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Puma Deviate Nitro 3 Review
By Matthew Klein

Now in its third version, the Puma Deviate Nitro has become one of the OG carbon-plated trainers. A training companion to the popular Deviate Nitro Elite series, the Puma Deviate Nitro pulled away from its rough first start to a stiff but unique second version. The Deviate Nitro 2 was an solid progression with many people using it for both workouts and longer races. The Deviate Nitro 3 continues the tradition of change for the series with a slight push in a different direction. A far smoother and slightly more relaxed ride brings it back to the training realm with greater distinction from the Deviate Nitro Elite 3. While still able to handle uptempo workouts, the Deviate Nitro 3 firmly stands out as the training companion and training shoe for the majority of your miles. 

Puma Deviate Nitro 3
Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.3 oz, 265 g (men's size 9), Women's Weights Not Provided
Stack Height: 39 mm / 29 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Shoe Purpose: Carbon-Plated Performance Trainer

Pros: Smooth Forefoot Transition, Softer Midsole, Snug/Secure Fit
Cons: Less Versatility into Faster Paces, Slightly Unstable Midfoot


The Puma Deviate Nitro 3 is a carbon-plated performance trainer for those who want a training companion to super shoes like the Deviate Nitro Elite. The upper is a snug knit working best for those with narrow-to-normal width feet wanting a secure fit with a flexible heel counter. The ride is softer with a higher drop, larger heel and smooth toe off. The Deviate Nitro 3 features a more relaxed ride than the previous version, which makes this shoe best for easy mileage and uptempo workouts. 

: Nike Zoom Fly 5, Adidas Adizero Boston 12
PAST MODEL: Puma Deviate Nitro 2

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

Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 3 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The fit is snug and lower volume throughout most of the length of the shoe. The knit mesh upper has some mild stretch to it but sits low across the top of the toes. This is less noticeable on the run but the fit is narrower, mildly compressive, and sock-like up front. This transitions into a secure midfoot with a thin, well-gusseted tongue and overlays that add security. The fit is slightly snug in the midfoot and is further locked down by the previously mentioned methods. The security and snug fit were enough for me not to need to lace lock or tighten the laces much with the Deviate Nitro 3.

The heel fits normal in width with mild heel collar cushioning and a flexible heel counter. Except for a small piece at the posterior most edge, the counter is mobile with most of the security coming from an external plastic piece. Those with heel sensitivities should do fine as I did not notice it at all. The inner liner of the upper is extremely comfortable against bare skin and I would suggest this sockless except for the Puma logo at the medial forefoot. This piece caused hotspots for me fairly quickly without socks and did not cause any issues with socks. Thus, I would highly suggest socks with this shoe. 

Typical Size: Men's US Size 10
Shoes that have fit Matt well: Saucony Guide 17, ASICS Kayano 30, Hoka Gaviota 5, Saucony Endorphin Elite, Nike Ultrafly
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Saucony Kinvara 14
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2, Altra Timp 5

Doctors of Running Checklist

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


Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 3 is a carbon-plated performance training shoe that works best for daily training and workouts. The midsole is softer, especially in the heel and a new geometry in the forefoot makes for a smooth transition off the toes. The midsole is full-length Nitro Foam feels comfortable at easier and uptempo efforts. Although not stated from Puma, there is still a softer top layer of foam. I am not sure if this has been changed to more Nitro Foam or is still a layer of Nitro Elite foam. Regardless, there is now more foam underfoot. The heel stack height has been increased to 39mm which provides a 10mm drop. This drop is noticeable as the heel feel larger than previous. This may also be due to the sole flare with the lateral side being particularly noticeable despite a large heel bevel. The bevel does even things out somewhat but the heel still feels a little chunky. This transitions into a smooth midfoot and forefoot.

Despite the stiff carbon PWR plate, the early forefoot rocker makes for a smooth transition. The extremely stiff toe off of version is gone and things roll forward nicely. The trade-off for this improved transition is that the shoe feels less snappy and better at easier paces. I have used the Deviate Nitro 3 for a tempo run, an uphill tempo run, and a fartlek. While fine at uptempo paces and easier efforts, I found that it lacked the few extra gears available in the Deviate Nitro 2 and faster racing shoes. It still felt fine for training purposes but there is less overlap now with the Deviate Nitro series. Over the 30 miles I have on my pair, the traction has been solid on road and the durability has been decent. On smooth surfaces, the Puma Grip holds the asphalt well even when wet. I would NOT use this shoe for anything but smooth surfaces as rocks easily get stuck in the midfoot plate gap. The outsole material is decently durable as I have only seen mild wear after my 30 miles. I expect this shoe to last slightly longer than most performance trainers. 

