Sneaker Showdown: Nike Joyride vs. PUMA Jamming
Forget a sneaker showdown – this is the battle of the beads. Nike have unveiled their all-new Joyride cushioning technology via the Joyride Run Flyknit, and the sneakersphere is buzzing with intrigue.
Team Swoosh are labelling the innovation as one of their most groundbreaking to date, but is it?
Back in 2017, PUMA rolled out their own quirky cushioning creation, Jamming, which utilised similar bead-like ‘pebbles’ in the midsole. Sure, its release didn’t quite carry the same buzz as Nike’s colour-blessed campaign, but we’re not counting it out of this showdown just yet.
Will Nike be jumping for joy? Or will the Big Cat embrace their underdog status, and score the W? We took a deep dive to find out.
Comparisons between Joyride and Jamming pretty much started as soon as pics of Nike’s beaded creations began leaking. Naturally, some even accused Nike of biting PUMA’s tech – but can you blame ‘em? The energy beads sure look mighty similar (aside from the brands’ choice of colours).
The philosophy behind Jamming involves cushioning that fine-tunes itself with every step. PUMA achieves this by packing a sole unit with ‘raw NRGY beads’ which move freely with every step you take. The technology’s name comes from the fact that the beads ‘jam’ together as your foot plants, resulting in added comfort and cushioning.
On the flipside, Team Swoosh claims Joyride has been in development for the past 10 years. Like Jamming, it makes use of thousands of plastic beads which shape around your foot for personalised cushioning and support, before responsively bouncing back to propel you forward.
In typical Swoosh fashion, the brand has got on the front foot, directly addressing the differences between the two innovations with Sole Collector.
‘The main difference is how it’s constructed, which has led to a different sensation and a different benefit,’ says Rachel Bull, Nike’s Senior Product Line Manager for Joyride. ‘In the case of the PUMA Jamming shoe, you’re not actually sitting on top of the beads. You’re more on the side of the plastic or a cemented down sockliner, so you don’t get that sensation of sitting down into the beads like you do with Joyride.’
Bull also revealed head-to-head testing was done against Jamming, with results suggesting Joyride packed 38 per cent more impact absorption, and 17 per cent more energy return.
On top of this, Nike also gave us an exclusive insight into the development of Joyride. You can check out our full interview with William Moroski, senior product manager, here.
Ooft. Team Swoosh went hard this round.
Upon debut, PUMA’s Jamming tech was placed in the upper echelons of their product line, and the retail prices reflected that. Like the brand new Joyride Run Flyknit, the PUMA Jamming evoKNIT hit shelves at a hefty $180.
However, for the more hardwood-inclined, PUMA’s Clyde Court Disrupt presented a bang-for-your-buck option for those who want to ball on a budget. Few realise the model is loaded with NRGY in the sole, positioning it as one of best-value flagship models going around.
Unfortunately for PUMA, many of their other Jamming-packed creations have ended up being added to carts at discounted prices.
That said, thrifty sneakerheads are the real winners here.
The Big Cat have definitely been making some big moves in the last couple of years, but if we’re going to be critical – Jamming hasn’t necessarily been one of them (not yet, anyway).
When revealed, Jamming had factions of the sneakersphere curious about the potential of the technology. However, the tech seems to have taken a back seat, with PUMA choosing to focus on their ever-growing performance basketball roster and heritage models.
For Nike, the rollout for Joyride has been one of brand’s most memorable to date. The colour-blessed campaign and storytelling has been top-notch to this point – and they’ve still only released one silhouette to date.
Intrigue is high, and we’re waiting in anticipation to see the first high-profile Joyride collaboration.
It wasn’t the most closely contested sneaker showdown we’ve ever hosted, but it’s clear that Nike aren’t toying when it comes to Joy.
It’ll be interesting to see where the Big Cat takes Jamming in the future. Can the Big Cat bounce back? They’ve certainly shown they can.
In the meantime, we’ll sit back and enjoy the ride.