Puma is one of the oldest sports shoe brands. The first iteration of the company was founded in Germany in 1919, then called Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. They had a lot of early success, with a huge amount of Olympic medals being won by athletes wearing Dassler spikes in the 20s and 30s. Dassler then became Puma in 1948.
While Puma have continued to make track spikes and also been popular in other sports over the years – tennis, basketball, football – and for casual wear, you don’t see so many road runners opting for them. However, it looks like Puma are hoping to change that with new releases like the Deviate NITRO running shoe.
I’ve haven’t run in Puma running shoes for about before so I was really excited to give the Deviate NITROs a try. Puma have recently signed US elite runners Molly Seidel and Aisha Praught-Leer, who’ll be joining nine-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt as ambassadors for the brand. If Puma shoes are good enough for the elites to put their careers in the hands of, they’re definitely worth trying I reckon!
Puma Deviate NITRO Shoe Review
The Puma Deviate NITRO Shoe Features
Puma are marketing the Deviate NITRO shoes as being ‘built for those who love to clock up marathon miles’ and are using the tagline run faster, run further, run stronger. It certainly makes sense then that they’ve signed Molly Seidel, who finished second-place in the Olympic Marathon Trials and just ran a half marathon PB this weekend in Atlanta. From doing some instagram stalking, it seems like she trains in the Deviate NITRO but raced in the Deviate ELITE this past weekend. There’s obviously something in their technology…
INNOPLATE is Puma’s innovative carbon fibre plate. It’s designed to act as a lever for maximum energy transfer when you kick off from the toe. Presumably this is included to put the shoe on a level playing field with carbon composite offerings from other brands, like the Nike Zoom Alphafly Next%, HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X and Adidas Adizero Adios Pro. The benefit of this technology for marathon runners is that this improved efficiency for long distances helps to allow you to run faster for longer.
The midsole is made of Puma’s NITRO FOAM. They’ve put a lot of work into developing this technology, the aim being to balance a cushioned shoe with responsiveness in a lightweight package. A women’s size 6.5 weighs in at 216g – a fraction heavier than some of the shoes mentioned above, but lighter than lots of other popular marathon shoes on the market.
The Deviate Nitros have a PUMAGRIP outsole, designed to offer all-surface traction. While these clearly aren’t specifically a trail shoe, if it holds up this sole should mean you have some flexibility over the terrain you’re training on. Great for wet days on the roads too!
Fun fact: the Puma logo was originally created as a design feature, intended to stabilize the foot inside the shoe. Now, it’s on all their products but still holds true to its original purpose too. This is combined with reflective branding for high visibility. Really useful for night runs or on busy roads where you want to make sure you can be seen.
The Deviate Nitro’s are designed with a lace closure system aiming to offer a snug-fit. This heel lock lacing combined with the shoe’s gusseted tongue and breathable engineered mesh upper, should avoid any slippage. Less foot movement both improves efficiency for long runs and prevents rubbing and blistering.
Puma Deviate NITRO Shoe Benefits
Highly Cushioned, Bouncy Ride
I’m a fan of a cushioned shoe. And so these ticked a lot of boxes for me off the bat. The supercritical NITRO midsole is great. Providing a great balance between performance and comfort. It’s soft but stable underfoot, giving you a great push off but cushioned landing on each step.
The upper is breathable mesh with a tongue gusset extends all the way into the forefoot lining for maximum comfort. I quite like the bright orange and yellow colourways.
No Forefoot Rocker
My issue with the Hoka Carbon X was the serious forefront rocker which is fine for race day and speed workouts. But not what you want on everyday training runs. The carbon-fiber plate is sandwiched between the foam and is flatter than in other carbon plated models. This allows you to follow your more natural foot strike – more comfortable on easy/long runs.
The flexible plate absorbs energy and springs back into shape. Which helps drive you forward during toe-off, improving your energy return.
Is The Puma Deviate NITRO Shoe Worth It?
When I first put on these shoes the word that came to mind was bouncy. I felt like even on my easy run, I immediately had more bounce back from the road. And I picked up my pace without even meaning to. My leg turnover felt quicker and the shape of the shoe and NITRO foam improved my form too. I am really looking forward to trying the Nurvv run insoles to see what the data says about my form in these shoes!
I think they fit true to size although I found the shoes to be a little big at the back.
The heel counter is quite soft, and I found it hard to tighten the shoe enough at the back to stop my heel slipping a little. I would want to make sure that my socks were well cushioned at the back of the foot to protect the heel from rubbing. And that the shoe was tied with heel lock lacing. Whilst many of the carbon plated shoes are very narrow, I found my not-so-narrow feet were able to fit comfortably in the Nitro with enough space in the toe box. Although I did have to reset the laces completely to get them on the first time!
These fit more like a race shoe than my usual everyday running shoes, the Brooks Ghosts. They are designed for maximum cushion shoe with improved efficiency for long runs. And whilst my runs aren’t exactly long right now, I’m excited to test out this sales pitch from Puma. They aren’t designed as a super speedy race shoe. But rather, as a daily trainer to make your long runs, easy runs. And even a tempo sessions feel comfortable, easy and cushioned. And I am all about max cushioning!
Cost-wise, these new releases are £136/$160. Which is cheaper than a lot of the other carbon plated shoes on the market.
I’m so excited by this comeback to the running market from Puma, and can’t wait to log more miles in the Deviate NITRO (but I hope they improve the heel collar on the next version!)
I was kindly gifted the pair of Deviate Nitro, all opinions are my own.