Friday, October 14, 2022

Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Multi Tester Review with 13 Comparisons.

Article by Jeremy Marie, Ryan Eiler, Renee Krusemark, Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

Puma Deviate Nitro 2 ($160)


The Deviate Nitro 2 is a carbon composite plated performance oriented trainer with a substantial 38mm heel / 30mm forefoot stack of two types of supercritical foam: firmer Nitro at the heel and soft and responsive Nitro Elite as a thin layer below the foot at the heel and deeper layer upfront (new in v2). 

Commedably light at about 9.1 oz  / 258 g in men’s US9, it is topped by a very soft and thin engineered mesh upper and  Puma’s always excellent PumaGrip outsole rubber in a segmented pattern with aggressive forefoot lugs. 

The supercritical midsole foams and plate say high performance trainer, even racer, while the comfort oriented upper hints at daily trainer. Which is it or could it actually be both? Let’s find out!


  • Friendly fit pairs with a midsole capable of aggressive efforts – Ryan/Sam/Jeremy/Peter
  • Exceptional feel and design of the upper – Ryan/Sam/Jeremy/Peter
  • Somehow the  thin, soft and luxurious, easy fitting upper also pulls off a performance fit Sam/Jeremy/Peter
  • Spunky, snappy ride works for a range of moderate through fast efforts – Ryan/Sam/Jeremy/Peter
  • Friendly very pleasing wide ranging super shoe, near super shoe Sam
  • Well executed midsole blending stable yet rebounding heel, softer high bounce forefoot with moderate not overly stiff plate impulse Sam/Jeremy/Renee/Peter
  • Seemingly durable for a performance-oriented shoe – Ryan/Jeremy/Renee/Peter
  • At $160 budget-friendly choice for a high-performance trainer (and for many racer too) – Ryan/Sam/Renee
  • Still best-in-class traction with PumaGrip outsole, without compromise on durability - Jeremy/Renee/Peter
  • Stretch in the upper and laces makes for a conforming fit during longer runs - Jeremy/Peter


  • A touch heavy for a carbon plated trainer, although barely noticeable with Nitro midsole – Ryan/Renee
  • Forefoot can feel thin at toe-off – Ryan/Sam/Jeremy/Renee/Peter
  • Plate stiffness not as useful for easier and recovery runs – Ryan/Sam/Jeremy/Renee/Peter
  • High heel cup/collar fit: Renee


Estimated Weight: men's 9.1 oz  / 258 g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)

 Samples: US M9.5 9.49oz / 269g

     men’s  9.91 oz / 281g (US10.5/EU44),  

     8.84 oz / 251g (US8.5/EU41)- v1 8.92 oz  / 253g (US8.5)

     women’s  8.29oz / 236g (US9/EU40) 7.82 oz / 222g (US8)

Stack Height: men’s 38 mm heel / 30 mm forefoot 

Available now. $160

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Ryan: Puma has been cranking out some impressive uppers as of late, and the Deviate Nitro 2 keeps the streak alive. For what appeared to be a high-performance shoe on paper, the step-in experience was disarmingly comfortable and pleasant. Its fit and structure make it feel like a shoe you could wear all day.

The engineered mesh upper looks and performs beautifully around the entire foot. The exterior layer of the upper is styled as if it may have been scratched by an actual puma, and does a fine job of resisting any undue foot movement, while the inner surface of the mesh is highly perforated and feels agreeable against the foot. 

While the mesh might be stout enough to hold on its own, two strategic overlays of translucent “PWRTAPE” in a half circle pattern adorn the lateral toe and medial midfoot, adding further structure. 

A gusseted tongue with light but effective padding heightens the experience of stepping into the shoe. 

The tongue delivers superb comfort without a hint of lace bite. 

At the rear, the heel cup is robust and adequately sculpted so as to prevent heel lift, even at faster paces. 

