The Sutamina isn’t for the injury-prone, but others will love its lightweight and über-soft midsole.
The RW Takeaway: The Speed Sutamina is for the runner without a heavy instep, looking for a lightweight trainer with high energy return.
- A lightweight upper holds the foot securely, thanks to an effective lacing system
- Proplate in the midsole propels you on your run
- The midsole is too soft for Clydesdales and those prone to injury
Weight: 10.7 oz (M), 8.4 oz (W)
The Speed Sutamina, which is Japanese for “stamina,” is a less-expensive lightweight trainer with a cushioned platform and propulsive edge—for a particular set of runners.
According to the RW shoe lab, the Sutamina is heavier than the average trainer, with very soft cushioning and high energy return. The softness of the shoe proved problematic for some testers. Some praised it for being lightweight yet showed disdain for the “firm” midsole. “The cushioning on these shoes is not great,” said a tester. “The padding is stiff and firm. There is no bounce in my step.” The same shoe was used for lab testing and wear-tester evaluation—so what gives?
The high softness lab score doesn’t necessarily indicate a plush, supportive midsole, especially for Clydesdale runners who need a firmer platform. Even as a non-Clydesdale runner, I felt sensitivity in my shins and knees running in the shoe. Injury-prone and larger folks may need more support, but the über-soft midsole is just one ingredient that certain runners will loathe—or, ultimately, love—about the Sutamina. The trainer is ideal for more efficient runners without a rich history of minor and major injuries in their past. If you’re a part of that subset, go long. If you aren’t, be judicious with your mileage.
If the Egg Bounces
The Sutamina has Puma’s ProFoam midsole, an EVA-based foam that provides lightweight cushioning as well as high energy return. The company demonstrated ProFoam’s rebound and cushioning with a short video of an egg being dropped on the midsole material, which made the rounds last year when Puma released the Speed 600 Fusefit. I’ll spoil it for you by saying the egg bounced and didn’t break. This should translate to the ride being forgiving on the joints. However, the ProFoam, at least in this case, proved too soft for some runners.
The softness of the cushioning and high energy return were apparent in our lab scores, but experiential testing showed mixed results. Some runners described the cushioning as above average, especially in the heel. Others reported virtually no cushioning, and joint pain on longer distances. An explanation for the seemingly disagreeable lab results and tester feedback: The cushioning is so soft that it has too much give and not enough support for injury-prone and heavy-footed runners.
I could feel soreness in my shins and hips when I ran in the shoes, even though the Sutaminas felt especially soft and comfy when I walked around the RW offices. You could chalk that up to the too-soft cushioning and very little arch support in the midsole, or maybe it’s because I’ve entered my early 30s, those minor aches pronouncing a lifetime of pain. I hope the latter isn’t the case.
Light and Secure
Many testers said the Sutamina’s lightness was a favourite feature. I was doubtful of their feedback, especially since lab scores seemed to confirm the shoe as heavier than the average trainer. However, I can confirm the wear testers’ observations to be true; the shoe is indeed light on your feet as you run.
Another feature praised by testers was the snug and secure upper. How did I test this evaluation? By wearing a pair that was a half size larger than I usually wear, of course. I experienced no slippage, and the lacing system proved effective, holding my foot in place without feeling like a miniature corset.
Wear Tester Feedback
Kristen Parker, RW Photo Editor
Arch: Flat | Footstrike: Heel
“This shoe had a great lightweight upper, making the shoe light overall and with a good amount of flexibility for my foot, especially in the toe box and arch areas. The shoe didn’t feel like it had much cushion, though it didn’t bother me since the sole was supportive enough against hard road surfaces. Since I’m a heel striker, the sole also felt flatter than other shoes I’m used to.”
Stephanie N., tester since 2012
Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot
“At first I was very excited when I tried them on because they were so light and flexible. I was just thinking of my fast mile times, however, after running in them I began to get some knee pain and now I only run in these for shorter distances. I think there may be a few reasons why they caused the discomfort. I think one could be the lack of mid- and forefoot cushioning. The heel cushioning seemed better, but when running on roads with many hills I think I just need better support and cushioning. I also think the motion control throughout the middle foot and arch could be better. I felt every uneven surface; I think that contributed to the knee discomfort.”