New and Reviewed: Puma Nitro XX

·4 min read

This article originally appeared on Womens Running

The Puma Nitro XX--named as an homage to the two female X chromosomes--will hit the market on June 10 as a women's only model. That's right, there won't be a comparable men's model in the Puma line-up.

The Nitro XX launches as part of Puma's "Run for Her" initiative, which includes women's-specific last shapes to fit the female foot, and the company pioneering research around women since, says Puma, "over 90 percent of footwear biomechanics research historically has been done on men only." In 2022, Puma is also making a big push to support women's causes and events within the running space. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of when the Boston Marathon officially created a women's division, for instance, Puma donated funds to Girls Gotta Run, an organization that invests in girls who use running and education to empower themselves and their communities in Ethiopia.

In 2021, Puma launched a "She Moves Us" campaign to create content around how the brand's female ambassadors were inspired to become who they are today. The campaign was kicked off by pop star Dua Lipa, and included segments from supermodel Winnie Harlow, and actress/model/activist Cara Delavigne, as well as athletes Skylar Diggins-Smith (basketball), Lexi Thomas (golf), Nikita Parris (football), and Yaraslova Mahuchikh (high jump/track and field). Puma is also partnered with global women's fund Women Win, which utilizes sport to advance gender equality.

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Puma Nitro XX | $130

puma-nitro-xx
puma-nitro-xx

We tested the Nitro XX and appreciated the women's-specific fit: a narrower heel hold and narrower fit at the arch and instep than what's found in most men's or unisex shoes, or even in women's versions of shoes offered to both genders. The forefoot of the Nitro XX remains generous to accommodate a range of women's foot shapes. The shoe also addresses the fact that women have a wider base of support relative to their height compared to men--the angle of our hips to the ground (called, a "Q-angle") is different, and influences how women's feet hit the ground. In short, women tend to pronate more than men.

Puma conducted research with women and found that most wanted stability in a shoe for runs longer than five miles. Support in the Nitro XX comes from sections of TPU that run from the heel of the shoe to the midfoot, and also, a newly designed one-piece NITRO foam (more firm than traditional EVA, while still being lightweight and cushy), rocker geometry, and insole that offers additional arch support and cradling comfort around at the back of the foot. An internal heel counter keeps feet centered over the shoes' cushioning.

Weight: 8.25 ounces
Heel-Toe Offset: 8mm (31mm heel, 23mm forefoot)

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What We Liked

  • The step-in fit feels custom-made in our (female) testing of the shoe, and the support is welcome without being overbearing. The shoe runs smoothly.

  • Women's-specific fit feels fantastic on our testers' feet. No heel slippage, noticeable arch hold, all-around comfort.

  • The specially designed insole adds a touch of arch support and does a great job cradling the heel.

  • The NITRO foam, which is TPE infused with nitrogen, is energetic and reactive. It's cushy without feeling super bouncy, rather, noticeably protective of joints and aches and pains.

  • A beveled heel encourages a quick heel-to-toe transition by rolling heel strikers through their gait efficiently.

  • Great traction that withstood wet pavement and concrete during runs in spring rainstorms will come in handy for runs post-afternoon thundershowers or early morning damp roads.

  • It's a great-looking shoe!

What We Didn’t Like

  • The closed-mesh upper isn't the most breathable among shoes we've worn.

  • At 8.25 ounces, these aren't the fastest-feeling shoes.

Who It’s For

Women seeking a secure-fitting, stable daily trainer that's super comfortable for all-day wear.

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