Let's start by saying that we loved the original Puma Deviate Nitro and this is another real step forward.
Plated racing shoes have been increasing at a steady rate, now plated training shoes are becoming popular. This was Puma's first and also the first more affordable carbon composite shoe - a great introduction to the next generation of running shoes. We ran faster in them and we rated them highly. Whether plated shoes have a real influence or perceived influence on actual run speed is less debated now than it was at first but we certainly felt great and haven't looked back when choosing speedwork sessions or racing shoes. The aspect we liked least was the strikingly original designed but dysfunctional extended heel collar. It was too thin to add to foot support and high which irritated some test runners by rubbing on their achilles. The outer was also a little soft wearing and low traction on slippery surfaces. Both of these major flaws have been remedied and turned into strengths of the latest iteration which are a great all round value, plated shoe. Here's why in a nutshell:
The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a softer riding and slightly more stable, plated trainer/racer. It has a mid to high level of cushioning and stability delivering a softer ride with the introduction of the new Nitro Elite foam in the midsole. This is the same form we saw in Puma's Deviate Elite racer. It's slightly more responsive with this full-length layer combined with a redesigned PWRPLATE lever adding to energy transfer at toe-off. The breathable mesh upper now includes additional padding and thus grip around the ankle to prevent heel slip. Improved traction and another striking gradient colorway keeps this pouncing cat in upfront in the style category.
Now let's talk tech. Stack heights of 38mm below the heel and 30mm below the forefoot delivers an 8mm mid range drop.
Weight: 272 grams in mens size 10.5 which is marginally more than the previous Nitro Deviate, but the beefed up heel collar and much improved outer grip are worth every gram & felt really good.
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. We enjoyed some easy road runs, a track speed session and a few all out tempo runs on the incredible new Technogym Run, the Rolls Royce of indoor running technology. Here's what we experienced on each aspect of the new shoe.
The Deviate Nitro 2 carbon composite plate is S-shaped so it drops down towards the forefoot for more propulsive toe-off. The plate is stiffer than most plates in training shoes which gives them a fast, racy feel. The first long run was great but did take some post run calf massage so don't rush into them if you aren't conditioned to plated shoes. We recommend training long runs in non plated, more cushioned shoes. The high level of cushioning and propulsive plate make these a great choice for a marathon racing shoe. The plate is propulsive but forgiving and the energetic midsole is a real plus. It feels softer than most plated trainers, but not as soft as the Deviate Elite with a full Nitro Elite midsole, and offers a more stable ride than many category competitors. The ride is slightly softer than the first version but the plate in the midsole is a similar rigidity to the original with enough flexibility to make slow paces comfortable.
Cushioning softness has become something we have a great range to choose from in vast modern shoe ranges. The critical foams in the midsole deliver a highly energised run experience which we loved yet at slow paces the midsole feel remained bouncy while at fast paces they delivered the forward kicking snap. The reason for this is the dual foam setup with firmer Nitro foam in the heel and softer Nitro Elite foam in the midfoot and forefoot. This delivers natural, forward-rolling transitions as you land on your heel and transition through to the midfoot, then forefoot because in the Nitro 2 there’s a big difference in densities between the 2 foams.
The engineered mesh upper feels lighter and thinner than version 1, so it’s more breathable and it conforms to your feet better. Some noticed that the Deviate Nitro original toe-box felt a bit tight due to the low toe-box ceiling, but the Deviate Nitro 2 didn't bother anyone so this modified shape and fabric flexibility works. There’s a new PWRTAPE overlay on the medial side (your foot arch) which provides some structure/support but you don’t notice it while running. The tongue is flat with a small amount of padding to protect from lace pressure. It’s gusseted and one of the rare flat tongues that doesn't slide around. Reflective panels on the heels are always reassuring in low light misty or darker conditions. The Deviate Nitro 2 has a true to size fit, i was a Euro 45 as always, but those with even wider feet that swell on hot runs might consider a size up given the slightly narrow forefoot and low ceiling toe-box.
The Pumagrip outsole has new water droplet lugs in the forefoot that grab the ground without slowing you down. There is exposed midsole foam in the midfoot that doesn't make ground contact so durability has been good, well over 100km in.
Verdict - if you’re looking for a durable and versatile speed shoe for training/racing, the Deviate Nitro 2 is softer and more lively than most of the plated trainers on the market.
That said, if you prefer a firmer ride or you have high volume feet, the Deviate Nitro 2 might not be for you. They are also a relatively rigid shoe, so if you prefer a more flexible trainer, these aren't for you. The Deviate NITRO 2 men’s and women’s are available on PUMA.com, PUMA Retail, Totalsports and SportSA Online. RRP R3 599.