Puma Velocity Nitro 2 Review: The Big Cat is Back
THOMAS: The velocity of an object is the rate of change of its position with respect to a frame of reference, and is a function of time. Velocity is equivalent to a specification of an object’s speed and direction of motion (e.g., 60 km/h to the north). Your velocity is how fast you can get from one place to another. — Wikipedia
The Puma Velocity is a daily trainer with Nitro foam and traditional EVA foam that will make running more enjoyable as you head in any direction. And while the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 isn’t a reimagining of the original, it’s a stellar refinement to one of our team’s favorite running shoes. So pick up your shovel cause we’re digging into the update.
ROBBE: First off, I’d like to apologize to all the women out there: somehow our sizing got off and a pair didn’t get to Meg in time, so I took over the women’s shoe review side, running in two different pairs of women’s Velocity Nitro 2. Last year saw the re-emergence of Puma as a legitimate running option and the Velocity Nitro was probably our favorite all-around shoe from the Puma lineup (though the Deviate Nitro Elite could certainly sing a tune). The nitrogen-infused midsole was simple but peppy and it worked out of the gate.
But we were a little nervous that Puma wouldn’t be able to replicate (or build upon) that same magic. Welp, good news– we were wrong. Let’s talk about why Puma should have a great 2022; that is if they can actually keep all the links together in their historically shaky supply chain.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): Last year, Puma came out firing on all cylinders with their new lineup of running shoes. Now we’re on to the second iteration, and all of us here at Believe In The Run are curious to see if Puma can live up to the expectations we set. First up to bat is the Velocity Nitro 2.
(Note: While I typically run in 2E sizing, Puma sent me the standard width Velocity Nitro 2. I can’t give an accurate review on the fit unless you’re reading this and also have wide foot problems, but I can review the rest.)
BRANDON: Puma has been coming out with some heavy hitters lately, both in the shoe game and performance running sphere. With last year’s introduction of an entirely new Puma running line and the signing of Olympic Bronze medalist Molly Seidel, they hit the ground running. While I may be spoiling things, I’m happy to say there was no sophomore slump for these guys.
With an all-new Puma Elite team, the second lineup of updated models, and the highly anticipated FAST-R, Puma just became a whole lot more dangerous in the run-sphere. And after running in the Velocity Nitro 2, all I have to say is: damn, I am impressed. For only $120, let me tell you why this daily trainer is worth erry-gah-dang penny.
THOMAS: I won’t beat around the bush. If you liked the original Velocity Nitro, the new version is even better. Specific attributes of the Velocity Nitro 2 are purely subjective and have to be experienced. For example, the upper fit and feel are softer and more “finished” than the original. Basically, the way it feels on foot is just better. I can’t scientifically prove it, but try it, and you’ll see what I mean.
The construction of the upper is similar to the original with the same heel counter and collar, attached tongue bootie liner, and last. (For those who aren’t familiar with the “last,” it’s the foot shape mold that shoes are built around. It determines the shoe’s shape, from how narrow the heel is to how much room is in the toebox.) The Velocity Nitro 2 upper fits the foot well, and with the lacing system, you can easily adjust the lockdown for a great fit. The original Velocity, lacking a better word, felt crunchy. The new upper feels more premium, like the difference between leather and vinyl.
That said, the upper alone wouldn’t secure a big thumbs up for this update. The midsole is where the update truly outpaces the original. Puma’s Nitro foam is visually smoother. It no longer has the “pool noodle” texture but instead appears smooth, like a pearl. That smoothness translates into the ride as well. The Nitro feels softer on impact this time around while retaining the energy return you expect. The EVA foam closer to the ground stabilizes the Nitro foam and keeps the shoe feeling snappy. This time there is even more EVA. Without the EVA foam, the shoe would feel sloppy and too soft.
You might know our team loves the Pumagrip rubber on the outsole. This version gets a more aggressive lug pattern that extends the shoe’s versatility. Strictly a road shoe before, this is now ready to take on loose gravel and even buffed-out trails with the same confidence you find on the streets.
My size 10.5 weighs 10.2 oz./288 grams.
ROBBE: I mean, Thomas pretty much nailed my thoughts exactly. While I enjoyed the original Velocity Nitro and thought it was a good launch point for Puma’s reentry into running, I did think it could be improved upon. Namely, the upper, and while the midsole was quite nice, I could use a touch more softness to it. Also, could we please get some more colorways other than “Kenny Rogers’ Roasters red.” My rods and cones were wrecked after 2021.