A relatively soft padded rolled collar accentuates the DN2’s friendly nature. It is a big part of the update from v1 to the upper. The v1’s heel hold had some slip 

While I was skeptical that such a welcoming upper could keep up with its comparatively sporty midsole, those feelings quickly dissipated only a few miles into my first run. Puma has done an impressive job of delivering a high-performance trainer that makes no sacrifices on comfort. 

While its lockdown isn’t as tenacious or effective as a true racing shoe, this upper is capable of handling all but the hardest of efforts. My M9.5 fit right on the mark.

Jeremy: Even if I found the looks of the previous Puma collection with their bold optic red styling,  even the flashy yellow of the Fast-R, completely on-par with the extreme design of the shoe, i must admit that the Deviate Nitro 2 with its more toned down, classy white upper and bold orange touches are definitely prettier. And this is validated by The Wife…I give more credit to her tastes than mine :)

The engineered mesh upper is soft, on the outside and inside - I’ve been able to do a short sockless run with no harm, and the scratches that Ryan perfectly described give it a subtly aggressive look.

Step-in comfort is second to none. The padding on the heel makes a perfect job of protection from the slightly rigid counter, the foot really slides effortlessly inside the shoe. 

The gusseted tongue is never felt: it goes in place and stays there, and it has the minimal amount of padding required to protect from any lace pressure.

The laces have a bit of stretch, making for an easy adjustment and a very conforming upper that perfectly hugs the foot.

Despite this slight stretchiness, and the apparent softness of the upper, it delivers the goods on the foothold front.

The two PWRTAPE overlays clearly play a big role here, bringing some support on the medial side by adding structure to this welcoming, foot-hugging upper.

As a daily trainer with a performance focus, it’s hard to imagine mixing comfort and an energetic  midsole with such success. I would easily use them all day for walking. This is something Puma has usually achieved with their previous shoes I’ve reviewed (Velocity Nitro, Voyager) but they clearly outperform here.

The fit is TTS, but beware for those looking at EU sizing: 10.5US translates to 44EU instead of the usual 44.5EU. 

Renee: I agree with what Ryan and Jeremy wrote. The Deviate Nitro 2 is a comfortable shoe on first step-in, not something all performance-based (plated) shoes provide and especially for mediocre pace runners, like me. The DN 2 is a performance trainer that handles comfort with great balance. The upper does not have a race-day specific fit, but I think that works in its benefit as a trainer meant for fast/steady mid to long distances. 

The heel cup and collar sit a bit high on my foot, which almost works as a stability feature: I can’t over-pronate with this shoe even if I try. For steady efforts, that’s appreciated, although it does prevent a faster take off from the forefoot landing. I wore the women’s version, and I think a more narrow heel hold would benefit my low volume foot. The toe box and forefoot are roomy without being sloppy. I suggest true-to-size. 

Sam: The team has described the upper well. It improves in hold and comfort over v1 especially at the heel as it (as many 2022 shoes are doing) goes to a more padded rolled rear collar from the more flimsy floppy fabric and bolsters approach.

What is remarkable about this upper is how soft and pliable and supremely comfortable on the foot yet well held it is. Almost defies “physics” but as with any good upper and especially those with soft pliable mesh it starts with that solid rear hold and counter, goes to midfoot with the thin wrap around gusseted tongue with a touch of padding then reinforces the midfoot with those subtle PWRTAPE overlays. The toe box after the rest is secure can be as it is quite broad, very unstructured but stabilized by the toe bumper. Truly, state of the art. As the others have said not a race fit upper but a great blend of performance fit and overall comfort.


Late to the party here, but just got these last week. Fit is true-to-size and the upper is completely sublime. Foot hold is excellent , comfort is excellent and the gusseted, slightly padded tongue combined with the stretchy laces, make this a uniquely comfortable running shoe. 


Top silver layer: Nitro Elite supercritical foam

Lower white layer: Nitro supercritical foam

Redesigned carbon composite PWRPLTE 

Jeremy: I’ve been impressed with Puma midsole materials since they came out with Nitro foam last year. Be it the “standard supercritical” Nitro foam, which was a blast in the Liberate, or the Nitro Elite “super supercritical foam”  in the very radical-looking Fast-R, I’ve appreciated how they react to effort, and the nice blend of rebound and softness they offer. 

