puma liberate nitro
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Puma Liberate Nitro Performance Review

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 6.3 oz. (179 g) for a US M9.0 / 5.2 oz. (148 g) for a US W7.5
  • Light and breathable tempo shoe
  • Just the right amount of nitrogen-infused midsole for faster runs with good ground feel
  • Great buy at $110

THOMAS: When it’s time to go light and fast Puma has the Liberate Nitro for you. While it doesn’t have a plate like the race-ready Deviate Elite Nitro, the design is pretty similar, and the weights are virtually identical. Simply put, the Liberate is the tempo day shoe that will set you up for race day in the Deviate Elite. My Puma lineup would be as follows:

ROBBE: It seems like we’ve been working our way through the Puma lineup for awhile now, and while things are slowing down, they’re also getting faster. We started out with the somewhat-weird Puma Deviate Nitro (is it an easy day shoe or a fast shoe, who knows), then we moved on to the incredibly versatile Puma Velocity Nitro (the best of the bunch in my opinion), and now it’s tempo time with the Puma Liberate Nitro.

puma liberate nitro - hand

The Good

THOMAS: Like Michael Phelps in the water, lightweight and good cushioning always wins. Flippers for hands are also a plus. The Liberate Nitro is a shoe that can easily straddle daily trainer and tempo shoe. A little Nitro midsole goes a long way. While the stack on the Liberate isn’t as high as we are getting accustomed to as of late, it provides plenty of soft landings. The energy return paired with the PumaGrip gives the Liberate an aggressive feel through the toe-off phase of your stride.

The upper is is a two-layer combo of airy mesh with an attached tongue that turns into a socklike liner in the toebox. As minimal as this design is, the comfort is maximal. While we knocked the Deviate for the heel counter causing problems the Liberate has a similar heel counter, but it works on this shoe. My guess is that the lighter heel and absence of a plate help this design. To sum it up, the upper is light, breathable, and fits true to size.

ROBBE: Thomas covered a lot of it, and I agree. This is a fast shoe. Like, as soon as you put it on, you know things are gonna pick up. The foot locks in like a rocket. The airy mesh upper has summer written all over it. Because of a lower stack midsole, the shoe is a bit firm with plenty of ground feel, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s what you want in a tempo shoe.

Point being, this shoe is light and fun and fits perfectly within the Puma lineup.

That said, the nitrogen-infused midsole provides just the right amount of cushion. I’d compare it straight up to the Skechers Razor, as it has a very similar feel and ride (this is a good thing if you haven’t run in the Razor). As with every other Puma shoe, the PumaGrip outsole is a marvel. I literally don’t understand how it’s so grippy, but this outsole is the grippiest one I’ve ever worn. It hooks into corners and keeps you upright on any surface.

Last, but certainly not least, Puma is undercutting the shit out of its competition on the price point for its 2021 lineup. This shoe goes for $110, which is a steal compared to its companions in the tempo category. And wow, it looks really good.

Shop Puma Liberate – Men Shop Puma Liberate – Women
puma shoes - curb
The ones on the left and the right

The Bad

THOMAS: The bad is that this shoe is “BAD”-ASS. I don’t have much to complain about with this shoe.

ROBBE: While I didn’t have any major issues, I could see the no-cushion collar giving some people some problems. There’s no padding whatsoever and it has the potential to create some abrasion issues. Other than that, it’s really hard for me to come up with anything bad that would keep me from buying this shoe.

Shop Puma Liberate – Men Shop Puma Liberate – Women

Puma Liberate Nitro Conclusion

THOMAS: Puma came back to life with a solid lineup of running shoes this year. I like them all, but the Velocity and Liberate really stood out. I’ll let you know about the Deviate Elite soon, but of the shoes, I have miles in from Puma the Liberate and the Velocity are winners. Shoes I would compare to the Liberate are the New Balance Rebel v2 and the Skechers Razor Excess.

ROBBE: If you’re looking for a very solid tempo shoe as the summer months approach, you can’t do much better than the Liberate at its price point. And if you’re going all-in on the Puma hype, you should most definitely pair it up with the Velocity Nitro, which is one of my favorite daily trainers of 2021 so far.

You can pick up the Puma Liberate Nitro for $110 by using the shop links below.

Shop Puma Liberate – Men Shop Puma Liberate – Women

Robbe is the Senior Editor/Review Manager for BITR. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons and runs with the Faster Bastards when he’s not MAF training. His favorite race distance is the marathon and his favorite beer is anything but Blue Moon.

3 Comments

  1. would you say the Liberate is suitable for a 205 lbs 6″4 runner for fartlek and interval days up to 15km? Or would you recommend more stack height or a different type of shoe? perhaps the Rebel v2

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