Sunday, March 19, 2023

Puma ForeverRun NITRO Review: 11 Comparisons

Article by Jeff Beck and Sam Winebaum

Puma ForeverRUN NITRO ($150)


Puma pitches the ForeverRUNNitro as follows:

"ForeverRUN NITRO ushers in a new era of stability shoes by encouraging an optimal running stride for everybody and every run. The new running shoe achieves this through a unique combination of cushioning with NITRO foam and enhanced guidance with its RUNGUIDE System."

Let’s get it out of the way, right away. I can’t speak to how stable they are for “heavy” pronators but for this predominantly neutral shoe runner it runs mostly like a neutral shoe with some neat twists that point to its potential for some support.

First, we have a dual density (soft inner core, firmer outer carrier) of Puma’s excellent light and lively NITRO  foam, a nitrogen infused supercritical EVA. I have run every Nitro shoe and it is among the most dynamic foams out there if somewhat soft. Here they effectively firm up the outer carrier foam somewhat.

NITRO is light compared to regular EVA or blends so we have a giant 40mm heel / 30 mm forefoot stack weighing just 9.5 oz / 269 g in a US9. Wait, you'll say many supercritical foam shoes are lighter at similar stacks. But here is where the ForeverRun starts to show its “stability” focus. 

We have a gigantic and broad 95mm heel platform with the foot sitting down in the midsole and backed up by a plastic clip. The Invincible Run 3 is about the same heel width and the Nimbus 25 is at about 90mm with  both notably heavier at  10.3 oz /292g (US9) whereas here we are at about 9.5 oz / 269g

The next part of the magic here is that the midfoot platform is notably narrow at about 65mm and running to the front we have cored out triangles leading to the broad 110mm wide forefoot which has nice flex.  

Holding it together, if you will, is a PUMA Grip outsole with full rear and front coverage. Together with the 10mm drop, and and overall design that Puma calls Run Guide System everything hinted that this would not be lumbering hard to transition shoe as the Nike and ASICS tend to be for me.

Oh and the upper. It is a very soft simple engineered mesh with tufted pods and a copious helping of equally pliable PWRTAPE overlays arrayed differently medially and laterally. Finally, in collaboration with the Kaiser Sports Clinic in Denmark, we have a sockliner with a metatarsal pad. 

Bottom line, at first look, there is lots of carefully thought out design here and a very reasonable stack for the weight. Let’s see how they run!


Finally a big stack stable neutral unplated trainer that moves lively and easy at any pace: foam, geometry, drop, flex: Sam/Jeff

Transition from the giant heel to midfoot is particularly well executed Sam/Jeff

NITRO Foam in dual density. More please!  Rebounding heel & forefoot, copious cushion Sam/Jeff

Clearly a stable neutral shoe Sam/Jeff

Maybe not a speed day shoe but everything else is deliberate moving and rebounding smiles Sam

Super comfortable well held upper Sam/Jeff

PumaGrip outsole continues to set the standard
Built-in metatarsal pad in the insole is subtle but appreciated


Forefoot while flexible enough is slappy, pointing to a bit too much rubber coverage and not enough segmentation: Sam

A pronation control shoe, not so sure Sam


Approx. Weight: men's 9.5 oz  / 269 g (US9)  /  women's oz / g (US8)


  Sample Weights : 9.26 oz / 263g US 8.5 sample, 10.5 oz / 298g US 10.5 

Stack Height: men’s 40mm heel (measured) 30 mm forefoot (10mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 95/ 65 /115 (measured)

Available now including at our partner Running Warehouse HERE

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Bold, bright, and big in optic orange the ForeverRUN NITRO makes its presence felt!

The upper is a soft thin engineered mesh with functional tufts of thicker material for support. The media box was over the top! It even included exercise bands and a ball in a drawer below the shoes.

Support is also provided by PWRTAPE overlays in an unusual design with a front to back medial taping with 2 bands tying into the last 2 lace holes. 

The lateral side tape ties into 1st, 3d (in V)  and very front lace holes. 

Obviously conscious decisions were made about where to put the support tapes and I find the hold excellent, just between “comfort” and “performance”.

The gusseted tongue has thin padding and with the soft thin laces, PWRTAPE overlays, and pliable mesh providing a very secure and comfortable mid foot lock down.

