The RW Takeaway: The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 is the super shoe that feels like a racing flat. It has the usual “go-fast” features (carbon-fiber plate and PEBA-based midsole) in a more streamlined package.

  • Preceded By: Deviate Nitro, Deviate Nitro 2
  • Key Tech: Two layers of nitrogen-infused PEBA foam, spoon-shaped carbon plate
  • Racing Roster: Jenny Simpson, 2023 Aramco Houston Half Marathon (9th place, 1:10:35); Molly Seidel, 2023 USATF Half Marathon Championships (8th place, 1:13:07)

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2

Deviate Nitro Elite 2

Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2

$200 at Puma
  • Spoon-shaped plate promotes propulsive ride
  • Cushioned but lightweight PEBA foam midsole
  • Heel-striking testers desired more cushioning in the heel
Weight7.4 oz (M), 6.1. oz (W)
Drop8 mm

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With today’s ever-evolving shoe tech and maximalism taking over the racing category, it’s refreshing to see some super shoes going rogue. Models like Nike’s Alphafly 2 and Puma’s Fast-R Nitro Elite are maxed-out with high stack heights, sharp heel spoilers, and aggressive silhouettes. But there’s also a small bracket containing the Saucony Endorphin Pro+, Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite, and Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2. These shoes still have all the features we’ve come to expect with super shoes—carbon-fiber plate, responsive midsole foam—but they’re more streamlined and pared down, as opposed to the just-passing-World-Athletics-guidelines set.

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puma deviate nitro elite 2

The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 has a double layer of nitrogen-infused PEBA in the midsole. This makes the Elite 2’s cushioning feel a little firmer. The 2 is ounces lighter than its predecessor, and has a new last. The spoon-shaped plate is more evenly leveled with the foam. There’s also more space in the forefoot for more toe-spring and stability.

Some of our wear-testers had never run in Pumas and found themselves—appropriately—deviating from other brands’ super shoe models that were their original competition go-to’s.

The Deviate Nitro Elite 2 has a double layer of nitrogen-infused PEBA in the midsole.

One of our testers said the Elite 2 rivals her favorite racing shoe, Saucony’s Endorphin Pro+, “thanks to its lightweight design, firm cushion, subtle but effective propulsion, and minimalism.”

Another had this to say: “I’m a Nike lover and I was pleasantly surprised! This shoe is super lightweight without losing the comfort factor. I ran this year’s rainy Bacon Fest 5K in it (the race is held annually and takes place right outside RW HQ), and it was one of my fastest times. The shoes also gripped quite well in the wet conditions.”

puma deviate nitro elite 2
The Pwrplate is spoon-shaped in the forefoot to propel you on your run.

Testers’ Feedback

Tim C. | Tester since 2013

Arch Height: Medium | Pronation: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot

“I gave this shoe the highest possible rating because I absolutely loved it. After running in the Nitro 1, I was extremely excited to try the Nitro 2. Although very similar in appearance and build, I feel that this new version has a slightly different fit and ride. With the Nitro 1, I felt a slight tilt in the shoe when I pushed off. I very much enjoyed the first Nitro, but that uneven ride did become more noticeable the more I ran in them. With the Nitro 2, I have not felt that at all. The Nitro 2 also feels a little bit lighter. I truly enjoyed its overall construct, fit, and feel.”

Stephen K. | Tester since 2012

Arch Height: Medium | Pronation: Overpronator | Footstrike: Heel

“This is one of the best racing shoes I have tried in a few months. I loved the feeling of forward propulsion in every footstep. I tested the shoe mostly at tempo paces on the quiet paved farm roads near my house. Occasionally, I hit the track to test out the Elite 2 during speedwork. The shoe’s extra spring helped me maintain six-minute-pace repeats and mid seven-minute-pace tempos and long runs, respectively.”

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Amanda Furrer
Test Editor

Amanda is a test editor at Runner’s World who has run the Boston Marathon every year since 2013; she's a former professional baker with a master’s in gastronomy and she carb-loads on snickerdoodles.