Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Puma Running Voyage Nitro GTX Multi Tester Review. 8 Comparisons

Article by Jacob Brady, Jeremy Marie, Mike Potaski and Sam Winebaum

Puma Running Voyage GTX ($150)


Jacob:  have been following along with Puma’s recent excellence in the road running shoe realm (such as the Deviate Nitro Elite), but had not tried any Puma Nitro shoe myself. The Voyage Nitro GTX is a Gore-Tex waterproof high-cushion trail shoe which uses Puma’s modern, low density, high-rebound Nitro midsole foam which is cradled by a firmer material called PFlite. It is rare that the first shoe I run in from a brand is a heavy waterproof trail shoe. However, due to where I live in Maine, I have been using a Gore-Tex waterproof shoe for daily wear for the past few weeks and from this time of year (mid fall) all through winter every year. Through fall, winter, and spring, I wear a waterproof trail shoe while out of the house for walking my dog, going to the store, exploring, and other similar things to keep my feet warmer and dry. Thus the Voyage Nitro GTX came in for testing at a great time.

Mike P: Similar to Jacob - I also like Gore-Tex trail running shoes for casual use in rainy as well as cold weather. I haven’t had much success in using them for running though - I find them too heavy as compared to normal trail shoes, and while the warmth is good for casual use, I find my feet get too warm when actually running. My current casual GTX shoe is a Salomon XA Elevate GTX.  I’ve actually been looking to replace them, as I find the toe box too narrow at the front, making them uncomfortable for anything more than a short trip. I’ve also never run in any Puma shoe , so it will be good to see what they’ve been up to.


Jeremy: I’ve never been too fond of Gore-Tex shoes for running. The increased rigidity of the upper from the membrane, the increased weight, the loss of drainage capability led to too many drawbacks for me versus the expected gains, especially considering that the weather I run under is never that bad, and the Salomon SLab XAlpine do a very fine job for the about ten snowy days or the occasional winter mountain trip.

But Puma’s road offering this year (I’ve tested the Velocity and Liberate Nitro, and the Deviate Nitro Elite which all got rave reviews) has been quite a game changer for the brand, showing that they can  play with the big players in the industry.

As a consequence, even if reading the specs, the Voyage GTX might not fit with my preferred trail runner profile, I think that it can be an interesting “do it all” shoe, from easy trail outings during cold months , to hiking with the dog, no matter the weather. And considering the time of the year, it comes at a perfect time 

Sam: Pandemic supply issues and winter weather had Puma RTR offering the GTX version for our test. I am with the other guys on Gore-Tex in trail runners: walking, day hikes and runs in cold and through snow for me. Otherwise non Gore-Tex as the relative stiffness of such uppers can affect fit and for sure add weight, at least 1 oz. This said the newer Invisible Fit Gore-Tex significantly improves on fit and comfort although the Voyage is a more conventional Gore-Tex inner bootie construction.

Yes, we are at 12 oz in the GTX which adds a solid ounce to the shoe. Puma tells us the non GTX Voyage will weigh about 10.7 oz, about the same as a Speedgoat 4.

Understanding this, I wanted to focus on the ride. I was intrigued by the use of Puma’s Nitro foam, a supercritical nitrogen processed foam which is in a number of Puma outstanding new road shoes including the Deviate Elite worn to great success by Molly Seidel. 

Soft, bouncy and energetic all by itself Nitro (black above would not be an appropriate foam in a trail shoe as it is unstable but here… Puma embeds it as a central core surrounded by a firmer more conventional foam (gray above. . Nitro is super light so as a core it also helps reduce weight. 

And then we get a stout almost full coverage PumaGrip outsole to further stabilize the platform. 


