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Puma Velocity Nitro 3 Review: The Do-It-All Running Shoe Without a Ridiculous Price-Tag

Puma’s elevated Velocity Nitro 3 running shoe will make you seriously consider an upgrade. Check out our review.

Jeremy Proome

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There are certain criteria that all runners generally look for when choosing running shoes — comfort, performance, ride quality, and the fit of the shoe — that allow you to run your best, no matter the distance or your ability. The Puma Velocity Nitro 3 running shoe ticks all these boxes, while also adding a dose of innovation into the mix. The latest release in Puma’s award-winning and much-loved Velocity Nitro range, the Velocity Nitro 3 promises to enable runners to experience running the way it should feel.

The Nitro 3 became go-to for many runners upon its release, and for good reason, and the third iteration evolves the standout features to make it an even more alluring running option.

The unique two-foam combination of Puma’s innovative Nitrofoam (a nitrogen-infused foam technology that provides explosive energy) and Profoamlite, ensures you have the cushion, comfort and versatility you need to conquer all types of distance. The midsole is where most of the secret sauce of this shoe lies.

The Velocity Nitro 3 features more Nitro than its predecessor, yet maintains its lightweight promise, to give runners a daily training shoe that delivers everything a runner wants and more. This time around, the shoe offers runners a 2mm extra stack in the heel, with a 36mm stack in the heel and a 10mm drop.

You get that extra stack without the extra weight, making this an impressive improvement from the Velocity Nitro 2. The men’s size 9UK weighs in at just 280 grams, giving you an easy breezy running experience even when your legs are feeling tired near the end of a long run.

To add stability and help stabilise the softer Nitrofoam, the firmer EVA Profoam joins the party in the midsole. This firmer foam offers some rigidity to the shoe while also helping to improve the durability of the shoe and cushioning. Of course, the bulk of the midsole is made of Puma’s Nitrofoam, so the shoe still has that lovely soft and cushioned feel.

When running in a shoe in this class and category you feel like they should only be easy trainers, but these kicks picked up the pace extremely well. While a shoe doesn’t make the runner, the Nitro Deviate 3 sure as hell delivers a lot of oomph to take the strain off your lower limbs and get you moving forward easier.

I found that I was getting a lot of bounce from the midsole throughout runs, and the first kilometre or two (which is often the hardest to get into the flow) seemed a lot easier thanks to the clear impact absorption even when running at a slower pace. Once you get going though, the Velocity Nitro 3 really shines when at an open stride thanks to the comfort and energy return delivered with each plant of the foot.

There’s a considerable amount of foam in the Velocity Nitro 3, but it’s not quite as unstable on the foot as some of its competitors. With some softer foams, you feel like your ankle is a little wobbly, but you get so much support with this shoe and the addition of the firmer EVA foam helps to rein in the bounce and avoid that ‘one-giant-leap-for-man-kind’ moon landing feeling. Sure, the extra few millimetres of Nitro foam adds more bounce to the shoe, but there’s a balanced feeling underfoot.

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The Velocity Nitro 3 is also more versatile than previous versions, with the running shoe edging towards being a shoe that casual runners can use as a ‘do-it-all’ running shoe. I’d happily use it for recovery runs or longer, slower runs rather than just a daily training shoe. At steady passes the shoe does well, and it’s light enough for faster bursts as well as a a gentle plod. With the shoe now edging towards longer runs, it’s a real bonus for anyone who doesn’t have the funds to invest in a daily training shoe and a race day shoe.

For the newly launched Velocity Nitro 3, Puma placed comfort high on the priority list. Not just in the extra cushioning in the midsole, but in the upper as well. For the Nitro 3, Puma redesigned the tongue and laces so that the shoe encases the foot for a reassuring and stable fit. I am a big fan of the boot-style construction of the upper tongue, which ensures a perfectly snug fit every time. The breathable mesh upper is lined with a Pumas Pwrtape, providing targetted support and structure in areas most prone to stress, whilst the rolled collar is reinforced with foam to enhance comfort and fit.

What’s more, the toe box is wider so there’s a little more room in the forefoot. This widened toe box is key to allowing your toes to splay out on every stride, giving you a more stable ride. A wider toe box also means the Velocity Nitro 3 is more accommodating for different feet now that your toes don’t feel pulled together.

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The upper is also more breathable and less bulky this time around, giving it a sleek fit. The fit of the shoe is enhanced by a semi-rigid heel counter that springs back nicely with every stride. It’s nice and sturdy with plush cushioning for a comfortable feel.

An impressive feature well worth mentioning in the upper is the addition of medial support on the inner side of the shoe. Puma’s Pwrtape functions as targeted upper reinforcement to add stability to the inside arch for those who overpronate. This simple solution is key to helping prevent that inward collapsing of the foot that can cause shin splints as well as ankle, knee, and other joint issues during and after a long run.

With this added support you feel as though the shoe is gently braceing your foot, while guarding against that extra motion that can cause injury. If you run in neutral shoes but sometimes have a habit of your ankles collapsing in too much and you’re getting tightness in the inside of the legs, then the Velocity Nitro 3 is worth considering.

The final puzzle piece in this new release is the Pumagrip outsole. The Pumagrip on the Velocity Nitro 3 is quite a departure from the previous model. It’s covering more ground this time around, making the new version more versatile. The rubber flexes and assists the midsole to produce that nice smooth feel, protect the foam, and cover all the high-wearing areas. It’s a great outsole that offers maximum, multi-surface traction, empowering you to move forward with confidence. This hard-wearing outsole is sure to help the shoe last for a very long time, ensuring you get the full promised 800km lifespan.

But, we haven’t chatted about what truly sets this shoe apart from its peers. The price. At R2,599, the Puma Velocity Nitro 3 is one of the best value running shoes available. It’s a bonkers price for what you’re getting in this shoe. This shoe is easily a better pick-up than other competitor models as we see daily training shoe prices on an upward trajectory. It is not only cheaper than most similar shoes from other brands but also more flexible to use for a range of runs and distances. With the Nitro 3 you’re getting a good all-rounder, making it an ideal choice for runners who use one pair of shoes at a time.

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