Some looks never go out of style. The PUMA Roma is a throwback for fans of one of PUMA's first classic looks. The original 1968 Roma was most at home on the track, but the modern reimagining is more useful as a daily walking shoe. This only makes sense as PUMA's brand becomes more and more about looking good, rather than their actual utility. Comfortable and stylish, the Roma makes a clear case for its return to the 21st century. Some of the changes between then and now are for the better, while others are cause for caution if you plan on buying them.
True to its classical heritage, the PUMA Roma's outsole is made of natural rubber. Rubber lends the outsole an added durability. It will also make long trips much more comfortable. The rubber is formed into a unique sawtooth tread. The tread's design has a striking profile that resembles the teeth of a bandsaw. Those teeth, as well as the small circular indents on the underside of the shoe, give the shoe a good grip on uncluttered surfaces like roads. However, the shoes are not as reliable on surfaces made of looser materials like dirt and gravel
One of the Roma's greatest strengths is the length of time that someone can remain comfortable in them while walking. The major reason for this is the focus on arch support. EVA padding is used in the midsole which lends it an orthotic-like comfort
. This shoe really finds its stride in long trips to the store or for long nights out on the town. Get this shoe if you live in the kind of town where you are walking distance to everywhere. Unlike running shoes, the Roma uses a firmer form of EVA padding to emphasize long-term comfort.
The original Roma was made with leather, while the new edition's upper is made with a cheaper synthetic leather. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The synthetic leather is a major reason the Roma is so affordable. However, it will wrinkle and damage easier. Given that one of the greatest strengths of the Roma is its timeless style, being quickly worn down is something that should give you pause. On the bright side, synthetic leather is much easier to clean than real leather. While its looks last, you can keep the Roma looking out-of-the-box fresh with only a little elbow grease
. The other major aspect of the upper is the swooping formstrip. The formstrip will be the first thing that people notice about the shoe, and it's a worthy thing to notice. It's a good look, and it even provides a little extra support on the sides of the feet.
The Roma is lighter than other walking shoes on the market. Wearing lightweight shoes is good for many reasons. They are less likely to stifle your feet. It makes those long trips easier. With walking shoes, the less noticeable they are when walking around, the better. Weight plays a major part in that. The Roma is so light due to the materials it is made up of. Specifically, the synthetic leather upper is a very light material. However, being lightweight is specifically an advantage among walking shoes. Don't take them beyond the roads.
One of the greatest weaknesses of the Roma is that it doesn't ventilate very well. This is due to two things. The shoe fits very tight on the foot, which doesn't give any room for sweat to escape the shoe. Even worse, the synthetic leather is much less porous than real leather and other materials. These two features, which benefit the shoe in other areas, can potentially combine to leave the user's feet overheated and sweaty. A useful tip is to wear cotton socks with sweaty shoes
. Cotton is a more breathable fabric than others. And of course, only take these shoes off when you get home.
The Roma is a very comfortable shoe. It seems to be one of the major focuses in its design. The midsole has a raised arch to snugly fit the bottom of your foot, instead of the flat bottom often found with street shoes. The tongue of the shoe has extra padding. Pressure from the midsole is combined with the pressure from the extra padded tongue to make a snug fit for the foot. Despite this, some reviewers have noticed that it can be uncomfortable for the first few weeks of wear, due to the inflexibility of the rubber outsole
. You might want to try giving it a couple weeks if you aren't feeling completely comfortable with it at first.
There's an unmistakable, yet simplistic style to the Roma
. It has been brought back from the 60's for a reason. The vintage look is simple, but it emphasizes the flourishes given to the shoe. There's the profile of the sawtooth treads, which looks great. Then there's the easygoing formstrip running along the side of the shoe. The sweeping design would be gaudy if it wasn't so well complemented by the simplicity of the rest of the shoe. This shoe is designed for people who like a bit of flashiness in their sneakers, but without having people openly stare.
Durability is another issue with the Roma. There are two major complaints often heard by wearers. The first, and less problematic issue, is the more general problems that come with synthetic leather. A crease will quickly form in the leather where the toes bend to push off the ground. This is due to the less flexible nature of synthetic compared to the leather that the PUMA Roma was once built with. The other, less common, issue is that the sole of the shoe will sometimes separate from the rest of the shoe. This is a much more serious issue, but it will only happen in rare cases. Some reviewers online have used shoe glue to put the two pieces back together
. It seems like a permanent solution.
