Updated: Feb 6, 2022
Our testers had split feelings about Puma's first carbon fiber shoe. Before you pull the trigger hear what our father/son tester duo had to say.
[Scott] Puma has gone a new direction in this shoe. Previously Pumas were minimal and lightweight and the new Deviate certainly follows its name and veers from that school of thought. It is an ultra cushioned shoe with a plate and curved toe spring to alight it with the other super racing shoes on the market. It has a nice step in feel and good under foot feel.
[Dan] The cushioning is a real surprise in this shoe. The embedded plate provides a very nice zip on takeoff as it tends to spring the runner forward. I consider this a moderate weight shoe and the plate definitely compensates for the extra plush cushioning to make the shoe pretty responsive.
[Scott] I found it was very unnatural to run quickly in this shoe. I know what it is designed for but found the transition to be arduous and forced. I also had a lot of friction on one heel and got a blister.
[Dan] The heel split felt really off while I was walking in the shoe, almost to the point of causing excess side to side motion. This smoothed out when running due to more of a midfoot landing. The heel cushioning was way too much for me and caused me to modify my running style.
[Scott] I was not a huge fan of this shoe. I think with more time perhaps I would enjoy it for easier to moderate days, but I certainly did not find it to feel fast over the attempted harder runs. I was not a fan of the running I did in this shoe, so much so that I switched it out mid run at one point. I very much wanted this to work, but apparently it wasn’t the shoe for me, which was disappointing considering the comfort at first step in!
[Dan] The Nitro was just too soft and cushy for me and because of this, I do not recommend it for serious runners looking for a speedy plated shoe. I was pleasantly surprised by the nice ride the shoe gave but it is not the shoe to lace up to shave time off of your PR’s. I see this more as a go to trainer and racer for the middle of the packers. I am not a big fan of the Deviate Nitro as there are many others out there that do a better job of combining cushioning and speed in a lighter weight, more efficient package.
[Scott] The Deviate Nitro fit true to size and had plenty of forefoot space. The heel counter and collar were nothing special and follow the seamless sock trend which is fairly polarizing, and was not my favorite.
[Dan] I really liked the Deviate Nitro fit and consider that its strongest characteristic. The length is true, the width ample where you need it and the heel is snug. The integrated tongue kept everything well placed and secure in the lacing area. The pads in the medial and outside portions of the heel help keep the foot nicely placed there. Undo a lot of laces to get this shoe on and off to widen the entry area guarded by the integrated tongue and avoid the thin heel folding up as your foot slides in. Once you are in there, you are in a very comfortable trainer.
[Scott] The Puma was disjointed on the roads. I found it to be alright at harder run pace, but nothing special as I tried to move through tempo and even speed work paces. I found myself fighting the shoe which is not good at all.
[Dan]The shoe lands, flexes and toes off nicely to give you pretty efficient forward propulsion. The heel is very soft so the shoe will work better for midfoot strikers. In fact, the overall softness of the Deviate will cause it to not appeal much to the running demographic who like desent road feel on their runs. In spite of this, I felt pretty fast in it and had no trouble sustaining this over the whole run. I think that if the plate were not there, the Deviate would lapse back into the middle of the pack of the already crowded soft, neutral trainer field.