Comfortable and secure fit - Jacob/Jeremy/Sam

Good style - Many compliments on the color - Jacob/Sam

Smooth and cushioned ride - Jacob/Jeremy/Sam

Notably soft and bouncy down the center (Nitro) while stable and supportive (outer EVA)

Very effective decoupling and easy flow forward on all surfaces: Sam/Jacob

Runs lighter and nimbler that it looks - Jeremy/Sam/Jacob

That PumaGrip compound! - Jeremy/Sam/Jacob

Excellent traction on all terrain - Jacob

PumaGrip is almost silent on the road and decently soft in feel, adding to the cushion. Sam/Jacob

Nice semi-bootie implementation, protecting from dirt and efficient collar- Jeremy

Warm, perfect for colder months - Jeremy/Jacob/Mike P


Though not heavy for a shoe in its class of high cushion waterproof shoes, it is heavy compared to most trail shoes - Jacob/Jeremy/Mike P /Sam

The style might not appeal to all, specially the turquoise color - Jeremy

Almost too warm, best use at 5°C/40F and lower - Jeremy/Mike P

Not as breathable as GTX says and not helped by the thick internal bootie-Jeremy

A bit narrow and shallow in the toebox - Jacob

Didn’t get a tight seal with the bootie - Mike P

Upper with GTX is overly stiff in the toe box, not a comfort or fit issue but lockdown: Sam

Unnatural, pointy toe box. Would go down ½ size for better fit, if not for toebox - Mike P


Approx Weight: men's 12 oz. / 340g (US9) 

men’s  11.75 oz / 333g US8.5, 382 g / 13.5 oz US12, 330g / 11.6 oz US9.5

355g/12.5 oz 10.5/EU44

Non GTX Voyage weighs 10.7 oz / 303g US9 

Stack Height: 32mm heel, 24mm forefoot, 8mm drop (plus sockliner)

Available Now.   $150 Voyage Nitro GTX,  $130 Voyage Nitro

First Impressions and Fit

Jacob: Out of the box, I loved the style of the Voyage Nitro GTX. It is relaxed and versatile which is nice for a shoe that I would wear whenever I was out walking, running, or exploring in cold months and wet conditions. On foot, the well-padded bootie construction is sock-like, lightly plush, and comfortable, but not overdone. Sizing is excellent with good lockdown but not too tight. Length is perfect but it is on the narrower and shallower side in the toe box. It isn’t problematic, but I have some light but notable pressure on my outer toes. After about 20 miles of walking, hiking, and running, the pressure lessened as the upper stretched enough and is now only noticeable with thicker socks.

Mike P: Hefty overall - upper material seems burly, on top of the thick outsole rubber coverage.  Pointy, shallow toe box - shallowness most noticeable on the pinky side. At US 9.5, I have a full thumb’s width up front (as I prefer), and the pointiness of the toe box is still noticeable. Not sure if it will be an issue while running but I think definitely an issue for those that prefer more volume in the toe box. 

The “tail” behind the heel is also noticeable, I don’t find these useful. On top of feeling like they provide no benefit, as a midfoot striker, I think they unnecessarily un-balance a shoe. I can see myself chopping this off later. Received these on my doorstep just as I was going out to run an errand. Put them on (with Drymax trail-weight socks), and when I got back my feet were noticeably clammy. Good for casual use in very cold weather, a bit warm for general running use. Wearing thin socks should help with the tight toe box as well as the warmth. 

Sam: A really sharp colorway that is bright but just muted enough not to shout. I have gotten many compliments about the color on the trails and around town.  

The fit is true to size in my US8.5. As the Voyage has a thick stretch bootie construction they are not easy to slip on but 2 helpful webbing loops do assist.  I do wish the toe box mesh and GTX, while fitting fine and securely, was less stiff and more foot conforming but this goes with the GTX bootie in the mix. 

Lace up has been easy and I have never had to adjust or felt pressure even when lacing snuggly. 

I question the webbing loop around the heel’s utility but appreciated the big tongue reflective highlight. 

Jeremy: I must confess that it was far from love at first sight with the Voyage GTX. The turquoise colorway is quite bold, but not in a way that I like for running shoes. 

It almost looks more like a lifestyle shoe than a running shoe . The shoe looks hefty, heavy, overbuilt...but once on foot, it reveals itself way lighter than it looks.

The fit around the heel, ankle and midfoot is very nice with the integrated bootie construction, but just as Mike, I found the front very pointy, whereas the shoe being the perfect length in my usual 10.5US. I miss some room exactly in the same place as Mike did, around the pinky toe.

But after some miles, the upper gained a bit of stretch (and I think the GTX layer might be the cause for the initial rigidity) and I did not feel excessive pressure point up front.

