric value, may indicate a reduced injury risk as there is more variation in how the load is applied to the structures of the body. Stability X refers to the variation of your landing between steps relative to the width of your foot. Stability Y refers to the variation of your landing between steps relative to the length of your foot. For Manouk, both Stability Y and Stability X were lower (97.4% vs 98.1% for Y and 98.4 vs 98.7% for X) in the Puma shoe. Elzemieke showed a slightly higher Stability Y (98.9 vs 98.6%) and a slightly lower Stability X (98 vs 98.7%) in the Puma shoe when compared to the baseline shoe.
Balance indicates how much more or less you use one foot over the other. A balance of 0% means you use both feet equally. When your balance is negative you use your left foot more and when it is positive you use your right foot more. Elzemieke used her left foot more in the baseline shoe (-2%) and uses her right foot more in the Puma shoe (2.1%). Manouk used her right foot a little more than the left foot in the baseline shoe (0.6%) and has more balance between her feet in the Puma shoe (-0.1%).
Movement is unique
If we step back from all the data insights, the findings suggest that whilst both Manouk and Elzemieke respond rather differently to the shoe, they both appear to enjoy some substantial potential benefits. Manouk showed slightly improved stability metrics in the Puma shoe, indicating that she has more variation in how the foot contacts the ground and therefore potentially lower injury risk. The data also suggests that the Puma shoe changes the loading of different structures and tissues and may also result in more active recruitment of muscle groups during running. However, overall, the most pronounced differences between the baseline shoe and the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite were observed in the contact times and flight times, with both runners apparently spending less time on the ground and substantially more time in the air, suggesting, amongst other metrics, and indicators, that both runners were running with a much more reactive, and potentially more efficient running style.
The unique combination of your personal running characteristics and the available shoe technologies is the reason why at ARION, we focus on your unique running identity, combining your individual biomechanics with specific shoe technologies that bring you the biggest possible benefits. Stay tuned as we continue to test another pair of the latest and greatest running shoes every two weeks and start to explore some comparisons between the different shoes that we test.
If you want to discover your running identity visit your nearest HUB in one of our ARIONHUB stores to learn more.