PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite 3 Review: Getting Thick

The previous 2 iterations were light, fun and fast. However, they lacked the cushion for most to take them as a full marathon shoe. Have PUMA fixed this?

PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite v3 Introduction:

More Cushion For The Pushing

Ivan: The first two editions of the PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite were celebrated for being lightweight and snappy. However, feedback indicated that they lacked sufficient cushioning for the full marathon distance. With this update, PUMA introduces a higher stack of tweaked NITROFOAM ELITE midsole compound, which promises to offer enhanced protection and propulsion. It will be intriguing to see if these advancements fulfil their promises.

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Specs: 

Stack height: 40mm

Midsole drop: 8mm

Weight: 6.8oz | 194g (Men’s) 

Retail price: £195 | $230 | €230

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PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite 3 Upper:

Light But Structured

Ivan: Upon first wearing the shoe, the immediate standout is its remarkable lightweight feel, reminiscent of the super minimalist first version and notably lighter than its recent iteration. However, most of the weight reduction doesn’t seem to stem from the upper, which retains a surprisingly structured feel given its lightness. The ULTRAWEAVE upper, reinforced with PWRTAPE, offers substantial rigidity and structure. The non-gusseted tongue, lightly padded, provides some protection with the standard stretchy laces.

 

I do experience a slight heel lift, which could be attributed to the absence of internal padding, except for a slight increase in thickness at the top part. The midfoot wrap is adequate, but the shoe runs long; personally, I would consider sizing down. It’s worth noting that my usual US size 8.5 translates to just EU 41, and sizing down to 40.5 seems almost necessary. This marks a significant departure from the earlier snug fits of the first two editions.

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Midsole:

Thick and Light

Ivan: To be frank, the most intriguing aspect of this update lies in the midsole. With an additional 4mm in stack height, reaching the World Athletics approved 40mm limit seen in nearly every other super shoe, this iteration finally addresses my long standing issue with earlier versions. While I personally appreciate them for shorter runs like tempo sessions, fartleks, intervals, and hill reps, they never quite provided the cushioning I needed for competitive marathons or longer race-specific workouts.

 

Now, thanks to the higher stack of NITROFOAM ELITE, there’s a noticeable improvement in cushioning and energy return. The tweaked foam compound not only feels lighter but also softer and more responsive, even accompanied by a distinct “hollow” sound from the midsole during runs. The forefoot, in particular, feels significantly more cushioned and propulsive. The advertised 8mm drop feels more like 4mm to me and the ride remains aggressive. Personally, I would have preferred a bit more rocker to aid my midfoot strike, but the overall experience is still smooth and enjoyable, likely due to a more curved carbon plate geometry that improves transitions.

 

My only concern with the lighter foam formulation is potential early degradation of the extremely airy supercritical A-TPU compound. In terms of stability, this model likely falls somewhere in the middle of the Supershoe spectrum.

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PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite 3 Outsole:

Super Sticky

Ivan: We still have the reliable PUMAGRIP outsole rubber compound, known for its sticky and durable properties. Unlike most other race-day shoes, the PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite 3 maintains a surprisingly substantial rubber coverage. This suggests excellent durability, especially considering its lightweight construction. I would be genuinely surprised if the midsole outlasts this outsole. As always, PUMAGRIP provides exceptional grip, bordering on sticky. There were moments where I even felt my foot adhered a bit too well to the ground, particularly during fast cornering.

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PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite 3 Conclusion:

Traditional, Agile and Snappy

Ivan: PUMA has delivered exactly what most runners have been requesting: a version of the Deviate NITRO Elite that finally provides sufficient cushioning and energy return for competitive full marathon distances. Although I believe there’s potential for improvement in the fit – personally, I favoured the shorter and snugger fit of earlier versions – this iteration is undoubtedly a great choice for most runners on race day. Unlike its counterpart, the Fast-R 2, which seems to require a quite powerful stride, the PUMA Deviate NITRO Elite 3 is more traditional and inherently more agile, snappy, and accessible to a broader range of runners.

Ivan

Ivan

48 years old

180cm (5’9″) – 63kg (138lbs)

Midfoot striker – Cadence runner

Mild pronator

@runnersgrit

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