The two loops, one on the tongue and the other one on the heel are helpful to pull them on, but the loop at the base of the heel is still a mystery to me. The lacing is secure, stays tied and does not create pressure points on the top of the foot.

At the end of the day, and after some miles, I find it has a pleasant fit, comfortable, despite staying a bit harsh underfoot due to the full coverage, not decoupled outsole.


Mike P: I took them out for a run - and the whole run I thought the toebox definitely was shallow. Then I noticed when flexing the toe - the bottom of the lace eyelets and the tops of the toe bumper combine to form a crease that presses down right across the top of my toes. I think the pointy shape of the toe box really pushes that crease down. It didn’t cause blisters, but it was definitely uncomfortable. 

Perhaps the Gore-Tex upper needs some break-in. I did some leaf raking with very thin cycling socks and they felt much better. 

The bootie construction seems more aesthetic than functional.  It doesn’t seem to form a tight seal around my ankle. Maybe if you have a more “robust” ankle it may seal better?  I had some sand in both shoes after a wet, sandy run.  I took them out at 59F - they definitely felt warm - like sitting at home with slippers and thick wool socks. Outside of review testing, I wouldn’t run in these at any temps above freezing. 

Sam: I ran in similar temperatures to Mike as well as somewhat lower temperatures and while kind of suffocating in its thickness and warmth (GTX bootie, stretch tongue bootie, and mesh) for sure this is an appropriate upper for cold temperatures winter running conditions but I would not limit them to that although clearly this is not a summer running upper for most.

Jeremy: As I stated before, the first run in the shoes was really not enjoyable: I felt lots of pressure around both pinky toes, and, being my first GTX shoe, my feet were overheating, despite the ~6-7°C (42-45F) temperatures.

The upper felt rigid, and my feet must be close to the same as Mike’s, as I experienced the exact same issue with a creasing on the top that pushes against my feet. After some more miles, be it running or walking, the upper gained some stretch, and although still existing, this crease was not an issue anymore on following runs.

I really like the bootie construction, it is soft and comfortable, and if the temperatures allow it, it is a shoe I can wear all day. It is clearly more an all-day winter shoe kind of comfort than a trail runner one , but...it's comfy anyways. I often struggle with cold feet and I can clearly see this shoe becoming my go-to shoe for the coldest days of upcoming winter.

Now, for the bad, or least not so good things. Some elements in the upper still play a very fuzzy role to me. The loop at the base of the heel counter to start with. There’s a rigid heel counter that plays a good role in stabilizing the rear foot as i did not suffer any heel slippage, so...so what  is this loop for?

The Optifit loops on the midfoot look like a resurgence of Saucony’s ISOFit tech that disappeared some years ago - and I think for good reason: a good thought after upper is enough to ensure a nice foothold - and the bootie construction of the Puma Voyage clearly delivers in this aspect. Using loops instead of standard eyelets is usually a nice simple way to allow some foot adaptation to a shoe’s fit, but I think that linking them to a piece of fabric going underfoot is not a necessity, and the global efficient fit of the Voyage don’t really need this kind of artifact.

I have nothing special to say about the lacing, which is efficient and pressure-free thanks to a nicely padded “tongue” (actually, the part of the inner boot construction that serves as a tongue) and ensures a good foothold.

Jacob: The upper is composed of a thick inner stretch bootie surrounded by a more static, abrasion-resistant mesh. It is soft on the foot and I find it very comfortable and I could wear it all day. As Mike noticed, the toebox is a bit pointy and shallow. I thought this would be problematic but the shoe has broken in and I now barely notice it, even with thick winter socks. Foothold is soft but well held and I have had no issues with security even when hiking on rough terrain. The Voyage is a very secure and stable shoe overall. 

My feet run cold so I have had no issues with overheating even in mid-60s F. The Voyage upper is thick and not that breathable but it doesn’t feel stuffy or hot. It is definitely suited to cold temperatures and wet conditions given the thickness and waterproofing, but is usable in most conditions especially for low intensity activity such as hiking and walking. The waterproofing is great and I have walked through streams and in mud dozens of times in testing and did not have any moisture get inside.


