Review: PUMA Cell Venom

It’s called the PUMA Cell Venom and for a name that dangerous, they are quite awkward in a weirdly cute way.

  • Reasons to buy:
    Apt running shoe
    Potential collector’s sneaker
  • Reasons not to buy:
    Slight construction flaws
    Not very comfortable as an everyday sneaker

There’s a “90’s throwback” going on with sneaker design right now. I’ve written about this with the RS-X, but I’ll say it again. Reebok’s Aztreks, Fila’s Disruptors, Asics’ GEL-Kayano 5, the list goes on… And then there’s the PUMA CELL Venom. The running shoe has been reissued, and while its components might be from 2018 – the shoe encapsulates the 1990s.

PUMA are revamping their CELL line from the 90s. The alien CELL Endura dropped and shortly after, almost at the same time with the RS-X Toys, was the CELL Venom.

puma cell venom

PUMA have drummed up a fair amount of excitement with the CELL Venom. Starting last week, PUMA are dropping these sneakers at secret launches in Berlin

There was a limited release launch in Berlin last week and there are reports of secret launches planned throughout December.

The sneaker made its way to Dubai and dropped at sneaker-festival SOLE DXB. Though overshadowed by the loud RS-X Hot Wheels at the PUMA stand, there were a few visitors that lingered around the Venoms.

This is the longest I’ve worn a sneaker before starting to review them: back-to-back days at work, several gym sessions, runs and even events around the city. I’ll be honest I didn’t like it at first. But I forced myself to complete my pre-set timeframe and it was well into a week of constant wear, where I started to get fond of them.

Let’s jump into the sneaker.


PUMA CELL VENOM: FIRST GLANCE

puma cell venom

At first glance, I’m pretty sure everyone under the age of 35 would not vibe with it at all. From a design POV, it is a chunky dad shoe. Everything from the patterns and design to the materials used, screams 1990s.

While Generation Z would probably run the other way, generation Y would run with the Venom’s on. On feet, these shoes will make you stand out, especially the White-Surf colour way.

If you look closer you would notice that this is an incredibly detailed shoe, we’ll dive into the components under ‘Construction’.

Would I buy this sneaker based on its looks? No. However, take a look at the special kits coming out below, I would opt for the Bait x Marvel x PUMA all-black Venom sneaker or their blood red Carnage editions of the CELL Venom instead.

I feel the white and blue of the standard White-Surf colour way is just way too 1990.


COMFORT

The shoe takes a while to wear in. There are sneakers such as the Under Armour HOVRs and the RS-X Toys that just envelop your feet in cotton candy right from the first minute – unfortunately this guy isn’t one of them.

While PUMA market the CELL Venom as a runner that can also transition as street wear, I wouldn’t use this is a regular show sneaker. There were several times during the review – that I would have preferred wearing the RS-X Toys instead.

The massive green CELL bubble is quite stiff when you walk or stroll around on any surface, however from a performance trainer point of view, the CELL bubble is a bonus when you run.


PUMA CELL VENOM: CONSTRUCTION

puma cell venom

The construction of the upper is top notch. In typical PUMA style there are several elements and materials combined together seamlessly. There’s a touch of leather and suede overlays on the mesh upper and intricate stitching for the PUMA and CELL logos. It has been put together very well and seems quite sturdy and durable.

The only issue I have with the construction is how the CELL bubble is incorporated in the sole of the shoe. I understand that’s the construction since PUMA needed to find a way to include the CELL bubble as an additional component however you can clearly see that it’s added on and not thoughtfully integrated in the construction.

If I bend the shoe, folding it inwards, you can spot the glue that holds the plastic bubble to the rubber under sole give way ever so slightly. Surely your foot would never take that shape, but this does worry me if you do use this pair thoroughly, everyday, for intense running.


FIT

Nothing to complain about here, the fit is true to size. It does run a bit wide but that’s not a worry when laced up tight. This would be used, predominantly as a runner and rarely as an everyday sneaker, so lace em up right.


SUPPORT

Not too happy with the support as well. The insole is rather basic and standard. If you’re into that – then well, you won’t have a problem with it. However with sneakers from other brands within the same price point featuring sculpted or incredibly soft insoles, it’s disappointing that PUMA didn’t incorporate this into the CELL Venom.

It’s not that they can’t.

The RS-X features one of the best insoles out there with a polyurethane protrusion that supports the medial longitudinal arch of your foot and another one higher up to support your anterior transverse arch as well.


PUMA CELL VENOM: VERDICT

To summarise, you would need a fair amount of dedication to use this as an everyday sneaker. It’s best suited for running, preferably light running. And please stay off off-road trails – as I’m a bit concerned about what the over-stressing will do to the construction, especially at the points where the bubble meets the rest of the shoe.

That being said, if you do fall in love with it, it’s an instant conversation starter. The shoe is noticeable since it doesn’t look like it belongs in our time.


PUMA CELL VENOM: RANKING

Looks: 4/5
Comfort: 2.5/5
Construction: 3/5
Fit: 4/5
Support: 2.5/5

TOTAL: 64%


For more sneaker reviews, here’s an in-depth look at the Under Armour HOVR.

Staff

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