Test Drive is a hands-on series offering a first-person look at the latest sneakers to hit the street.
As a sneakerhead, I instinctively devote the largest portion of my morning routine to footwear selection. Although seemingly trivial, sneakers can actually have a lot of influence on how your day might work out – Fenty Creepers might turn heads in SoHo but they probably won’t help you go on that lunch-break run you’ve been promising yourself to start since New Year’s Day.
While looking fresh and staying active may sometimes sound inversely related in the sneaker world, that isn’t always the case. The PUMA IGNITE evoKNIT first turned heads when the sockliner silhouette previewed a few months ago . In my ongoing search for functional fire on my feet, I decided to check out PUMA’s latest take on the “atheleisure” trend.
This new sneaker boasts the debut of PUMA’s new evoKNIT technology across the entire upper. The woven material is naturally lightweight and flexible, but I was really surprised by the supportive fit. evoKNIT feels very secure, but has a very slight stretch that offers comfort without compromising stability. This can be attributed to the density of the knit, which isn’t very open and looks to be even tighter in high-wear areas around the toebox.
IGNITE, a responsive EVA foam used in PUMA’s running models, constructs the midsole of the sneaker. Designed to emulate a runner’s natural gait, the midsole is slightly thicker in the heel area to provide rebound and energy return, while leveling out towards the forefoot for a very easy ride. I found the foam to be well-balanced: comfortable but not mushy and supportive without being stiff. The IGNITE cushioning fitted with the evoKNIT upper results in a sneaker that feels smooth all around.
After really putting the PUMA IGNITE evoKNIT through the ringer, I have to admit that the $130 retail price goes a long way. The evoKNIT material is already strong, but high-wear areas receive extra support by welded overlays while a durable outdoor-ready rubber runs the outsole.
Aside from wearing the sneakers for my regular gym routines and social turn-ups, I really got to see how they could hold up at the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival over the weekend. A number of outdoor surfaces combined with the occasional storm throughout the day (not to mention how many ragers step on you at those things) were no problem for the PUMA IGNITE evoKNIT.
I was particularly impressed by the tight weave of the upper which somehow kept my feet from getting totally soaked. Sure, they were pretty dirty by the end of the night, but the shoe itself was in fine condition- no tears on the upper; they just need a little sneaker cleaner love and they’re ready to be back on the street.
It’s clear to see that PUMA designed the IGNITE evoKNIT with a performance mindset. What I found best about this shoe was that I never had to worry about it keeping up with me. Whether I was running around town, putting in work at the gym, or stomping around in the mud with Desiigner, I never had to think about what I had on my feet keeping up with me.
To get the most out of evoKNIT, I opted for a half size down because my feet are slightly narrow and I was really looking to benefit from the support. The resulting fit was a bit snug but after a little break in time, I was set.
Thankfully, all of this great tech was packaged into a sleek silhouette. Sneaker socks are what all the hip, young sneakerheads are wearing these days, and the form-fitting PUMA IGNITE evoKNIT will fit right in with any of your activewear as well as denim.
Sneakers are meant to be a complement to your lifestyle. If the sock-lined sneaker is your flavor and you like to keep your agenda active, the PUMA IGNITE evoKNIT is worth checking out.
- Photography: Bryan Luna / Highsnobiety.