Sam: The midsole has a supercritical Nitro central top core, with an PFlite outer carrier which rises at midfoot at the sides to provide support and stability. The heel feel is soft and forgiving without ever being unstable due to the firmer outer carrier and its geometry, as well as the stabilizing influence of the outsole. With a 32/24 stack height we are in mid range for cushion with the Nitro providing a forgiving feel and clear resiliency and bounce, all well controlled.  Despite the stiff upper the flow is smooth, silent (even on road), and with some flex in the mix surprisingly dynamic despite the weight. 

Mike P: The cushioning overall feels good, and very protective. I was able to run over some rocky sections without feeling anything getting through. It seems like the thick rubber outsole contributes a lot to the protection.  While it has been noted that the overall weight of the shoe is a bit high - at the same time, given the construction of the upper, as well as the full coverage rubber outsole, it seems like quite an accomplishment that the shoe is not actually heavier. It seems to me that the foam combination (and especially the supercritical Nitro) is pretty light in order to keep the weight somewhat reasonable (for a GTX shoe). I did not notice much bounce to the shoe - I think those properties of the Nitro foam are likely blunted by the stiff upper, the outer carrier as well as the thick outsole.

Jacob: The Voyage midsole employs two very different materials: the soft, bouncy Nitro foam directly beneath the foot and a firmer, more stable foam (PFlite) below and around the sides, cradling the Nitro foam. The design blends the forgiving, smooth, energetic feel of the Nitro midsole with the stability and protection of the PFlite. The substantial, soft rubber outsole also wraps around the PFlite midsole, further increasing stability. The platform is very wide with a heel that extends notably beyond and back  (like many Hoka shoes) which also contributes to stability and rebound, especially on descents. I find the Voyage is remarkably stable and protective while not feeling cumbersome or stiff. It moves along well due to the rebound of the Nitro foam but is not overly bouncy or soft.

Jeremy: I won’t detail the midsole construction any better than my colleagues already have. Just like the upper, I felt a lot of difference between my first two runs in the Voyage. During the first run, I was unable to feel any bounce, and the ride felt harsh, life-less, for sure protective but really flat and uninspiring. I thought that the culprit was either the thick outsole, or the PFLite foam surrounding the Nitro Foam core, the same kind of implementation that I’ve experienced in the Velocity Nitro and was a bit tepid with.

But as miles piled up, the midsole started to reveal itself and proved to work very nicely. The way-too-soft Nitro Foam,which would be inadequate for a trail running shoe, is cradled in  the firmer PFilte, which stabilizes the whole thing and creates a nice compromise.

Heel landing is nicely softened by the Nitro core, and stays inherently stable thanks to both the wide platform and the PFLite foam carrier. This makes pounding downhills a real pleasure, protecting the legs from shocks.

But I think that heel landing does not work very well on flatter sections: the flex point of the shoe - something that might not appear evident considering the outsole thickness - is located on the first third of the shoe (starting from the front), so there’s no natural rolling motion from the heel to the midfoot. As there’s no real rocker in the midsole geometry either, heel landings will lead to a dead spot in the gait.

For midfoot and forefoot runners, it won’t be an issue, and I found that the shoe, despite its weight and thick outsole, has a nice smooth run with the bounce from the Nitro foam clearly felt.


Jacob: The Voyage uses Puma’s Pumagrip outsole material as found on Puma’s road shoes here in an ATR flavor. My testing for the Voyage included a range of terrain such as wet rocks and roots, steep rock slabs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, muddy and leafy singletrack, seaweed covered rocks on the coast of Maine, smooth dirt, grass, and pavement. 

The Voyage outsole performs very well on all terrain. It was never a liability, I had no unexpected foot slips, and combined with the very stable platform and waterproofing I could go wherever I wanted without being limited by my footwear. In addition to the traction, the rubber is soft and flexes well enough that the ride on pavement is smooth and quiet. At 70 miles so far, much of it on rough terrain, the outsole has minimal wear.

Mike P: Grip and traction is very good - I ran in wet, muddy sand, over wet rocks, and had no issues at all.  I do think they could get away with a lot less rubber coverage and still have a comparable level of performance from the outsole.  The rubber is one continuous somewhat thick piece around the outside - no decoupling, separate zones, or variations in cutout depth between lugs. To me this seems like the main factor in the shoe feeling a bit stiff. I think the ride could perhaps be improved by dividing up the rubber into separate distinct sections. 

