As with the original Puma Deviate Nitro Elite, this second version is a carbon super-shoe that offers value as well as a high level of performance. It doesn’t match the best carbon plate racers available, but is cheaper and offers more versatility as a trainer/racer.
- Versatile trainer/racer
- Great grip
- Cheaper than other super-shoes
- Heavier than original
- Faster shoes available
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The original Deviate Nitro Elite was Puma’s first crack at a carbon super-shoe and its bona fides were established when Molly Seidel wore it while winning bronze in the marathon at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Since then Puma has launched two other carbon shoes, the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite and Fast-R Nitro Elite, making its range a little confusing. The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is the pick of the bunch, being well suited to races of all distances and relatively affordable. It’s one of the best carbon plate running shoes available based on value and versatility, though it lacks the punch of top performers like the Nike Vaporfly.
Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 Review: Price And Availability
The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 launched in February 2023 and costs $200 in the US and £175 in the UK. That’s cheaper than most carbon plate shoes, including Puma’s other options – the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite, which is $220/£200, and the Fast-R Nitro Elite, which is $250/£220.
Design And Fit
Puma has also changed the carbon plate in the shoe from the forked INNOPLATE used in the Deviate Nitro Elite to the PWRPLATE used on the Fast-FWD and Fast-R shoes. This creates a stiffer feel and a more propulsive toe-off in the Elite 2.
The midsole is made from Puma’s nitrogen-infused, PEBA-based Nitro Elite foam, which is soft and springy. The stack height is 36mm at the heel and 28mm at the forefoot, which is comfortably below the 40mm limit set by World Athletics and means the Elite 2 is a little more stable and grounded than other super-shoes.
Most Puma shoes have excellent outsoles and this is true of the Elite 2, with a pretty thick layer of PUMAGRIP rubber used to cover the forefoot, and with two strips of rubber at the back of the shoe. This is more substantial than the outsole on the original Elite, again contributing to the extra weight, but increasing the grip and durability offered by the Elite 2.
Within Puma’s range the Nitro Elite 2 is a lightweight all-distance racer, whereas the even lighter Fast-FWD is the 5K and 10K shoe and the Fast-R is a heavier, more propulsive option for longer races.
How I Tested This Shoe
I’ve run 45km in the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2, using it for a parkrun as well as several training runs at a mix of paces. I have also tested the Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite and Fast-R Nitro Elite, as well as the Deviate Nitro Elite.
The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 has all the features of a carbon super-shoe but the ride does not immediately stand out in the same way as the likes of the Vaporfly or Asics Metaspeed Sky+. It’s bouncy and soft, but the relatively low stack height means it feels less springy and propulsive than other shoes.
The rocker isn’t as aggressive as those on the likes of the Saucony Endorphin Elite or New Balance SC Elite v3 either, though the toe-off feels firmer and more explosive than on the original Deviate Nitro Elite.
I’ve found you can use the Nitro Elite 2 for a variety of runs, and it feels comfortable and stable at slower paces, before livening up when you start hitting your straps.
I’ve been testing the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 at the same time as the Mizuno Wave Rebellion Pro, and the differences between the two show off the qualities and shortcomings of the Puma. The Mizuno is an outrageously bouncy shoe and faster for racing, especially over long distances, but also awkward to use on twisty runs and not one you’d reach for often in training.
Meanwhile, the Puma has a more grounded and natural ride and it’s a shoe I could use every day if I wanted. During my testing it was the only shoe I took on a weekend away, when I used it for a parkrun, a training run moving from easy to steady pace, and a long run in an icy forest where the PUMAGRIP outsole shone.
There aren’t many carbon super-shoes I’d use in that way, and it’s not like you’re losing a huge amount in races either. I ran 16min 39sec in the parkrun, which also had icy patches where the Elite 2’s grip was valuable – faster than I expected given my current fitness.
For a goal race the Mizuno is the shoe I’d use, or one of several other carbon shoes that I find quicker than the Puma. The rest of the time the Nitro Elite 2 would get a lot more use. And it’s still great on race day.
Is The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 Worth It?
The Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is a hard shoe to judge. The level of performance it offers isn’t as high as that of the best carbon plate shoes available, like the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2, Asics Metaspeed Sky+, Saucony Endorphin Elite or New Balance SC Elite v3. However it is more versatile, and it really isn’t far off the standards of those top-range shoes.
If you’re simply looking for the best racing shoe you can get, the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 isn’t it. But if you want a more affordable carbon shoe that can handle a lot of training and offers better grip than most, then it’s a solid option.
For the moment you can get excellent deals on the original Deviate Nitro Elite, which I would be tempted by since it matches up well against the Elite 2 – especially when used for shorter runs, since it’s lighter.
Within Puma’s range the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is the best all-round carbon option. I find the ride more natural and enjoyable than the Fast-R for longer runs, while the Fast-FWD is impressive for short events, but much less versatile than the Elite 2, which is still a great short-distance racing option. That the Elite 2 is cheaper and better suited for use in a lot of training also helps its case.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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