Puma is trying to reinvigorate the running scene with some dedicated gear to promote you moving forward, and there’s no doubt that the company’s Deviate Nitro running shoes do that; but should they be in your street-stomping arsenal?
The Deviate Nitro is part of the new running-centric line launched with five fresh silhouettes that work to rebuild Puma’s running category from scratch. This flagship model, alongside the Deviate Elite, Velocity, Liberate, and Eternity, all feature Puma’s new Nitro foam technology, whereby nitrogen is injected into the sole in order to soften and cushion the foam further, but Puma emphasises that while other brands have similar processes with their soles, it’s the superior quality of the raw materials which sets the new line apart.
Slipping on these runners for the first time, you’ll immediately find more spring in my step (quite literally) and noticeably more cushioning. Designed as a daily training shoe for serious runners, the Puma Deviate Nitro aims to make your long runs, easy runs.
While these shoes weren’t designed as a speed shoe, they feel and fit more like a race shoe than any usual everyday running shoes. Pros who have more than one pair of running shoes will no doubt train in these Deviate Nitros and race in the Deviate Elite, but for us mere mortals with a few marathons under the belt, but no trophies to show for it, the Deviate Nitro will be ideal for both training and race day.
Running in the Deviate Nitro contributed to my runs feeling comfortable and easy, rather than a pavement-pounding slog. There’s clearly a focus on energy-return, and I noticed that the extra bounce and quick feedback you get from the shoe undoubtedly propels you forward. While this sounds like a gimmick, it’s true. The new ultra-lightweight curved carbon fibre plate, known as the Innoplate and which runs through the sole of the shoe, also gives a bit of a tilt and higher nose and makes you feel like you’re almost ‘rolling’ forward with each step. Going down some stairs in these bad boys almost made me overshoot the next steep, so the raised heel and forward-leaning silhouette definitely contribute to your momentum.
Whether it’s a placebo effect from the extra bouncy feeling or the stellar technology crammed into the Deviate Nitro, there was also an improvement in running form. To compensate for the sheer height and raised-heel of the shoe, I was running a lot more upright and getting a better extension in my knees. Having the right support and angle of your planting foot is important, and this definitely goes a long way in correcting the domino-effect of your running posture.
The cushioning in this shoe is impressive and the improved efficiency on long runs is unquestionable. The fit is great too; I was able to lace-up and go from my first run with no need to break them in. There’s a very soft mesh upper which pliable and soft on your foot while still feeling secure.
The Puma Deviate Nitro might feel quite unlike the usual runners you pick up, but that’s not a bad thing. The silo and rocking-chair-like design of the forefoot is a reminder of the difference a running shoe can make to your stride and posture, while also enhancing the speed of your run. The price (R4,000) may be a hurdle for some, but with the Deviate Nitros, you’re getting some of the best technology in the running game in a product that leaves no second-guesses about cushioning and support.