Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

Post Page Advertisement [Top]


Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Review: Steady as She Goes
By Chief Editor Matthew Klein, Contributor Andrea Myers

While plated racing shoes have been increasing at a steady rate, plated training shoes have begun to follow. Advertised as a combination of racing and training shoe, many of these plated performance trainers can perform both. How well they can do each one varies. While the first version of the Puma Deviate Nitro was a mixed bag for us, the second version returns completely redone. Featuring several upgrades, including the addition of Nitro Elite foam.

Price: $160 at PUMA
Weight: 9.2 oz, 261 g (men's size 9), 7.8 oz, 221 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 37 mm / 29 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Classification: Carbon-Plated Performance Trainer


Matt: The Deviate Nitro 2 is a performance trainer for those who want a carbon fiber-plated, partial super foam midsole for daily training to workouts. A flexible and breathable upper sits up top, providing a comfortable fit that stays secure over a variety of paces. A stiff yet cushioned midsole sits below, providing a ride that does better at faster/uptempo paces until it breaks in to allow easier efforts. The new Nitro Elite foam makes the shoe far more responsive and bouncy than the previous version, making for a great ride for those who want a stiff shoe for daily training, uptempo efforts, tempo runs, intervals and potentially longer races for those who don't want an aggressive racer. 

The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is a moderately cushioned and responsive performance trainer. One of the main updates to version 2 is a full-length layer of Nitro Elite midsole foam, which is the same nitrogen-infused Pebax foam used in the Deviate Nitro Elite and Fast-R super shoes. This is the first performance shoe from Puma that I have tested, and I was interested to see how it would stack up against the other performance trainers I have tried. I found a softer and moderately responsive shoe that performs at a variety of paces, including uptempo long runs.

SIMILAR SHOES: Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, Reebok Floatride Energy X


Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 fits me true to size, if a tiny bit long, in my normal US men's size 10. The upper is a flexible and light mesh with PWRTAPE reinforcement for mild structure. The toe box is slightly snug, although the flexible upper allowed for plenty of comfortable stretch. The shoe feels like it fits slightly long, but this is due to the flexibility in the upper. The forefoot widens a little, providing a more normal width. The midfoot is normal width and I did have to tighten the laces to get a secure fit. I did not have to lace lock the shoe as the heel was plenty secure. The thin tongue is gusseted and I had no slippage issues. The heel is normal to slightly snug. There is a flexible heel counter that did not give me any issues. Those with heel sensitivities will likely be fine, especially with the extra padding in the heel collar. There are some seems in the internal aspect of the upper, but the lightness and flexibility make it an option for those experienced with sockless running. I opted for socks due to the slightly long fit. All in all, the Deviate Nitro 2 has a comfortable upper with a more trainer like fit. 

Andrea: The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 fits true to size in my usual women's 9.5. I have a full thumb's width from my big toe to the front of the shoe, but I did find the toe box a little narrow for my forefoot, which became more pronounced on longer runs. The mesh upper is on the thicker side, but I found it to conform nicely to my foot and was overall quite comfortable and breathable. Puma integrates a stiffer overlay called PWRTAPE along the medial midfoot, which does seem to provide some structure and support to that region of the shoe. There is a smaller, semi-rigid heel counter at the lower half of the heel and a moderately padded internal heel collar that extends all the way to the first lace eyelets. The lightly padded tongue is thin and partially gusseted and integrates nicely with the upper. The flat laces have a little bit of stretch and I had no issues with lockdown. Overall, the upper in the Deviate Nitro 2 is very well done, but does give it more of a plush feel as opposed to a performance feel. 


Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is a stiff but soft/cushioned performance trainer. The full-length Nitro Elite Foam with rearfoot Nitro foam is soft and bouncy underfoot. This is paired with an extremely stiff forefoot due to the plate. The stiffness is not noticeable in the rearfoot, which provides a soft and bouncy landing. There is a solid heel bevel, which combined with the compressive foam creates an easy rearfoot transition. The transition through the forefoot is extremely stiff, particularly at easier efforts. Especially while breaking this shoe in, the front would cause me soreness and pain in my metatarsophalangeal joints after easy/recovery runs. During uptempo/faster efforts this was not an issue and felt far more natural. This makes the Deviate Nitro 2 more of an uptempo shoe than a true trainer. It does well with uptempo long runs, tempo runs and decently with intervals. The 9.1 oz weight (men's size 9), becomes more apparent the faster you go. This is not a true racing shoe as all-out efforts are muted by the additional weight. However, for tempo efforts and potentially long-distance races, this shoe does well. Those who find many of the super shoes too aggressive or minimal but still want a plate super shoe may find this to be a great alternative for workouts and long races.