Not overly soft by any means, so quite stable, it has a very different feeling from say the ZoomX foams, less stable, softer but with more rebound. 

In the DN2, the heel is almost exclusively made of Nitro foam with a thin layer of the softer Elite foam above: it makes it stable, quite responsive and directed thanks to the plate.

From the midfoot towards the forefoot, the top Nitro Elite layer takes the lead, and I can feel the same kind of energetic, quick rebound (not “ZoomX bouncy”) feel that I had with the Fast-R, albeit in a less extreme flavor.

This tamed character is something that’s achieved thanks to the carbon-composite PWRPLTE of the DN2, which is flexible and doesn't have too extreme a geometry, the comparison with the plate in the Fast-R is eloquent and powerful ). It’s because of this flexibility in the plate that the ride feels quite natural, not over-directed, and transitions so smoothly from rear to front.

The thick Nitro foam layer (white above) at the heel with full stack of 38mm feels stable, and the decoupling eases transition: easy-paced runs don’t feel weird nor disconnected as in other super-shoes, or even some plated trainers (I have the Nike Zoom Fly 5 in mind, or the Nike Tempo Next%).

During harder efforts, when you tend to land more on the midfoot and push fairly hard on the forefoot, the Nitro Elite foam’s greatness comes into play and makes the ride very lively, something accentuated by the flexible PWRPLTE which brings a nice, snappy toe-off.

One of my first runs in the DN2 had sets of (7’+3’) at HM pace (around 3’50/km) for the 7’ and 5K pace (around 3’30/km) for the next 3’. The  transitions between  paces felt very natural, almost easy, just like going back to recovery pace. The versatility of the shoe and the way it seamlessly adapts to a wide range of paces is simply astonishing.

Ryan: Don’t let the carbon ‘PWRPLATE’ construction scare you off – while this midsole is plenty snappy and bouncy for faster running, it can handle fairly casual paces as well. Although it’s a bit stiff for recovery running, it’ll gracefully handle anything from a moderate jog to a firm speed session. 

Its stack feels lower than its claimed 38/30mm dimensions which are near max legal (40mm), and delivers performance that’s closer to the road than similarly stacked ‘super shoes’. In other words, it isn’t as temperamental or prescriptive as most of the other carbon plated options out there – there is no ‘break in’ or ‘getting used to’ period with the DN2 – it’s ready right out of the box. 

The silver-colored Nitro Elite foam layer is considerably softer than the denser, white-colored Nitro foam which dominates the heel. This difference is fairly noticeable, with the heel exhibiting much more stability than the forefoot during harder efforts.

Not often do you find a shoe that can cover such a wide range of the running spectrum. Because it’s so versatile, it’s probably easier for me to list the few areas where it doesn’t necessarily excel. Those include those very casual recovery miles (what I like to call ‘junk miles’), where the DN2’s plate is a little too stiff. I’d also reach for something more aggressive (but less friendly on foot) if I really wanted to rip a 5k or half marathon – it doesn’t have quite the tenacity or the long-run forgiveness of a ‘super shoe’. But for everything in between, it’s hard to dislike the soft but energetic rebound that the Nitro Elite foam delivers.

My first experience with Nitro Elite foam came in the form of Puma’s marathon-specific Fast-R Nitro Elite , where it provided an impressively soft but lively ride. The grafting of this same foam onto a more flexible plate left me just as impressed. It seems to work at least as well with a versatile, flexible plate as it does with a super rigid one (in the Fast-R).

If I had to nitpick, I’d say that the softness of the midsole can make the shoe’s footprint feel a bit undefined during footstrike – it isn’t exactly clear where the midsole wants you to land, especially during quicker runs, and the midsole is thin feeling right at the moment of toe-off. The midsole here also isn’t as forgiving for true ‘long runs’ as other shoes on the market. But these are fairly trivial complaints. Overall, this is a fast, lively midsole that is impressively versatile.

