The RW Takeaway: Puma continues to impress with its new crop of trainers. Testers deemed the soft, bouncy Magnify Nitro SP their new go-to for 10Ks to half marathons.
- Nitrogen-infused midsole for a responsive, cushioned ride
- Reflective eyelets and heel improve visibility for runs at twilight
- Slightly narrow, stiff upper requires a short break-in period
Weight: 10.5 oz (M9), 8.6 oz (W6.5)
In an attempt to sink its claws back into running, Puma has been reworking its image, launching more streamlined, race-ready trainers, like the Deviate Nitro Elite. But not everyone desires a carbon-fiber plate in their shoe. Enter the Magnify, which proves the brand is making an effort to appeal to all runners—not just the PR-minded ones. Branded as an everyday trainer, the Magnify has a dual-layer midsole that amps up cushioning and encourages rebound.
It’s safe to say the cat’s rebranding is working. The shoe looks like a party out on the town with its confetti-like pattern, yet feels as accommodating as an armchair on a cozy Friday night in. The proof, of course, is in the testing. Testers noted the midsole’s bounciness, describing the sensation as “like walking on a cloud.” Even the lone Magnify-hater’s comment could be reframed as praise: “...the entire thing [felt] like I was running with Temper-Pedic pillows on my feet.”
The source of that springy, pillowy cushioning is Nitro foam, which is infused with nitrogen and layered over a slab of EVA-based Profoam Lite. We’ve seen other brands infuse nitrogen into midsole foam, as well. The Hyperion Elite 2 and Aurora-BL, two noteworthy shoes in Brooks’s Blue Line, feature the nitrogen-infused DNA Flash and DNA Loft v3. Similarly, New Balance’s FuelCell and Reebok’s Floatride Energy use nitrogen-injected TPU foam (thermoplastic polyurethane) and TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) beads, respectively.
Unlike Puma’s bulky yet responsive Hybrid foam, this midsole combo provides a soft, supportive ride without the heft. Testers couldn’t resist adding on a few more miles, favoring the Magnify’s soft feel. A self-described “cushioned running shoe junkie” said the shoe passed her test, saying it’s “plushy” in the best way possible. “These Pumas provide soft cushioning in all the right places—especially in the heel and tongue—because the insole feels like it molds to the shape of your foot.”
Some, however, felt lost in all the cush. One heel-striking tester felt the midsole wasn’t supportive enough over long stretches, and she desired a firmer platform to cup her heel. “Support and stability are of the utmost importance to me, and I felt as if they were compromised a bit because of the shoe’s narrowness and its extra foam underfoot,” she said.
The engineered mesh upper features Puma’s CoolAdapt tech, which helps prevent your feet from overheating. “It felt like the Magnify Nitro SPs regulated the temperature of my feet because they never got too hot, even with my thick socks on in 90-degree temps,” said a tester. As for the SP: It stands for Spectra, the graphic covering the slightly stiff engineered-mesh upper. The graphic is inspired by the spectrum of colors seen in refracted light. It’s also flashy when worn at night; the overlays along the eye rows are reflective.
Like the Deviate Nitro, the Magnify also uses a gender-specific last. The women’s model has a narrower heel, lower instep, and sculpted heel. The shoe does require a short break-in period, however. The upper feels slightly stiff and narrow initially, but this levels out to an overall accommodating fit after a couple of runs.
Laura P. | tester since: 2017
Arch: Medium | Gait: Supinator | Footstrike: Midfoot
“These shoes made me feel FAST!! I loved the combination of cushioning, lightweight feel, and support. I was a little nervous about the Magnify during my first few runs because I have wide feet and these shoes felt pretty narrow. After I continued to put some miles on them, it started to feel like the shoes were molding to the shape of my foot. They became more and more comfortable with each run. I think these would be great racing shoes for a 10K or half marathon.”