Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Review: The Big Cat’s Pajamas
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Weighs 9.1 oz. (258 g.) for a US M9 / US W10.5
Finally, a shoe that unites the whole team
This shoe is proof that Puma is listening to feedback
Is it possible to make this max-cushion trainer that much better?
Available now for $160
This review is sponsored by Bombas socks, the sock we’ve been using for this fall’s training cycle. You buy one, they give one to someone in need. Use code BITR20 to save 20% off your first order!
THOMAS: Puma went hard last year, dropping an entire lineup of trainers. We were pretty well impressed across the board. There was room for improvement, but the Deviate Nitro was a hit for almost everyone. However, for us, the heel counter kept it in the good but not great category. If you didn’t deal with heel lift, maybe you wound up with a blister from the lack of padding. Puma’s Nitro foam with a carbon-infused plate offered a nice cushioned ride, but it wasn’t as responsive as we hoped for. But, as this was the first good Puma running shoe in years, we were just excited to see them back in the game.
Even then, we weren’t sure how committed Puma was to the running segment. So we held our breath waiting for the next round. Supply chain issues rocked the joint in 2021 and 2022, and Puma was hit pretty hard. So, as a result, we’ve only seen four releases for the year: Fast-R, Velocity Nitro 2, the female-specific XX Nitro WMS, and the Puma Deviate Nitro 2. We’re happy to report that both updated shoes improved over the originals.
BRANDON: I’m not even gonna wait for the end. Puma knocked this one out of the park. Seriously. This might be one of my favorite daily trainers this year. I never wore the previous model of the Puma Deviate Nitro, but the second version comes with all of the goods. Puma has added a layer of Nitro Elite foam, which has this shoe on a new level of awesome. Let’s dive in so I can tell you what’s good.
MEAGHAN: The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 showed up with a full layer of Nitro Elite Foam, a reworked Pwrplate, and extra padding around the collar and heel. I guess you could say they made some pretty great improvements. Let’s dive into the details.
THOMAS: Kudos to Puma for listening to the feedback from runners. They ditched the awkward and ineffective heel counter and replaced it with a more traditional padded collar. All that matters is it works well. There’s no more heel lift or irritation. The upper is quite elegant with thinner open mesh over the toes and tighter weave where the shoe needs structure. A strip of PWRTAPE on the medial side near the arch keeps things light but still solid. The lightly padded tongue disappears and wraps the saddle with a thin gusset. As you can guess, I had zero issues with the upper. The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 fits true to size, breathes, and has no hot spots. Even the laces offer nothing to complain about.
The Nitro foams have been well received. I didn’t have an issue with the regular Nitro in the previous model. But Puma made the foams in the Deviate Nitro 2 even better. They added a full-length layer of Nitro Elite, which is softer and returns more energy than the standard Nitro. On its own, the Nitro Elite might feel too soft, but Puma added another layer of Nitro (regular) in the heel. There’s a carbon composite Pwrplate sandwiched between the two, which does two things. First, it helps propel the energy from toe-off forward. Additionally, the plate adds stability to the platform.
As always, the base of the Deviate Nitro 2 is a Pumagrip outsole. Their rubber is one of our favorites in the industry, and they told us that this formula is even better. I don’t know the difference, so I’ll take their word for it. It still seems to kick ass.
BRANDON: I had pretty low expectations going into this review. Puma shoes have always been good, but not great. This one really lands that “great” factor for me. The Deviate’s addition of Nitro Elite foam gives it the cushioning and springy feeling I love in a running shoe. The carbon-infused plate provides enough stability and pop off the toe to enable a smooth but fast ride when I need to pick up the pace.
This daily trainer is light, versatile, smooth enough for long run days, and fast enough for tempo days. I thought the upper was comfortable, with a strong lockdown in the midfoot with a gusseted and thin tongue.
Moving to the bottom of the shoe, Puma Grip is one of the best in the biz. The grip provides enough durability for the shoe to last over 400 miles and still provide tacky traction even on the slickest terrains. I was impressed with how well I could corner in the shoe.
MEAGHAN: The guys covered most of the details, so I’ll keep this short. The step-in feel is great, the shoe is true to size, and it accommodates my wide feet well. The additional padding around the heel and collar is a welcomed update, and I had no issues with heel slippage or hot spots.
The Nitro Elite foam elevates this iteration and, paired with the Pwrplate, provides a fun pop. It took me a couple of runs to really love this shoe, but now I find myself lacing them up on back-to-back days. As if you don’t already know, the Puma Grip outsole remains a favorite. It’s the grippiest stuff out there.
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THOMAS: Puma fixed all of my complaints about the original. I wish I had something to say to improve the next one, but this shoe is a damn fine daily trainer. On the first run, the toebox seemed like it might be a little tight, but it either stretched out or loosening the laces did the trick.
BRANDON: It’s hard to talk about the negatives of this shoe. Honestly, I have to dig and search for negatives. For $160, it’s not cheap, I guess? But it’s by no means that expensive, either. I believe that Puma missed an opportunity to price the shoe at $130 or $140, which would have made it a tough shoe to pass up.
MEAGHAN: Much like the guys, I couldn’t find much to complain about here. That said, Puma is calling this their max cushioned trainer, so I’d be open to seeing more foam underfoot.Shop Puma Deviate Nitro 2 - MenShop Puma Deviate Nitro 2 - Women
THOMAS: Puma knocked it out of the park with this shoe. It’s a contender for daily trainer of the year. It ticks all the boxes, has a well-constructed breathable upper that fits true to size, a cushioning platform that will be enjoyable for any distance with a plate that adds some kick, and an outsole that grips and rips. The shoe even looks beautiful. There isn’t anything to dislike.
The price comes a little on the high side for daily trainers but on the lower side for plated trainers at $160. The shoe that we feel it competes well against is the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3.
BRANDON: When it comes to versatility and reliability, the Puma Deviate Nitro 2 will be the answer to 90% of your runs. The shoe looks beautiful, and the addition of Nitro Elite foam makes for an excellent ride and smooth turnover underfoot. If you love Puma shoes, then you will definitely enjoy this one.
MEAGHAN: It’s always a good sign when the whole team agrees on a shoe. The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is a constant in our shoe rotation right now. That’s all you really need to know.
You can pick up the Puma Deviate Nitro 2 for $160 by using the shop link below.
Shop Puma Deviate Nitro 2 - MenShop Puma Deviate Nitro 2 - Women
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As the founder of Believe in the Run, Thomas’s goal is to help runners pick the shoes and gear that will make their running experience the best that it can be.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Kinvara 2, Hoka Clifton 1, Nike Alphafly Next%More from Thomas
In addition to his photo and video skills, Brandon is also a producer for The Drop podcast and founder of the Believe Run Club in Baltimore. He is a tried and true product of the running system, competing in cross country and track and field at the Division 1 collegiate level.
All-time favorite shoes: NIKE Alphafly NEXT%, ASICS Novablast 3, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2.More from Brandon
Meaghan signed up for her first marathon three weeks before the race, because it was $10 more than the half she planned to run. She learned everything in running the hard way. Now a USATF & UESCA certified run coach, she loves encouraging friends to go for big goals as she continues to chase faster times. She enjoys a hot cup of coffee, a cold martini, and making bagels for friends and family.
All-time favorite shoes: Nike Alphafly Next%, New Balance SC Trainer, Asics Superblast.More from Meaghan
Looks like an awesome shoe. Im ready to swap out my Adidad Takumi Sens and I think this is a great replacement. Do you happen to know when the other colorways are coming out? The only one on the puma site is the “Lime squeeze” (they’ll NEVER see you coming).
I clearly meant Adidas…