Renee: Jeremy wrote the technical specs, so I’ll add that I too found the midsole a perfect blend of soft and responsive. The rebound and spring are apparent. The midsole feels good at easy paces, and I’ll agree with Ryan that the underfoot ride probably is not best for true recovery runs. The ground feel is good for the stack height, which works great for me running on gravel roads and light trails/horse trails. Like Ryan, I’d probably prefer a different shoe for fast short efforts, and for long runs, it might not have the forgiveness or flex from the midfoot that I enjoy. Ryan makes a great point: I’m not sure what foot strike works best with the geometry, so at fast paces, I found the ride a bit tiring from a midfoot strike and smoother with a heel/back of the foot strike (not my preference). In short, the shoe is versatile without necessarily being the “best” choice for any specific run aside from maybe mid distance steady runs. My 10 miler at marathon pace in this shoe felt great. During a fast effort 5k sandwiched between 3 slower warm up and cool down miles, I’d prefer a more flexible midfoot landing. 

Sam: I found the midsole to be as the others have described: energetic, quite soft, rebounding and bouncing off the front after a smooth transition and with some noticed but not to prescriptive plate impulse, looking at you rigid midfoot FAST_R. 

 I agree not for recovery paces or for me paces slower than 10:15 per mile or so more back on the heel. The heel is soft and at those paces feels lower than the 8mm drop. I think maybe as the rear rubber is not as firm as I might like. Astute followers of shoe details will remember v1 had a plastic clip to stabilize the rear compression. I might want to see it return.

As the pace picks up, the front of the shoe really starts to shine. At around 9 min pace and faster for me I could clear feel the combination of front Nitro Elite foam compression and the plate really activating and the low heel disappearing. Jogging pace shoe no but for everything else this midsole shines.

Peter: I was shocked when I looked at the specs for the midsole. This shoe feels way lower than the 38/30mm. I get a bit of the super-shoe softness vibe when walking in the shoe, but the midsole feels very stable for me on the run. I’ve taken these out for distance, tempo, workout, easy and recovery and I’ll agree with the consensus that they just aren’t forgiving enough for recovery runs. It’s really hard to beat the NB SC Trainer for recovery IMHO. 

I’m really enjoying the midsole, though it does feel just a hair stiff to me, especially when I’m running easier. I feel a little beat up in the forefoot sometimes too, but overall the foams are a good mix and provide excellent protection and ride. 


Ryan: There’s not a lot of fanfare or drama here – which is a good thing. The geometry of the outsole makes for a smooth and continuous transition, as there aren’t any notable cutouts or interruptions to spoil the ride. The rubber is plentiful and thick enough that durability will almost certainly be above average, especially for a shoe that performs at this level. 

After 80 miles of running, the outsole is showing no signs of weakness. The durometer (hardness) of the rubber seems to hit the sweet spot between durability and grip, and delivers a confidence inspiring feeling across a variety of surfaces – just keep in mind that this is a plated shoe before you land on any sizable rocks!

Jeremy: I’ve already praised the PumaGrip compound found on every Puma shoe I’ve reviewed, and there’s no difference here. The balance between grip and durability is perfect, and it also does not make the shoe too “slappy” nor noisy on footstrike. 

The cleverly exposed midfoot area limits the impact of the outsole on the shoe’s flexibility, as well as do the grooves found in the front third of the outsole. Just as Ryan described, it results in a smooth transition towards toe off without any dead spot.

Renee: I can’t fault PumaGrip. I run mostly gravel roads and trails, and the outsole is great for dirt and gravel, especially up and down rolling terrain. The bounce from the midsole and extra grip are a great combo.

I had larger gravel wedge in the mid foot area, which I didn’t notice. If I was moving from gravel to pavement, I’d have to stop to remove the gravel. I would hesitate to take the DN2 on trails with more technical declines, especially when dodging tree roots (or rocks for you mountain runners). The bounce and responsiveness from the plate might make for some uncontrolled landings.

