PUMA Running returned with a bang for 2021 with a new range of shoes built around the brand’s new cutting-edge supercritical foam technology – NITRO.
NITRO is the highlight of PUMA’s new Deviate running shoe. It is the sports lifestyle company’s first high performance trainer for Spring / Summer 2021. Read on for our World Exclusive review of the Deviate as put in miles and training time in it on the asphalt, track, and gym.
Here are PUMA’s technical specifications for the Deviate NITRO before we delve into our experience with the shoe.
CUSHIONING: Advanced NITRO FOAM technology providing superior responsiveness and cushioning in a lightweight package
ENERGY: INNOPLATE carbon fiber plate gives you maximum propulsion, by turning your foot into a lever for efficient energy transfer at toe-off
GRIP: PUMAGRIP durable rubber compound provides all-surface traction
REFLECTIVITY: Strategically-placed reflective hits for running in low light conditions
- Engineered mesh upper for breathable support
- Full lace closure for secure lockdown and fit
- NITRO FOAM midsole for lightweight, responsive cushioning
- Carbon fiber propulsion plate for maximum speed
- Full-length rubber outsole provides durable all-surface traction
- Reflective TPU heel piece for added stability
- Thin suede lining for close-to-foot feel and reduced irritation
- PUMA Cat Logo rubber print at lateral toe
- WEIGHT: 9.4 oz/ 268g
- HEEL-TO-TOE DROP: 8MM
PUMA’s designers seem to always do a fantastic job in putting their running technology into head-turning, brilliant packages. They have done it again with the Deviate NITRO!
PUMA’s launch colorway of the Deviate NITRO is called Lava Blast / PUMA Black. It is a fantastic selection to highlight a new range of trainers as we emerge from a year in which simple combinations of black and white seemed to reign supreme. It is in your face, pleasing to the eye, and screams that you are an athlete serious about their craft!
Another clever touch on the Deviate NITRO that PUMA footwear fans may notice is that the Formstripe is a tad bit lower than usual and reaches onto the sole of the shoe. This is a relatively simple change that adds an innovative aesthetic element to the shoe.
The upper of the PUMA Deviate NITRO is made of a very breathable lightweight mesh fabric. As seen in our pictures there is a diagonal effect incorporated into the upper that reminds us of ocean waves. It is another novel touch that makes the Deviate NITRO unlike any other shoes around today.
Tongue and lacing area of the PUMA Deviate NITRO is relatively wide and actually very comfortable (more on this later). It is a combination of a padded, ventilated tongue and flattened laces that blends well with the rest of the upper. The eyelet areas are made of a padded synthetic is a deeper shade of lava blast that the rest of the shoe. The color provides a great contrasting effect.
Reflective strips are placed on the heel areas of the Deviate NITRO’s upper and sole. While they look good and high tech, they are quite functional for running in low light conditions. We are glad that they are there for visibility!
The fit of the Deviate NITRO is a true to size as it comes in the world of running shoes. Therefore, we suggest getting in the usual size that you wear for training shoes. Given that it is a completely synthetic shoe with a lightweight ventilated upper the Deviate does not stretch with wear regardless of how many miles you cover with it.
Sliding on the shoe is quite effortless with a slight pull up of the tongue and pulling on the back part of the upper. No further adjustment is needed other than putting the right level of tautness on the laces. The laces are flattened and textured so that they do not become untied when running. We all know how frustrating it can be to have to stop a good cadence run because of untied shoes.
The PUMA Deviate NITRO feels like a sock on the feet. This starts with the soft, well-sized tongue and continues with the rest of the shoe. There is now sliding or unwanted space between the feet and the upper from the first wear of the shoe to the last.
A nice add by Team PUMA on the Deviate NITRO is a raised heel padding on the sides of the shoe. This innovative feature provides a wonderful soft feel during whatever movement you are engaged in with the shoe on. It also eliminates any possibility of the heel rubbing on the upper and causing hotspots or blistering.
The ride of the PUMA Deviate NITRO lives up to what is shown in its sizzle reel. In fact, it exceeds expectations to provide a running experience unlike any other.
The soft and extremely cushioned sole of the shoe is felt from the first walking step in it. Its relatively low weight is also immediately noticed with each stride. As we sped things up at the track we experienced fantastic heel to toe transition via a great underfoot feel that felt like moving along a smooth sinusoidal wave. At the same time the cushioning ensured a high level of comfort.
Although the sole of the Deviate NITRO is relatively thick its heel to toe transition is a mere 8mm. This negates any possible issue with the thick sole causing the foot to angle down too much and the associated discomfort.
PUMA’s new NITRO technology has also resulted in a sole with some of the best energy return per step that we have ever seen. This applies whether you are rocking the Deviate in a warm-up trot, speed training sprint, or long-distance runs. These kicks provide bounce and responsiveness that can give you an advantage in just about any run that you wear them for.
The PUMA Deviate NITRO’s upper contributes to the shoe’s ride by providing a no slip fit from its toes box to heel counter. It is also very lightweight with contact on the feet that feels either soft (at the heel and tongue) or so minimal (at the forefoot) that the only part of the shoe that you might even think about on the run is its well-cushioned and energy-returning sole.
The mesh upper of the PUMA Deviate NITRO is brand new from the sportswear firm’s design team. It is the lightest that we have seen on any PUMA shoe. The result is a shoe that is as well-ventilated as they come!
The Deviate NITRO will keep your feet dry during even the longest of run thanks to its moisture dissipation capabilities. We tried the shoe out in temperatures ranging from 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit over distances of three to five miles without any wet sock issues. The upper also keeps the feet cool from front to back.
Our concern about the lightweight upper causing cold feet and toes in cooler temperatures turn out to be a non-issue. The PUMA Deviate NITRO’s upper does not let in the cold and your feet remain at a comfortable temperature even in the cold.
In the Gym
As athletes we wear our trainers for multiple purposes that often occur in sequence. So it is no surprise that we took the PUMA Deviate NITRO into the gym on multiple occasions for wear during weight training.
Although it is not marketed as such the Deviate NITRO performs quite well as a cross trainer. It provides great foot support for just about any free weight or machine upper body exercise that you can think of ranging from pushing moves to pulling motions to TRX suspension training.
The Deviate’s thick soles are fine for leg exercises in which the feet do not make surface contact with weights or the floor such as extensions and curls. You will be able to perform adequate squats, leg presses and calf raises in them. However, the sole width does not allow for the contact required to fully stimulate the muscles being trained. Stick with thinner soles or even bare feet for those moves.
Our tester wore the PUMA Deviate NITRO for two weeks of running and gym training. This amounted to thirty miles of track and road work and fifteen hours in the gym. After all of that activity the Deviate still looks like a new shoe. Its only signs of wear are dirt picked up on its offwhite upper and some creasing towards the front of the mesh upper. Neither is unexpected. They are just part of the initial life of a running shoe.
The PUMAGRIP durable rubber used for the Deviate NITRO’s sole goes beyond its all-surface traction by adding good scruff and abrasion protection. The bottoms of the soles look the same as the day we unboxed the shoe despite the mileage that we put on them.
Based on what we have experienced so far, we expect the PUMA Deviate NITRO to provide us with at least a year and a half of running use.
Stellar in appearance and brilliant in performance, the Deviate NITRO marks an excellent return for PUMA Running in 2021. The shoe is lightweight, responsive, and versatile across any distance. It is definitely worth a long look if you’re in the market for trainers to maintain your fitness level this spring. The shoe has an MSRP of $160 which is actually quite affordable for high end running shoes.