The sockliner is part of the design done in collaboration with the Kaiser Clinic of Denmark. An EVA type sockliner it has a metatarsal pad that was pleasing on try on but seems to fade into the background while running doing its thing without overdoing it. 

The heel counter is semi rigid with a plastic clip that is not totally rigid as well. except at the far rear. It works very well to provide supportive stability without resorting to an over extended forward design as found on the Nike Infinity or Brooks Guide Rails.  This design allows my foot to flow forward without the rigid inflexible sensation towards mid foot of the “rails” in the Nike and Brooks. 

The rear collars have bolsters on the inside that extend deeper down than usually in such non rolled collar rear designs. Unlike many of the other bolster cushion heel and ankle areas (for example Nike Invincible Run 3 for several of us) there is no slippage.

The fit is true to size with a somewhat characteristic of Puma pointy very front of the toe box.

Jeff: My black/white pair isn't nearly as striking as Sam's orange colorway, but right away it's an impressive shoe. 
My initial response was that this was what the first Deviate Nitro should have been, just a great fitting upper with zero heel slip that plagued the Deviate. Very clear that this is one of those shoes that does all elements very well. Some shoes have a great upper but just a so-so midsole, or a killer midsole with a phoned in upper or a poorly designed outsole - none of that applies here. 

More details below, but starting out, the upper is top notch. Sam detailed it well, and Puma really nailed the subtleties of how/where to add slight support elements without overbuilding the upper. 
The toebox isn't amazing in its width, but it isn't awful either. 
One of those shoes that has "enough" space, while I wouldn't mind just a touch more, but it hasn't kept me from logging nearly all my miles in the Forever Run since they showed up a couple weeks ago.

The metatarsal pad built into the insole replicates the aftermarket met pads I've put in my shoes over the last few years (dealing with a neuroma), but it's so subtle I didn't even notice it for the first five or six runs - except I did notice my feet felt great after each run.

I'm right with Sam, the heel counter's stability is incredibly transparent and has no downsides for this supinating neutral runner. Brooks' Guide Rails give me knee pain and Nike's Infinity clip digs into my arch - Puma's Guide System doesn't even introduce itself to my feet. The inner bolsters hold the foot like a comfortable straight jacket - not even the hint of heel slip. The gusseted tongue also plays a part in keeping the foot planted. This shoe, maybe more than any other, could be run without any laces and it wouldn't be a complete disaster, but it doesn't overdo it by any stretch. Puma really got it right this time around.


The NITRO midsole is the “secret sauce” here. A dual density nitrogen processed supercritical EVA foam as with all Puma Nitro shoes it is notably lively and energetic. As a supercritical foam, it is also light allowing Puma to build to a 40mm heel / 30mm forefoot stack height with a very broad forefoot and heel platform and with an extensive outsole yet come in at a mere 9.5 oz / 263g US9.

Most notable in the design is the very broad 95mm heel. 

Usually inherently stable shoes without posts or plastic pieces continue with a broad midfoot but here we narrow down considerably at mid foot. So, while the heel landings are notably stable, transitions away from the heel to midfoot for such a wide heel are notably easy. I particularly noted how stable yet rebounding the heel wass during test runs in Park City on steep hills with tremendous cushioning that was never sloppy.

Jeff: While the upper is a big step forward for Puma, the great midsole was no surprise. Puma has had a few absolute bangers since they brought out the Nitro series, but these may be the best of the daily trainers. The dual density construction has plenty of firm cushioning and rebound, and Sam is right, the width of the midsole plays a big part in one of the most stable platforms out there - and it does so without making the shoe run bulky in any way. 


Plenty of fine durable PumaGrip rubber here in a single moderately firm flavor as the outsole itself is a single unit.  The rubber is well matched to the midsole, neither over soft reducing response or over firm and harsh. Grip is excellent.

As always with the outsole I look at the underside geometry of the shoe. By reducing the midfoot rubber coverage and in fact concentrating it on the lateral side Puma clearly allows for the smooth transition I feel. 

The cut out triangles exposing the softer central Nitro core, narrowish midfoot, no medial midfoot rubber converge and 8mm drop all contribute to a smooth flow from heel towards toe off. 

The very front outsole could use some work. While the forefoot is clearly very stable I found the forefoot a bit slappy, for me usually an indication of not enough flex and segmentation.  The shoe has some stiffer flex up front no question but I think the front rubber could be more segmented across the shoe as there are plenty of cut throughs but they are not connected across the width of the platform.

