What You Need To Know
- Weighs 9.1 oz. (258 g) for a US M9.0 / 7.4 oz. (210 g) for a US W7.5
- The most versatile trainer of the entire Puma lineup
- NITRO midsole and PUMAGRIP outsole are a perfect pairing
- Releases March 4 for $120
- Grips so well you can probably use it as a golf spike, or to steal golf balls from a driving range
ROBBE: I’m gonna be real, I haven’t run in or worn a Puma shoe since around 2001, when I had some clunky-ass shoe that I used primarily for tennis, fishing, stealing golf balls off driving ranges in the middle of the night, food running (which was only walking), and one intense run of around 2 miles. I honestly don’t think I ran for another 5 years after that.
Needless to say, my expectations were low coming into this absolute onslaught of Puma 2021 running shoes. Of the batch, so far I’ve received the Velocity NITRO and Liberate NITRO (speed shoe) for testing, and boy, am I glad I did.
The entire 2021 lineup of Puma is juicy, and this may be the freshest squeeze of them all. For those who don’t know, the entire NITRO line features Puma’s Super Critical NITRO foam, which is exactly that – nitrogen-infused foam. You may have seen this in other shoes we’ve reviewed, including the Skechers Razor (they were one of the first to use this foam) and the Brooks Hyperion line with its DNA Flash midsole.
Additionally, a PUMAGRIP outsole runs across all models, providing all-surface traction. The upper is an engineered mesh with a decent amount of structure and a partial plate in the heel to provide more stability, as NITRO foam is a bit soft in a higher stack form.
That’s enough to get your appetite going. Let’s get into the review.
ALEX: The Velocity NITRO is part of PUMA’s new performance running shoe line. The Velocity NITRO is built for cushioning and responsiveness on every run.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: [EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t even know how he got on this review with his wide-ass feet, but here he is, attempting to squeeze his Vienna sausages into a normal person shoe]. Puma is packing some heat with their running shoe arsenal. We previously reviewed the Deviate NITRO, a max-cushioned, carbon plated, long run shoe. Today we break down the Velocity NITRO, a comfortable daily trainer.
As I opened the box, I was slightly thrown off. Did they send me the Deviate again? I mean it looks the same. After pulling it out I realized that this was in fact the Velocity. I also noticed that I was sent a size 11 standard width. So here is my heads-up that it’s just a half size too long and I’m squeezing my wide hogs into a shoe made for the chosen people.
ROBBE: Let’s get straight to the point. There’s a reason Puma went the way of the NITRO for its midsole – the foam is light, bouncy, and responsive all at once, providing one of the best all-around riding experiences out there. It can be a bit unstable in a higher stack (this shoe does have a 32 mm heel/22 toe stack), but the mini-plate in the heel does a good job of stabilizing things on the run.
On the run, this shoe feels good. Like, really good. It reminded me of a better version of the Brooks Hyperion Tempo, which was one of my favorite shoes of 2020. Not as light, but it’s for the better. Definitely saw some shades of the Skechers Razor, but with a more structured upper and better cushion underfoot.
Speaking of the upper, the engineered mesh is structured but breathable, and the heel collar provides the right amount of cushion and support to lock the foot in. And you will feel locked in. I really loved the way this shoe straps down. It feels like a fast shoe, even though it’s more of a do-it-all daily trainer.
This shoe, no doubt, is the most versatile of the Puma lineup. If you’re looking to dip your toe/foot into Puma and aren’t sure where to start, this is the one.
And I would be remiss to not mention the PUMAGRIP outsole. At first, I was like “okay, whatever, it’s a rubber outsole, you’re not exactly inventing the wheel, save yourself a paragraph in the press release.” But oh, it is more than that. I swear this is the best traction of any road shoe I’ve worn. It feels like you’re digging into the pavement, its talons hooking into tight corners at any speed.
Here’s why this is amazing – typically, you’re going to sacrifice weight if you try and throw on a grippy outsole. But somehow Puma has managed to avoid this, keeping the shoe at around 9 oz. for a US M9.0. And it still has a supportive upper. Throw all this together, and you have a pretty damn fantastic and relatively lightweight shoe that works for anything.
All this at a $120 price point? Sign me up.
ALEX: I put this shoe on the day I got it and haven’t taken it off since. It feels great. It looks great. They even earned a double-take from the 15-year-old in my life. Notable for two reasons: 1) that double-take meant he looked up from his phone to acknowledge a pair of running shoes, and 2) when I was 15, I saved up money to buy my first pair of non-hand-me-down, non-garage sale shoes, the PUMA Speedcat. Nostalgia and excitement were running high.
