Thursday, March 07, 2024

Puma Velocity Nitro 3 Multi Tester Review: 7 Comparisons

Article by Dominique and Sam Winebaum

Puma Velocity NITRO 3 ($135)


The Velocity Nitro 3 is a neutral daily road trainer with a substantial 36 mm heel / 26 mm forefoot stack height made up of supercritical Nitro foam with a lower layer of EVA and where the rubber hits the road a PumaGrip outsole. Relatively light at 9.4 oz / 266g US9 it competes in a crowded space of similar spec shoes seven of which we compare at the end of the article.


  • Outstanding foothold (for a normal foot shape): Dominique/Sam 

  • PWRTAPE medial upper support crescent, firm lower EVA layer and outsole design make it a light stability option without the usual baggage.

  • No compromises faster paced focused daily training platform: lively, light and stable even with narrow midfoot platform: Sam

  • 2.5mm more Nitro foam (backed by the lower stiffer/firmer EVA layer)  and increased toe spring makes 10mm drop effective at faster paces: no mushy toe off, plenty of heel cushion: Sam/Dominique 

  • As always. PumaGrip mini lugged outsole delivers leading grip and promises durability: Sam/Dominique

  • Great value at $135 lower- slightly priced than its direct competition, and with supercritical foam unlike some of the others: Sam/Dominique



  • Lowish volume upper may challenge broader higher volume feet: Sam

  • Relatively firm ride, front stiffness and narrowish platform calls for speed daily training and not so much easy runs: Sam/Dominique

  • Requires break in miles to get front flex: Sam/Dominique

  • Not a slower paces (11:30 per mile and slower) friendly shoe, head to Magnify Nitro for that: Dominique/Sam

Please find the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons.


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

                            women’s   8 oz / 227g (US8)

 Samples: men’s 9.15 oz / 260g (US8.5), women’s 8.40 oz / 238g (US9) 

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

$135  Available now

Most Comparable Shoes

ASICS Cumulus 26 (not Cumulus 25)

Nike Pegasus

adidas Supernova Rise

Saucony Ride 15/16 (not Ride 17)

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Dominique: On to my third Puma tester - all daily trainers - and the brand consistently delivers highly engineered shoes with an attractive price tag.  My prior two testers were the Run XX Nitro and the Magnify Nitro 2 - the latter, with its high stack height (40-30mm) and soft,  but lively midsole, has been a favorite of mine.  Admittedly, I run at a slow pace.  With the Velocity Nitro 3, it is not just about enjoying the ride, but also picking up the pace. It’s a lightweight daily trainer designed for mileage and speed with a comfortable platform at an affordable price.    

The fit is true to size. Though I would describe the foothold as outstanding and extremely comfortable, it may be a tad too snug for people with wide feet. I wear a pair of lightweight Swiftwick socks with my Velocity Nitro 3 for an optimum fit.  I note that it took about 25 miles for the front of the shoe to get enough toe off flex,

The engineered mesh upper has good ventilation and hugs the foot securely in place.  Strategically placed overlays - PWRTAPE technology - reinforce the upper enhancing both support and durability.  

Notably, a large semi-circular piece of PWRTAPE with internal “X” straps is stitched along the mid lower part of the inside shoe to provide extra support.  Thus, stability is not compromised by the narrow platform of the shoe.

Padding around the collar is generous and deep to optimize a comfortable foothold.  The heel counter is quite flexible but for its lower part where the Nitro foam extends as a reinforcement piece.  In comparison to the collar, the gusseted tongue is minimally padded, yet it is quite protective.  The shoelaces glide smoothly with one single pull without any adjustment required once tied. 

“Psychedelic Rush” is the extended name of the Puma Nitro Velocity 3, which is available in the color “Lime Pow-Puma Black-Poison Pink” for the women’s and for the men’s but for the pink accents, which are green and silver.  

It’s an attractive and uplifting look, connoting speed. .

Sam: I concur with Dominique on the upper. It is comfortable, very secure and will lean towards narrower lower volume feet and faster daily training days rather than mellow all easy and comfort days or for broader feet. 

And that is the intent of the shoe and its look in bright yellow with hints of black in the quite open if not particularly soft thin and pliable mesh. 

The fit is true to size and snug all over for my medium to narrow feet, the lacing rapid and never needing adjustment and the collars hold rock solid. 

The medial PWRTAPE semi circle of support plays an essential role of keeping me square and locked down and stable on the relatively narrow midfoot platform given the high stack of 36/26. 