Jeff: I largely agree with Sam on the outsole. They used the right kind of rubber; it has plenty of durability and grip and it's thin enough to not try to be the star of the show. 
The cutout of the midsole, revealing the other type of midsole, and the sculpted rubber, leaving plenty of midsole to be beaten up by the ground, work together to keep weight low, but in neither case do they hurt durability. My only disagreement from Sam's assessment is on the forefoot, I didn't find it slappy up front, but that could be our differences in gait or size - the forefoot felt plenty flexible to me.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: None of the recent big stack trainers except the Craft Pro Endur and plated SC Trainer have been much to my liking, especially those that try for “inherent stability” such as Nimbus 25, the new Invincible Run 3,  Ultraboost Light, or Puma’s 2022 Magnify. They tend to be lumbering, overly broad underfoot (and especially at mid foot), stiff, and not always any pace versatile. 

The ForeverRUN Nitro is none of the above. It is highly cushioned, Nitro foam lively and fun without being overly soft or firm, stable “enough” and is smooth flowing at any pace. Credit goes to the relatively narrow mid foot platform, the cut throughs and the elegantly arrayed outsole.  While a bit "bulky" in geometry it is light and can serve most daily training needs from moderate pace everyday runs to long runs to recovery runs.

I am not convinced that it is an ideal shoe for heavy “late” more midfoot  pronators but if you need the support on heel landing at the rear of the shoe you will for sure find it here. It is ideal for “heavy” hard heel landing including steep downhills.

It is light at 9.5 oz for its 40mm heel and has enough drop at 10mm and flex to never get in its way.

My only negative is that the forefoot is a bit slappy and stiff (overly stabilized, overly broad?)  even with the shoe broken in and  more flexible. A bit more segmentation across the width and less rubber might help. Even with the outsole issues upfront the Nitro foam midsole comes through with lots of forefoot rebound and cushion.

In the wish list department I would love to see a similar dual density midsole and trimmed down outsole on a less broad platform (lighter and more agile) which I think would make for a model that would be a near ideal run any pace trainer.

Even on tired legs at slow paces every run brought smiles. A bit “bulky” but never heavy or heavy feeling),  other Puma Deviate Nitro, Liberate, Velocity) are better suited to speedier training days but for 80% of my miles, the regular easier ones  the ForeverRUN is the one I want to reach for. 

Puma really has delivered a powerful refinement of what max cushion daily trainers can be here by carefully blending some stability from the broad platform with attention to run flow through the geometry and outsole. Finally the upper is without reproach for comfort, hold, and fit.

Sam’s Score: 9.46 /10

Ride: 9.4 Fit: 9.6 Value: 9.5 Style:9

😊😊😊😊 1/2

Jeff: And here's where I take umbrage with Sam - I really enjoy the Nimbus 25, Invincible Run 3, and a few others in that camp - and yet I arrive at the same conclusion for the Forever Run. In short, it's fantastic. Upper, midsole, and outsole are all exceptionally good executions that lead to a shoe where the total is much greater than the sum of its impressive parts. The toebox could be just a bit wider, and I wouldn't hate if the heel pull tab was a little bigger, making it easier to use, but the incredibly minor flaws notwithstanding, this is one of the best versatile use max-cushion daily trainers to be released. Between the midsole and outsole, the durability is fantastic making the $150 price tag feel like a steal.
Jeff's Score: 9.75/10
Ride: 9.5 Fit: 10 Value: 10 Style: 10

11 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Puma Magnify Nitro (RTR Review)

Weighing about 0.8 oz more this previous generation inherently stable big trainer from Puma had a dual density midsole with a firm EVA carrier and internal core of Nitro. Much more lumbering and not as much fun to run, the Forever easily replaces it for me with a more lively foam ride and smoother transitions and toe offs.

