Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Introduction
The Deviate Nitro was one of the pleasant surprises for me last year. I had never tried a Puma running shoe before and the Deviate Nitro was really impressive. It had a carbon composite plate which was propulsive but forgiving and its energetic supercritical midsole was a delight.
It was softer than most plated trainers with only the Endorphin Speed 2 and FuelCell TC being softer. The big difference with the Deviate Nitro was that it had a very stable ride compared to its competitors.
The Deviate Nitro suffered from one big flaw which prevented me from recommending it: the hard heel tab dug into my achilles and made runs uncomfortable. I had to loosen the laces so that there was a space between my achilles and the heel tab but then I experienced heel slippage which made the ride less engaging. I wasn’t the only one who had this problem- some runners even developed blisters because of the badly designed heel tab.
This year’s Deviate Nitro 2 has received substantial upgrades. It now has Nitro Elite foam in its midsole which is the same foam that’s in Puma’s flagship racer, the Deviate Elite. It also has new upper and outsole designs.
V2 weighs 260 g (9.2 oz) which is a slight increase over the original version which came in at 257 g (9.1 oz). Puma doesn’t specify how thick the heel and forefoot are but they state a 6 mm drop on their website.
Puma Deviate Nitro 2 First Impressions
My first run was a 17 kilometre easy run at 5:37 minutes per km (8:36 per mile) and I was very happy with the updates. The most noticeable thing was the redesigned heel tab which was comfortable and caused me no issues.
The ride was slightly softer than the first version but not as soft as the Deviate Elite with a full Nitro Elite midsole. The plate in the midsole was about the same rigidity as the original, with enough flexibility to make slow paces comfortable.
I did notice that the toe-box felt a bit snug and constricting due to the low toe-box ceiling. I stopped a couple times to try to loosen the laces at the bottom of the lacing area. I was wearing thick socks but I only wore thin socks in the Deviate Nitro 2 on runs after that one and it didn’t bother me anymore.
It had just rained and the ground was wet but the Deviate Nitro 2’s outsole gripped spectacularly well. My first impression of V2 was excellent.
Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Upper
The most important change to the upper is that the heel tab and collar are padded for extra comfort so the heel tab doesn’t dig into your achilles anymore and there is no heel irritation whatsoever. The internal heel counter provides a good, secure lockdown and I didn’t experience heel slippage.
The engineered mesh feels lighter and thinner than version 1, so it’s more breathable and it conforms to your feet better. There’s a new PWRTAPE overlay on the medial side which provides structure and support but you don’t feel it while running.
The tongue is flat with a small amount of padding to protect from lacing pressure. It’s gusseted and one of the few flat tongues which don’t slide around. There are large reflective panels on the back of the heels for low-light visibility.
The Deviate Nitro 2 has a true to size fit with a narrow forefoot and toe box so it’s not suitable for wide feet. The toe-box ceiling is also very low so if you have a high volume feel, I suggest trying it on first before purchasing.
Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Sole Unit
In my opinion, the Deviate Nitro 2 has a just-right ride when it comes to cushioning softness. The supercritical foams in the midsole provide a really energetic and fun experience which makes me look forward to running in it. At slow paces the midsole feels bouncy while at fast paces it feels snappy.
The midsole of the Deviate Nitro 2 consists of a dual foam setup of Nitro Elite which is a nitrogen-infused PEBA and Nitro which is a nitrogen-infused EVA. The firmer Nitro foam is situated in the heel, with softer Nitro Elite foam in the midfoot and forefoot so the heel has firmer cushioning than the forefoot.
This setup allows for natural, forward-rolling transitions as you land on your heel and transition through to the midfoot, then forefoot; the Deviate Nitro 2 feels more efficient because of this setup. There’s a big difference in densities between the 2 foams, unlike in the Magic Speed 2 which has 2 firm foams, so the Deviate Nitro 2 feels a lot more dynamic and engaging.
The Deviate Nitro 2 has a carbon composite plate which is S-shaped so it dips down in the forefoot for more propulsive toe-offs. The plate is stiffer than most plates in training shoes- stiffer than trainers such as the Endorphin Speed 3, Tempo Next% and the KD900X. It’s about the same stiffness as the Magic Speed 2 which gives it a fast, racing feel.
When it comes to versatility, the Deviate Nitro 2 is king and you can really use it for anything. I found it soft and stable enough for easy paces above 5 minutes 30 per km as well as zippy enough for anything faster. It would also make an excellent marathon racer due to its high level of cushioning and its propulsive plate. The longest run I did in it was 30 kilometres and it was really comfortable throughout the run.
The Pumagrip outsole is my favourite component of the Deviate Nitro 2 and it’s the best outsole I’ve tested all year. It has new, “water droplet” lugs in the forefoot and with each footstrike, you can hear and feel the rubber lugs gripping the surface like claws. There is some exposed midsole foam in the midfoot but durability is still great and there is very little wear showing after 80 kilometres so you can get high mileage out of it.
Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Conclusions
The Deviate Nitro 2 is a superb update. Puma has managed to fix the heel tab issue as well as make it softer and more comfortable. It’s also the same price as last year which makes it cheaper than the Endorphin Speed 3 (arguably the leader in this category).
The Deviate Nitro 2 is a really versatile trainer which can also double up as a racer because the soft Nitro Elite foam provides an energetic, cushioned ride for slow or uptempo paces. The carbon composite plate has enough flex to make it comfortable during easy runs and it is stiff enough to provide a punch during tempo runs.
I use my pair for moderately-paced, steady runs as well as long runs so it will definitely stay in my rotation. What I enjoy most about the Deviate Nitro 2 is how well-rounded it is: it’s stable, durable, cushioned, lively and it looks great as well.
The only other plated training shoe which I have enjoyed as much as the Deviate Nitro 2 this year is the SuperComp Trainer but that shoe is heavier and $20 more than the Deviate Nitro 2. The SuperComp Trainer does have a higher level of cushioning and is more stable than the Deviate Nitro 2 so it’s a better long run shoe but it feels more sluggish on shorter distances.