PUMA Velocity Nitro review and lab test

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The PUMA Velocity Nitro is a budget-friendly runner from a shoe giant that’s been sleeping for the past few years. It’s great to see PUMA wake up with a shoe that’s getting all the basics right and even stretching to a few things we’d usually expect from a higher-priced shoe.

Who the shoe is for

The PUMA Velocity is a super-capable, neutral daily runner aimed at consumers who want a shoe that they can just slip on and take out on a run whether it’s a 5km or a marathon! It’s a versatile shoe that will serve practically anyone. 

Who the PUMA Velocity Nitro is not for

The Velocity Nitro might not be for you if you:  

A tried and tested design

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In a UK Mens 9/US Mens 10 the PUMA Velocity Nitro comes in at 10oz (283g) is definitely not the lightest shoe out there. There are a few obvious reasons for this which I’ll address later, but the most glaring is the TPU version of a carbon plate and the chunky outsole. 

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To be fair, at this price point I wouldn't have expected a shoe to even have these features, so I can forgive the weight. Otherwise the shoe is built well and fits true to size. With an engineered mesh upper that stretches enough to accommodate wider feet, there’s little to complain about from the top. 

Excellent lockdown

When I find a more budget-friendly running shoe, I almost always see price savings in the lacing. Both in the eyelet design and more than anything in the laces themselves. 

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The PUMA Velocity Nitro excelled in both of these. With thin eyelets that lock easily to keep consistent tension (similar to the Nike Pegasus 38) paired with a nice, rounded heel cup I felt easily secure once into the shoe. 

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The laces are also perfect, in length and in the material. Taking 41.2N in the lace-slip test, these are up there with some of the best laces we’ve tested!

The PUMA Velocity Nitro has a dual-density midsole

PUMA somehow managed to squeeze a dual-density midsole into the Velocity Nitro. The softer section- which runs the length of the shoe-has a Durometer of 39.5HA is pretty soft and results in a really comfy, plush ride. 

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Under the heel PUMA has added a firmer section of foam, probably to stabilize all of that plushy foam throughout, this has a Durometer of 43.5HA which isn’t really that hard as well. I probably would have preferred an even stiff foam because I found the Velocity Nitro to be a little unstable at high speeds. 

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It’s possibly a weight-saving measure for it not to be overly firm (soft foam tends to be less dense and therefore lighter), but with a firmer heel, the PUMA would be even more capable. 

The PUMA Velocity Nitro looks speedy…but

The Velocity Nitro looks like it’s put a TPU shank running through the entire shoe, which would help with energy return. Being cynical, I think this is what they want you to think looking at the shoe. 

In reality, the soft plastic goes about 10mm into the heel, and in PUMA’s words is for increased “proprioception”, which is jargon for knowing where your foot is. I really didn’t notice this at all, but that’s probably because I already knew where my foot is. 

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The Velocity Nitro has very little else to suggest it’s a fast shoe and I don’t think that’s a problem. Thanks to the padding, it’\s a comfortable, soft shoe and is stable. It does provide some energy return, with a flexibility score of 35.1N there’s something there to push back, but nothing close to what you’d expect from a shoe is TPU in the midsole.

I think it’s most important to view these things in the context of their price point, the shoe is marketed at recreational runners, and while you can run a marathon in these, you wouldn't want to do a sub-3-hour marathon in them. 

The PUMA Velocity Nitro looks a bit dull

Definitely a popular shoe, I could only get hold of the Black/Green “Glare” colorway. I’ve got to say it looks a lot like a bad kids shoe that’s been enlarged. The plastic shank looks cheap and the color contrast is a bit off. I’ve seen other colorways that are definitely an improvement on this one, but the overall look is a bit lackluster. 

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The PUMA grip is claw-like

This is where I was really impressed with the PUMA Velocity Nitro, the grip was absolutely incredible. With 3.5mm of rubber, there’s quite a large chunk of it too so I trust it to last. I trusted it around corners on wet concrete and even a bit of dirt and gravel seemed fine! 

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Conclusion

The PUMA Velocity Nitro is a seriously impressive daily runner for the sub £100 price tag. There are obvious trade-offs, notably the weight, but I don’t think they’re enough to not pique most users' interests. Bottom line is that the shoe is versatile, comfortable, durable, and fun!

  PUMA Velocity Nitro Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g)

283

270
Drop (mm)

11.5

8.3
Flexibility of the shoe (N)

35.1

34.5
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 42.9 48
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 22.4 34.1
Lace slip test with the knot (N) 40 24
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)

3.0

3.2
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)

3.0

3.4
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 5.0 6.2
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 101.8 98.7
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 77.9 82.5
Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy) 3.0 2.7
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 3.0 3.0
Tongue: gusset type Full -
Heel: pull tab No -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 109.9 112.2
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 84.8 89.0
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 24.2 24.2
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 35.7 32.6
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 39.5 26.9
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 3.5 3.7
Lugs Depth (mm) NA 3.3
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 73.5 81.1
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 5.8 4.3
Insole: removable Yes  

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 9.1oz / Women 7.4oz
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Update: PUMA Velocity Nitro 2
Forefoot height: 24mm
Heel height: 32mm

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PUMA Velocity Nitro video reviews

Author
Doug Turner
Doug Turner

Doug is a Scottish documentary and fashion photographer and filmmaker. Stumbling into the sneaker game later than usual, he started out behind a camera through long hiking expeditions around the world. Seeking a cleaner aesthetic, Doug now works mostly in fashion and sport, opting for outdoor locations rather than a studio.