There is a lot of cool gear in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put gear to the test and let you know if it works as advertised.
What We Tried
PUMA IGNITE Articulate — the laced version of PUMA Golf’s latest high-performance golf shoe.
Your PUMA IGNITE Articulate Tester
Tony Covey. Yeah, that’s right, the #LacesAreForSuckers guy is biting the bullet and stepping into a pair of BOA- (and Disc-) free golf shoes.
About the PUMA IGNITE Articulate
PUMA Golf calls the IGNITE Articulate the most versatile performance shoe it has ever made. I can’t swear to the accuracy of that assertion but, speaking as a guy who has tried just about every golf shoe PUMA has made in the last decade, I think there is something to it.
For sure, PUMA has made some heavily structured designs and it has definitely dabbled in the lightweight, flexible mesh-y, rubber, unconventional design space as well, but the Articulate is different entirely and that’s a good thing.
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, BOA Boy, I thought laces were for suckers? Are you a liar or just a hypocrite, you jackass?”
Hey, man, that hurts but only because you’re not entirely wrong. Ugh.
Here’s the deal. PUMA offers the IGNITE Articulate in a Disc (PUMA’s non-lace-based click-y shoe-tightening system) but only in standard sizes.
So, yeah, while I’m still firmly in the laces are for suckers camp, I’m not entirely “ride or die” on that. I’m certainly not going to wear a shoe that doesn’t fit because of some misguided principle (see: laces are for suckers) and since PUMA Golf just started offering wide sizes like yesterday, I’m going to let the lack of wide sizes in Disc versions go … for now.
Consider yourself on the clock, PUMA.
IGNITE Articulate Features
- Engineered Articulation – PUMA-speak for grooves all over the shoe—I’m talking outsole, midsole and upper—that allow it to move with you while still providing support.
- 8-Cleat Traction Pattern (with HEX Traction Lugs) – Who’s counting, right? Anyway, the IGNITE Articulte features eight Tornado cleats which incidentally is the same number of cleats as my favorite golf shoe ever. More on that in a bit.
- Articulating PWRCAGE – PUMA’s strategic use of vowels and capitalization is sometimes baffling but the point is that the PWRCAGE structure provides a more secure fit. To a degree, it mimics what you get with BOA and Disc systems.
- IGNITE Foam– Revolutionary or not, IGNITE is PUMA’s take on a responsive (and foam-cushioning) midsole material. It’s all part of what PUMA calls “Comfort Construction.”
You also get a PRO-Fit Insole and the industry-standard one-year waterproof warranty.
Standard sizes are available in six colorways while wide sizes are limited to just four. The Disc version is available in six colorways as well but wide sizes are not available.
It doesn’t matter if you choose lace or Disc—retail price is $180.
A Quick Note About Style
Style is inherently subjective but there’s nothing inherently off-putting about the PUMA IGNITE Articulate. For those of you who have bemoaned the modern style of the two BOA shoes I’ve reviewed so far, the relatively conventional design should help you sleep easier tonight.
Having said that, judging by the pictures, some of the colorways do look a bit better than others. At a glance, the black model looks a little chunky while the all-whites I tried look pretty much like any other shoe.
I’m fine with it but I’m easy-going kind of guy anyway.
Slipping them on
The PUMA IGNITE Articulate is one of those sock-liner style shoes where it can take a little bit of effort (grease and a shoehorn) to get your foot inside. With the first pair I tried (standard size), it took some work. With the wide size, it’s certainly not a true step-in comfort situation but it’s not that bad.
The lesson here is only to buy shoes that actually fit. It seems obvious, but, well, golfers …
PUMA IGNITE Articulate Comfort and Fit
I started with the standard-size version of the IGNITE Articulate. The plan was to slip them on, toss a backup pair of shoes in the bag and run over to the golf course and try my hill test. If you’re new to the hill test, it’s my really simple way of checking the initial comfort of a pair of golf shoes.
