Being as commercial a brand as it is, you might not expect to see Puma represented in the parkour world. The shoe company is better known for running shoes or those more at home on the catwalk. But the German footwear company is set to turn the head of more than one traceur with their Puma Faas 500. If you’re in the market for some new shoes to assist with your parkour game, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t give the Puma Faas 500 the attention they deserve.

On the outside, the Puma Faas 500 appears like a shoe that would be more at home on the basketball court than scaling a wall or landing and rolling off one. Puma has long been known not just for their functional athletic wear, but their fashionable looks as well. Don’t let the Puma Faas 500 fool you though. It brings much more to the table.

For one thing, they may have the best grip out there. When it comes to traditional athletic shoes, “grip” is important but in a very different way than the type of shoe needed for parkour. Grip on a lateral service is different than the kind needed for vertical surfaces. The only shoes made for climbing are those created for rock climbing and even that grip is different than what a traceur wants. Although the strategic placement of the flex groove treads are actually meant to enhance one’s running speed, traceurs are reporting added benefits to parkour performance. Another benefit: their rectangle gripping mechanisms make clean up a breeze. No need to shy away from parkour in nature. The Puma Faas 500s will give up all their dirt, pebbles and debris willingly.

Although Puma obviously spent the time and money to provide superior grip, the Puma Faas 500 still allow their wearer to feel the ground beneath them. This is a tremendous advantage for a traceur as he or she thrives on the ability to make split second decisions based on the surface beneath them. Puma definitely delivers in this regard.

For their added gripping ability, don’t expect any added weight. For the runner demographic, these shoes are being marketed for their lightweight performance thanks in large part due to their synthetic fiber and mesh body. The body also provides another benefit to traceurs in that it is extremely malleable. In fact, the back heel can almost be squeezed into nonexistence. This is huge in terms of letting your foot act the way it normally would and naturally wants to. Don’t be surprised if you immediately notice the heel support provided by even your most “minimalist” of shoes. However, their heel will still make “barefoot” running almost impossible, so this is a mechanism meant to help people committed to striking the ground with their heel first when they run.

Still, the Puma Faas 500 is extremely comfortable and provides the snug fit runners and traceurs both look for in a shoe. Better still, the Puma Faas 500 is durable enough to keep that comfort a staple long after you’ve thrown your worst at them.

As this is a running shoe from a premier brand, you know the price is going to be an issue. If the Puma Faas 500 is going to be your parkour shoe of choice, except to pay around ninety dollars for the pleasure. Its durability should mean that ninety dollars goes a long way, but that’s always much more dependent on your favorite routes and how often you use them.

Perhaps the best recommendation these shoes can get to the parkour crowd? They are the shoe of choice for world famous traceurs, Ryan Doyle and Sam Parham. If they prefer them, there’s probably a good reason for it.

Ultimately, the two major drawbacks of the Puma Faas 500 is its price and the fact that it’s built to be a traditional, albeit amazing, running shoe. Even if you can afford them, you need to consider that you will not be able to perform “minimalist” running in them (though it will make landing heel first much more comfortable). In neither of these aspects is an issue, then the Puma Faas 500 is an exceptionally comfortable shoe that provides this pleasure without the pain of lugging around extra weight. The fantastic grip makes it even easier to take this lightweight footwear off the ground to higher heights.

Overall, these shoes score a 9.4/10.