Saucony Tempus (RTR Review)

Sam: The Tempus, also an inherently stable near neutral shoe is at  9.03 oz  / 266g (US9) with a 36.5 heel / 28.5 mm forefoot stack height so is 0.5 oz lighter but on a lower and narrower platform. It has a frame of EVA/TPU for support and an inner core of Pb foam (PEBA). It is a faster riding shoe, more uptempo in feel, but not as plush and rebounding underfoot as the Puma. Slower paces and heel striking are somewhat friendlier in the Puma.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 25 (RTR Review)

Sam: These two are direct competitors in the stable neutral category and share 8mm drops. The ASICS weighs 10.3 oz  / 292 g (US9) 23g, so is 0.8 oz heavier a very slightly higher stack of midsole foam. In the duel between Flyte Foam Blast + and dual density Nitro, the Nitro wins with a more energetic foam. In the overall ride competition, the Puma also wins for me with a less broad blocky midfoot and a more flexible forefoot. It’s close for the uppers but here the luxurious Nimbus upper with its yet softer feel wins although the narrower front of the toe box Puma's is a bit more secure and locked down. Both true to size.

Jeff: The Nimbus upper wins for comfort, but the Puma has a more secure fit (though I do appreciate the wider Nimbus toebox as well as the ultra stretchy tongue and huge heel pull tab), but underfoot the really good ASICS is underwhelming compared to the incredible Puma. The Nimbus midsole just doesn't have the rebound that the Puma does, and the Puma outsole wins for grip and durability. The Nimbus had been a frontrunner for my shoe of the year, but this Puma's existence ended that campaign in its tracks.

Nike Invincible Run 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: As with all the other max cushion shoes here, except the Superblast, the IR3 weighs 0.8 oz more on essentially the same platform height and close to the same platform width. And it weighs more despite having a full super light ZoomX supercritical PEBA foam midsole. Why? Nike lathers on a full stiff outsole front to back and the upper is denser and heavier.  Mostly rocker based compared to the more flexible Puma ( in a big stack shoe I prefer either flex as the Puma has or a plate)  the Nike favors a more mid to forefoot strike to activate its rocker, while the Puma is good for either a heel strike (strength) or forefoot strike.  

While Zoom X is magical and superior to Nitro,  it doesn’t shine as brightly in the IR3 for me as what surrounds the outsole and upper just doesn’t move as easily with the stiffness of the upper in the NIke also affecting ride and flow more than the smooth, more linear and carefully designed Puma upper. I would note the Puma is $30 less than the Invincible and for me a better value.

Jeff: ZoomX is among the best midsoles around, both for fast runs and super bouncy easy ones, and the Invincible 3 has plenty of bounce - some could argue it borders on instability it is so bouncy. The Puma is firmer, and nearly equally energetic, but the big difference here is the upper. The Invincible 3 was plagued with heel slip issues, I found myself lacing them so tightly I was cutting off circulation, only to still have some heel slip. None whatsoever in the Puma making it the easy answer for me.

Saucony Triumph 20 (RTR Review)
Jeff: My road shoe of the year for 2022 the 20th Triumph featured a new iteration of PWRRUN+ midsole, with a firm yet energetic midsole (sound familiar?) paired with a comfortable upper that also holds the foot well. The closest comparison I have in the A/B test, the Saucony has a wider toebox while the Puma has a wider midsole platform. The Saucony outsole is good, but the Puma's is better, and the Puma also has a little more cushioning underfoot. Triumph fans should definitely give the ForeverRun a try.

Brooks Glycerin 20 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Brooks' biggest daily trainer got an updated midsole with the 20th version, going to their nitrogen-infused DNA Amp v3 midsole. The Glycerin has a wider toebox but doesn't have nearly the whole-foot lockdown the Puma does - and the Puma also has a much more substantial midsole.

Mizuno Wave Neo Ultra (RTR Review)
Jeff: Mizuno's sustainability behemoth can go toe-to-toe with the Puma in the cushioning and overall comfort department, and brings a wider toebox to the party as well, but the midsole construction of the Puma is much more dynamic than the Mizuno. The $100 price break makes it that much easier to pick the Puma.

