Verdict from 4 experts and 5 user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • Ride: The Deviate Nitro Elite has some "solid bounce" comparable to the ZoomX but with more control. It offers a responsive yet smooth ride. 
  • Toe room: It's wide and spacious, giving enough room for toe splay and swelling. 
  • Natural feel: Unlike other plated super shoes, the Nitro Elite's carbon-fiber plate is not overdone. It has some flexibility, eliminating the sensation of rigidity while allowing seamless roll-through. 
  • Heel lock: Despite not having a heel counter, runners report that there's no heel slippage. 
  • Fit: It doesn't have a super snug race fit. It's accomodating, especially for runners with wide feet. For those with medium to slightly narrow feet, it has "terrific" security. 
  • Lightweight: According to experts, it's one of the lightest racing flats they've ever run in. 
  • Ventilation: "It breathes insane." This is what athletes have to say about the upper. It's translucent, see-through, and very airy. 
  • Durability: After 40 miles, the shoe still has NO signs of wear and tear on the outsole. The foam, meanwhile, is still as responsive. 
  • Stability: When taking on hard turns at high speed, testers never felt wobbly nor slipping. 

2 reasons not to buy

  • Synthetic-feeling upper: Multiple experts are not fans of the upper. The plastic-like texture feels coarse and rough.
  • Tongue slippage: It's not gusseted or attached to the midfoot straps, making it flop around. 

Bottom line

Think of the New Balance FuelCell Rebel v2 but with a plate — that's the Deviate Nitro Elite from Puma. It's almost like a traditional racing shoe with the pop and bounce of the newer super shoes on the market. And with its natural-feeling ride, it "excels" in long-distance efforts in uptempo paces. 

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite: Run fast like a cat! 

There are two distinct features of the Deviate Nitro Elite that take it to the ranks of the renowned Vaporfly, Alphafly, and Adios Pro. With this at hand, it gives you a clear picture of what the shoe is about — it will not only make you feel like an elite but will also make you run like one. In other words, it's nothing short of fast, and here is what makes it a reliable race-day speedster: 

  • Carbon-fiber plate. Unlike other plated shoes, the Deviate Nitro Elite's carbon plate is flexible in the forefoot. This gives more spring during toe-off and contributes to the shoe's unobtrusive, comfortable feel.  
  • Nitro Elite foam. It's "soft and bouncy" and is reminiscent of Nike's ZoomX foam. It has excellent rebound, driving the runner forward. 

These two components complement each other very well. Given the ample bounce from the midsole, the carbon-fiber plate is there to balance it out with its semi-rigid properties. And what makes an effective speed shoe — the optimal balance between softness, bounce, and stiffness — the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite has perfected. 

More controlled than the ZoomX

Yes, the Deviate Nitro Elite may be close to the ZoomX foam, but with its balance between rigidity, responsiveness, and cushion, it's deemed more stable. This is also influenced by its supportive features like the mild sidewalls and the sole flare. Together, these lock the heel in place and keep the foot centered. 

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite: What is it for? 

  • Long-distance races
  • Tempo runs
  • Short and long intervals

NOT for: 

  • Recovery pace (too bouncy, making the ride awkward) 

Rankings

How Puma Deviate Nitro Elite ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 16% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 11% Puma running shoes
All Puma running shoes
Top 31% maximalist running shoes
All maximalist running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of Puma Deviate Nitro Elite.
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Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.