Sam: A fine outsole as always from Puma. I like lugs vs smooth expanses of rubber in my trainers. I ran over all kinds of wet leaves on pavement during my last test run with zero issues. Off course grip with lugs, but also more localized give as the base of the outsole can be thinner overall. I do think the rear rubber could be firmer to help the heel from compressing to far at slower paces. 

Peter: We finally had some rain here in Texas, so I had the chance to go see just how grippy these puppies are! They are very, very grippy. They remind me of the old school Adios with Continental rubber. I can really feel the Deviate N2 grab the ground and help me propel off of it. It’s an excellent outsole that looks like it should be incredibly durable. 


Jeremy: I’d describe the ride of the Deviate Nitro 2 as a “friendly energetic” ride. Friendly because the shoe with its flexible plate accommodates well with different paces, staying quite natural and not forcing the stride into a specific footstrike, nor guiding it through to a heavily rockered geometry.

The transition towards toe-off is smooth, with a nice flex from the plate and the reasonably stacked midsole. I think that the absence of outsole material around the midfoot also has a big role to play in this very natural transition despite the plate. The less extreme shape of the plate, compared to the more speed-oriented Fast-R and its “spoon-shaped” is of course the main contributor to the more friendly nature of the Deviate Nitro 2.

The shoe really hits a sweet spot for me between comfort (that upper!) and snap, making a great, apparently durable do-it-all shoe. Might I prefer something more radical for those hard interval sessions? Yes, of course. A cushier shoe for recovery miles? Indeed. But for everything in between, the DN2 is a jack of all trades and easily doubles-up as a racing shoe for the vast majority of runners.

Ryan: I found the ride to be surprisingly stable, thanks to the relatively dense and wide wedge of foam supporting the heel. The carbon plate, while stiff, has a friendly amount of flex and isn’t overly assertive. While the DN2 has a slightly higher inertia than a ~7oz shoe, it makes up for this with its snappy transition and energetic rebound. The shoe’s geometry is straightforward – no rockers, cutouts, or cavities – and it serves the ride quality well. The density differential between the heel and the forefoot adds some ‘artificial drop’, if you will, and helps in keeping your center of gravity forward. The PWRGRIP outsole on this geometry provides a crowd-pleasing, seamless ride from heel to toe.

One of the pitfalls of using this very soft Nitro Elite foam throughout the forefoot is that it can feel maxed-out at the moment of toe-off. Because of this, the toe seems slightly thin and underpowered when I push the pace to 5:00/mi. Also, as I mentioned before, a plated shoe is never a great choice for recovery efforts, so the ride here isn’t appropriate for very casual running.

Renee: The ride is traditional, which I tend to prefer over a highly rockered geometry. I think Jeremy’s “friendly energetic” description is fitting. The heel cup/collar fit a bit higher on my foot than I prefer. The benefit is some stability, which is nice on steady, mid-distance efforts. For shorter, faster efforts, I’d prefer a shoe with more flex at the midfoot and a better rotation for my ankles. That might only be an issue for low volume feet. While I’m a slower runner than Jeremy and Ryan, I agree with their thoughts: the DN 2 might not be the best choice for short, fast runs or long/recovery runs, but it works great for everything in between. The weight is heavier than I’d like for an uptempo shoe, and I don’t always like wearing a plated shoe for training. 

Sam: Is there an echo? “Friendly energetic” and almost “traditional” a ride  with not as pronounced a rocker as some. I actually wish for a bit more rocker to help move better at slower paces, its only weak point for me. I did not think the forefoot felt thin but I did feel the heel was somewhat low feeling at slower paces.  Relatively minor as the Deviate Nitro 2 is made for faster daily training and tempo type runs of the longer variety. The ride and upper I also think would make it a friendly fast choice for marathoners in the 3:30-4 hour choice. Even if heavier than full on race shoes the easier moving along the stride path composite plate and its noticed flex, the soft and energetic Nitro foams, decent stability and the upper comfort will come into play in the later miles of a marathon at those paces.