Sam: The Puma Grip outsole is close to full coverage and I felt well decoupled with the outsole also providing rock protection. This is a relatively soft to pressing rubber which adds to the cushion and the shoe’s relative silence on firm surfaces including pavement. My runs to date have mostly been on dry terrain but on the few wet rocky areas I traversed grip was fine.  

Jeremy The Pumagrip compound already showed its qualities in the road running offering sfrom Puma, and it still rocks...on the rocks!

The grip is fine even on wet rocks where some other shoes struggle (Scott Supertrac RC2 recently, Endorphin Trail). The multi-purpose chevron lugs are efficient on anything but loose mud. There’s a sort of center cutout where the core of the outsole is separated from the outer part, mainy to add some flex to the otherwise full coverage outsole.

The outsole rubber can look thick and rigid at first, but while running it proves to be a bit soft, hence the great adherence on rocks and roots, and the relatively quiet impacts on roads, and with some flex so that it conforms nicely to uneven terrain.

Note that this behavior of the outsole became more evident after the first run, where it felt way more rigid.


Mike P:  For me, the Voyage has a somewhat stiff feeling ride, perhaps even a bit dull?  I found an even flex throughout, with no noticeable flex point. As expected - I did not like the “tail” at all.  In certain rocky or off camber (downhill) sections, I could feel one side or another of the tail touching the ground early and very slightly deflecting my foot placement. It didn’t necessarily cause any problems, I just found it distracting at times.  The shoe does feel overly back-weighted likely due to the light Nitro back there(especially on uphills).  I do appreciate the width in the rear for stability, but there is overall a lot of shoe volume back there, including that “tail” which sticks out excessively. 

Sam: The ride is soft and forgiving with yes due to that tail a fine landing for heel strikers and slower paced running as I tend to do, Mike being much faster than me. I do think the shoe is somewhat back weighted but fortunately the super light Nitro helps mitigate this.

I took the Voyage on my usual two test run loops: a somewhat technical trail run on single track with a few sharp steep climbs and a more door to trail run with over 50% pavement. On the single track Voyage was a bit heel heavy feeling on uphills while very smooth on more level terrain. I particularly noted the soft yet stable energy return from the heel and a “ramp” down sense to the long flexing toe off. All very pleasant and consistent with not nearly the “heavy shoe” feel I expected.

My more road than trail run was yet better with the smooth flow and silence on pavement appreciated. This is an excellent ride for those slower road/dirt road winter runs in sloppy conditions where grip, weather protection, and forgiving cushion are in order with the versatility reminding me a great deal of the recent Saucony Xodus (RTR Review) as well as the similar quite soft ground/road feel  inov-8 Trail Fly G 300 (RTR Review

All are at a similar weight to the Voyage GTX but in non GTX, with the non GTX Voyage coming in an ounce lighter.. We have here a smoother more agile flow forward than those two  if with a bit less forefoot cushion but more drop at 8mm for the Voyage vs. 4mm for Xodus and 6mm for TrailFly  I appreciate more drop in a big shoe used on firmer terrain.

Jacob: The ride is stable, protected, consistent, and smooth. The stability combined with the excellent traction make it a powerful, easy-pace, enjoyable cruiser. I have worn the Voyage Nitro GTX every day for a few weeks—for walking (including on beaches and rocky coastline), hiking,  running on pavement and trails, and even mountain biking. I have over 70 miles on it, mostly walking or hiking so a lot of hours on foot. I appreciate the wide platform and don’t mind the higher weight when moving slower as I strike more toward the heel. In testing I did a six mile easy run (8:30 min/mi) on the road and was not bothered at all by the lugs. I forgot I was wearing a trail shoe. Overall it is easy to run, not hampered by the terrain, comfortable (both fit and feel), and performant.

Jeremy: A very stable ride, well protected, and predictable thanks to the consistent cushioning, stability and tremendous grip. 