Despite 40 miles of hard use, the outsole and midsole have held up well. I have only managed to slightly abrade the outsole in my normal spot and there is tons of material left. The midsole broke in well and continues to become more bouncy with increasing miles. The plate has broken in a little but continues to be extremely stiff. Overall, the durability is quite high on the Puma Deviate Nitro 2, making it a great workout companion to a racing shoe so you can save the less durable version for race day. 

Having never run in a Puma with Nitro Elite foam before, I was very interested to see how it would compare to the other plated performance trainers I have tested. I always take test shoes on a couple of easy runs prior to using them in workouts. During these initial easy runs, I noted that the shoe didn't really feel like it had a plate. It felt pleasantly cushioned without that dreaded bottoming out feeling and the shoe rolled along nicely at easy paces. Unlike other plated shoes, I didn't notice an increase in pace at the same effort level; instead, it felt like a cushioned daily trainer. My next test run was a mostly easy run with 12x20" mile pace strides. The shoe definitely became most responsive at the faster pace while retaining its cushioned feel. The later forefoot rocker and wider midfoot work nicely with my mechanics and I didn't feel like the shoe was forcing me to run in a particular way.

My biggest run in the Deviate Nitro 2 was a long run with 5x2 miles at marathon pace. This is where I became aware of some discomfort at my 3rd and 4th toes from the tapered toe box, but not enough to make me switch shoes. I was a little disappointed at how the shoe performed during this workout. Unlike other plated performance trainers, I didn't feel like the shoe was helping me at all at marathon pace. I appreciated the moderate cushion, but there was no bounce or propulsive feeling that I have become accustomed to in other plated shoes. The plate in the Deviate Nitro 2 is a carbon composite plate, and it does feel like it has more flex to it as compared to the nylon plate in the Endorphin Speed (or any carbon plated shoes). The Deviate Nitro 2 is also an ounce heavier than the Speed 3, and I think that also makes it feel a little sluggish during longer intervals. I have written previously about preferring to do some workouts in non-super shoes to make my feet and ankles work a little harder, and I would almost put the Deviate Nitro 2 in this category because it doesn't feel like it influences my mechanics the way that the Endorphin Speed does. This may be because I midfoot strike and am missing out on landing on the firmer rearfoot Nitro foam in combination with the posterior flare and heel bevel, which may provide more of a rolling sensation from initial contact to push off.

The extensive outsole rubber coverage provides exceptional traction on wet roads and on dirt. The outsole should have higher than average durability due to the near full coverage rubber design. The upper provides sufficient stability when turning and I did not experience any foot translation in the shoe.


Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is a neutral shoe. The midsole is softer and the midfoot narrows. However, the carbon plate provides a high level of torsional rigidity, there is sole flare in both heel and midfoot and the PWRTAPE actually provides a surprising amount of security in the upper. The forefoot is particularly stable with the flare and how stiff and prominent the plate is there. Those with neutral mechanics will do best in this shoe at the heel and midfoot, but those that need a stiff and stable forefoot will do extremely well here. I would go as far as to say that the forefoot is stable neutral. 

The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is a neutral shoe, but it does have some neutral stability elements. The rearfoot and forefoot sole flare are biased a little more medially, which may slow motion in that direction. The heel bevel may help heel strikers transition a little more quickly from initial contact to mid-stance. The forefoot rocker felt fairly gradual to me and may provide less guidance due to the slightly more flexible sole. The sole also has a central cutout in the rearfoot and two partial guidance lines in the forefoot, which may or may not actually guide motion. I think the most well-done stability feature of the Deviate Nitro 2 is the upper. It does a nice job of preventing any foot translation and the PWRTAPE gives the upper some added structure in the medial midfoot. The heel felt very secure to me without the need for a large or rigid heel counter. Overall, the Deviate Nitro 2 provides exceptional lockdown and very mild guidance features.


