Look, we’ve made self-lacing shoes happen.
How about infinite lacing?
That’s what Puma’s new Netfit technology promises. It’s a customizable lacing system that offers “infinite performance and style options,” which means the shoe’s netted mesh exterior allows runners to lace ’em up however they see fit.
While Puma showcases five different lacing options as guidance (standard, stability, wide foot, narrow foot, heel support), you really do have (near) infinite ways to lace up. Usain Bolt’s already a fan. Says the gold medalist (who, randomly, also just became the “Chief Entertainment Officer” of Maison Mumm champagne): “Sometimes you wish you could just design shoes purely tailored to your own feet and now you can. Plus, they look great, and that’s always the most important thing, right?”
That’s certainly true: The lightweight Peacoat-Orange Clown Fish-Puma White Speed Ignite is a looker … and who knew “Orange Clown Fish” was a color?
It looks like the shoe has some converts already. “I think Puma is onto something,” says Bethany Carter, a project manager in construction and former Division I varsity runner (and occasional marathoner). “My foot is a little odd. I’m careful not to buy shoes, especially running shoes, where the laces go right over the bone in my foot that sticks up. With these shoes, I would be able to simply adjust where the laces are coming from and solve the problem myself.”
Others are skeptics. “I haven’t used the shoes, but it looks like a gimmick to me,” says Aimee Shilling, owner of Forty by Forty Fitness and runner of 44 marathons and ultramarathons. “You can already use these lacing patterns with standard running shoes. I use a different lacing pattern for some of my shoes, and I recommend different ones for some of the runners I coach as well.”
Whatever your thoughts, the Ignite runners are available now, while other Netfit-enable shoes will launch throughout the spring and summer.