Peter: A very enjoyable ride. Lots of smiles as I’m pounding out miles in the dark. My only knock is that they can feel a bit stiff. I think they’re actually breaking in a bit, but they started off a little stiff–particularly at slower paces. The ride really pops at marathon pace and faster for me reminding of the Adios (older versions) and the Boston 7. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeremy: Puma strikes again! As a do-it-all daily trainer, capable of handling paces from z2 to Z5 with comfort, stability, cushioning and a lively, protective ride, the Deviate Nitro 2 is hard to beat. The upper’s comfort is second to none, soft and effective at holding the foot even on some high-paced turns. The outsole plays a major role in the shoe’s greatness, bringing some structure to the Nitro foam,and providing one of the best grips on the market.

Score: 9.6 Ride(50%): 9.7 Fit(30%): 9.5 Value (15%):10  Style(5%): 9.8

Smiles Score😊😊😊😊😊

Ryan: The Deviate Nitro 2 is akin to that friend of yours who’s casually, perhaps annoyingly, talented at everything. It’s a pairing of a confidently comfortable upper with a spunky midsole that offers seven different gears. The DN2’s carbon plate doesn’t intimidate, but rather inspires confidence. And the ‘Pumagrip’ outsole rounds the package off with a fluid, grippy, and durable ride. In the midsole, the Nitro Elite compound is certainly a keeper, although it feels a touch thin toward the very front of the shoe. The Deviate Nitro 2 is a shoe that I find hard to fault, and one that I plan on using on a very regular basis.

Score: 9.7 - Deductions for a thin toe-off, relatively heavy for its performance-oriented nature, and its inability to handle very easy efforts.

Smiles Score😊😊😊😊

Renee: Ryan makes a great analogy: the Deviate Nitro 2 is that friend who is good at everything, and even for what she’s not great at, she’s still fun to take along. The midsole is peppy and comfortable, and although not the best choice for short, fast efforts or long, easy runs, you can still count on her. For me, the DN2 works best at mid-distance steady/sustainable paces. 

Renee’s score:  9.2/10 (-.20 weight, -.30 high heel/collar, -.30 inflexible mid/forefoot ride)


Peter: Best upper of the year on a shoe that is very, very good at most things. Not quite a total ‘all-rounder’, but an excellent choice for the shoe to take on a road trip. Not ideal for recovery days, but other than that an energetic and enjoyable ride. 

Peter’s Score: 9.5/10


Sam: Attention to detail! Puma carefully tuned the second version of the Deviate Nitro. It has a superior upper, one of the best of 2022 for sheer comfort without compromising performance in any way. Lessons learned from the FAST-R, also with a firmer heel with Nitro Elite upfront, with a plate that is less rigid and easier flowing that shoe’s or version 1’s. 

I only miss a bit more rear firmness and not as low feeling a heel (maybe firmer heel rubber, firmer rear Nitro or the plastic clip of v1) or a bit more midfoot plate flex as Renee suggests to perfect the Deviate yet more as there is no reason given the cushioning and comfort it shouldn’t also try to handle easier paces a bit better. 

As it stands it is one of the most fun and versatile shoes of 2022 and a very solid value at $160 for a supercritical foam plated all around trainer with a superb upper.

Sam’s Score: 9.44 / 10

Ride: 9.2 Fit:9.8 Value: 9.4 Style: 9.7


10 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Puma Deviate Nitro 1 (RTR Review)

SaM: The Deviate Nitro 2 is a clear improvement over its first edition, a fine shoe in its own right. The dual Nitro foam and new plate design improve the ride and response while the upper improves comfort and hold. The uses remain similar as do the overall ride and weight. Just a more refined and pleasant fit and ride for v2.

Puma Velocity Nitro 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Velocity 2 is a daily trainer without the energetic midsole and ride. Slightly heavier (and less expensive), the Velocity 2 is meant for daily miles and has far less of a performance focus. The ride underfoot can be a bit dull, although for the price of $120, the Velocity 2 is still a good choice for a no-nonsense running shoe. Similar sizing, although I thought the Velocity 2 felt slightly longer.

