Whilst their racing shoes have moved towards more wild designs, the Velocity NITRO 3 sticks to a more traditional trainer style. How does it work?
PUMA Velocity NITRO 3 – Third Time is the Charm?
I have very little experience with PUMA shoes. However, during the Christmas period, I had the opportunity to try, in one period, two pairs from the Big Cat: the Velocity 3 and the Nitro Elite. In this review, we will explore the daily runner, the Velocity NITRO 3.
This is PUMA’s third iteration of their workhorse daily trainer. The previous two versions were mainly well received and especially so when the shoes were available on discount. This time out, PUMA has added an extra couple of millimetres of NITROFOAM and rebuilt the upper to ensure comfort and durability. With the new additions, where does the Velocity sit among the current daily offerings from brands galore?
Unlike Theo, I have been able to use the majority of shoes in the PUMA range over the past couple of years. The glaring omission to this has been the Velocity NITRO. Consequently, this will be my first experience of their daily range. Out of the box, it is clear that this is a much more traditional effort than many of PUMA’s other options. After feedback from friends who have run in previous versions, I was looking forward to testing them out and getting the distance under foot.
Let’s get into it!
Stack: From 36mm in the heel to 26mm in the forefoot for a 10mm drop.
Weight in PUMA’s sample size: 264g/9.3oz
The Upper – Traditional, Tried and True
The upper of the Velocity NITRO 3 is very traditional. Alongside PUMA’s wilder flights of fancy, this brings us back to the world we are more used to. Without the addition of any particularly innovative meshes or bells and whistles, PUMA has created a very comfortable shoe. During my testing period, I suffered no pain or discomfort on any part of my foot.
The lacing system also brings no real surprises but allows a secure and consistent lockdown. It brings nothing extraordinary but it does the job admirably. What more can you ask from a daily trainer? Overall, the Velocity NITRO 3 is a good true to size fit and does all I could want.
As Theo has said, the upper of the Velocity NITRO 3 brings nothing particularly fancy to the table. However, in my opinion, this is no bad thing. When I head out for a morning run, I don’t want to fuss or fool around. Just lace up and go. This is where the Velocity NITRO 3 really works for me. The step in comfort from the upper is excellent. Along with the mesh upper, PUMA uses their PWRTAPE to add some structure and durability particularly to the arch area. No part of the upper is obtrusive or uncomfortable and each part serves its purpose well.
Lockdown is assisted by the gusseted tongue which helps to wrap the foot and hold it in place. Whilst not particularly thick, the tongue is padded in the right areas and cranking the laces down doesn’t lead to excessive pressure on the top of the foot. Furthermore, the broad, flat laces do a good job of holding themselves firm and have the appropriate length to double knot or place in a runner’s knot if required. Due to the timing of the review, I have not had a chance to run the Velocity NITRO 3 in hot temperatures, but the breathability of the upper makes me think that they will keep the foot cool when the mercury rises.
At the rear of the shoe, the heel cup is stout but not intrusive. Around the ankle and achilles area, there is a good level of padding. Whilst the point of the heel cup is relatively high, I did not find that it caused any pressure or rubbing on my currently fairly sensitive heel.
Overall, the upper does exactly what you’d want the upper of a daily shoe to do. It holds the foot in place comfortably and needs no real tinkering to do so. A solid start.
NITROFOAM – Big Cat Bounce?
I think this is the weak point of these shoes. Here I found myself a little disappointed. Even if we are not looking for a super fast shoe for daily running, the responsiveness is quite absent. On the other hand, when I am running in a shoe with less responsiveness, I would expect a good level of cushioning. However, to my displeasure, the cushion is not really present either.
So, at the end we have a shoe which is made for a runner who appreciates some road feel and a more natural feeling run than offered by some of the higher stacked and marshmallow-esque competitors. Overall, I find this midsole quite rigid but stable, the responsiveness is average and comfort not optimal. I would have appreciated more cushioning for this type of shoe.
Here I concur with Theo to a degree. The NITROFOAM present in the Velocity NITRO 3 is not the most responsive foam on the block. Despite PUMA’s claims, I didn’t feel energy bursting from every step. However, I did find the foam to be pleasantly dampening and have taken the shoe to 20 or more kilometre runs with no issues. I have also taken the PUMA to a decent pace with strides and some more uptempo blasts and found it capable while not excellent. For me, it is definitely a daily trainer which can absorb the miles and keep moving on without a real feeling of great excitement. A reliable option for the less glamorous miles in the training cycle.
Furthermore, I did find myself quite surprised when I read the spec sheet for the Velocity NITRO 3, it is not a shoe which feels like it has 36mm of foam in the heel. Whilst, for my tastes, this is not really a detriment as it gives the ride a solidly stable and reliable feel across a range of surfaces. Theo is right that the cushioning doesn’t feel as deep as the specs say. If you are a fan of a shoe with a big rocker, there are probably also better options out there for you.
That being said, the Velocity NITRO 3 is a very reliable daily training option which will keep you going for many a mile. If durability and dependability are key factors in your purchasing, PUMA is on to a winner.
PUMA Velocity NITRO 3 Outsole – It’s PUMAGRIP!
Here is a really strong point of these shoes. Although maybe not thinking about it for a road running shoe: the grip is really outstanding. I ran a hill session in the rain and these shoes never failed me on the wet road. Regardless of the conditions, I feel really safe to run in them and I could push on the uphill or downhill without fear of slipping. Also, despite a lack of long distance in them, the materials seem to be durable because I did not notice any signs of wear.
A fairly comprehensive coverage of PUMAGRIP does what it does well here. The Psychedelic Rush colourway I received has a full slab of black PUMAGRIP on the medial side. Whilst on the lateral side, we find split green stripes of the super rubber. For flexibility, the middle of the outsole is left bare with a decoupled groove running the length of the shoe. After my 70 or so kilometres in the shoe so far, I am yet to notice any wear or damage. I think over the past year or so we have written plenty about PUMAGRIP. If you know, you know by now and if you don’t, you are missing out.
Conclusion – Reliable but not Exciting
PUMA has created a very competent daily running shoe. Do not expect a bouncy or cushiony soft ride. However, these shoes are designed for everyone who needs to do a recovery run or a daily run. Also, I would say that these shoes are more designed to direct runners who look for a more natural stride and feel unserved by many shoes on the market. Strong points would be the comfort on the upper, the fit of the shoes and also the grips. The cons would be this lack of dynamism (even if that is not the first goal of these shoes). To finish, another good point would be the durability of these “traditional” shoes.
As Theo has summed up well, PUMA makes many shoes ro fast and exciting rides. The Velocity NITRO 3 is not one of them. Here, we have a solid, reliable daily trainer which is capable of taking you from road to light gravel trails without any hesitation. The outsole will hold you firm in any condition from frosty mornings to sloppy mulchy alleyways and everything in between.
Whilst it is not going to be the shoe you most look forward to putting on during a week, it will be one which carries you through a huge number of comfortable training miles and allows you the versatility to pick up the pace if required (although it is definitely not really a race day option for me). It certainly isn’t as bouncy as the upcoming Rebel v4. However, it offers a similar ride and feel to the Supernova Rise but for a lower price. Although it doesn’t have the magic of PEBA.
Overall, if you are looking for something dependable, durable and reliable, the PUMA Velocity NITRO 3 really fits the bill. If you are looking for more of a thrill ride for your daily distance, there may be better options out there for you.
30 years old
178cm (5’8″) – 63kg (139lbs)
Midfoot striker – Stride runner
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