Puma Deviate Nitro 3 review: speedy trainers with a foamy punch

The Deviate Nitro 3 is perfect for those who love speed and comfort – with just a pinch of toe space drama

Puma Deviate Nitro 3 review
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
T3 Verdict

The Puma Deviate Nitro 3, aided by the Nitrofoam Elite cushioning and a carbon-infused PWRPLATE, is a fast training shoe for those who dare. Its breathable mesh upper and PUMAGRIP outsole ensure traction and comfort. While the midsection could be wider and the heel counter firmer, the shoe offers a superb ground feel, making it a pleasure to run in.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Looks sexy

  • +

    Excellent ground feel

  • +

    Peppy, energetic ride

  • +

    Plenty of foam underfoot

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Upper could be a tad more accommodating in the middle

  • -

    Heel could be a hair more supportive

  • -

    Carbon plate makes it stiffer than some daily trainers

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Puma recently introduced two new additions to its running shoe collection, one of which is the Deviate Nitro 3. This is the third version of Puma's carbon-plated running trainers, showcasing refined versions of the brand's signature technology.

Puma is definitely finding its strides in the running shoe business since it re-entered the market a few years ago. Looking at the current lineup, one might think the Herzo-based brand has never left. I was absolutely blown away by the Puma Fast-R Nitro Elite and quite liked the Puma Velocity Nitro 2 – not to mention all the other Puma shoes I tried and have never covered on T3 (sorry).

If you quickly draw up a scale with the Nitro Elite on one side and Velocity on the other, the Deviate Nitro 3 would be somewhere in between the two, more or less halfway. It’s a fast training shoe that can be used for racing, similar to the Saucony Endorphin Speed 4.

Is it good enough to add to your rotation? How does it compare to other trainers listed in T3’s best running shoes guide? What are the best and worst qualities of the Deviate Nitro 3? Let’s find out.

Puma Deviate Nitro 3 review


Puma Deviate Nitro 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
  • Best for: tempo training, jack-of-all-trades training and racing shoe
  • Stack height: 29 – 39 mm
  • Offset/drop: 10 mm
  • Weight: 265g/ 9.3oz (UK8)
  • Tested weight: 301g/ 10.6oz (UK10)
  • Fit: True to size

Design and materials

Puma Deviate Nitro 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Puma Deviate Nitro 3 is a fast training shoe designed for maximum energy return. To achieve this, Puma slapped a generous portion of Nitrofoam Eilte underfoot, a PEBA-based, nitrogen-infused foam, and sandwiched the forked, carbon-infused PWRPLATE between the layers.

Flip the shoes over, and you can see the PWRPLATE poking through the middle of the foam. Running shoe manufacturers often remove foam in this area as we don’t tend to use it for landing or propulsion – it’s an easy way to reduce the overall weight of the shoes.

The durable rubber PUMAGRIP outsole provides good traction, even though it’s only applied in critical areas, such as the forefoot and sections of the heel. It’s not quite as minimalistic as some high-stack racing shoes, but you can tell Puma tried to cut back on the weight by not adding too much rubber on the outsole.

The engineered mesh upper is engineered for breathability and reinforced with PWRTAPE in key areas. If the PWRTAPE were applied using a contrasty permanent marker, it would look like someone scribbled over the shoes, with strokes going around the shoes widely; but because it’s transparent, it blends in perfectly with the bright orange aesthetic of the shoes.

The lace cage dominates the midsection of the upper but allows more than enough space for the toe box, with the integrated tongue effectively reducing the pressure from the laces. The padding around the ankle is as expected from fast trainers: not too much, not too little.

Performance and comfort

Puma Deviate Nitro 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The standout feature for me of the Puma Deviate Nitro 3 is the ground feel. Despite the stack height and the carbon plate, the Nitrofoam Eilte does an excellent job transferring the sensation from the ground up to your nervous system, making it a pleasure to run in the shoes.

The carbon plate is slightly overkill if you ask me; I think the shoes would have benefitted more from a nylon plate. There is nothing wrong with the plate itself, but I know some runners steer clear of carbon-plated shoes for training because they are concerned about the stiffness.

There are two things that bothered – in need of a better word here – me about the shoes. First, I wish the midsection of the upper would be slightly wider. The Deviate Nitro 3 doesn’t feel restrictive as such, but I could use a little bit more space for my feet. I can only assume this would get more uncomfortable over long distances.

The other is the heel counter. Again, it’s not bad, and I definitely tried shoes with looser heel counters, but I wish they were a bit firmer here. It would make the shoes more stable for cornering, which isn’t a bad idea considering you might travel at higher speeds than usual in carbon-plated shoes. It's not the end of the world, but if those two features were better, I would definitely give the Deviate Nitro 3 maximum five stars.


Puma Deviate Nitro 3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Puma Deviate Nitro 3 is designed for fast training with maximum energy return, featuring a PEBA-based, nitrogen-infused Nitrofoam Elite and a forked, carbon-infused PWRPLATE for support. The shoe's outsole uses PUMAGRIP rubber in key areas for traction, while the engineered mesh upper is breathable and reinforced with transparent PWRTAPE.

The lace cage and padded ankle provide a comfortable fit, though the midsection could be wider and the heel counter firmer for improved stability. Despite these minor issues, the shoe offers excellent ground feel and comfort, making it a pleasure to run in.

Overall, it a a solid choice and the perfect jumping-on-point for Puma virgins to join the clan.

Also consider

The Adidas Adizero Adios 8 is a lightweight, responsive training shoe with a re-engineered mesh upper and the new EnergyTorsion Rod 2.0 for a snappy toe-off. It offers a more snug fit and improved toe-off compared to the Deviate Nitro 3, but like the Puma, it could benefit from a more comfortable entry and better midfoot support. Both shoes excel in energy return and ground feel, making them strong contenders for fast training. Read my full Adidas Adizero Adios 8 review.

The Hoka Mach 5, combining elements from the Mach 4 and Mach Supersonic, features a lightweight creel mesh upper and new PROFLY+ foam for improved cushioning and resilience. Compared to the Puma Deviate Nitro 3, the Mach 5 offers a tighter fit and superior torsional stability, with an articulated heel collar for added support. Both are comfortable, but the Mach 5 excels in versatility for both training and racing. Read my full Hoka Mach 5 review.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for T3.com and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.