Are Some Shoes More Super than Others?

By Contributor Andrea Myers

Simon Bartold, founder of Bartold Clinical and a previous podcast guest (DOR Episode #13), defines super shoes as a shoe with a carbon or nylon plate, a high stack height, and a rocker sole. While the Puma Deviate Nitro 2 qualifies as a super shoe under this definition, the shoe's less aggressive rocker geometry and more flexible plate/sole gives it a more muted ride as compared to other super shoes. When the original Nike Vaporfly hit stores several years ago, many people thought it was the mere presence of a plate that gave the shoe its characteristic bounce and propulsive ride. More recent research suggests that it is the interaction of the plate, foam, and shoe geometry that give super shoes their performance characteristics. The large amount of lightweight, high energy return foam in super shoes needs a plate and rocker geometry to provide stability to the midsole and help the shoe perform at faster paces.

The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 has a later forefoot rocker and a less aggressive heel bevel as compared to other super shoes. The Nitro Elite midsole is softer and the carbon composite plate also feel more flexible. The combination of these elements results in the overall ride of the shoe feeling less propulsive and a little sluggish. This isn't necessarily a bad feeling, but it is different than what runners have become accustomed to in a super shoe. Those who like the bounce and rolling ride from shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 will find the Deviate Nitro 2 performs more like a daily trainer. However, runners who find the ride of some super shoes too aggressive may find a lot to love in the Deviate Nitro 2. Shoes with aggressive rearfoot and/or forefoot rockers shift forces from the foot and ankle to the hip region. Runners who tend to develop hip flexor, gluteal, or high hamstring pain when running in aggressively rockered shoes may prefer the more gradual rocker geometry of the Deviate Nitro 2.

As we often say here at DOR, shoes are tools, and the tool that works for one person may not be the best for another. The more you become familiar with the features of a shoe that work or do not work with your body and goals, the more informed you will be when making shoe choices in the future. Trust what your body is telling you and never feel like you need to run in a particular shoe because someone says it is the fastest or has the most energy return. There are so many more factors that go into optimal shoe selection for each individual, and we aim to help you learn more about your own personal factors here at DOR.


Matt: After an incredibly subpar experience in version one, I have enjoyed almost every run in version two. While the forefoot was way too stiff initially, it has broken in to provide a bouncy and snappy ride. The upper has been fantastic despite the longer fit and has been comfortable for every run. There are still a few changes I would like to suggest. My first recommendation is to consider switching to a more flexible plate, either through geometry or material. The plate is far too stiff initially for training miles. Although it has improved a little after 40 miles, I still get discomfort under the ball of my foot after easier runs in the Deviate Nitro 2. While it does improve its ability to do workouts, a performance trainer could use a touch more flexibility for easier efforts. This should be in the longitudinal direction and not side to side (that level of stiffness is great). My second recommendation would be to reduce the unnecessary amount of posterior flaring midsole. While the heel is beveled well and the foam compresses, the material sticking out the rear adds extra weight that could either be taken off or added somewhere useful like the medial midfoot. 

Andrea: From a fit perspective, I would recommend that Puma widen the toe box to improve overall comfort during longer runs. From a performance perspective, I feel like the Deviate Nitro 2 is straddling the line of performance trainer and expensive daily trainer. While it has a carbon composite plate and Pebax midsole, it doesn't perform like a super shoe performance trainer, likely because of the more flexible plate/sole and more gradual forefoot rocker. It is also on the heavier side for a plated performance trainer. I think I would have enjoyed doing my marathon pace intervals in my 7.1 oz New Balance Beacon as much or more than the Deviate Nitro 2. I would recommend that Puma decide what they want this shoe to be and make changes accordingly. To improve its performance on uptempo days, I would recommend shedding some weight (perhaps by using thinner mesh in the upper or reducing the rubber outsole coverage), stiffening the plate, and refining the forefoot rocker to give the shoe a more propulsive feel.


Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is for those who want a super foam trainer with an incredibly stiff forefoot. The underfoot feel is soft with some bounce, particularly in the heel. The forefoot is incredibly stiff and works better for uptempo and faster efforts. The upper is comfortable with a snug toe box and normal fit elsewhere. Those who have normal-width feet or those who can handle a little snugness with flexibility will do best in this shoe. The Deviate Nitro 2 can handle a variety of efforts, but the incredibly stiff forefoot limits the ability for most people to do easier efforts. Those who want a "Workout Trainer" or a less aggressive partial super shoe for faster efforts and longer races may do well in the Puma Deviate Nitro 2. 

Andrea: The Deviate Nitro 2 is for runners with neutral mechanics who prefer a performance trainer with a less rockered and softer ride. The more flexible carbon composite plate and softer Nitro Elite midsole make this shoe feel more like a daily trainer than a performance shoe. Those who prefer a performance trainer with a bouncier and more propulsive ride will do better with the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 or even the Topo Specter.


Fit: A- (Soft flexible upper that fits almost a hair long but is comfortable. Needs a tiny bit of midfoot lockdown but secure overall)
B+ (Responsive stiff ride that works best for uptempo efforts. Stiff forefoot works better at faster paces, but not the fastest shoe. Almost too stiff for easier efforts until the plate breaks in. Highly durable)
Stability: B+ [Neutral] (Stable forefoot with neutral heel and midfoot. Upper prevents translation well)
DPT/Footwear Science: B/B+ (Better integration of plate and platform. Plate still a bit too stiff in forefoot until pace increases. Tends to irritate my forefoot with easier and longer efforts. Midfoot would benefit from more width due to stack height and softer foam)
Personal: B+ (A great uptempo trainer for me with a comfortable upper. A little too stiff for longer and easier miles but the Nitro Elite keeps making me put this shoe on. Not the best option for every kind of run but does them all decently)
Overall: B+ 
Fit: A- (Very well done upper with exceptional lockdown, but I would prefer a wider toebox for longer runs)
Performance: B- 
(An underwhelming ride for a shoe with a Pebax midsole and carbon composite plate. Feels more like a daily trainer than a performance trainer)
Stability (Neutral): B+ (secure upper, not much guidance from rockers)
DPT/Footwear Science: B- (Runners have become accustomed to the rockered and responsive ride of super shoes, including plated performance trainers. This shoe misses the mark despite having super shoe elements)
Personal: B- (I have many better options for both performance trainers and daily trainers than this shoe. Underwhelming performance at all paces.)
Overall: B-/B 


Price: $160 at PUMA

Using the following links to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

Check out Gear We Love
Ultraspire Fitted Race Belt: The best way to carry your phone and goods on the run. No bounce and various sizes for waist. (Also recommend the Naked belt)
Skratch Recovery, Coffee Flavor: Mental and physical boost post run. Coffee flavor is excellent and goes great straight into a fresh brewed cup
goodr Sunglases: Run in style with goodr's super fun sunglasses.
Feetures Socks: Massively grippy socks that will make you feel more one with the shoe
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Water Bottle: Perfect for long runs when you need hydration in the summer
Trigger Point Foam Roller: Help get those knots out post-run and feel better for tomorrow
Theragun Massager: This small version is great on the go for working tired legs
Ciele Hat: Our team's favorite running hat of choice!


Xtep 160x 3.0 Pro -
A super bouncy, super shoe that reminds us of the original Alphafly
Asics Magic Speed 2 - A budget workout, racing shoe with a lot of roll
Path Projects Apparel - Technicall running apparel for road and trail
On Cloudgo - A new daily trainer option from On Running
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 2 - A super high stack of ZoomX powers this easy day ride
Skechers GOrun Razor 4 - Brand new update with a new foam and plated forefoot

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

Thanks for reading!


Facebook: Doctors of Running
Youtube Channel: Doctors of Running
Instagram: @doctorsofrunning
LinkedIn: Doctors of Running
Strava: Doctors of Running
Podcast: Virtual Roundtable
Pinterest: Doctors of Running

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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at PUMA USA 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 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.

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

Path Projects Apparel

Bottom Ad [Post Page]

// ]]>