This shoe uses a reinforced toe to take some of the wear off the front of the foot. The design that accomplishes this is called a T-Toe overlay. It looks more like a W. The firm toe box won't strain the toes and makes it easier to go on lengthy walks. Long term, the reinforced toe of the shoe can cause flat feet. PUMA Romas are more suitable to people without feet problems.
Width & Length
The PUMA Roma comes in a 5 to a 15 in a men's size, and a 5 to an 11 in a women's. An important thing to note is that the Roma fits a little narrow for many wearers. A useful tip from many reviewers to combat this is to get the shoe one size up from what you usually wear. Wearers with naturally narrow feet should not worry about this, because the length of the shoe is quite standard.
The PUMA Roma has strong support, but only if used in the right context. The major reason that it is so good for walking long distances is that it has strong arch support. That support comes from the raised medial foam of the insole. Along side that, the strengthened toe support will ease your toes on long trips. These things both help with walking, but the lighter materials that makes up the upper of the shoe greatly reduces ankle support. Ankle support is mostly unnecessary in a walking shoe, but taking it out of its comfort zone could be a huge mistake.
Looking good is one of the key features for the Roma. There's a wide variety of styles for any level of flashiness. There's the simple all white and all black. Then there's the black on white and the white on black that emphasize the formstrip. Then there's the colors that are made for turning heads like the bright orange and the deep green looks. The Roma also has a few special editions as well. There's a holographic green formstrip version, and also a Tomas Maier special edition with a white textured upper.
The PUMA Roma falls on the lower end of the price range. This is impressive given its classy look. This is accomplished by PUMA by the materials used in its construction. Many people won't notice the cheaper aspects of the shoe and it looks expensive to passer-by. Many similar wallking shoes will cost much more than this. It also feels like a much more expensive shoe. The price point is actually one of the greatest strengths of the Roma as it is the type of shoe that you can get multiple pairs of knowing that they won't break the bank
or your ankles.
One of the more unique features of the PUMA Roma is the sawtooth tread. The Roma is advertised as a street shoe, and the tread compliments that. The points of each tooth are good with flat surfaces. The small cups that dot the outsole almost look like suction cups, and achieve a similar, if not equivalent, effect. It's the sort of grip that is more eager to leave the ground than remain on it. This ease of use defines the shoe, but also limits its use somewhat
The rubber of the outsole is not very good for flexibility. The lack of flexibility helps keep a grip on the ground as the rubber will stay flush to the ground. The downside is that the rubber outsole's lack of flexibility means it won't form to your foot. You will have to get used to the feel of the shoe rather than the shoe getting used to your foot. This can lead to some initial discomfort in the first few weeks of use.
The Roma keeps a good grip on the wearer's foot, but it doesn't have the stability of many runners and hiking shoes. Ankle support is almost non-existent, but it does make the fit less stifling. It has a very short heel to top shaft at just over two inches. Besides this, the synthetic leather is a very light material that doesn't protect from rolling ankles or loose ground. The stability caused by form-fitting nature of the midsole more than makes up for this. When used for its intended function as a walking shoe, the PUMA Roma has more than enough stability for users who aren't worried about their ankles.
There are a few aspects of the Roma that are a bit fancier than its older counterpart. The EVA padding gives almost orthopedic support to the arch. The T-Toe helps keep the toes safe from wear and tear. The sawtooth tread is good for walking on roads as well as being stylish. Even the formstrip helps cushion the sides of the foot. Small features like this help the shoe be helpful on long trips on the street.
-Stylish shoe that comes in many styles
-Made for long trips
-Good price for the quality
-Non-breathable material can make for a sweaty foot
-May succumb to wear and tear quicker than other shoes
-EVA padding, cushioned tongue, and strengthened toe make for a comfortable fit
If you already have a pair of shoes for running, and another pair hiking, this will round out your collection in its all around utility. They look good, and can be as flamboyant as suits your style. They're very comfortable, and you won't be complaining about sore feet beyond the first few weeks. Most importantly, they won't break the bank. The PUMA Roma is a well rounded shoe that won't cause you too many complaints. Just make sure to go one size up if you have wide feet.