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Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2: Less Comfort, More Aggression
By Matthew Klein

The original Puma Deviate Nitro Elite was a surprise in many ways. Although it wasn't the fastest shoe on the market, it was certainly the most comfortable. We frequently suggested it as a great first super shoe option for those new to this category and most of us ran our pairs through their full life cycle. Puma has come a long way over the last two years since the release of their first legitimate racing shoe having now added two additional racing shoes (Fast-FWD and Fast-R). Following along a theme from their other racers, the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a different shoe from the original. A narrower shape, stiffer plate and different geometry move the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 away from being the comfortable relaxed fast shoe to an aggressive, faster racer. That does not necessarily make it a better shoe than the original but certainly makes it different.

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2
Price: $200 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 7.5 oz, 212 g (men's size 9), 6.5 oz, 184 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36mm / 30 mm
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Super Racing Shoe


The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a super racing shoe for those who want a narrow-fitting, durable and surprisingly nimble ride. The new upper is mildly structured and narrow, giving the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 a snug performance fit. The Nitro Elite midsole foam provides a moderate amount of bounce, while a full carbon plate adds more stiffness. Combined with more aggressive geometry than before, the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 continues as a distance racer with a faster roll and pop than the previous version.

: ASICS Metaspeed Edge+
PAST MODEL: Puma Deviate Nitro Elite


The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 fits me slightly short in my normal men's US size 10. The slightly short fit comes from the tapered toe box and a narrow fit overall. This is dramatically different from the relaxed comfortable fit of the first version. The like the tapered toe box, the forefoot is also narrow. The midfoot opens slightly, but is still snug. It features a nongusseted, thinner but soft tongue. The tongue does fold on itself slightly when putting the shoe on, but it is easy to fix. The heel is also snug and I did not have to lace lock this shoe at all due to the snug/narrow fit. There is a little bit of heel collar cushioning at the top of the heel, but most of the posterior aspect of the upper is thin. There is a mildly stiff counter at the posterior-most section of the heel. The heel collar cushioning pad does protect the heel a little from this but the counter was quite noticeable to me. Those sensitive to heel counters at the posterior-most aspect of the rearfoot may not do well but those wanting a little more structure will do fine.

The security of the upper is solid thanks mostly to the narrow fit. The mesh locks the foot down and there are additional reinforcements (PWRTAPE?) in the forefoot and midfoot for mild structure. Turning is mostly fine, although this would not be a shoe I would use for unstable terrain or quick turns. Running forward and moderate direction turns are fine, which is expected from a road racing shoe.

I would highly recommend socks with the Deviate Nitro Elite 2. The inside of the mono-mesh is a bit scratchy and the reinforcements did cause me a blister at my 4th toe. The heel tab has a transition point between the heel collar padding and the edge of the tab that does cause some rubbing. This was mostly fine with socks, but I began to get hotspots quickly going sockless. Therefore, socks are highly encouraged with this shoe. 


The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 features the same Nitro Elite foam (Nitrogen-infused PEBA) as the previous version and now features a non-split, full carbon fiber PWRPLATE in the midsole. The midsole feels bouncy but slightly firmer than the previous version. More of the bounce happens in the heel, while the forefoot has a fast, firmer and early toe-off. The shoe feels light and nimble despite the almost full-ounce increase in weight (6.7 oz to now 7.5 oz in men's size 9). There is a 6 mm drop, although it feels higher than that. This is likely due to the slightly clunky heel from the medially biased bevel and thus extra lateral flare at the rearfoot. Once past the heel, the midfoot and forefoot transition extremely quickly. The forefoot is quite stiff and the forefoot rocker starts quick early. This makes it feel almost like you are falling off the front of the shoe. This feels great at fast paces like tempo runs, intervals and harder efforts. At slower and easier efforts this feels awkward, making the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 specific to faster running and not great for easier efforts (unless you like a fast-transitioning forefoot).

Combined with the narrow sole (see stability section), the nimble feel and slightly firmer super foam feel, the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 feels best at 5k to half marathon efforts. The early forefoot rocker makes it best at moderate longer efforts, although I prefer the forefoot in this shoe to the Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite. The slightly firmer feel isn't cushioned enough for me to want to take up to a marathon effort, but those that don't want the tallest or bounciest super shoe may actually prefer this.

Although not the longer distance/marathon racer the Nitro Elite 2 might be meant to be (I prefer the Fast-R and I just got my hands on a pair of the Futrograde colorway recently), the durability is excellent. I have over 30 miles on my pair and have barely any wear on the outsole. It grips the road well on both dry and wet tarmac and track. While not the best trail shoe, the mild lugs in the forefoot do grip smooth dirt and non-aggressive trail well. This makes the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite a possibility on XC courses if you have stable enough mechanics, but its main purpose is as a moderate-distance racing shoe.


The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a neutral racing shoe. There are mild sidewalls in the medial and lateral midfoot although these feel fairly minor. There is medial and lateral flare at the heel, although the medially biased bevel makes the lateral bevel feels more substantial. This transitions into a narrow midfoot, especially on the medial side. Combined with the foot being torqued inward with the lateral flare, the midfoot has a strong medial bias. This does transition into a decently stable forefoot. There are mild sidewalls on the medial and lateral sides of the forefoot. Combined with some medial flare at the forefoot, the fast rocker transition and the stiff plate, the forefoot guides you forward quickly. This makes for a neutral/slightly medially biased heel, a less stable midfoot and a stable forefoot.  

