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Puma Deviate NITRO Elite 2 Review

Puma Deviate NITRO Elite 2 Introduction

The Deviate Elite used to be Puma’s top-of-the-range marathon racing shoe. Over the past year, the new Puma Fast R NITRO Elite super shoe has been launched and it costs a whopping $50 more than the Deviate Elite. The Puma elite runners however are still choosing to race marathons in the Deviate Elite and not the Fast R Elite.

This tells us that the Deviate Elite has better stability and/or cushioning than the Fast R and that it’s better suited to long distances like full marathons.

When I tested the Deviate Nitro Elite 1 last year, I liked how durable and stable it was but I felt that it was a bit too soft for racing in- I didn’t feel enough propulsion coming from its midsole and plate geometry. I hoped that the Deviate Elite 2 would have a thicker midsole and a more aggressive sole setup.

The Deviate Elite 2 looks similar in appearance to the first version but its upper, midsole and outsole have all been redone. The carbon plate inside it also has an updated design.

The Deviate Elite 2 has midsole stack heights of 36 mm (heel) and 28 mm (forefoot) which is exactly the same as version 1. It weighs 7.4 oz (210 g) which is a lot heavier than its predecessor, 0.6 oz (17 g) to be exact. The weight increase comes from the new upper and outsole rubber. It has also received a big $20 price increase which now makes it $220 and almost the same price as the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3.

This is the Singapore Marathon special edition of the Deviate Elite 2 which was launched at the Singapore Marathon Expo and it’s called the Electrocharged colourway. It has a custom Singapore Marathon logo insole which is glued down to the strobel lining.

Puma Deviate NITRO Elite 2 First Impressions

My first run in it was a 30 km weekend run at a moderate pace. Overall, it felt similar to the original Deviate Elite however I did notice that it had a slightly firmer ride.

The toe-off felt more powerful as a result of the new carbon plate shape and the ride felt more efficient, not as mushy thanks to the new foam density.

I also noticed that the new upper felt a lot more built-up and much more comfortable than the minimal upper of the first version. Lockdown felt better in this new upper.

I was pleasantly surprised by the improved ride which had changed more than I had expected. The long run felt really effortless and comfort was superb.

Puma Deviate NITRO Elite 2 Upper

The new upper is made from an engineered mesh, unlike v1 which was made from mono-mesh. It feels noticeably thicker and it also doesn’t breathe as well but it feels less plastic-like.

Another big difference is that there is now more padding on the inside of the collar so there’s more comfort around the ankle and heel lockdown feels better. This makes the Deviate Elite 2 feel more comfortable and race-ready.

My favorite update is the tongue which is now attached on both sides to the upper. There’s no lateral tongue slide in the Deviate Elite 2 which was a peeve I had with v1. The Puma logos on the heels are reflective so you can wear them for training runs in low light.

The fit is true to size with a spacious forefoot/toe-box and I’d say that it’s one of the more comfortable super shoes. This year’s version runs shorter than last year’s so you don’t have to go a half size down.

Puma Deviate NITRO Elite 2 Sole Unit

There are only 2 super shoes which I found too soft for racing in: the New Balance SC Elite and the Puma Deviate Elite. Both of them use supercritical midsoles and in both shoes I felt like I was losing too much energy in the midsole foam. Both companies must have listened to the feedback because the latest versions of their racers have firmer rides.

In the Deviate Elite 2, the Nitro Elite foam is a Nitrogen-infused PEBA foam and it feels slightly firmer than the first version. This is good news for runners who felt like the first version was too mushy. I now enjoy doing faster workouts like short intervals in the Deviate Elite 2 because of the firmed up ride.

It’s still one of the softest super shoes on the market. It’s not as soft as the New Balance Elite v3 but it’s way softer than the Alphafly 2, Endorphin Elite, Metaspeed Sky+ and Carbon X3. If you prefer firm rides, the Deviate Elite 2 might be a bit too soft for you.

The carbon plate in the first version of the Deviate Elite was forked with 2 prongs (just like in the Deviate Nitro training shoe) but the new plate has a more traditional, filled-in shape and this is what provides a stiffer forefoot with more powerful toe-offs. There’s more resistance when the shoe flexes, so it feels more snappy.

I find it easier to pick up the pace in the second version and I like the more prominent-feeling plate. The plate is still relatively flexible compared to other carbon-plated racers such as the Endorphin Pro 3, Vaporfly 2, and the Adios Pro 3 so the Deviate Elite 2 has more natural transitions and is easier on the calves.

The Deviate Elite 2 excels at long training runs which are slower-paced than workouts and races. It has friendlier transitions than other super stiff, plated shoes but it still feels efficient and energy-saving. Runs over 3 hours are a pleasure in the Deviate Elite 2.

Being one of the lower stack super shoes at only 36 mm in the heel, the Deviate Elite 2 feels relatively stable even though its midsole is soft. Sharp turns are comfortable and easy to do in the Elite 2 and if you’re a light overpronator, the Deviate Elite 2 should have a stable enough ride. It also feels comfortable at easy paces (above 5 minutes 30 seconds per km/8 minutes per mile) so if you’re a slower runner, it will still feel stable and smooth.

The outsole rubber has been changed from PUMAGRIP LT to normal PUMAGRIP which you find in the other Puma training shoes. This is a thicker and more durable rubber than that which was on the Deviate Elite 1. It also adds some extra weight though.

Durability is sensational. After testing the shoe, there is minor wear showing on the outsole and there is minimal midsole creasing. This is hands down the most durable super shoe I’ve tested.

Just like on the Deviate Nitro 2, the forefoot lugs have been changed to a teardrop shape and I find traction to be incredible; it grips well in all types of weather conditions.

Another new addition to the outsole is a shallow decoupled groove underneath the rearfoot. This makes the heel feel more lively and more dynamic.

Puma Deviate NITRO Elite 2 Conclusions

I prefer the Deviate Elite 2 to the first version. The firmer foam combined with the new carbon plate makes the shoe more propulsive and faster-feeling. The upper is also more comfortable and it feels more polished overall. It has gained a lot of weight though and it has also increased in price but I’d still pick version 2 over version 1.

If the Deviate Elite 2 had remained at $200, it would have been outstanding value for money and it would have been a steal. It’s the most durable super shoe and it’s also incredibly versatile.

However, at $225, the Endorphin Pro 3 is a faster, and more propulsive option which I’d recommend over the Deviate Elite 2 for racing in. The Endorphin Pro 3 has a thicker midsole with deeper cushioning and it has a more aggressive sole setup with a higher toe spring.

If you want a tough super shoe that you can race in as well as train in, the Deviate Elite 2 is an excellent option. It has plenty of thick rubber coverage and its resilient foam is resistant to scuffing and chips. You can use it for all types of runs including intervals, tempos, short races, and marathons.

Even though it has improved, the Deviate Elite 2 still isn’t a top-tier racer. It could be further improved by maximizing its stack height to the 40 mm limit (it’s currently only at 36 mm) and by making its carbon plate steeper at the forefoot which would result in more speed assistance.

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