Midsole & Platform

Sam: The midsole is the same combination of nitrogen infused Nitro foam with a lower layer of ProFoam EVA as previously, with the change of 2mm more stack height of Nitro foam front and back to bring the stack height to 36mm heel, 26mm forefoot.  To go with the added stack height, which makes the shoe stiffer than before, Puma accentuated the rocker and toe spring upfront. 

It also appears Puma increased the proportion of firmer EVA at the very front of the shoe if one compares V3 above to V2 below.  Look for the white seam at the top of the layer above the outsole at the very front of both shoes.

If this is the case, and it sure feels it, I wish for an easier softer toe off for slower paced running. At faster paces the front design works well and is clearly responsive but for me makes the Velocity lean to more uptempo daily training. 

When the stout outsole is combined with the lower EVA layer there is no doubt the Nitro 3 has a more responsive than soft and bouncy midsole feel.  This said, the front of the shoe is on the stiff side and lacks the forward flex point of v2, having a longer quite stiff flex,  making slower paces more laborious  and toe offs while well cushioned quite firm in feel.

Adding in the effect of the relatively (these days) narrow platform at 85 mm heel / 60 mm midfoot / 100 mm forefoot makes the  midsole feel more uptempo daily training than easy days. 

Dominique: I have been adjusting to the feel of the midsole, which is firmer than the Magnify Nitro 2. For sure the Velocity is a different shoe than the Magnify.  As Sam has described, the midsole is a combination of nitrogen infused Nitro foam and ProFoam EVA, with the latter adding firmness to the cushioning along with responsiveness.  As a slow runner, I prefer a softer to a stiffer feel underfoot.  The 10 mm drop does not really feel like a 10 mm drop given the lack of flex in the design. 



Sam: PumaGrip is always one of the best rubbers out there combining great grip and outstanding durability. Here we have plenty of it of the firmer variety front to back and with more continuous medial midfoot and lateral edge coverage than before (v2 shown below) which I felt made the V3 stiffer upfront and somewhat more stable as well. 

Velocity Nitro 2 Outsole

I wished for an easier front flex point as the shoe, while not plate like rigid in flex (see ASICS Cumulus 26 below in comparisons) or somewhat to easy flexing (see adidas Supernova Rise ) could use a friendlier front flex.

Dominique:  In agreement that PumaGrip rubber provides both great grip and durability.  The platform of the shoe is narrower than for the Magnify, yet it is very stable.  As Sam has described the front is lacking a bit of flex making the shoe stiffer. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Dominique: Velocity Nitro 3 is a shoe designed for daily speed training as opposed to breing an all around any pace trainer.  The narrow platform of the shoe is surprisingly stable.  As a slow runner, the Magnify Nitro 2 is a much better fit for me than the Velocity Nitro 3.  Notable characteristics are: outstanding foothold from the upper (for regular shape feet); narrow, yet stable platform; fairly lightweight for a shoe with a high stack height 36mm/26 mm; responsive midsole, Pumagrip durable outsole, attractive design, pricing is in the more affordable range; and ultimately is a daily trainer to run at faster speed.  I would not characterize the ride as plush but comfortable and on the stiffer side.

Dominique: 9/10 (took some points off for the ride)


Sam:  The Velocity Nitro 3 is clearly a “serious” daily trainer. Its upper is among the most locked down in a trainer I can recall and with relatively low volume.  The effective medial PWRTAPE support element leans this neutral narrowish platform towards stability. The upper is very comfortable but don’t expect plush and roomy. 

The theme of serious continues underfoot with the nice rebound of Nitro foam and more of it than before tempered and stabilized by the lower firm EVA layer and the outsole. While the new rocker and toe spring is effective and felt,  the apparently higher proportion of EVA at the very front is also felt as some stiffness and firmness, perfect for those speedier days as it makes the front nicely responsive but not as pleasant (but still fine) for slower days.

If you are looking for a stable neutral daily trainer, tend to prefer faster paces and want a more responsive quick reacting ride, have lower volume feet and/or want a totally solid lockdown the Nitro is a very good choice, The Velocity Nitro 3 is also a very solid value given supercritical foam midsole, copious and versatile outsole and $135 price.

