Our verdict

Much like the rest of PUMA’s models featuring the RS cushioning, we verified that the RS-X is a head-turner, thanks to its playful hues and multiple panelings of different materials. Its silhouette also wooed us, thanks to the shoe's organized chaotic design. The RS-X's Running System cushioning ensured comfort no matter how many hours we spent on our feet.

Pros

  • Retro charm
  • Numerous vivid colorways
  • Very comfortable step-in feel
  • Plenty of cushioning for all-day wear
  • Breathable, summer-ready upper
  • Very stable platform
  • Highly durable outsole
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Heavier than average
  • Stiff forefoot

Audience verdict

89
Good!

Who should buy

With its hues ranging from straightforward duotone to multicolored splashes, there is an RS-X for every individual. We believe that it's the right PUMA footgear for you if:

  • you want a bold, brightly colored retro silhouette
  • you need a breathable mesh sneaker for summertime
  • you prefer generously cushioned kicks for all-day wear

PUMA RS-X review

Who should NOT buy

The only major problem with the PUMA RS-X is that it's heavy. Of course, it comes with a heavily cushioned and chunky platform but some people may be willing to give up a few millimeters in return for a lighter sneaker.

If you are okay with a slightly lower sole but notably lighter weight, check out retro silhouettes like the New Balance 530 and the Adidas Ozweego.

PUMA RS-X lab test

Breathability

If you believe that a chunky sneaker cannot be breathable, the RS-X is here to prove that wrong.

Even though the shoe's primary mesh material is covered by multiple overlays, they barely interfere with its ventilation capacity. Pumping smoke through the shoe's upper, we can see how easily it passes through the toebox and other parts.

On a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the most breathable, we can readily give the PUMA RS-X a 4.

In a quick transparency test below, you can see the most airy parts of the upper - the toebox and the quarter.

Using a microscope, we also took a closer look at the mesh itself. As you can see, it is quite porous, allowing lots of air in and out.

PUMA RS-X microscope

The nature of this primary mesh fabric is also amazingly lightweight and pliable.

Test results
RS-X 4
Average 2.9
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Adding a protective overlay around delicate mesh was a good idea to prolong the shoe's shelf life.

Equipped with a Dremel, we tested out how the toebox holds up against wear and tear. Applying a consistent speed (10K RPM) and force (3.2N), we were pleasantly surprised with the resistance of that synthetic overlay. It definitely saved the mesh from being completely torn apart.

This allows us to rate the toebox's durability with a decent score of 3 out of 5.

PUMA RS-X Toebox durability

Test results
RS-X 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The shoe's interior collar lining is much more exposed in that regard. Made of soft textile, it wasn't able to resist the Dreme so well.

Having applied the tool for only 4 seconds at a moderate speed (5K RPM), the damage was tangible enough to lower its durability rating to 2/5.

PUMA RS-X Heel padding durability
Test results
RS-X 2
Average 3.5
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Looks like we're dealing with a pretty sturdy outsole here on the PUMA RS-X.

Using our durometer to check the firmness of the rubber on the RS-X, we got a reading of 86.8 HC. This is harder than average and leads us to expect a little more from the outsole durability.

PUMA RS-X Outsole hardness
Test results
RS-X 86.8 HC
Average 85.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.5 HC

Outsole durability

And this PUMA sneaker didn't disappoint. Surviving the long 22 seconds of Dremel drilling at a high speed of 10K RPM, the amount of outsole damage was smaller than average!

We measured the depth of the dent with the help of a tread gauge. At 0.8 mm, the RS-X makes it into the more durable range of sneakers.

PUMA RS-X Outsole durability
Test results
RS-X 0.8 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

And if you still have any doubts, let us dispel them by saying that the RS-X has one of the thickest outsoles among sneakers!

Using a caliper, we measured the rubber layer at 6.5 mm. It is thicker than in most low-top sneakers. Considering its hardness too, this outsole can take a lot of beating up.

PUMA RS-X Outsole thickness
Test results
RS-X 6.5 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
12.5 mm

Weight

The PUMA RS-X is a hefty one, no doubt about that.

PUMA RS-X style

Putting it on our scale, we got 16 oz (455g) in a men's US size 9. This is more than 2 ounces heavier than sneakers on average.

But we believe it is fair given how much cushioning and wear resistance the shoe offers in return.

PUMA RS-X Weight
Test results
RS-X 16.05 oz (455g)
Average 14.18 oz (402g)
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Under the heel, this PUMA shoe is an absolute giant!

Based on our caliper measurement, the heel stack (insole and outsole included) of the RS-X is a whopping 39.9 mm thick! It is nearly half an inch taller than average!

We can even say that this PUMA is on the verge of platform sneakers.

PUMA RS-X Heel stack
Test results
RS-X 39.9 mm
Average 30.1 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
50.5 mm

Forefoot stack

As expected, the PUMA RS-X is pretty thick in the forefoot as well.

With our caliper showing 22.7 mm, it is notably taller than the average. Needless to say, we felt pretty high off the ground wearing this PUMA shoe.

PUMA RS-X Forefoot stack
Test results
RS-X 22.7 mm
Average 19.0 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

If you enjoy the feeling of massive cushioning beneath your heel, the PUMA RS-X should feel right at home.

Given the difference in its stack heights, the RS-X elevates your heel as much as 17.2 mm above the toes. This is one of the highest drops we've ever seen in a sneaker.

