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Puma Velocity Nitro 3 Review: Neutral Cushioning
By David Salas

Puma's Velocity series has excelled at providing a solid all-arounder that keeps things simple with a reliable moderate stack height trainer that competes with shoes like the Nike Pegasus and Asics Cumulus. Their outsole has become the stuff of legends, providing some industry-leading grip underfoot. The latest in the series continues refining the shoe with a hint of extra cushioning to add a little more comfort to those everyday miles.


Puma Velocity Nitro 3
Price: $135 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.1 oz, 260 g (men's size 9), "coming soon" oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36mm heel/ 26mm forefoot
Drop: 10mm
Shoe Purpose: Daily Training ; Versatility

Pros: Affordable for the utility
Cons: Very neutral shoe so those wanting a little more stability may get left out


RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The Puma Velocity 3 is a neutral daily training shoe that is designed to check all of your boxes. The shoe uses a supercritical foam NITRO to give some bounce and provide good cushioning for long miles. This latest version adds nearly 3mm more stack to the shoe, providing a lot more comfort to the velocity than ever before while maintaining its ability to do a little bit of everything at the same time. The PUMAGRIP outsole traction is quite good and the experience feels like a shoe you can do about anything in. The Velocity is a versatile training shoe that excels most at daily mileage.

SIMILAR SHOES
: Mizuno Wave Rider 27, Nike Vomero 17
PAST MODEL: Puma Velocity Nitro 2





FIT
(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

The Puma Velocity Nitro 3 fits true-to-size for me in my Men's 9.5 with a relatively snug fit throughout. The upper material is a mesh construction and feels relatively soft on the foot. The tongue is on the thinner side but does a really good job of padding the laces. I did not have any issues with biting of the laces. The width in the heel and midfoot are normal width, with the forefoot being normal to slightly narrow width. The volume is on the lower end and you certainly get a snug leaning lockdown. The length feels true-to-size. There is a heel counter that has some rigidity, though is padded well around it. The material itself does hold its structure pretty well despite some slight stretch. There is some PWRTAPE reinforcement through the medial arch region that does seem to help hold the material some. Despite being on the snug side I do feel this upper works really for my foot. The material is comfortable and the dimensions fit me pretty well. Those wanting a wider shoe or a shoe with more volume may find some struggles here though. For my own foot I do think I'd still like to see a bit more volume to help with swelling accommodation when performing longer runs and efforts. 

David's Typical Size: Men's US Size 9.5
Shoes that have fit David well: Nike Vomero 17, Saucony Ride 16/17, Topo Cyclone 2
Shoes that have fit snug: Adidas Boston 12 (though still well), HOKA Arahi 7
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon Aero Glide, Altra Paradigm



Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Yes
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing: Yes
Is the Forefoot Flexible: Yes
How Flexible is the Shoe: Moderate
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Yes
Recommended for Haglunds: No
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Above Average





PERFORMANCE

The Puma Velocity Nitro 3 is one of my favorite training shoes of the year so far. The construction of the shoe is a neutral high drop trainer without an overly rockered ride. This is similar to other shoes that I have enjoyed like the Vomero, Ride, and Wave Rider series of shoes. The 10mm drop probably feels more like an 8mm due to the softness of NITRO. The shoe does have a very traditional neutral training shoe feel to it. The heel is gently beveled and does have some give upon landing on it. The midfoot is a little narrow and really just works more as a bridge to get you onto the forefoot. The forefoot has moderate flexibility to it under load and does let you toe off relatively naturally. The shoe has really good traction throughout.

Despite the amount of foam you still have a surprising amount of ground feel. The shoe is definitely a true neutral shoe and runs with a relatively natural feeling. The midsole feels best at daily paces, but there is enough responsiveness and a low enough weight to give some appeal towards using it for workouts. The one thing I would like though is to add just a tad bit of sole flaring through the forefoot to help with the narrowness of the midfoot. When I am really tired I do find my mechanics to start breaking through that region and would like a touch more cross sectional area or guidance. Otherwise this is a very well done neutral daily running shoe.

STABILITY

The Puma Velocity Nitro 3 is a true neutral shoe. The shoe does not have much stability or guidance measures put in place. The upper does have a secure and snug lockdown on the foot and does give you a good interface with the platform. The outsole traction is quite good for the current running shoe market. The platform does run a little on the narrow side though and will suit those with neutral mechanics best. There is some gentle sole flaring, but it does not seem to do too much. 



Thoughts as a DPT: Supercritical Foams in Training Shoes 
By David Salas, PT, DPT, CSCS

More and more we are seeing the foams in our footwear evolve with new compounds. This mostly started with our racing shoes, but it is now common place to see new foams in our training shoes as well. Many of these shoes have undergone various amounts of blends and alterations from the traditional EVA midsoles we have known forever. There are many different compounds that people are playing with now such as TPU, TPE, PEBA, etc. I am not going to pretend to be a material scientist, but I do want to go over another classification of foams. This would be supercritical foams. Supercritical foams would imply that one of the compounds listed above underwent the injection of a gaseous compound to help it with a performance metric. Sometimes this is weight, responsiveness, density, resilience, or anything else. The foam industry is a big one. Anything to help the product do its job is worth it. 