Thoughts as a DPT: What Impacts the Perception of Ride?
By Matthew Klein

One of the challenges of reviewing shoes is that differing proprioception and perception can influence an individual's perception of the ride of a shoe. This variation is well-documented and even led to the creation of a survey-based shoe comfort tool (Bishop et al., 2020; Agresta et al., 2020). Some people may find a shoe firm while others may find it responsive. Some of the things that influence this include the runner's perception of the shoe's purpose and the speed/weight of the shoe (Agresta et al., 2020). Some of the initial research on this has found that these concepts work better for shoes meant for faster running, whereas they do not apply as much for training/easy run shoes. 

There are several other variables that may act as co-variates for the above perception. Different people will react differently to varying amounts of cushioning, stiffness and geometry. We know that softer shoes tend to cause people to land stiffer as they are focusing on stability rather than shock absorption, whereas the opposite is true with firmer shoes (Kumala et al., 2018). This response will vary between people and it is possible that those who land stiffer, harder or softer may perceive the same foam differently. 

There is also the possibility that varying differences in movement patterns and strengths may influence the factors mentioned above. Those with stronger or weaker muscles that lift the shoes or push them may perceive a shoe differently, especially if how the shoes bends does or does not work for them. We know that different people respond differently to shoe stiffness and shoes will work best when the stiffness/plate lines up with their first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint (Agresta et al., 2022). 

There are other factors that will influence this, including geometry, bevels, midsole creases/flex points, and more. Each shoe is a tool and how each person will respond to it will vary. It is our hope that you find our reviews useful and that they also serve as learning tools for understanding what may work best for your unique body. There is more variety in running footwear now than ever before. How each person will react to each of the new unique shoes may vary, but if there are things that match what you typically like or are interested in, the shoe may be worth a try. 


Agresta, C., Giacomazzi, C., Harrast, M., & Zendler, J. (2022). Running Injury Paradigms and Their Influence on Footwear Design Features and Runner Assessment Methods: A Focused Review to Advance Evidence-Based Practice for Running Medicine Clinicians. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living4, 815675.

Agresta, C., Peacock, J., Carmichael, A., Nielsen, K. E., Zendler, J., & Gonzalez, R. (2020). The perception of ride is multidimensional for running footwear. Footwear Science12(1), 15-24.

Bishop, C., Buckley, J. D., Esterman, A. E., & Arnold, J. B. (2020). The running shoe comfort assessment tool (RUN-CAT): Development and evaluation of a new multi-item assessment tool for evaluating the comfort of running footwear. Journal of Sports Sciences38(18), 2100-2107.

Kulmala, J. P., Kosonen, J., Nurminen, J., & Avela, J. (2018). Running in highly cushioned shoes increases leg stiffness and amplifies impact loading. Scientific reports8(1), 1-7.


The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 becomes more of an aggressive racing shoe than the comfortable racer the original was. While there is some weight gain, it happens with a trade-off of a faster ride when the forefoot geometry and stiffness are accounted for. My biggest suggestions are to open the toe box a little and move the bevel laterally. Some people will do well with the narrow fit. For me, the forefoot tapers a bit too quick, caused me some blistering and is not something I would not want to use beyond a half marathon due to chaffing issues. For a shoe meant for long-distance running, having enough room (but not too much for sliding) is important to allow enough room for the metatarsal/toe bones. Both from a comfort standpoint as well as a biomechanical one.

I have mentioned this previously with Puma shoes, but I do not understand why the bevel is facing more medial when people rarely (if at all) land on the medial heel. Most people land on the lateral heel, which is where the bevel should be placed to smooth the heel transition.

The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 has actually made some progress as a racing shoe, but a little more work is required to get it where it could be. 


The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a narrow-fitting, nimble super shoe that has evolved from its predecessor to a more aggressive racer. While the prior version was a comfortable quick super shoe that worked for easy miles, workouts and races, the new version moves more toward a true racing shoe, losing the versatility its predecessor had. It still is not a top-tier racer, although many with narrow stable feel will still enjoy it for faster efforts. For me, this shoe functions as a workout shoe to save my top-tier racers for race day. The $200 cost is appropriate for its function, especially given that it still has a plate and a super foam. So for the price and what it can do, this is a solid option for those wanting a narrow-fitting super shoe. 


Fit: B/B- (Narrow fit, tapered toe box. Secure fit, but chaffing at the lateral toes. Far better for those with narrow feet.)
Performance: A- 
(Slightly firmer bounce with fast forefoot transition. Best for 5k to half marathon)
Stability: B- [Neutral] (Stable forefoot, but medial bias at heel and narrow/less stable midfoot)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Progress in regards to aggressiveness, but needs to put bevel in correct place and correct toe box)
Personal: B (Faster but less comfortable than last version. Not a top tier racer, so this will be a shoe delegated for workouts when I am saving the better super shoes)


Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2
Price: $200 at Running Warehouse

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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 purchased with personal funds from Running Warehouse. 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.

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