In an effort to keep pace with current explosion in the trail running market Puma has created the Trailfox lineage. Here for its fourth installment this neutral low-profile technical shoe has gone a few changes that claim to make it flexible, roomier, softer, and have a low-to-the-ground ride.
Puma Trailfox 4 First impressions:
At first glance it is very evident that Puma has definitely changed the shoe from previous versions. The four has done away with the AchTec support feature that seemed to receive mixed reviews as to its support and comfort. The outsole is also completely different as well. Puma ditched the flex grooves and opted for a solid one-piece outsole for this new model. Once on I really noticed the fit to be very generous and they also seemed stiff, an issue that seemed to also plague previous versions as well.
Puma Trailfox 4 Upper:
The upper of the Trailfox 4 is constructed with a closed air mesh that provided good water repellency, however I found it not very breathable and left my feet warm on longer outings. As mentioned before the fit is very generous opposed to the sock like fit of previous versions.
This newfound generosity comes at a price, as the shoe is very sloppy especially when running on more technical or cambered trails. I don’t have particularly wide feet, but those that require a wider shoe might enjoy the ample room. The use of stitched on synthetic overlays is very generous providing good structure, support, and protection to the shoe.
An added layer of scratch rubber around the toe box also provided additional protection saving me from any possible blackened toes. A very well padded gusseted tongue is used in the shoe that would often work its way to the lateral side of my foot where it would bunch up. This never really caused me any discomfort, but was an annoyance, as I would have to stop and readjust, as it did feel awkward.
A set of braded oval laces capped of the upper that remained tied on all of my runs.
Puma Trailfox 4 Midsole:
The current midsole of the 4 are produced with Pumas EML Lite foam and are continuous. The foam provided nice cushioning and good protection without the use of a TPU protection plate that was used prior to. Overall the midsole felt very stiff, which made road running uncomfortable and sloppy on gnarly downhills.
Along the outsole is a flex grove that resembles Bio Ride technology that is used in the Faas line to help with flex, but appears that it did nothing to improve it in the Trailfox. The midsole has a 10mm forefoot and 20mm rear foot giving it a 10mm overall drop. The drop did lend itself to a more midfoot strike and didn’t seem to be too substantial.
Puma Trailfox 4 Outsole:
Puma uses its EVERRIDE blown rubber for the outsole. It is also accented with EverTrack composite rubber in high wear areas for added durability. The outsole of the model is a one piece construction unlike the 2 and 3 that used a segmented outsole. Directional lugs with circular nodes protrude a few millimeters from the outsole. This arrangement of lugs provided excellent traction and is arrangement and spacing allowed it to shed mud fairly well.
Puma Trailfox 4 Opinion:
It seems that Puma is trying to move in the right direction to make a better trail shoe but are falling short. With so many options in the market right now there are certainly better choices that exist. Much of what I experienced with the sloppiness and overall lack of flexibility in Trailfox make it hard shoe to like.
I did appreciate the shoes overall traction and durability but that was not enough to overcome the aforementioned issues. This does not mean that it is not a bad shoe for everyone I do feel that the Trailfox would be a good shoe for those runners with a wider foot or that use orthotics. Perhaps Puma should do some R&D in incorporating a trail shoe into the FAAS line and see what they come up with; this seemed to have worked well for Saucony with the Peregrine.