It involves … well … really just walking up a hill.
If there’s any discomfort during this exhaustive test, it’s a safe bet I’ll have problems on the course. If not, we’re all clear to play golf.
Suffice it to say, the standard size didn’t pass the door test. Here’s how that test works:
I slipped them on and was uncomfortable walking to the door. Not good.
Fortunately, PUMA offers wide sizes. FINALLY!
The wide version passed the hill test with flying colors. No issues, no concerns, no backup shoes. What can I say? I’m getting reckless.
As far as wide golf shoes go, the IGNITE Articulate isn’t as wide as some others. It’s definitely not FootJoy Tour Alpha BOA wide, for example. It’s fine for me but if you need a really wide shoe, the Articulate might not get it done.
Walking the golf course in the PUMA IGNITE Articulate
I’m going to level with you. My hope was that the IGNITE Articulate would conjure memories of the Titan Tour golf shoe. The Titan Tour was our 2015 Editors’ Choice for Best Golf shoe. It remains my favorite PUMA shoe.
Not that it’s supposed to be, but the IGNITE Articulate definitely isn’t the Titan Tour. Initially, that was the bad news. What I found on the course is that the PUMA IGNITE Articulate is the closest thing I’ve found to my favorite golf shoe – the FootJoy FJ Freestyle.
Score one for happy surprises.
In my estimation, the Freestyle is one of the most unstructured spiked golf shoes ever made and, while that might sound like a bad thing (and for some it is a bad thing), there’s a “freedom of movement, let your feet explore the ground” kind of feeling. It’s ideal for golfers who want more traction than many spikeless golf shoes deliver but still want some stability without feeling like they’re standing on a platform anchored to the ground.
I don’t have what you might call “quiet feet” in the golf swing so a shoe that wants to work with my feet instead of against them is ideal.
After re-spiking my Freestyles and going back and forth a bit between the two, I’d say the IGNITE Articulate has a similar feel with respect to how your foot moves with the shoe but it’s perhaps a bit more stable overall which, again, I think some of you will really enjoy.
Bottom line: Even crippled by laces, the PUMA IGNITE Articulate has made it into the rotation.
PUMA IGNITE Articulate- Takeaway
For golfers who appreciate a little freedom of movement, there’s a lot to love about the PUMA IGNITE Articulate. When the sizing is right, it’s extremely comfortable right out of the box. There’s plenty of traction, your feet have some opportunity to explore and stability is still pretty damned good considering the nature of the design.
I haven’t decided if I like it more than the Titan Tour (I just re-spiked those, too) but it’s absolutely my favorite PUMA shoe since the Titan Tour.
That said, I’d be remiss not to point out a few small negatives.
The first is, as I mentioned, the wide version isn’t as wide as some other wide shoes. My feet are only kinda fat, so I’m good, but the width could be problematic for guys with really fat feet. I’m looking at you, Dave Wolfe.
The second is filed under things I don’t care about. The upper and, in fact, most of the shoe, is made from modern synthetic material. It feels a bit plasticky but that’s an FYI kind of thing. It doesn’t bother me in the least.
The last one is kind of weird.
The PUMA IGNITE Articulate squeaks. Seriously, it squeaks.
Not all the time, mind you, but occasionally it sounds like a well-worn innerspring mattress during playtime.
The flexibility of the shoe is a good bit of what I love about the design but with all of that bending and flexing comes some squeaking. It seems to originate where the upper overlaps with the PWRCAGE structure. I only notice it from time to time (usually when I’m walking around and getting ready to blow an eight-foot putt six feet past the cup) but it’s there.
I know some of you obsess over such things, so it’s my job to let you know, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me. I’m actually trying to figure out how to use it to my advantage on the golf course.
Squeak my opponents into submission and whatnot.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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Roarke1 month ago
I found these really narrow in the toe box. Sized up and still too narrow. I guess I’ll try the wide option. I figured those were for “big boned” folk though.