Clearly not a speed freak, I find that the sweet spot with the Voyage is around easy-pace and a touch faster. For really easy recovery runs, I find that the midsole does not behave very well with my stride and feels much too firm and rigid for my tastes. It does not roll easily and as you’re running at a very easy pace, you don’t put enough energy in the shoe to make it flex and, I think, stimulate the Nitro core enough for it to provide rebound.

With just a touch of engagement speed, I feel that the combination of the Nitro foam and the EVA carrier works much better and the midsole becomes smoother than at slower paces. And just like in the Puma Velocity Nitro which shares a similar construction, I appreciate that it is not mushy at all. This bit of very discrete firmness helps with stability and gives some energy to the ride.

Just like Jacob, I’ve also used it for lots of walking (dog walks for that matter) and they’re also very comfortable for that use, which is not always the case with trail running shoes (Endorphin Trail for instance is much less comfortable in that use).

And as the upper has opened up quite a bit after a very tepid first contact, I have no issue spending hours in the shoes. Just be sure that temperatures are quite low or you might get very hot feet.

All in all, considering the now comfy fit, very effective traction, smooth ride, I can clearly see myself logging a bunch of my easy miles in them this winter. I usually suffer from very cold feet and the Voyage GTX will be quite a relief in that respect.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Trail Scoring Rubric

Jacob: Overall I think the Puma Voyage Nitro GTX is a great shoe and I have really enjoyed wearing it for a variety of activities. I am using it as a multipurpose running, hiking, and walking shoe and it is excellent for all of those activities. The ride is stable, secure, comfortable, and protected. It runs well on a variety of terrain, including road, and has excellent traction. I have worn it every day since receiving it for testing and expect that to continue until winter. It is not the best choice for faster running as it is heavy and does not inspire speed, but for just getting out there, it is great.

Jacob’s Score: 9.1 / 10

Ride: 8 (30%), Fit: 9 (30%), Value: 10 (10%), Style: 9 (5%), Traction: 10 (15%), Rock Protection: 10 (10%)

Jeremy: Despite a very clunky look, a not-so-nice first run and a fit that did not work very well at first, I must confess that the Puma Voyage GTX has grown on me the more I ran it. 

The smooth, controlled ride that keeps just that little bit of firmness that I like in a shoe, the versatile and effective traction and the finally the very comfortable fit make for a nice shoe that will cover many uses, from running to walking, all with warm feet thanks to the GTX upper. Ideally suited for easy miles, the shoe won’t scream for speed due to its weight and how it runs but...who needs a fast shoe every day ?

Jeremy’s Score: 8.9/10

Ride: 8 (30%), Fit: 8(30%), Value: 9 (10%), Style: 7 (5%), Traction: 9 (15%), Rock Protection: 9.5 (10%)

Mike P Ultimately this shoe doesn’t really work for me.  The main issue is the toe box which I find excessively pointy and uncomfortable. There is plenty of width in the forefoot, but then it narrows to a point too sharply for me. This may be a non-issue for some with narrower feet, or those who like a snug fit up front. You will feel your toes pressed together - preference is up to you. I was hoping for a GTX multi-use shoe for the cold months ahead, but for that type of usage I would definitely want something that feels more comfortable.  But Puma does have some very good pieces in here to make a good trail shoe, such as the Nitro/PFlite combo, PumaGrip outsole, and stable ride so I am looking forward to the considerably lighter non GTX version with its mono mesh upper.  It just needs some streamlining, especially the upper as well as the outsole configuration.  Plus - lose the tail!

Mike P’s Score: 8.05/10

Ride: 8 - Nothing special, but stable and comfortable

Fit: 7 - Narrow and pointy toebox is essentially a non-starter for me. May be workable for some.

Value: 8 - A solid, multi-use cold weather shoe

Style: 9 - I like the color and overall tough looking exterior, for a winter shoe

Traction: 9 - PumaGrip works, but outsole could be streamlined quite a bit

Rock Protection: 9.5 - Great protection without relying on a plate

Sam: I concur with Jeremy and Jacob about the solid versatility here. I often look for trail shoes that can handle the road adequately as many of my runs combine road and trail and the Nitro core, softer outsole, and pretty darn good flow for a big shoe all fit the bill while not leaving out any more hard core technical trail capabilities. In “season” and I mean winter season I look for shoes that can handle winter road slop and cold snowy runs and the Voyage should do very well for those uses. I do think the GTX upper could use some work. It is stiffer, warmer, and heavier than ideal even for GTX. I wonder what the Invisible Fit Gore-Tex directly bonded to the upper instead of a bootie as here would do here. I think the over warm part is coming more from the thick gusset tongue than the GTX.