So yes, for starters, the colorways are downright beautiful this year, especially if they can roll them out as spring is doing its sprung thing. Like I said, I had a couple women’s colorways, wine for one and oatmeal/cream for the other. The oatmeal version is a special edition partnership with First Mile, an organization that works with waste collection networks in low-income communities to provide sustainable goods made from plastic waste. I gotta say, that colorway is my favorite, and our favorite as a team.
Moving on, I mirror Thomas’s thoughts in regards to the upper. It’s much more refined than last year’s version and the saddled tongue holds the foot in place nicely while the mesh is form-fitting without being too tight. It’s just a really well-done upper. No heel slippage and you feel locked in through all the miles.
I took this on several runs between 6-9 miles and enjoyed all of them. It’s certainly a bit softer than last year’s version and provides an enjoyable ride throughout the stride. You can pick it up if you want to, and the always-excellent PumaGrip outsole provides exceptional traction in a variety of conditions and terrains. Cornering is a dream in the shoe, both for the grip and for the lockdown in the shoe.
I know a lot of people like taking old road shoes onto the trail, and even a lot of friends I run with go with the Pegasus on trails. This shoe is very comparable to the Peg in that the outsole pattern is nearly identical and it offers those triangular nubs for solid grip on dirt. I wouldn’t go with these in mud as the lugs aren’t exceptionally long and are quite close together (as you would expect from a trail shoe), but they should fare quite well on anything dry.
Weightwise, the shoe comes in under 10 oz. for a standard size 9, which is really all you can want from a reliable daily trainer with a good rubber outsole these days. It’s under the weight of comparable shoes like the Nike Pegasus 38 and ASICS GEL-Nimbus 24.
I feel like daily trainers are really hitting the mark to start off 2022, and I foresee myself throwing these into the rotation with shoes like the GEL-Nimbus 24 and GEL-Nimbus Lite 3.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): In the first Velocity Nitro, Puma wrapped its Nitro around the EVA foam. This time, they switched it up by adding a little more Nitro and stacking it on top of the EVA in the Velocity 2. This allows it to become a bit smoother and provide more comfort.
I found the shoe felt a touch softer underfoot and enjoyed the ride when using it for easy recovery runs and some faster pickups. The Nitro had some pop to it when pushing the pace, and I didn’t feel like I was working against the shoe.
We love PUMAGRIP more than we love TVCC on Cheer, which is a whole lot (I think we can all agree that we were rooting for TVCC over Navarro. Also, did you know Navarro and TVCC are the only two schools in their division?! WTF!). On the Puma Velocity Nitro 2, the outsole has been tweaked to give it some more texture to excel in more conditions. The outsole continues to be exceptional.
BRANDON: A shoe designer once told me the best compliment you can give is that you don’t even notice the shoe under your foot. Well, that’s precisely the case with the Puma Velocity Nitro 2. Not only does the shoe roll well under the foot, but it’s so well balanced and cushioned that it practically disappears into my stride. The secret lies in two areas for me, the supercritical Nitro foam and PumaGrip, which I believe both to be best in class. The Nitro foam is soft, well-cushioned, and sits above a slightly firmer and more stable EVA foam. The feeling underfoot is comparable to the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 24.
PumaGrip was already one of, if not the best gripping outsoles in the market, and it just got even better. Puma has improved on its outsole by creating deeper lugs and providing more rubber underfoot to allow for running on buffed out and gravely trails. Not only does it ride well, but it’s also super durable and should be able to get you around 350 to 400 miles. For $120, that’s a pretty damn good deal. The tongue and lacing system are both incredibly thin and utilize a gusseted system to wrap the midfoot in place. The standard mesh upper is breathable, warm, and provides a few reflective overlays for more visibility over the long run.Shop Puma Running – Men Shop Puma Running – Women
THOMAS: I only have two knocks on the Velocity 2. First, the shoe runs long. Try a half size down. Second, While we love Pumagrip, the softer rubber on the heel is shaved off after just 20 miles in a spot where I must be dragging my heel. While I don’t have this severity of wear on other shoes we’ve tested, I’ve been dealing with an injury in my right foot. The wear appeared on the right side, which may have resulted from a change in my mechanics. Regardless, it’s pretty aggressive grinding for 20 miles of running.