PUMA RS-X Drop

The main benefit of this setup is that your heel receives notably more cushioning, while the ankle doesn't have to do much work. But this is a matter of personal preference, of course, as some people do like more natural-feeling kicks with a lower drop (i.e. Adidas Gazelle at 8.3 mm).

Test results
RS-X 17.2 mm
Average 11.2 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
6.7 mm
Drop
22.6 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

From the look of it, the PUMA RS-X appears to be very firm and rigid. Oh how delighted we were to find out that it's not true!

On foot, this sneaker actually felt quite bouncy! Which means there was enough softness to it to compress.

Indeed, our durometer showed that the shoe's foam comes in at 15.6 HA which is 100% softer than sneakers on average!

PUMA RS-X Midsole softness

Test results
RS-X 15.6 HA
Average 29.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 44 sneakers
Number of shoes
15.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
60.0 HA

Insole thickness

PUMA decided to turn the cushioning volume to the max by inserting an 8-mm insole! Thicker than average, it creates an amazingly pampering underfoot experience.

It's not every day that we see orthotic elements in a stock insole! Bravo, PUMA!

PUMA RS-X Insole thickness
Test results
RS-X 8.0 mm
Average 5.5 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
14.2 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

If you are worried about feeling unstable wearing such a high platform, don't be!

PUMA took care of this by adding enough torsional rigidity and width to the platform. Never once did we feel concerned about rolling our ankles in the RS-X.

Torsional rigidity

Twisting the PUMA RS-X sideways wasn't so easy! On a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest, we would rate this sneaker as 4. That is stiffer than the average of casual sneakers.

We really appreciated the way PUMA managed to fuse soft cushioning with side-to-side stiffness in the RS-X.

Test results
RS-X 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Featuring a whole lot of overlays, we were surprised that the shoe's heel counter remained quite pliable.

With 5 being the stiffest, we rated the RS-X's heel counter stiffness as only 2. It is more flexible than average.

But we didn't feel like the ankle hold was negatively affected by that. Nor did we experience any heel slippage in this PUMA shoe.

Test results
RS-X 2
Average 3.2
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Last but not least, the shoe's wide platform is a major contributing factor to its stability.

Even before measuring the RS-X, we could see that it was among the widest platforms we've ever gotten our hands on.

In the widest part of the forefoot, our caliper showed 116.1 mm which is significantly wider than average.

PUMA RS-X Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
RS-X 116.1 mm
Average 109.0 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

It gets even crazier in the heel!

With the widest part of the sole showing 94.7 mm, the RS-X is only second to the Adidas Ozweego (98.9 mm)!

PUMA RS-X Midsole width in the heel
Test results
RS-X 94.7 mm
Average 83.5 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Of course, we couldn't expect the PUMA RS-X to bend like an acrobat given how much is going on in its base.

Using a force gauge, we measured that it took 26.5N to bend this PUMA sneaker to a 90-degree angle. That is 40% more than it takes an average sneaker.

Test results
RS-X 26.5N
Average 24.0N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
5.8N
Stiffness
60.5N

Grip / Traction

This PUMA sneaker features a variety of traction patterns on the outsole. We felt pretty secure in all urban conditions but wouldn't recommend getting this shoe into mud or slush. You most likely wouldn't want to anyway.

PUMA RS-X Lug depth

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

From our experience, the PUMA RS-X fits a medium-width foot perfectly.

Using a caliper, we measured the widest part of the toebox at 98.4 mm which sits right at the average of sneakers.

PUMA RS-X Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
RS-X 98.4 mm
Average 99.1 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
91.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

There is no tapering in the toebox either.

Putting a caliper at the big toe mark, it returned 78.9 mm, slightly wider than average.

PUMA RS-X Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
RS-X 78.9 mm
Average 74.9 mm
Compared to 53 sneakers
Number of shoes
63.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
83.0 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue has no gussets on the sides but this never caused any shifting. We found it to be thick and wide enough to remain in place.

PUMA RS-X Tongue: gusset type
Test results
RS-X None

Comfort

Tongue padding

Actually, the tongue is pretty generously padded on this PUMA shoe. With our caliper showing 11.1 mm, it turns out to be almost twice as thick as the average.

PUMA RS-X Tongue padding
Test results
RS-X 11.1 mm
Average 9.2 mm
Compared to 54 sneakers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Heel tab

There are two finger loops on the PUMA RS-X: one on the tongue and one on the heel counter. Both are very well integrated into the shoe's overall design and don't feel out of place at all.

PUMA RS-X Heel tab

We found them pretty handy for slipping into the sneaker as well as adjusting the tongue on the go.

PUMA RS-X pull tab

Test results
RS-X Finger loop

Removable insole

The shoe's default insole is removable. But given its comfort and arch support, we don't even think there is a need for that!

PUMA RS-X Removable insole
Test results
RS-X Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

None of the RS-X's elements are reflective in the dark.

PUMA RS-X Reflective elements
Test results
RS-X No

Background

The first model to carry the PUMA RS cushioning technology was the RS 100, which was released in 1986.

Following in the footsteps of the RS100 was the RS-Computer Chip. It was the first shoe to have a built-in computer chip at the heel that could gather the wearer’s running distance over a period of time. It, too, calculated the caloric cost of running (basically, today’s Fitbit).

In early 2018, PUMA revived the RS cushioning technology with the launch of the reawakened RS-0, along with the modernized versions of the PUMA S-100 and PUMA RS-350.

To continue paying homage to the revolutionary technology, PUMA dropped the RS-X series in late 2018. It's a natural fit for PUMA’s Futro marketing campaign—a selection of future and retro sneakers.

PUMA RS-X silhouette