If you are looking for a many uses winter and wet conditions shoe the Voyage GTX is a great choice. At 12 oz it is a bit heavy for faster running but it is a very complete and excellent first trail shoe from the “new” Puma that can handle all surfaces with aplomb, security and a dash of Nitro fun. All its attributes taken together it is a solid value. I can’t wait to test the considerably lighter Voyage with its identical underfoot platform and mono mesh upper.

Sam’s Score: 9.01 /10

Ride:9.1  (30%) Fit:8.5  (30%) Value:9 (10%) Style:9 (5%) Traction:9.5 (15%) Rock Prot 9.5 (10%)

8 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Brooks Cascadia 16 GTX

Jacob: The Voyage GTX replaced the Cascadia as a daily wear (dog walk/adventure, hiking) shoe for me this fall. I like it more than the Cascadia in almost every way. Though they are very similar in weight, the Cascadia feels more like a tank and is much stiffer, both above and below the foot. The Cascadia is roomier and boxier in the toebox which is a major difference and for some foot shapes would be critical to comfort. For my medium width foot it leads to the Cascadia being not as secure. The Cascadia is also not as warm as the Voyage which is overall a negative for me as I use GTX shoes for winter and don’t find the Voyage to be too warm. Traction of the Voyage is better in all conditions and the ride is more fluid and usable on pavement where the Cascadia feels far too robust. 

Sam: I concur 100% with Jacob and would add the cushion package in the Puma is considerably more forgiving while almost equally as protective extending its utility to more surfaces than I would take the Cascadia on.

Hoka Speedgoat 4 & 4 GTX (RTR Review)

Jacob: I’m coming to the Speedgoat 4 GTX which in my sample, size US M12, is only one gram difference in weight than the Voyage Nitro GTX (381/382 g). The Speedgoat is narrower and snugger fitting which is an asset when moving quickly in technical and mountainous terrain. However, the Voyage Nitro GTX is relatively low volume and still adequately secure when not prioritizing speed. For my medium width foot the Speedgoat is slightly too narrow for general wear and I feel uncomfortable pressure on my little toes. I still like it and I have raced the Speedgoat several times, but it isn’t a shoe I would wear walking around daily. The Voyage is a great general purpose outdoor activity shoe (running, hiking, walking on any terrain) as it is smoother on road and more comfortable. Both shoes have excellent traction but the Speedgoat is better overall, I’d expect especially in soft terrain where more lug spacing has a great impact. However the Voyage still has great traction and is less awkward on road, so it has advantages. For racing or mountain running I would take the Speedgoat, for general wear and mixed terrain, the Voyage.

Mike P (10.0): (non GTX). My SG4 is 1.3 oz lighter, and the weight difference is felt. Although Puma protection is good, SG4 has even more.  I find the fit of the SG4 to be better than Puma’s bootie construction.  Some believe the SG upper to be narrow, but for me, version 4 is plenty wide enough - I’ve run a full 100 miler in them with no issue.  I feel uncomfortable beyond 1 hour in the Pumas.  I don’t see any advantage in having GTX for actual running, but if you need or want it, I would go for the SG GTX. 

Inov-8 TrailFly Ultra (RTR Review)

Mike P (10.0): My TFUs are actually 1.2 oz heavier than the Pumas.  The TFUs also feel heavy, but the ride is very good and much more agile in technical terrain (for such a big/max shoe).  They have a bit of a forward rocker which helps with the weight. The AdaptFlex really frees up your foot to contour around more technical terrain. I find this lacking in the Puma - the single slab outsole really restricts the maneuverability of the shoe, so it’s best to stick to mellower terrain.

Salomon XA Elevate GTX

Mike P (10.0): I also did not like these for running, as the ride is pretty firm.  They do work for slushy and sloppy conditions though, as would the Pumas. The Salomons are a bit lighter with less bulk to them - so I would say the choice would be based on preference in feel as they both work in similar conditions.

