Sunday, February 18, 2024

Modern "Daily" Road Trainers Comparison Review: Puma Velocity Nitro 3, ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26, Saucony Ride 17

Article by Sam Winebaum

Puma Velocity Nitro 3 ($135), Saucony Ride 17 ($140), ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26 ($140)

In the article, I compare 3 “classic” daily trainers thoroughly modernized with state of the art and higher stacked (35mm to 38.5mm) midsole foams and broad on the ground geometries. 

What is a “daily trainer”?  It is a road running shoe that you can count on for the majority of your runs from tempo runs, to regular daily miles, to recovery runs. All are very reasonably priced between $135 (Puma) to $140 (ASICS and Saucony).

By classic, I also mean their heel to toe drops are between 8mm (Ride 17 and Cumulus 26) and 10mm for the Velocity Nitro 3. Their weights are all below my magic 10 oz / 283g for a daily trainer. The ASICS is the lightest at  9.1 oz  / 258 g (US9) and the Saucony the heaviest at 9.9 oz  / 282g (US9). None have plates and all have some front flex so are not as reliant on rigid rockers although the Cumulus gets close.

All three fit me true to size but with differing overall fits from most performance oriented (Puma) to most relaxed comfort oriented (Saucony)

Which might be best for you? Read on to discover more noting I will be adding the new adidas Supernova Rise as soon as I test it. 

Puma Velocity Nitro 3 ($135) RTR Review soon

Approx. Weight: men's 9.4 oz / 266g (US9) v2 men's 9.07 oz / 257g (US9 

Samples: men’s 9.15 oz / 260g (US8.5) 

Stack Height: 

36 mm heel / 26 mm forefoot (10mm drop)  v2:33.5mm heel, 23.5mm forefoot.

Platform Width: 85 mm heel / 60 mm midfoot / 100 mm forefoot



  • Most energetic foam and only one with a supercritical foam, nitrogen infused Nitro
  • Best performance fit for lower volume feet and for speed work
  • Accentuated toe spring plays well with the moderate flex at toe off
  • Best traction and most extensive outsole coverage.


  • Fit may challenge higher volume feet more than the others
  • Narrowest midfoot platform.

The Velocity Nitro 3 features a dual density midsole with Puma Nitro supercritical foam above and a light dense and firm EVA below for stability and response. It gains about 3mm of Nitro over v2 which improves its cushioning depth while the lower layer plus extensive rubber outsole (with the most grip of the three) give it quick response. It has a moderate, and longer flex than the others, with a new more accentuated toe spring (angle at the top of the midsole) giving it a lively toe off.

The upper is a very open thin engineered mesh. 

To provide midfoot support on the narrow, and narrowest, 60mm midfoot platform Puma includes a semi circular PWRTAPE reinforcement and inner straps. 

Further support is provided by the uninterrupted firm black rubber the whole length of the medial side with the yellow rubber softer. 

The ankle collar is the most padded of the three with the heel cup progressively more rigid the further down it goes The Velocity also includes a partial gusset tongue with lacing padding as well as thin reflective laces which help draw the hold together very well. 

The toe box is the narrowest of the three but the mesh is soft and compliant with a very minimal toe bumper. Overall the upper delivers a very comfortable more performance oriented fit than the others  

Best for : all around training, broadest pace range but leaning faster paces

Saucony Ride 17 ($140) RTR Review

Weight: men's 9.9 oz  / 282g (US9) 

Stack Height: men’s & women’s: 35mm heel / 27mm forefoot, 8mm drop 

Platform Width: / 90mm heel / 70mm midfoot / 115mm forefoot


  • Softest riding
  • Most flexible
  • Broadest highest volume fit


  • Least stable despite broad platform, but still fine for neutral runners
  • Heaviest
  • Roomy midfoot and soft upper mesh may challenge lower volume feet.

The Ride is the most “easy going” of the three.  It has the softest bounciest ride given, in a big change from prior Ride, it gets PWRRUN+ foam as the Triumph has. Its platform is the second broadest after the Cumulus. 

Differing from the Puma, its rubber coverage at midfoot is more extensive laterally than medially and along with its more relaxed upper making it the least stable of the three but it is still decently stable for a neutral shoe due to its platform width.

The upper is a soft engineered mesh with a prominent and effective midfoot outer plastic saddle plus gusset tongue. It clearly has the highest volume and most relaxed upper and thus in terms of it fit will favor broader higher volume feet.

Best for: slower paced running of the three, assuming you don’t need more stability

ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26 ($140) (RTR Review)

Approx. Weight: men's 9.1 oz  / 258 g (US9)  /  women's 7.8 oz / 222 g (US8)

Stack Height: men’s 38.5 mm heel / 30.5 mm forefoot  8mm drop

Platform Width: 100 mm heel / 85 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot


  • Lightest with the broadest platform and highest stack height
  • Rubberized foam full coverage outsole makes it the stiffest flexing, near plate like and most responsive of the three


  • Stiffest with a firmer feel make it least suitable for slower running. More break in required than for the others. 
  • While durability of the foam/rubber outsole should be good, traction is sketchy on wet and light snow

The Cumulus 26 sees the biggest changes from its predecessors of the three. Instead of rubber,  it gets a foam/rubber full coverage similar to the Hoka Mach or UA Velociti Wind. This outsole is thick at 15mm at the heel and 8mm at the front. 

While the Cumulus retains a Flyte Foam Blast + midsole foam and heel Pure Gel, the outsole in my view transforms the Cumulus ride from a softer easier flexing one to a near rigid rocker ride. While there is some flex towards the midfoot, in front of that the shoe is the most rigid of the three giving it a near plate like feel and most up tempo focus of the three to go with a firmer more responsive overall feel, 


The upper sits between the Ride and Velocity in fit with a toe box closer to the Velocity on try on but which stretched with use and a relatively high volume midfoot that required cinching down the laces over the stretchy thin gusset tongue. Even with its relaxed midfoot upper, midfoot and rear stability was the best of the three given the broadest of the three midfoot platform,  its high and rigid “classic” ASICS heel counter and the full coverage outsole.  

Best for:   faster paced running of the three while a bit cumbersome at slower paces

adidas Supernova Rise ($140)

Sample Weight: men’s  9.6oz / 274g US9. 

Stack Height: men’s 35.5 mm heel / 25.5 mm forefoot ( 10mm drop spec) 

€ 150 / $140  Available now

My personal comparison is coming soon. In the meantime please read our RTR Review

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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Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comparison, very helpful! How does the 10mm drop of the Puma feel relative to the 8mm on the Saucony and Asics? These days I'm immediately wary of any daily shoe with a drop over 8mm, but depending on the geometry and midsole foam characteristics I think they can still work for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! The drop of 10mm is more noticed early in the stride as the accentuated toe spring kicks the foot up and away late instead of it plunging down. Kind of neat and I think effective Sam Editor

Anonymous said...

The ASICS as firm and stiffer similar with more of a rocker plate feel.