Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctors of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance, bring you cutting edge articles, reviews, and research reports.

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

PUMA Velocity Nitro Review
Written by Nathan Brown

In the last few years we have seen a number of companies, big and small, jump into run specialty and performance running shoes (Reebok, Diadora, Allbirds, TNF, Under Armour, Brand Black, etc). Some have certainly been successful in their first crack at it -- looking at you, Reebok -- and others haven't quite nailed it down as well as others. Most recent on the scene is PUMA, who is debuting their NITRO line that has been in the works since around 2016. This line of shoes was developed through collaboration with multiple researchers, teams of developers, and universities. Today we are diving into the daily trainer of the line and what will likely be the "go-to" for most people wanting to try out PUMA, the Velocity Nitro.  


Specifications (per PUMA)
Weight:  9.1oz/229.6grams (men's size 9); 7.4oz/209.7grams (women's size 7)
Stack Height: 33.5mm (heel)/23.5 (forefoot) **including sock liner**
Drop: 10mm (with sock liner), 8mm (without sock liner)
Classification: Daily Trainer


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The PUMA Velocity Nitro is a versatile, neutral daily trainer that features a super-critical nitrogen infused midsole ("NITRO"), a very grippy and effective outsole ("PUMAGRIP"), and a refined and comfortable upper. This shoe also incorporates tactful stability elements to provide smooth and natural transitions. The construction is very thoughtful throughout (down to the laces) and performs well at a variety of paces and distances. Additionally, PUMA has put extra effort into creating unique fit designs (lasts) for their men and women's product. 



FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

The PUMA Velocity has a very comfortable fit and step in feel, and the entire upper construction is almost perfect. The upper is an engineered mesh that has a few layers to it. The outer layer is a structured and breathable material that gives the upper structure and security. Underneath as an extension of the gusseted tongue there is a soft and slightly cushioned mesh that contacts the foot throughout the toe box. The combination gives a very "foot friendly" contact surface and a secure upper that has the ability to stretch in certain directions to help with individual fit. Finally, there are flat laces with a minor amount of stretch that allow to lock in without causing any irritation to the top of the foot. This is also thanks to the thin, yet padded, tongue.

Length wise, the shoe fit true to size in my men's size 9 with about a thumb's width beyond my great toe. The heel is of moderate width and is lined with a moderately cushioned silk-like material which has strategic padding to help secure the heel down. There is also a rigid heel counter and the padding does a nice job protecting the achilles and calcaneus. The midfoot is entirely reinforced by a suede-like strap that sits between the gusseted tongue and most outer mesh. This strap, which integrates with the laces system, locks down the foot extremely well. Finally the toe box has ample room with a bit of "give" from the upper and no extreme taper on either side. This isn't quite an "anatomical toe box", but certainly shapes well to my foot with even distribution of space. Again, one of the best-fitting uppers I've worn this year. 

The one small issue that I had was that the "collar" of the shoe felt like it rode a little high on my ankle. I could feel the lateral edge of the heel collar pushing on my ankle as well as the front side of the tongue. This would dissipate when running, but it was a bit noticeable when standing and walking. Not a deal breaker by any means, but the only issue I did have.

Final thoughts: this upper is really comfortable, fits well, and performs great. It has the ability to be locked down for harder efforts and also has ample room and the comfort for daily and recovery runs. Never underestimate the value of a good upper!


PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

The fit wasn't the only part of this shoe to hit the mark. The Velocity delivers a smooth, cushioned ride with a bit of bounce and responsiveness. Unlike many, but not all, shoes coming on the market these days, the midsole shaping is rather conservative. What I mean by that is that there is a heel bevel, but it isn't integrated through a large posterior flare. Also there is technically a small toe spring, but in comparison to many other models it is rather flat through the forefoot and functions off of a somewhat flexible platform with a bouncy foam underneath.