I love the clean, sleek, no-frills design of the upper. The heel collar is well-designed to support a comfortable, secure fit.
In the midst of a Midwest Polar Vortex, the PUMA Velocity’s PUMAGRIP gave me confidence as it navigated sandy, salty, icy, wet, snowy surfaces with ease. Because of where I live (Minnesota) I inevitably run a lot of miles in really cold temps and I have experienced a lot of midsole/outsole combos that stiffen and fail to perform in the cold, turning hard and losing grip. This one maintained its responsiveness and really stuck each landing.
The NITRO foam feels responsive and fast, with just the right amount of support for a long run. I have been both lured in and skeptical of claims of a lightweight, fast and cushioned shoe but the Velocity NITRO really delivers on this claim. I typically run in a 4 mm drop and the 8 mm in this one hit a sweet spot for me. It spared my Achilles and calves from the aches and pains that can sometimes haunt me after faster road miles without feeling like a noticeably high drop.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: Although the engineered mesh upper feels pretty good, I can’t give a good opinion on the fit because they were on the verge of being too tight in the midfoot for me and my wide bois. I wasn’t able to put in any long runs, but I did get a handful of shorter 3-5 mile sessions in.
I reviewed the Deviate NITRO along with Thomas. My biggest complaint was the internal padding that kept rubbing my Achilles. I’m extremely happy with the traditional heel collar in the Velocity. Put this on the Deviate and it would have been a monster.
The midsole is full-length Nitro (infused with nitrogen gas) with an added wedge of EVA in the heel. It provides a balance between bouncy and cushioned, while retaining a relatively stable feel. It’s less bouncy than the Deviate, but your ankle won’t be wobbly AF.
The PUMAGRIP outsole is ridiculously good. A few of my runs in the Velocity were during a snowstorm. I thought I’d have to be super careful, and I was, but I didn’t slip once. I sincerely doubt actual Puma’s have as good of grip as the Velocity does.
The Velocity just plain feels good while running. The bounce is noticeable and this thing wants to cruise. Once I get my stride going, there’s no slowing down. Although the shoe does feel nice when taking it easier, I just prefer to pick it up in these.
ROBBE: WTF is up with every shoe in this 2021 lineup looking the same? It’s bizarro world over here. You know we live for the ‘gram hype, and it looks like we’re just posting the same damn shoe every other day. The orange looks pretty sleek … for one shoe. At least give us a variety of colorways to differentiate between models.
The shoe runs long. Actually, every shoe in this lineup runs long. Everything feels locked in from the heel to the saddle of the shoe, but then I have more than a thumbs-width from my toes to the front. I don’t think I want to size down, but you’ll probably be kicking things around your house with the extra length. On the run I didn’t really notice it, but it is not a perfect fit up front.
Not a bad thing, but none of the faster shoes in this lineup are really great for us folks up north during the winter months. Super airy and breathable. Come summer, these are going to be sweet though.
ALEX: The upper is well-ventilated so they are a little drafty on the cold windy runs although in a few months my feet will be appreciating the airflow.
Apart from that, I got nothin’.
JARRETT: With the tongue being so thin, there were a few times where the top of the tongue was bothering my ankle whenever I wore a low cut sock. I’d be much more upset if it cut my skin, but it was just an annoyance.
I find it weird that Puma decided to make most of the shoes coming out look extremely similar. You gotta make these kitties unique! When you got it, flaunt it. Don’t blend them all together.
Puma Velocity NITRO Conclusion
ROBBE: This is going to be a go-to in my rotation when I’m not reviewing other shoes. Last year, the Brooks Hyperion Tempo was a great fill-in shoe when I wanted a fun run. The Puma Velocity NITRO has now taken that spot, especially during adverse weather conditions where that PUMAGRIP shines. It’s just an all-around great shoe that I would recommend to pretty much anyone.
ALEX: Overall I have nothing but good things to say about this shoe. I look forward to putting more miles on this one and am eager to have found a responsive, fast road shoe that will provide the support I need for long runs.
WIDE FOOT JARRETT: Puma continues to come hard to the table with the Velocity Nitro. The upper is comfortable and the Nitro midsole is legit. At $120, this is nestled nicely into a more reasonably priced daily trainer that can also pick up the pace if needed.
For the #WideFootFam, this might be just a bit too tight (Puma, make this in wide!!!!), but for those blessed with normal feet, don’t be afraid of this cat.
You can pick up the Puma Velocity NITRO for $120 on 3/4/2021 at Jackrabbit.
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.