Puma Deviate Nitro Elite Racer Shoes Review
by iRUN Singapore on April 29, 2022
Weight: 195grams / 6.87oz (Men’s US 9.5)
Price: $299 SGD
Stack Height: 36/28mm (8mm drop)
Pros & Cons
- Excellent Midsole Foam
- Good Outsole Grip
- Breathable Upper
- Lockdown needs work
- Plate feels a little flat
The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite had gained a lot of hype after US Puma athlete Molly Seidel won the bronze medal during the 2021 Olympic marathon. This performance made her the third American woman to win a medal at the Olympics.
This generated a significant amount of buzz around Puma’s carbon plated shoe. Featuring a nitrogen-infused PEBA midsole, a carbon plate, and a see-through upper, the Deviate Nitro Elite has performed excellently in my tests and stands as one of the best-plated shoes of today.
Upper & Fit
The Deviate Nitro Elite uses a translucent mono-mesh upper. I noticed that many brands are veering towards this trend, with Puma being one of the first brands to do so. With this upper comes quite a good amount of breathability. I sized up half a size after my first experience in a true to size pair resulted in my feet spilling over the sides. I recommend going down to the store to try it on. Personally, half a size up worked much better for me.
Lockdown felt exactly the same, which was still not that great. It seems like the lockdown is quite poor on shoes that have no heel counter, at least for me. It was sufficient for almost all paces except the 1500m race pace. The tongue tends to bunch up when you first put the shoe on, and it needs some adjusting to get it flat. But once it's flattened, it works in tandem with the upper. The heel counter is on the unstructured side, a common design in plated racing shoes to reduce overall weight.
Puma utilizes Nitro Elite foam, which is a nitrogen-infused PEBA foam. Based on its durometer in the low 20s (Shore A), it has probably the softest midsole that I have measured in any plated shoe. Yes, it's softer than the Nike Vaporfly. An interesting point to note: durometer scores do not necessarily reflect on the on-foot ride softness of the shoe. The New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2 still feels softer despite having a slightly higher durometer than the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite.
This is one of my favourite foams so far in terms of comfort. It isn’t the bounciest, but what it has is a soft comfortable ride.
The ‘innoplate’ carbon plate used here is not the aggressive spoon-shaped design in other plated shoes. This means that the rocker is not as prominent, which results in a smoother but less dynamic ride compared to other plated shoes. It does not feel as fast as these other plated shoes but works better in my opinion as a training shoe.
Coupled with the foam, the ride is relatively dynamic and versatile. You don’t get the awkward feeling like other plated shoes, where they struggle at slower paces.
Outsole & Durability
Puma uses a ‘PumaGrip LT’ outsole material. This feels lighter, thinner and less dense than Puma’s ‘PumaGrip’. The grip is similar to the Deviate Nitro, but this LT in the elite provides slightly less grip. Nevertheless, I find this grip sufficient for most surface and weather conditions.
That said, The PumaGrip LT is more durable than the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 and Adidas Adios Pro 2. This is where more companies should learn from Puma. Many carbon-plated racers in the market have horrendous durability i.e., Adidas Adios Pro 2.
Areas of Improvement
Wider toe box
A slightly more curved plate
The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite is a carbon plated racer that works best for half marathons and below. It does not have the most aggressive ride, which makes it excellent for speed training.
Reviewed By Xtride Running
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