Puma FAST-R Nitro Elite RTR Review)

Renee: The FAST-R is a race-day specific shoe, namely for the marathon distance. While the look of the FAST-R seems dramatic, it rides friendlier than it looks. The FAST-R is lighter and runs lighter, although it’s still heavier than many other marathon-specific racers. I felt too slow for the FAST-R (1:30 half PR), as it seems to require a strong, fast take off from the forefoot to maintain comfort and work as designed. For a more comfortable option, the DN 2 is the better choice. The fit of the FAST-R upper is much more secure and race-day appropriate, although a bit narrow in the forefoot. Otherwise, sizing is similar. 

New Balance SC Trainer (RTR Review)

Sam: The SC Trainer is similar in having a supercritical foam midsole, in its case FuelCell which is similar in firmness to the Nitro foam, a carbon composite plate and 8mm drop. It differs in being yet higher stacked (and cushioned) at 45-47mm at the heel with a more pronounced rocker and yet more pronounced sense of ramp down. Its upper is more plasticky in feel and less pliable with its rear collars higher and less padded (and for some of our testers the padding causing rubbing) with the height it seems required to keep the foot aligned on the platform. The Puma has superior grip from its lugged outsole. Serving the same long run uptempo purposes,  the Puma is more traditional riding with more road feel and agility while the SC Trainer is more cushioned and mechanical in feel.

Peter: For easy or recovery days, you’d be hard pressed to beat the SC Trainer. For tempo and racing I’d grab the Puma DN 2 in a heartbeat. Such a great upper and enjoyable snappy ride. 

Nike Tempo Next % (RTR Review)

Jeremy (M10.5 in both):Two shoes aiming at tempo days and dealing with the bunch of your speedy mileage. The Tempo Next is a very special beast, and I had a hard time getting used to it. For easier paces, recovery intervals, I find them really disconnected from rear/midfoot to forefoot. The heel is stable, and the big React block gives a lot of cushioning but I find it hard to transition to the midfoot and forefoot. But as soon as you pick up the pace and land on the front of the midfoot and the forefoot, you get the still unnatural feeling but with a tremendous propulsion thanks to the plate and the AirPods. It’s explosive, has an almost pneumatic feeling that, albeit still strange, is perfectly at home for everything between my 5k pace to Marathon pace (let say between 3’25/km to 4’10/km). It feels more unstable than the Deviate Nitro 2 despite a nice-fitting and secure upper that works well even laceless.

Yet, the smooth nature of the DN2, its very natural feeling and way more versatile ride will appeal to more runners. Put the 40$ price difference in the balance, and the durability (I have my Tempo’s midsole unglued from the plate after 250kms…) and the choice is quite easy for me.

Saucony Endorphin Speed 1 / 2 (RTR Review) and or 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Endorphin Speed 1 and 2 are firmer riding, somewhat lower stack and about 1 oz / 16g lighter. They have nylon plates vs. the carbon composite plate of the Puma. For most, they will lean more uptempo to racing while the Puma will lean more training and is more versatile in terms of paces and distances. The broader base platform Speed 3 remains as light as the earlier Speed but gets a broader platform on the ground, a somewhat softer ride and is more comparable to the Deviate. 

XTep 160X 3.0 (RTR Review)

Jeremy: The Xtep was a big surprise for me. Just as the Deviate Nitro 2, it’s a plated neutral, energetic trainer/Racer with a bouncy, stable front, a very light upper and a lively ride.

I find it to be a reliable do-it-all shoe for a wide spectrum of paces, just like the Deviate 2.

The differences for me are in the midsole material, where the Xtep has more bounce, and a bit more snap at higher paces thanks to the carbon plate, albeit still flexible.

The Puma accommodates more to easier paces, and I find its upper to be more comfortable and breathable. I feel the XTep is also both more cushioned and lighter (by 50g per shoe!).