Sam's Score: 9 / 10

My main deductions are for Ride with a score of 8.7. I wish for a friendlier easier toe off. Upper Fit, Value, and Style all score strong 


7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Puma Magnify Nitro 2 (RTR Review)

Add 4mm of Nitro front and back and take away the Velocity’s firm EVA layer putting everything on a wider platform and you get the Magnify 2. This adds up to 0.6 oz / 17g more weight but Magnify still checks in at a very reasonable 10 oz / 284 g US9.  Magnify can clearly be part of what can be a nice Puma training rotation with Velocity for your daily faster to uptempo miles and Magnify (or if you need a touch more stability the ForeverRun below) for your easier runs. Add in the Deviate or Deviate Elite for fast uptempo and racing and you complete the picture. 

Puma ForeverRun Nitro (RTR Review)

At about the same weight (touch more)  the ForeverRun is all Nitro foam and has a higher 40mm heel (measured) 30 mm forefoot stack height.  The platform width of  95mm  heel / 65mm midfoot  /115 mm forefoot is considerably broader than the 85 mm heel / 60 mm midfoot / 100 mm forefoot of the Velocity Nitro 3. The ForeverRun is positioned as being inherently stable, and is. Yet for my tastes it is smoother flowing off the rear of the shoe than the Velocity Nitro and more cushioned and easier to roll up front. I prefer the ForeverRun as it has more cushion, a less firm front of the shoe and a more accommodating upper yet  has no mush in the ride due to its all Nitro foam, its geometry and equally fine PumaGrip outsole. The Velocity is a “faster” if not as friendly trainer so it all depends on your preferences.

Saucony Ride 17 (RTR Review)

The Saucony Ride 17 has a considerably softer ride and a roomier upper that for me is on the edge of not providing enough support for my narrow to medium feet while the Velocity is all locked down and more performance focused, as is its ride. The Ride is  a half ounce heavier on a similar 35mm heel / 27mm forefoot stack height  but broader platform at 115mm forefoot/ 70mm midfoot / 90mm heel I find the rides very different here. The Puma is firmer and sharply responsive (EVA layer) and more reactive (Nitro layer) while the more mellow Ride is bouncier (expanded bead TPU foam)

ASICS Cumulus 26 (RTR Review

The new Cumulus 26 is a very close comparable to the Velocity Nitro 3 with both being firmer, quite stiff flexing more uptempo daily training options. Interesting as the Cumulus 25 was essentially a different shoe being softer and more flexible than the Nitro 3.  The ASICS sits on a considerably wider platform than the Puma at 100 mm heel / 85 mm midfoot / 115 mm forefoot, has a few millimeters more stack and is lighter but.. has a rubberized foam outsole which is no comparison off dry smooth surfaces to the PumaGrip outsole and its light trails and snow worth mini lugs. As such the Puma is a more versatile daily trainer if terrain surface is a consideration while the ASICS is, with its stiff flexing almost plate like front slightly more uptempo in feel with midsole cushion feel about the same for me despite the Puma having supercritical foam and the ASICS FF Blast +  with the wider ASICS heel landing making it a bit more stable.  In terms of uppers through to the midfoot about the same fit with the ASICS a bit more generous in toe box fit but with thicker mesh.

Nike Pegasus 39 or 40 (RTR Review)

Sam: Shades of Pegasus here with a firmer more responsive ride and a relatively stiff and stable forefoot area. Of course the Nike has an air unit upfront whereas the Puma has its combination of Nitro foam and firm lower EVA. The weights are the same but the Velocity given its lighter Nitro foam  has 3mm more stack height whereas the Pegasus has firmer and dated React. If you like the Pegasus firmer responsive ride and solid lockdown but wish for more cushion and a more “reactive” midsole the Velocity Nitro 3 is well worth a close look.

adidas Supernova Rise (RTR Review)

Sam; At 9.6oz / 274g US9  with a stack height of  35.5 mm heel / 25.5 mm forefoot ( 10mm drop spec) the brand new Rise has almost the same stats but a different ride.  It is somewhat softer and for sure more flexible. Its pronounced heel bevel really helps initiate the roll forward at slower paces better than the Puma while up front it is not nearly as stiff. It’s upper is higher volume and more relaxed in fit. The Puma clearly leans faster daily training paces while the adidas is maybe a touch more well rounded.


Puma Velocity Nitro 3, ASICS GEL-Cumulus 26, Saucony Ride 17 

Velocity Nitro 3 Available from our Partners

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Tester Profiles

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles and once a week down in the mid 9 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. An avid hiker and trekker, she has been around Mont Blanc 3 times, hiked Chamonix to Zermatt, and completed the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and also enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, tennis, and gardening. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2023 was Sam’s 51th 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 very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. 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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