REVIEW; PUMA Complete Trail - 1st impression

I received my own and Aoife's pair of PUMA Complete Trail 100 today.

This trail running shoe has replaced the much loved PUMA Trailfox (particularly well-liked by girls for its pretty pink and purple designs in 2007 and 2008). While this is a much underrated shoe, it looks oddball in its brownish colour and minimalistic design.

The PUMA Complete Trail is just the rebranded version of the Trailfox, and currently retails on www.peteblandsports.co.uk for only 40 Sterling! (get in there!) There's a few notable updates, first of all the design which has been significantly improved, especially on the male version.

The men's version is now a stylish black with neon yellow sole ensuring you'll always stand out in this. The designers unfortunately completely dropped the ball designing the women's in a bland brown and disappearing light blue hued sole. Such a pity when the new black design would have blended so well with the popular purple on the 2008 model.

On the interior, the shoe has been softened somewhat and looks more solid despite retaining its very low weight, making it a great all-round racing shoe which will give you just about enough grip for most races while retaining enough comfort for fire trail and even brief spells of tarmac (I ran the Wicklow Way Trail in my Trailfox in 2008). The weird plastic straps and awkward lacing system on the old PUMAs has also been improved and integrated into a more solid upper layer.

In many ways, I'd call it the DS Racer of the trails in honour of ASICS well-rounded racing flat. The PUMA is designed equally low to the ground which gives it better balance than its competitors the Salomon Speed-Cross and the Salomon XA Pro.

On the downside, the shoe is extremely narrow and will not fit runner with wide feet or people who don't like shoes similar to the Inov-8 and Walshes. The PUMA Complete Trail has a slightly more protected snout than its predecessor, which will be interesting to test on downhills. The slight curve on the shoes tip makes it perfect for both up and downhill running.

All in all, the PUMA reeks simplicity and minimalism despite these improvements and this is one of the things that have turned it into my favourite shoe. I would probably go with a shoe like the Inov-8 X-Talon for the most extreme fells and weather conditions, but bar such races, the PUMA Trailfox would serve you well in most races on the IMRA calendar.

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