Durability proved to be excellent in the Xtep, so it’s a draw on this front.

Depending on your budget (the Xtep costs ~30$ more) or if you favor easier paces or faster ones, you may lean towards the Puma or the Xtep. In any case, both shoes are excellent, durable, versatile trainers/racers at a sensible price.

ASICS Glideride 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: Glideride is only slightly heavier than the Puma but sits on a higher, more cushioned platform. One way it saves weight is from a more skeletal outsole with no gripping lugs as the Puma has. Its ride leans considerably more towards a rigid rocker with its plate is not carbon but hardened foam. It does not have the exciting more traditional but superfoam powered ride and feel of the Puma but tracks straighter and very consistently with nice rebound (at faster paces) from its combination of Flyte Foam Blast + similar to Nitro in feel and Propel. Its upper may a touch more secure but is denser and not as invisible on the foot. For runners needing the directed ride and inherent stability the ASICS is a better choice but otherwise the light and lively Puma.

Peter: Man, I thought I loved the Magic Speed 2 until I ran it back-to-back with the DN2 and some other shoes. While I like the Magic Speed at pace, it is really, really stiff compared to the DN2. It has a much more rockered feel and is a harsher ride. Deviate Nitro 2 wins out in the direct shootout. No doubt. 

New Balance FuelCell Rebel V3 (RTR Review)

Peter: These two shoes are surprisingly similar when it comes down to the ride. The Rebel runs a little short, so until I size up a half size they don’t fit me as well as the Puma DN2. The ground feel is pretty similar, but the Rebel has just a tiny bit more bounce than the DN2. That said, they are pretty similar and I think I’d probably say the Puma just slightly edges out the Rebel in comfort and in grip on wet roads. I ran with a Rebel on one foot and a DN2 on the other and they were both excellent. 

Hoka Mach 5 (RTR Review)

Peter: These both fit really well and have great uppers. The upper on the Puma is just a bit more dialed in and the ride is a little stiffer but also a little more exciting. I’d say the Puma just knocked the Mach 5 down a notch on my shoes of the year list. Mach 5 is really good, but the DN2 is just a little more fun. 

Skechers GO Run Razor 4 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Razor 4 is a more rockered ride. It feels higher off the ground (though it isn’t)  and has less road-feel than the Puma DN2. The Razor leaves me feeling a little more beat up than the DN2 and while I like it at tempo, it’s a little less enjoyable at easier paces. The Puma DN2 edges out the Razor IMHO. 

The Deviate Nitro 2 is available now at Puma HERE

Tester Profiles

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. He has an un-official marathon PR of 2h54 (solo)  and 10K PR of 36’25. He does few timed road races.

Ryan Eller A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.  More recently he has solo time trialed the 2020-2021 super shoes, often sub 15 minutes for 5K. Ryan has a new PR of 2:19 from the 2022 Maine Marathon and also ran a 1:09 half in 2021.

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he is lucky, 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’s.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Frank said...

Hi RTR - would you say the Deviate Nitro 2 is a good option for a 4½ hour marathon, or would the Endorphin Speed 3, or some non-plated shoes like the Novablast 3, Glideride 3, Tempest or even Mach 5 be better options?

Sam Winebaum said...

In plated shoes it would be a good option but note my comments in the review about low feeling and acting heel at slower paces. Speed 3 (not 1 or 2) also a good option. Of the others you mention I would pick in order: Novablast 3, Mach, Glideride. If you tend to need support/pronation control shoes I would pick Glideride 3 or Speed 3 of those. Up I might also look at SC Trainer in the mix
Sam, Editor

70's Teen said...

Another tempo shoe with similar cushioning is the Altra Vanish Tempo - how does the ride compare, both at slower and faster paces?

Anonymous said...

Skechers Endorphin Speed in the comparisons

Anonymous said...

Is it softer than V1. I have V1 and it felt very stiff and firm.
I see that the plate is more flexible which is a good thing, but overall I want a softer ride than V1.