Usually supercritical foams are injected with carbon dioxide (CO2) or Nitrogen (N2). In the case of the Puma Velocity Nitro 3 it is injected with nitrogen. The process usually consists of a chamber saturated with a gas, where the foam is subjected to a certain temperature where bubbles within the foam begin to form and bind (Zhou, Y., Tian Y, Peng, X., 2023). This is followed by a cooling period to obtain the final product. The process for Nitrogen specifically can be slower, though the formed foam is less likely to collapse (Zhou et al, 2023). With this is mind this would make sense why Nitrogen is being used in a training model. I do find this to feel like a resilient foam underfoot while still having some bounce and liveliness that is common to other supercritical foams. Again, I am not a material scientist, but I did want to provide some background as to what is happening in some of these foams.  

References:

Zhou, Y., Tian, Y., & Peng, X. (2023). Applications and Challenges of Supercritical Foaming Technology. Polymers, 15(2), 402. 




RECOMMENDATIONS

I really enjoyed my time in the Puma Velocity Nitro 3. There are two things I would like see some modifications on though. The first is making the volume just a tad higher to accommodate more foot types and some swelling deeper into runs. The other would be to add some more sole flaring through the forefoot or make the platform itself a tad wider through that region to combat the narrower midfoot. 

WHO IS THIS SHOE FOR?

The Puma Velocity Nitro 3 is a daily running shoe that will work well for those with neutral mechanics. The NITRO midsole does provide a nice element of cushion and bounce, as well as touch of responsiveness for workout potential. At the price point of $135 this is definitely a shoe that should be on the radar for those looking to have a workhorse shoe that can hit a little bit of everything with pacing and terrain. This is one of my favorite workhorse trainers right now (Feb 2024).


GRADES

David
Fit: A- (The dimensions are good throughout but the volume does feel a little low for a training shoe)
Performance: A- 
(Good responsiveness and natural ride, traction is good, there is still a little instability in both the midfoot and forefoot due to width and sole flaring in longer miles)
Stability: B (Very neutral shoe. Relatively narrow platform with softer foam. Really good traction and upper lockdown though.)
Value: A ($135 does feel like really good value here. Solid weight, traction, foam, and usage. I suspect good durability too)
Personal: A (This works really for my mechanics. Sure it breaks down a tad when I'm really tired, but I'm usually not at that place in daily runs)
Overall Design: B+/A- (Very neutral shoe, but good construction throughout for a traditional design)


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Puma Velocity Nitro 3
Price: $135 at Running Warehouse

Shop Men | Shop Women

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FURTHER READING
More Traditional Trainers

ASICS Gel-Cumulus 25 - A big update to this daily trainer makes it the softness, most cushioned yet
Adidas Adizero SL - A remodernized daily trainer for the Adidas line
Adidas Supernova Rise - Brand new trainer for adidas with a new PEBA "Dreamstrike" midsole
AltraFWD Experience - Altra's first non-zero drop trainer
Brooks Launch 10 - Huge value training for everyday runners
Brooks Revel 6 - At $100, a simple, but effective neutral trainer that fits well
Hoka Clifton 9 [Stable Neutral Trainer] - A change to the midsole shapes the change to this classic maximal trainer
Mizuno Wave Rider 27 - Retooled to feel a little lighter underfoot and with a greatly improved fit
New Balanace FuelCell Propel v4 - Version 4 adds a forefoot plate to this budget trainer
New Balance Fresh Foam X 880 v13 - A new update to this versatile "wogger" shoe
Nike Pegasus 40 - A light upper update makes this the most comfortable Pegasus to slip on yet
Nike Vomero 17 - More ZoomX midsole helps make this trainer excel
On Cloudflow 4 - Redesign of this firmer trainer offers a fun ride
On Cloudsurfer - The softest On yet ushers in a new redesign for the future of On
On Cloudswift 3 - A versatile run/everyday activity trainer with classic On elements
Puma ForeverRun Nitro - A new "stability" entry in the lineup that provides a cushioned ride
Reebok Floatride Energy 5 - Major changes to the popular training series, including a torsion system
Salomon Aero Blaze - A new lightweight trainer from Salomon
Salomon Aero Volt - An old-school flat that's light and versatile
Saucony Echelon 9 [Stable Neutral Trainer] - A wide-fitting, high cushion shoe that also fits orthotics perfectly well
Saucony Kinvara 14 - Higher stacked than ever, and lighter as well
Saucony Ride 16 - A light update that refines the daily trainer to its very best yet
Saucony Ride 17 - A big midsole update reframes the Ride in a new direction
Skechers GO RUN Ride 11 - New HYPERBURST ICE makes for an incredibly soft new entry
Topo Magnifly 5 - Topo's moderate cushioned zero drop trainer gets a nice update
Topo Phantom 3 [Stable Neutral] - A daily training shoe with a fantastic upper and simple, functional ride
Tracksmith Eliot Runner - All-new trainer from the apparel brand, featuring a peba midsole

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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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, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we 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 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 doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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Saucony Ride 17

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