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Puma made a big comeback onto the road running scene in 2021 with an entirely new line up of running styles, which were well-received by runners looking for fresh new options for road shoes. Now onto the second iteration of the styles in 2022, Puma made some positive refinements. The Velocity Nitro 2 is a great option for an everyday running trainer in which to log the miles for your A race goals.
Puma Velocity Nitro 2 | $120
Weight: 7.3 oz. (women’s size 80)
Heel-Toe Offset: 10mm (33.5mm heel, 23.5mm forefoot)
Why It’s Great
Puma continues to make a strong comeback in running shoes, thanks to its premium, soft-and-bouncy NITRO midsole foam and, of course, the success of their sponsored runners, highlighted by American marathoner Molly Seidel’s Olympic bronze. Last year, they introduced a complete new line of models that won acclaim from runners of all levels. The women’s models are created with a specific last engineered for the female foot and gait, providing a narrowed heel, lower in-step and sculpted arch shape.
The lightweight, neutral-oriented Velocity Nitro 2 fits into this line as a budget-friendly, smooth-riding everyday trainer with ample cushioning, responsiveness and comfort. To create a shoe that balances cushioning with a hint of stability, Puma uses two different foams in the midsole. The nitrogen-infused NITRO foam sinks in luxuriously before bouncing back, but because of that softness, can start to feel sluggish and sloppy. Puma puts that foam directly underfoot where it contours and cushions as you land and roll, but added a layer of firmer EVA foam on the bottom to regulate the squish and provide a more stable platform for push off—much like the carbon-fiber plate does in their top-end racer, but with a forgiving flex off the toe rather than the rigid, prescriptive roll of the rocker plate.
The second edition of this shoe provides softer landings than the first (thanks to an updated dual-density foam midsole package), while maintaining the interior comfort and lively feel of the original model. Although it’s not particularly flashy, it fits a variety of feet comfortably and provides a smooth ride at multiple paces. If you’re looking for a versatile workhorse that can tackle long runs, tempo runs, speed workouts and recovery runs, the Velocity Nitro 2 should be on your list for consideration—especially given its moderate price.
- Puma increased the amount of NITRO foam in the heel while also extending the layer of EVA the full length and width of the shoe. The new midsole foam configuration makes it smoother and more comfortable, while also enhancing its agility and ability to run fast. It feels soft and smooth upon impact and when rolling onto the ball of the foot, and slightly firmer and snappier in the forefoot prior to toe-off.
- When you lace the Velocity Nitro 2 up, it feels supple, cushy and flexible, with wiggle room in the unstructured toe box. The new, more refined, engineered mesh upper is impressively soft, pliable and breathable, and the gusseted tongue has more cushioning than the original edition. The shoe fits true to size (though maybe a tick long for some) with exceptional heel hold and a comfortably snug, but not restrictive, medium-volume shape.
- The relatively high 10mm heel-toe offset—the difference in height between where the heel sits in the shoe and where the forefoot sits in the shoe—gives this shoe a classic geometry that complements a moderate heel-striking gait, while also producing a modest feeling of forward propulsion as your foot rolls through the gait cycle. Some wear-testers found that it feels somewhat smoother at medium and faster speeds than it does at slower, recovery paces.
- The outsole has more PumaGrip rubber coverage than before and an array of low-profile knobby lugs under the forefoot that serve up reliable traction and long-lasting durability. The grip is exceptional on wet roads and sidewalks, loose gravel and sections of muddy or snowy surfaces.
- If the Velocity Nitro 2 is only shoe in your quiver, you’ll appreciate the versatility of it as a go-to daily trainer that provides both comfort and excitement, with few drawbacks. If it’s one of several shoes in your lineup, our wear-testing suggests its best for slightly speedier efforts and moderately long runs. It could even be considered a budget-level race-day shoe; while it’s not nearly as fast and energetic as a elite, super shoe with carbon-fiber plates embedded in the midsole, it delivers a lively ride that is better tuned to the pace and stride of most recreational runners.
- There aren’t any major flaws to this shoe, but the combination of the high heel collar and firm heel counter might make this shoe feel slightly awkward around the ankle for some runners.
Puma made a good shoe great, with a more accommodating fit, enhanced cushioning, and a ride that feels faster and livelier underfoot. It could well serve as an exceptional daily trainer for a wide variety of runners, at a reasonable price.