361 Spire 5 (RTR Review)
Jeff: My first foray into 361 shoes has been impressive, reminding me quite a bit of the Triumph 20 in all the right ways. Against the Puma the 361 wins the toebox fight, and nearly hangs on in the midsole battle, but the Nitro midsole (and its substantial width advantage) really shines in an A/B comparison. The 361 has a slightly softer landing, but the Puma has a much more dynamic rebound to it. The 361 outsole is very good, but ultimately PumaGrip takes the cake - all that and $10 cheaper really illustrates how good the ForeverRun Nitro is.

adidas Ultraboost Light (RTR Review)

Sam: The Ultraboost sees a dramatic weight reduction to 10.3 oz in my US8.5 as it gets a new flavor of Boost that is slightly denser and less bouncy than prior Boost or the Nitro foam in the Puma. It as with the other comparisons also at 10.3 oz is heavier than the Puma. Both shoes have very broad stable heels with lots of rear cushion and stability. They differ significantly up front with the adidas having a very thin 20mm stack and LEP plastic propulsion plating. Clearly snappier off the toes but less cushioned and bouncy, if you are a true forefoot striker headed over to the Puma. If you tend to heel strike and prefer a quick and agile forefoot you might prefer the adidas. Both have great uppers with the adidas potentially a bit more accommodating to broader higher volume feet. At $40 less than the adidas the Puma is a better value.

Jeff: I agree with Sam, the extra cushioning underneath the forefoot in the Puma is very appreciated, though the heel cushioning is comparable. Between the cushioning difference and the price break, the Puma shines in comparison.

ASICS Superblast (RTR Review)

Sam: Significantly lighter, higher stacked in cushion by 5mm and $70 more expensive at $220 the Superblast with its supercritical Flight Foam Turbo foam is pretty much the ultimate in unplated max cushion trainers. Not quite as stable or as energetic in foam it is not as practical as the Puma especially if you need a touch of support. Both true to size fits with the Puma upper a bit more substantial and supportive.

Craft Pro Endur (RTR Review)

Sam: The Pro Endur is 0.2 oz lighter and sits on a slightly lower platform having a 36mm heel and 9 mm drop. I prefer its yet more energetic TPE midsole foam, although it is a close race. It is not an inherently stable neutral shoe as the Puma is and its upper is considerably less structured and somewhat baggy in fit.

Watch the ForeverRun Nitro Initial Video Review (16:08)

The ForeverRun NITRO is available now at our partners





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Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was 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 gets lucky,, training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run or nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 20 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.

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'.

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Angus said...

You mentioned Craft Pro Endur favourably during the review, but it wasn't included in the comparisons at the end. A quick comparison ?

Stephen said...

Thanks Sam! I normally wear 12.5 but Puma doesn’t always make my size. Should I size up (13) or down (12) in this shoe?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,
Great review.
How does it compare with the Asics Novablast 3? Which do you prefer as a daily trainer?

Anonymous said...

@angus. Pro Endur has a similar energetic foam. Its platform and upper is less structured. It is less stable overall but a faster shoe for me Sam,Editor

T H said...

No comparison to the Saucony Tempus, with its PWRRUN PB core in a PWRRUN carrier?

Sam Winebaum said...

@TH added Tempus comparison now. Thanks Sam, Editor. It is below
The Tempus, also an inherently stable near neutral shoe is at 9.03 oz / 266g (US9) with a 36.5 heel / 28.5 mm forefoot stack height so is 0.5 oz lighter but on a lower and narrower platform. It has a frame of EVA/TPU for support and an inner core of Pb foam (PEBA). It is a faster riding shoe, more uptempo in feel, but not as plush and rebounding underfoot as the Puma. Slower paces and heel striking are somewhat friendlier in the Puma.

Anonymous said...

Sam’s reviews on anything related to stability—even stable neutral shoes—are a low point on RTR. He’s a neutral shoe runner and there’s no indication he’s ever needed shoes with stability elements or even a stable neutral shoe. It would be better if someone who understood their mechanics and the use case for different approaches to stability reviewed the shoes. The context matters to the injured athlete or to runners whose mechanics impart an actual need for stable neutral or more prescriptive, stability-specific shoes.

Sam’s reviews for these shoes to me read “I don’t need stability shoes. I don’t enjoy stability shoes, mostly because I don’t need them. These shoes are good because they don’t feel like stability shoes.” Taken as a whole, they’re low value reviews from an otherwise incredibly insightful runner. Consider changing this approach.

Anonymous said...

On the contrary, Sam mentions stability quite often. A relative measure of a shoe's stability is welcomed, whether it comes from a stability shoe wearer or not. Sam, please continue assessing stability. It is something I look for in every review.

Geometry Dash World said...

The dual-density construction with a soft inner core and firmer outer carrier sounds promising, providing a balance of cushioning and responsiveness.