Puma hit it out of the park when it came down to the Fuse Trainer. Offering ample stability and performance at a budget-friendly price point was more than enough for many to take notice. Like all premium silhouettes, however, there comes a time when the old must be replaced with the new.
Unveiled earlier this month, the Puma Fuse 2.0 is the brand's latest iteration of its top-performing gym shoe. With key upgrades to the upper, midsole and heel clip, this all-new kick is designed to build off the successes of its predecessor while delivering plenty of PR-boosting support.
But would these upgrades be a positive change for this well-regarded training kick, or would the sequel come up short when compared to the original? To find out, I laced up these all-new sneakers and took to my normal training routine, highlighting how each new component affected my workout experience. I also spent a few sessions swapping the 2.0s for the 1.0s to get an on-the-spot comparison of the two Puma silhouettes.
After a few weeks of training and plenty of analysis completed, here's what you can expect from these all-new budget-friendly training shoes.
What's Good About the Puma Fuse 2.0?
This latest silhouette definitely upgrades the fit across the midfoot.
One of the main factors that I noticed in the original Fuses was their constricting fit across the midfoot. Sure, this made for a very locked in aesthetic, but if you planned on extending any training session past 30 minutes, you were bound to get tired of the tight fit. Thankfully, Puma opened up the feel of the Fuse 2.0s, creating a more accommodating midfoot structure that didn't leave my feet feeling completely squeezed into the profile.
Despite the more comfortable feel of the midfoot construction, I was still able to achieve a secure lockdown for mid-level training sets. The lacing system and stable upper created a sustainable, confident cloak across my digits, which allowed me to transfer that security into heavy squats, deadlifts and more.
The internal midsole maintains that stable platform ideal for a majority of lifting disciplines.
The original Fuse silhouette was a very stable shoe thanks to the PUMAGRIP outsole and more rigid footbed. I'm happy to report that the brand didn't omit this from the latest Fuse iteration, and the stability is more than present across this impressive frame. Whether lining up atop the platform or getting under a fully-loaded barbell, I was able to achieve that premium footing needed for completing my desired rep range.
What's Less Than Ideal About the Puma Fuse 2.0?
Despite the key upgrades, this isn't the ideal gym shoe for more serious training.
I want to preface this note by saying the Fuse 2.0 is a damn fine gym shoe, but it's not the gym shoe. While I felt more than secure in performing multiple lifts, these were all lighter loads than my typical max. I did, however, opt to test these kicks on a few heavy training days, and I sadly noticed a little more compression than desired across the insole. The foam began to shrink down when loaded with a more-than-average squat, which left my feet scrambling for that optimal ground connection.
I also experienced this compression when pulling heavy deadlifts from the platform, which has been a focal point in my workouts as of late. Once I worked up to over 400 pounds in this modality, I did begin to experience this foam compression underfoot. Still, I realize that these totals aren't going to be in every training regimen, so unless you're really adding up the weight plates before each set, you should be okay.
The new TPU heel clip feels more pronounced and can be uncomfortable at times.
Outside of the increased midfoot room, I also noticed the more pronounced heel clip when first trying on the all-new Fuse 2.0s. While I understand why this component is rigid and appreciate the added support, the rigidity doesn't cater to more dynamic exercise routines. I felt the new heel clip was a detriment to any running or agility exercises, and even felt its presence when walking from one end of the gym floor to the next. Sure, for static movements like a squat or leg press, you want that stability, but when you're sprinting toward a finish line or working through an agility ladder, I prefer a little more comfort underfoot.
Puma Fuse 2.0: The Verdict
While the silhouette couldn't keep up with more demanding workouts, I still believe this is one of the best gym shoes available today, largely due to the performance benefits baked into the profile for such a reasonable price point. At $100, just $10 more than the original Fuse Trainers, this Puma offering remains one of the more affordable training sneakers out there. Add in its improved fit and exceptional stability, and you have a silhouette that's sure to keep your training on track without the ample hit to your wallet.
The Puma Fuse 2.0s will be available later this week starting 10/28 on the brand's site.