Ultimately this results in a very natural feel with added excitement from a really wonderful foam. The most unique part of the construction is in the heel, which is where we will start. From top to bottom in the heel you have a thin layer of Nitro foam (supercritical nitrogen infused foam -- likely an EVA but not confirmed), a plastic "rim" (the silver element), and a firmer wedge that sits underneath that tapers to the midfoot. The construction of the wedge is "C" shaped, which means that most of the full weight acceptance will land on the soft Nitro foam. This wedge, combined with the rim, adds a unique stability element we will go into later. In addition to a soft landing, the bevel is effective for a smooth landing. Moving forward, you transition onto a full thickness Nitro midsole all the way through toe off. There were no issues with transition through the midfoot, and toe off was nice and flexibly, while still giving responsiveness from the NITRO foam and how it interacts with the outsole.

That brings us to the PUMAGRIP outsole. There is fantastic performance from this outsole on a number of levels. First, it's super grippy. When I first put the shoe on in our home, it squeaked on our hardwood floors like basketball shoes on a court...and it still does after all the testing. This translated to outside, where there was fantastic grip on wed and dry ground -- worry free grip. Now the outsole construction also provided some unique stability elements as well that I'll go into later, primarily through the midfoot, but it also provided structure to the forefoot that gave a bit of rigidity required for snappier toe off when the pace picked up. This was accomplished by having a flex groove between the mid and forefoot but then a full contact network moving toward the toes so that it wouldn't flex too much. 

Like I said, this shoe seems really well thought out. In terms of speed, I really preferred this for daily miles and recovery runs. I felt that the name "Velocity" was a bit of a misnomer. Yes, it did okay dropping into a small tempo run, but I wouldn't call this a fast shoe. Fast enough? Yes. Velocity? No. Although....technically any speed is a "velocity"....so they aren't wrong.

Thoughts After 100 Miles
By Bach Pham
Total Runs: 17

Minor lateral heel wear

If you were to look up what a running shoe is, there's a possibility you'd see the Puma Velocity Nitro there. This is one of those shoes that I knew I could reliably pick up and do just about anything with. From long runs to doubles to daily miles, this has been a set-it-and-forget-it kind of shoe that just gets the job done. The cushion has remained consistent from day one: light, but effective cushioning that gets the job done. This is easily a do-it-all shoe for anyone who wants one really reliable shoe in their arsenal that can get you your daily miles and double as a race day shoe. It's not going to electrify the course like a carbon plated racer, but if your race goal is point A to point B, this is fantastic option for the weight, the price, and durability. The other thing I really enjoyed about the Velocity was being able to turn down the pace, which has become harder with more and more fast, fun shoes today. The Velocity handles both faster workouts and easy runs with no issue, making doubles and back-to-backs a cinch.

After 100 miles, the only wear I've really seen has been on the lateral rear sides of the outsole where I often get wear in my running shoes. My runs have been entirely on road with minor grass and dirt. Living in a hilly area, the lateral wear is very common for me as I push off on uneven surfaces. The PumaGrip outsole has otherwise held up remarkably well, with all the outsole in the world still in the forefoot. I expect it to meet 300 miles with no issues, and likely more the way the way the shoe feels unscathed in general after 100 miles. The upper has both solid lockdown over the midfoot while providing just enough comfort around the toebox for my standard width feet and has remained consistent from first to last run. The fit is very standard all-around. Overall this is a shoe I'd highly recommend to anyone looking for one running shoe to take care of all their daily runs, or partner with a speed or race day shoe. 


STABILITY

The PUMA Velocity Nitro is a neutral shoe, but quite stable for a number of reasons. Classic stability elements include a full contact outsole, a secure upper, and some medial and lateral sole flares through the forefoot. There are two other constructions of this shoe that really seem to help guide the foot forward. First is the heel wedge. Given that is seems to be more "C" shaped, it almost acts like a "heel counter" and bucket for the heel at the bottom of the sole. This may allow the heel to be guided forward through the center of the shoe for those who land/tend to move to the out or inside as you accept weight. The second is the lack of outsole rubber through the middle aspect of the shoe that spans from the middle of the heel to the forefoot. This seems to act like a wide "guideline". Given that it about an inch or more wide, it gives the foot an opportunity to travel along that softer path of least resistance, guiding it forward. These may not only help in stability of this shoe, but also part of why the ride feels so smooth and more effortless. For those who typically need a decent amount of stability, this won't hit the mark. But for those with mild needs, this shoe may deliver for you.



THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

As referenced above, there are a lot of shoes coming out with pretty pronounced rocker soles (HOKA, ASICS GLIDERIDE, Saucony Endorphin Shift and Axon, etc). Part of a rocker sole includes what is known as toe spring, which is the upward curve of the midsole at the forefoot. There are two ways to incorporate toe spring into a shoe. One is to build it into the foot platform (think Skechers Speed Elite), and the other is to cut the midsole foam to create a curve upward while the foot platform itself stays relatively flat (ASICS Glideride is a good example here).

Each method is going to do something different to the runner and the running experience. The former is going to place the toe joints (MTP joints) into a bit of extension. For people with limited mobility in the toes, particularly the big toe, this could cause a problem given the increased demand for continual extension on the big toe. Conversely the latter actually may put an overall decreased demand on the MTP joints as the foot remains on a flat surface and the rolling forward happens through the shape of the midsole alone. There are potential benefits and drawback of each method, including potentially decreasing demand on the calf (potential benefit) and increasing the feeling of propulsion and possibly efficiency (potential benefit). However, as referenced, if the demand on the big toe for extension is too high for the runner, that could be a drawback. Additionally, if the load is shifted off of the calf and up the chain, a runner would also need to adapt to those forces (potential drawback).

This is why there is a still a place for shoes with a lower amount of toe spring. Yes, it can help with the "rolling" effect. But if the right balance is struck between flexibility, bounce, and rigidity, you can get a very natural and fun toe off such as you find in the PUMA Velocity.



RECOMMENDATIONS

My biggest recommendation is regarding the collar of the shoe. I think it could possibly be taken down just a bit without losing its security. A part of fixing the collar would be adjusting the tongue a bit as well to be just slightly softer/shorter at the top. Last recommendation would be to consider a name change....but that's outside of my scope of practice to start talking marketing. 



WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The PUMA Velocity Nitro is for someone looking for a smooth, refined, and consistent daily trainer that feels like it is constructed with premium materials. This would be an option if you want to get the fun, bounce, and cushion from the supercritical Nitro foam with the somewhat flexible and natural midsole design and ride. For many, this shoe will be able to handle most runs you throw at it (long distance, daily miles, recovery, and some tempo), and surely seems to have "workhorse" written all over it in terms of durability. 



GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Nathan

Fit: A- (Almost perfect, just a bit high in the collar)                     
Performance:  (Smooth, no "bumps" in the transitions, great balance of bounce, simplicity, and flexibility) 
Stability: (Full contact outsole, heel cup, guideline cutout) 
DPT/Footwear Science: (For reasons mentioned in stability as well as upper lockdown and forefoot natural feel) 
Personal: A/A+ (The consistency and bit of bounce/cushion I want in a daily trainer...might end up being a favorite trainer for me this year)     
Overall:      

FURTHER READING

Compare
Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0
- Almost the budget version of the Velocity
Saucony Freedom 4 - Lightweight offering with responsive PWRRUN+
Saucony Kinvara 12 - Smooth, natural, and light

Recently at Doctors of Running
Deckers x Lab Recovery Footwear Review
- We dug into several of the brand's high stack recovery shoes
Doctor's Corner: Self Trigger Point Release - David Salas digs into this technique to relieve some soreness
On Cloudswift 2.0 Review - On's update to their daily trainer is a significant upgrade and direct Ultraboost competitor (BETTER?)
Hoka Mach 4 Review - One of the most hyped shoes of 2021 arrives. Light, cushioned, and responsive

Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Puma for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running Youtube Channel: Doctors of Running 

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!

EP. 44: Skechers Razor Line Explained

Featured Post: Hoka Carbon X2, with 100 Mile Update

HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X2 Multiple Tester Review

Bottom Ad [Post Page]