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Road • April 11, 2023

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 Review: Bronze Medal Worthy

puma deviate nitro elite 2 cover 2

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What You Need To Know

Weight

7.5 oz. (212 g) for a US M9,

6.5 oz. (170 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

36 mm in heel, 30 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)

Best For

Uptempo workouts

Key Features

Revamped engineered mesh upper, single, spoon-shaped carbon plate, updated PumaGrip outsole

On The Run

Super comfortable upperPumaGrip rubber remains a star

Not as much pop or response as the top-tier options
Price

$200

The Intro

MEAGHAN: The Deviate Nitro Elite was the original marathon racer for Puma athletes, at least until the Puma Fast-R came along. Puma’s Fast R ascended to the top tier of racing shoes, taking on the likes of the Nike Vaporfly and Adidas Adios Pro 3, leaving the Deviate Nitro Elite in a tricky spot. Interestingly enough, the elite Puma athletes still seem to be choosing the Deviate Elite on race day, so we were excited to see what version two was all about.

At a glance, the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 looks similar to the first iteration. However, on closer look, the upper, midsole, and outsole have all been tweaked. The carbon fiber plate has a new design, Puma swapped to a new engineered mesh on the upper, there’s extra padding along the collar, and the tongue is newly gusseted.

While the midsole stack remains the exact same at 36 mm / 28 mm, Puma has altered the Nitro midsole formula. However, it feels pretty much the same. Instead, the major difference comes in the form of an updated carbon fiber plate, which is now a single spoon-style plate with vertical spines in the forefoot. The previous plate was split in the forefoot, and Puma found that its athletes were sometimes supinating due to the unstable nature of the split.

THOMAS: Puma came out swinging the last couple of years. They built a solid lineup of shoes across every category. However, the difference between solid and excellent separates the haves from the have-nots. Puma’s lower stack and less aggressive plate left the original Deviate Nitro Elite feeling flat compared to the top tier of marathon racers. That said, it was an incredibly light shoe, tipping in at just 7.15 oz. (202 g). Honestly, it was a really, really good tempo shoe, just not one that I’d run a marathon in.

Sure, I hear you screaming, “Well, look at Molly Seidel, she ran in the Deviate Nitro Elite and took bronze in Tokyo.” I don’t care. Molly can run her ass off, and she’s a smaller human than me. I want that stack. Let’s see what the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 can deliver.

puma deviate nitro elite 2 mesh

The Good

MEAGHAN: The Deviate Elite 2 feels great on step-in. It’s by far one of the most comfortable uppers in the super shoe world. Puma’s additional padding around the collar and heel is a welcomed addition, and the gusseted tongue is always one of our favorite features. The shoes felt true to size, and the forefoot was accommodating of my wider foot.

I’m into some of Puma’s other updates, too. For example, the newly designed outsole comes with tons of rubber and traction. Not only does the Pumagrip really latch onto the road, but all that rubber is going to make this shoe last way longer than most other race day shoes.

THOMAS: I like to think of the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 as a modification rather than an overhaul. The upper is more refined, and it has a more structured heel counter. Not only that, but the Puma team is getting good at building out its structure with the Pumatape. Think of the tape as an elegant and consistent underlay.

The most noticeable update is in the carbon-infused plate, aka the PWRPLATE. The shape feels more aggressive this year, and the plate itself is more noticeable. This gives the racer more responsiveness through the stride while adding character to the ride.

My size 10.5 fit true to size and weighs 8.35 oz./237 g.

Shop Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 - Men Shop Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 - Women

The Bad

MEAGHAN: It’s hard for me to put the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 in the same category as the Nike Vaporfly Next% 3, Alphafly Next% (the original), Hoka Rocket X2, or the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3. It just doesn’t provide the same amount of bounce or propulsion as the other top-tier race day shoes. That said, it’s also $50 to $75 cheaper than those shoes.

THOMAS: The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 gained more than an ounce over the original. Weight gain on race shoes will always end up in the bad column unless there’s something in the technology added that makes the shoe return more energy. Think Alphafly (heavier) vs Vaporfly (lighter). In this case, the shoe gains weight with no obvious advantage — at least none that I can detect.

While the foam is very nice and feels fantastic underfoot, it isn’t on the same level as the Peba-based midsoles.

Shop Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 - Men Shop Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 - Women
puma deviate nitro elite 2 full outsole

Possibly the best outsole in race day shoes

The Conclusion

MEAGHAN: The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a great uptempo shoe, but it lacks the race day vibe I’m looking for. It’s comfortable and has some nice pop, but it doesn’t have the cushion and propulsion that I expect in a super shoe. The price point reflects that to a degree, but $200 is a lot to dish for a tempo shoe.

THOMAS: I agree with Meg’s conclusion. The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a really nice shoe; it just isn’t at the grown-up’s table with the other top contenders. If you want to see our favorite race day picks, head back to the home page for our current heat index rankings.

You can pick up the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 for $200 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) at the buttons below.

Shop The Shoe

 

Shop Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 Men
Shop Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 Women

Want to learn more about how our review process works? Check out this guide.

puma deviate nitro elite 2 toe
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Authors

meaghan nyc marathon
Meaghan Murray
Boss Lady
  • Strava
  • Instagram

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
Shoe Size

7.5

Fav. Distance

26.2

PRs
  • 2:47

    Marathon
  • 1:21

    Half-Marathon
  • 18:51

    5K
Thomas Neuberger
Founder
  • Strava
  • Instagram

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
Shoe Size

10.5

Fav. Distance

26.2

PRs
  • 10:28

    50 Mile
  • 5:43

    50K
  • 3:20

    26.2
  • 1:36

    Half Marathon
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