ROBBE: As Thomas said, the shoe does run too long, which was an issue we had last year. I went a half-size down and it was still a bit long. Definitely be aware of that. This isn’t a bad thing, but just something to be aware of– I feel like the shoe could run real warm in the summertime, because of its almost sock-like saddle combined with the mesh upper. A premium look and feel for sure, but on the run could leave you a bit wet.
I’m going to throw this in “the bad,” because I don’t think Puma has resolved it yet, though I hope they do. I understand everyone is dealing with production and supply chain issues, but holy hell, sometimes it feels like Puma releases shoes on a “blink and you’ll miss it” schedule. By far, Puma is the worst in the department of all running brands out there. Molly winning bronze in the Deviate Nitro Elite and no pairs available at the time or even now, 8 months later, is wild.
Even for this shoe, it was supposed to drop February 1, but on that date, we were told it had been pushed to March 15. Like I said, I understand everyone is dealing with it, but it seems exceptionally hard to get a pair of Puma.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): It’s tough for me to come up with much for this section. I was sent a standard width and wear wide. I found my pair to feel uncomfortably tight in the forefoot and midfoot after five or so miles. If anything, I’m bitter that it isn’t available in wide because it’s such a solid shoe.
BRANDON: There honestly isn’t too much to say about this one. It’s your standard run-of-the-mill daily trainer, so it doesn’t exactly fare well in other categories outside of just easy running. For instance, I probably won’t work out or race in this shoe, but it wasn’t designed for faster paces anyway. Seriously, I’m looking at the shoe right now while writing this and struggling to find a true weakness.Shop Puma Running – Men Shop Puma Running – Women
THOMAS: Running in the Velocity 2 is a premium experience in a budget-friendly package of $120! My miles in the shoe were smooth and well-cushioned. As a runner who lands mid to forefoot, the cushioning under the toes is ample and feels terrific. Additionally, the level of cushioning that shoes are getting with a stack of 33.5 over 23.5 (10 mm drop) is really incredible for a relatively light-to-midweight daily trainer. Gone are the days when running shoes had to employ higher stacks for this much pillowy comfort.
New shoes like the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24, Nike Pegasus 38, and the Hoka Rincon 3 fit the same category as the Velocity Nitro 2. All the shoes listed are versatile daily trainers with exceptional cushioning at reasonable pricing.
ROBBE: At $120, it’s going to be hard to beat the look and feel of this shoe. It’s the right price for a product that you’ll get a bunch of solid miles out of. Really happy to see Puma improving on its game and even more excited to see what’s coming in the future.
JARRETT (WIDE FOOT): Unfortunately, I can’t give the #WideFootFam approval on this standard width shoe as it felt pretty tight in the forefoot and midfoot after 5+ miles. That being said, I think this is a killer shoe for the standard width chosen ones. We don’t always need substantial game-changing updates between shoes. I’ll take smaller positive upgrades any day of the week. Puma tweaked the Velocity 2 by stacking the NITRO foam and modifying the outsole. It really is a do-it-all daily trainer, and at $120, it’s a top choice.
BRANDON: Puma knocked this one out of the park. With a well-cushioned supercritical Nitro Foam, PumaGrip, and a well-fitting upper, the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 is a well-balanced daily trainer. I recommend this shoe for anyone looking for an affordable daily trainer that will be highly reliable on foot. I love the innovation, beautiful-looking designs, and colorways coming out of Puma’s lab. I’m excited to see what other shoes are on the docket for the year.
You can pick up the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 for $120 on March 15, 2022, by using the shop link below.Shop Puma Running – Men Shop Puma Running – Women
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Which do you prefer the Asics Novablast 2, Skechers Maxroad 5 and the Velocity. Which would be better as a cushioned daily trainer? Which would be most versatile? Thanks 🙂
I’m not with Believe in the Run, but you really can’t compare the Velocity Nitro 2 with the Novablast or the Skechers. The Velocity Nitro 2 is the Nike Pegasus’ evil twin brother and heavier. It offers no rebound and feels flat and heavy on the legs. No way can you call it a cushioned runner. The Novablast is so much more of a cushioned daily trainer. Also, seems to me that Believe in the Run has soft spot for Puma, it really doesn’t run that long and don’t half size down. My best bet if you are training over 10 is the Novablast. My Marathon training rotation is Next% for longs, New Balance Rebel 2s for tempo and Saucony Endorphin Speed for fast. 2:25 Marathon, 1:03 half, 32 10k….My two cents, stay away from the Velocity.