Puma Thunder Spectra Review
This original colorway from the brand that perfectly combines fashion and performance is back. Puma’s Thunder Spectra combines a larger than life silhouette with a retro 90s flair. Mesh and nubuck come together to make a truly outstanding casual shoe, which boasts laidback wear as much as old-school originality. Stellar support features and a stylish profile on this sneaker, inspired by previous Alexander McQueen collaborations, are perfect examples of Puma’s commitment to providing the whole package.
Editor's Pros & Cons
- Bold Colorblock Design
- Leather Puma Form Strip
- Thick Cushioned Midsole
- Heel Stabilizing Technology
- Internal Woven System
- Very Thick Sole
Colorblock is a trend that has made a huge resurgence in the early 2000s. It has shown its staying power by being featured in multiple high fashion looks and casual wear. The Thunder Spectra comes in multiple colors, and each one is striking in its own right. Whether you go for the classic blue, red, and yellow, or some of their darker hues, you will stand out with this funky sneaker added to your ensemble. On the classic three tone options, you have contrasting hues as well as pops of baby blues on convenience add-ons like the heel and tongue pull-tabs.
This shoe has a lot of pieces, and the fabric isn’t necessarily thick, nor is the stitching reinforced. While you can probably spend quite some time wearing these, they won’t be as durable as a sneaker constructed more for function and less for the style. These feel great and perform well enough to accommodate most regular wear. If you are hard on your shoes, however, you just won’t get the same kind of long term wear out of these. If you buy sneakers for casual styling into your wardrobe, this is a better choice for you than someone who is needing something for performance or regular exercise.
The Thunder Spectra has a special heel cup that supports your foot while wearing it. Not only does this feel good and offer a bit of comfort, but it aligns the foot properly in the shoe. This is an indispensable feature if you have pain associated with your heel and by extension your ball-of-foot and arches. Proper alignment improves more than just the position it sits in, but the overall health of your feet as well. Heel support is the first step to great posture and reduced back pain. The outsole helps pad every step, and in combination with the heel cup, this shoe truly makes you feel secure in every step.
Injection-molded EVA insoles are the basis for this insanely comfortable sneaker by Puma. Injection-molded insoles utilize a mold much smaller than the actual sole will be, and they spring out when released from the mold. This molding process makes a slightly less dense and hard midsole or the Thunder Spectra. Injection-molded insoles like the Thunder Spectra’s has a great bounce. Increased responsiveness is an additional benefit to this well-cushioned sneaker part. In addition to the Injection-molded EVA, Puma combines pieces of TPU into the midsole as well. These create greater durability. Improving resistance to many liquids and abrasive materials, while still being lightweight, as to not bulk up the shoe unnecessarily.
Lacing can seem like a non-issue for sneakers, but when they are adorned with flimsy laces that come undone and don't properly hold the foot, we definitely notice. The woven system of internal lacing that tightly weaves across the top of the foot keeps you securely in place and your foot lining up to the shoe’s contours perfectly. Midfoot stabilizers in the Thunder Spectra maintain a strong midfoot structure, namely between the hindfoot and the forefoot. Sneakers that incorporate elements beyond just a padded insole or slightly raised heel feel much better than those that do the bare minimum. Soft cushioning won’t feel good for all-day wear by itself because it hinders your foot’s natural articulation. While I wouldn’t necessarily call these a trainer, they are well equipped to stand up to an extremely active lifestyle and frequent wear.
We have seen so many inceptions of the chunky “dad” sneaker in recent years. From Balenciaga to Nike, this bulky look is back and better than ever. The Thunder Spectra does is exceptionally well, though. Their shape is unique on its own, but Puma has incorporated lines and waves in the sole and coloring that accent its shape and play off of it. What you get is a retro fashion piece that is also modern. Flaring out from the upper into the base, the Thunder Spectra achieves a stunning profile with the shape this creates. These are a chunky sneaker that oddly doesn’t fit into the category of “ugly cute”. Their fashion sense speaks for itself in the bold design choices of this Puma.
Just from the descriptions of their midsole, lacing, and heel cup, you know that this shoe will keep your feet firmly in place and feeling amazing. However, that isn’t the only offerings in terms of support. On the inside of the shoe, the Puma Spectrum has protected side walls. This isn’t seen often in shoes other than skate shoes, where it is utilized to protect from injury. This Puma has the same benefits from this underrated feature. Not only does this shoe support you while wearing it, but it helps support you to get it on as well. On the tongue and heel, there are reinforced pull tabs to slide this shoe on and off with ease. The heel inside the shoe is padded and comes up into a slightly higher rise collar for ultimate comfort.
Rubber outsoles are the king of traction. On this Thunder Spectra, the edges of the outsole are raised to fully connect with the ground on every step, while the rest of the sole is slightly hovering, which improves flexibility. The design of this shoe is flared, so more sole connects with the ground than you actually have to feel enveloping your feet. Ribbing under the toe that tapers away into the center of the shoe creates a nice pivot point. This also creates a secure ground feel when switching positions from crouched to standing. Puma’s Thunder Spectra is awesome as a shoe for chasing the kids around, errands, or even a fun day date due to how it makes every move feel.
We know we can expect a high quality of material on the upper when talking about Puma, and the Thunder Spectra makes no exception. The panels and inner materials are connected with a soft mesh. Mesh is breathable, light, and flexible. Chunky shoes can sometimes be a bit restricting, so mesh in the mix helps lighten it up. Suede on areas that are often overlooked adds texture and interest. Around the laces, suede accents in a pop of red complement the overall theme of the shoe. For the areas that generally get the bulk of wear and tear, like the toebox and side panels, leather wraps around the shoe to add a whole lot of durability. The mixed materials look civilized rather than messy, and they all serve a unique purpose coming together on this shoe.
This shoe has a lot of soul, which is great, but it also has a ton of sole and midsole, which is not so great when considering the weight of it. Some reviewers found this shoe to be relatively heavy. The leather and suede being incorporated into the upper also make it heavier than a performance option, which is often constructed of mostly mesh or other textiles. The heavier fabrics and the aesthetic addition of the leather form stripe do add to the overall weight. While this isn’t an athletic sneaker, some people still definitely want something more lightweight for casual wear as well.
Puma’s Thunder Spectra looks amazing. With the revival of 90s fashion, these are a cool way to work that look into your already established style profile. If you are looking for a sneaker more based on performance, you might want to look elsewhere. These are priced in the same range as most brand name athletic sneakers, so they are worth the investment if you love the colorblock design and chunky aesthetic. Comfortable to wear all day, even when on your feet, the Puma Thunder Spectra is overall a top tier, funky addition to laidback attire.