(Learn more about stability in our full guide)

Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 3 is a neutral shoe. The heel is neutral with some sole flare both laterally and medially. There are some mild sidewalls in the midfoot on both sides of the foot. However, the midfoot shape is narrow, which makes it slightly unstable for those who need some guidance or stability. The forefoot has mild guidance due to small sidewalls and some stiffness from the plate. Overall, this shoe will work best for those with neutral mechanics or who are sensitive to guidance/stability methods, particularly in the midfoot. Those with stability needs will either need to ease into this shoe or utilize only for shorter distances if interested.

Thoughts as a DPT: Who Benefits From Plated Trainers? 
By Matthew Klein

Although the Deviate Nitro series has been around for a few years, more plated trainers are coming to market. As the public continues to focus on (and many companies continue to push) the narrative that plates make a shoe super, there was some concern about using these shoes all the time. The primary function of plates is to add stiffness to a shoe. Based on their geometry, they can also facilitate motion forward but do not provide the "spring' "-like effect that is often advertised (Agresta et al., 2022; Rodrigo-Carranza et al., 2022). While they can provide improvements to running economy or efficiency, by themselves they do not make a shoe super as that only comes with a combination of the right foam, geometry and weight (Hebert-Losier et al., 2023; Rodrigo-Carranza et al., 2022).

Different people respond differently to the level of stiffness in running shoes. A study we reference frequently by Mcleod et al (2020) suggested that each person has a unique level of longitudinal bending stiffness or flexibility where they perform best. Certain people do better in stiffer shoes. Those who have more motion or hypermobilities are often a group that does better in a stiffer shoe. Adding a plate to a shoe can be a way to add stability, especially if the plate is wider and resists lateral motion. So rather than for performance, a plate can be added to facilitate forward motion. Other people may choose to run in plated shoes to get used to the stiffness associated with super shoes. The Deviate Nitro 3 is a training companion to the Deviate Nitro Elite 3. One could train in the Deviate Nitro 3 while saving the Elite 3 for racing but still getting their body used to a plated shoe. Not everyone adapts at the same rate as people respond differently to things. The transition between super shoes and normal shoes can sometimes be too great of a change for some people, which may put them at risk for injury. Training and adapting more to the thing you plan to use during a race may be helpful for some but not all. Thus, plated trainers have a place for certain people, which continues to demonstrate the great variety of needs that runners can have. 


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.

Hébert-Losier, K., & Pamment, M. (2023). Advancements in running shoe technology and their effects on running economy and performance–a current concepts overview. Sports Biomechanics22(3), 335-350.

McLeod, A. R., Bruening, D., Johnson, A. W., Ward, J., & Hunter, I. (2020). Improving running economy through altered shoe bending stiffness across speeds. Footwear Science12(2), 79-89.

Rodrigo-Carranza, V., González-Mohíno, F., Santos-Concejero, J., & González-Ravé, J. M. (2022). The effects of footwear midsole longitudinal bending stiffness on running economy and ground contact biomechanics: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Sport Science22(10), 1508-1521.


Matt: While I have mixed feelings about the updates to the Deviate Nitro 3, I do understand them. This really sets this shoe apart from the Deviate Nitro Elite 3 as the training companion. The ride is less aggressive, more comfortable and can handle easier efforts better. Given this direction, I still suggest the heel transition be smoothed out and the midfoot widened. The lateral flare at the heel collapses decently at faster paces but can be a little clunky at slower efforts. I would encourage Puma to return to the 8mm drop of the prior version and consider shifting that heel bevel direction a little more posterior lateral to create a smoother rearfoot transition. If this shoe is more geared toward training, a wider midfoot would be beneficial to improve guidance. The stiffness of the plate does not offset the narrowness of the midfoot and to reach a larger audience, I would widen this area for improved comfort and stability. Finally, I would add a little more room to the forefoot/midfoot if this is supposed to be a training shoe, but it does lock down well so this is optional.


Matt: The Puma Deviate Nitro 3 is a carbon-plated performance trainer for those who want a snug-fitting shoe for daily training and workouts. The upper will fit best for those with narrow or normal-width feet wanting a more sock-like and lower-volume fit. The ride will be best for those who want a higher drop, a neutral ride with a little medial bias and smooth forefoot despite the plate. The Deviate Nitro 3 works best for easier and uptempo paces compared to its predecessor that performed better during workouts. The $160 price tag is still good and makes this shoe a solid training companion or a great alternative to super shoes over marathon distances.


Fit: B+/A- (Snug, lower volume fit with good security and a flexible heel counter)
B+ (Large heel with smooth forefoot. Best for easy mileage and uptempo workouts)
Stability: B- [Neutral] (Narrow midfoot and lateral heel flare create mild medial bias)
Value: B+ (More affordable plated option that is specific to training. Loss of versatility into racing/high speeds from prior version)
Personal: B (Smoother forefoot than prior version that feels more focused on training. Not stable enough for me to use for more miles though)
Overall Design: B/B+ 


Puma Deviate Nitro 3
Price: $159.95 at Running Warehouse (coming soon)

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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.

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