Four reasons why we rate PUMA's new running shoe

Why the PUMA Deviate Nitro Elite Racer lives up to the hype.

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A shoe that promises faster run times without exuding any extra effort is something of a mythical promise for competitive runners – and while PUMA’s new Deviate Nitro Elite Racer isn’t full of magic beans as such, the shoe’s enhanced qualities (which have been specifically designed to improve performance and speed) will certainly be a welcome boost come race day.

Fitted with special foam and a carbon plate, the fast, lightweight shoe can help with all your personal bests — whether it’s a 5k, a half or full marathon. Here are four reasons we rate it:

1. It has a super-responsive sole

Yes, it looks great, but there’s more to this shoe than just aesthetics. PUMA uses lightweight Nitro Foam with very fine cushioning across the entire length of the foot to create a super-responsive sole. This means optimum energy transfer from the carbon plate to the sole – for runners who land on their front foot, the energy return at the toes is brilliant.

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite Racer

2. Its carbon plate is superior to other brands

Lots of trainers now have a carbon plate in the sole and PUMA was one of the later brands to debut a shoe like this, but it’s been biding its time for a reason: the PUMA design is different. Many shoes with a carbon plate draw criticism in terms of their stability and grip; they have a relatively thick sole (necessary to transfer the energy from the carbon plate), meaning they’re often unstable – which is especially an issue when cornering. At 36mm however, PUMA's sole is ever so slightly shorter than the permitted 40mm sole thickness, thus avoiding this side effect.

3. It’s been designed with enhanced stability

To anticipate those criticisms even further, PUMA has designed the heel piece with stability-enhancing material TPU, for better balance when cornering, as well as at the end of your race or when speed training (the point when many runners get tired and their feet start to collapse inward). The outer sole also has a high-grip rubber material for good hold when cornering in wet weather.

Featuring an extremely thin and slightly translucent upper, the Deviate Nitro Elite Racer is snug but comfortable around your foot, which is ideal considering it’s preferable to wear tight shoes during a race or when running at tempo pace to reduce the risk of chafing.

TOP TIP: Because the upper is slightly translucent, we suggest wearing your finest pair of socks (or simply white ones)

4. It’s the go-to shoe for marathon athletes

The first time we got to see the footwear was on the feet of American elite athlete Molly Seidel, the surprise bronze-medal winner in the marathon during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Wearing the PUMA Deviate Nitro Elite Racer, she conceded just 26 seconds to Kenyan winner Peres Jepchirchir, and a mere 10 seconds to Kenyan world-record holder Brigid Kosgei. ‘I was smitten, right from the first time I wore these shoes,’ Molly reveals. ‘They’re comfortable to wear, help me push off on my front foot, perfectly suit my rhythm and I just run really fast in them. I couldn’t be without them now,’ she admits.

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After taking up running at the age of 10, Molly started racing at 12 and was influenced by a great generation of US marathon women, such as Deena Kastor and Shalane Flanagan. Now 27, she has many more marathons in her future, but her next focus is securing a quick race time when competing in a fast, flat city marathon. ‘For this, my base speed needs to go up,’ says Molly, revealing that she might take some time off running marathons after the World Championships in Oregon, in order to hone her 10k and marathon times. Undoubtedly a task the speed-enhancing PUMA shoes can help with.

The PUMA Deviate Nitro Elite Racer is available for both men and women in selected stores and online at

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