Saucony Endorphin Trail (RTR Review)

Jacob: The Voyage Nitro GTX and the Endorphin Trail are in the same category with bouncy foam, max cushion, a rolling ride, high stability, and good road performance. Though it is lighter, the Endorphin Trail feels bulker. The fit of both is comfortable but the Endorphin Trail is higher volume and looser—it is less secure than the Voyage but would probably fit wider feet better. The Endorphin Trail is a fun shoe but I found the wet traction unacceptably bad. Combined with the less secure fit, the Endorphin Trail is a less performant shoe than the Voyage and I would prefer the Voyage for all uses.

Jeremy: I was quite disappointed with the Endorphin Trail. The shoe is heavy, and feels very heavy, much more than the similarly weighted Voyage GTX. Its Speedroll tech only works on very easy terrain, where it is efficient for sure, but it becomes more of a disadvantage to me on more technical terrain. It is also too bouncy for my taste , it makes the ride a bit unpredictable, and I prefer the smoother ride of the Voyage. The fit appears wider in the Puma shoe, but running back to back with the two shoes, it ended up being more secure to me, and less constricting around the instep.

As Jacob states, I find the wet traction of the Endorphin Trail suffers a lot from the comparison with the Voyage. The Saucony would get the edge with light mud thanks to the more prominent lugs but that’s all - and I clearly lean more towards the Puma for its more versatile and efficient grip.

I vastly prefer the Voyage for all the uses the shoes have in common.

Salomon S/Lab XA Alpine 2 (RTR Review)

Jeremy: This is my go-to deep winter running shoe, when snow covers the trails, or when I go running at a ski area. It is more of an all-uses mountain shoe, clearly performance oriented, but not is specifically for running. The fit is really nice (actually there’s a Sense S/Lab upper inside the external cover), it rides a lot firmer than the Puma, and it gets an equally efficient traction and is maybe a bit more effective in snow thanks to its deeper lugs.

I still have to run on deep snow with the Voyage, but they are very different shoes, and the Puma will get way more uses during the year, where the Salomon only really shines in snowy mountain conditions. And the Salomon  cost quite a bit more.

Saucony Xodus 11 (RTR Review)

Jeremy: The Xodus was a very pleasant surprise from Saucony - and I actually liked it more than the Endorphin Trail. The shoe runs way lighter than its actual weight, cushioning is nice, responsive and covers a wide range of paces, from easy ones to tempo, where the Puma lags behind due to its weight and a heel-loaded feeling. The upper does not include any modern bells and whistles but just works, and the traction is second to none. It won’t be as cold-protective as the Voyage GTX, of course, but save from that specific case, I find it to better match my taste.

Mike P (10.0): (Xodus 10) Xodus are surprisingly slightly heavier but run much better and are especially adept in more technical terrain.  Puma may have a slight edge in forefoot protection, but that’s about it.

Tester Profiles

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over 3.5 years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50k. He has a recent PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skiing. He is 26 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

Mike Postaski Born and raised in New Jersey, recently moved to Boise, ID in 2019, mainly to have better and easier access to outdoor adventure.  I have no formal running training, have never run on a team at any level, and can count the times I've run on a track on one hand.  I actually grew up inline speed skating - both indoor short track as well as roads.  Picking up running in my early 30s , starting on roads, progressing to marathons (PR 2:40, Boise 2019), eventually I discovered trails. I love going fast and running all distances, but I especially love long mountain ultras.  My three 100 milers so far have all been in the 25k vert range. I also enjoy the challenge of looped/timed trail races, and even the backyard ultra format. I am definitely a gear junkie - I have gone through more running vests than I can remember, and my trail running shoe collection currently sits at 38 pairs (all tracked via spreadsheet)!  My wife does not appreciate this

Jeremy MARIE, French, 40y/o. Running since 2013 and quickly transitioned to trails, focused on ultras since 2015 : TDS, Maxi-Race, “100 miles du Sud”, 90kms du Mt Blanc, GRP 120kms, Some shorter mellow races (Saintelyon 45kms, Ecotrail Paris 45kms…) with always in the mix road and flat running, but not many road races. Recovery/easy runs ~4’45/km - 4’30/km 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 48 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA.

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