Puma Run XX Nitro Review
Do Puma’s ‘female-specific’ running shoes really fit and feel better?
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As a former cross-country and track runner, I don’t have a great track record when it comes to sticking to one sneaker. In hopes of resolving recurring foot injuries, I’ve tried running shoes ranging from Mizunos to Hokas to my current go-to, the Brooks Adrenaline. Despite the extensive list of shoes I’ve owned, however, I’ve never tried anything from Puma.
So, when the company reached out about the Puma Run XX Nitro—a shoe Puma claims is made with women’s feet in mind—I was eager to give the brand a literal test run. Having previously tried and reviewed the Lululemon Blissfeel, another running shoe marketed for its “female-first fit,” I was curious how this design stacks up. Puma sent over a pair of the Run XX Nitro, which I put through its paces with a week of workouts.
What is the Puma Run XX Nitro?
The Puma Run XX Nitro is the first Puma shoe without a counterpart made in men’s sizes. The brand claims it created the sneaker with a “progressive, female-specific design” meant to “hug a woman’s foot at the heel, instep, and arch.” The name of the shoe also nods to its female fit-focused DNA, as the “XX” references the double X chromosome.
The running sneaker is categorized as a stability shoe (as opposed to a neutral shoe), meaning it’s built to stabilize the foot by limiting side-to-side foot motion, a.k.a. pronation. In keeping with that category, Puma claims the shoe “promotes proper alignment” and “keeps the foot centered through each stride.”
The Puma Run XX Nitro, which retails for $130, is sold in six colorways in women’s shoe sizes 5.5 to 12.
What I like about the Puma Run XX Nitro
As a runner with plantar fasciitis (a chronic foot injury), I take supportive sneakers seriously. The Puma Run XX Nitro offered a firm, well stabilized feel for my runs. I’m not sure whether the female-focused fit made the difference, but the cushioning of the Nitro foam midsole provided significant arch support to keep my feet from getting sore after runs. I found the Run XX Nitro’s squishy-yet-substantial cushioning also helpful for cross-training and even long walks. I tested the Puma shoe shortly after trying the Lululemon Chargefeel, another shoe made with the female foot in mind. My feet felt sore after walking in the Chargefeel (which, to be fair, is a cross-training shoe, not a running sneaker), but felt fine going the same distance in the Run XX Nitro.
It has good traction
The brand also touts the “high traction rubber” of the Run XX Nitro’s outsoles. In my experience, the sneakers have decent traction on pavement and keep a grip on any uneven surfaces I encounter. Though not specifically designed for trails, I didn’t try them on dirt-based terrain, so I can’t speak to how the traction fares there, but I would be surprised if it wasn’t adequate.
It offers great stability
I have a tendency to over-pronate, meaning my feet sometimes roll inward as I hit the ground. Although I don’t think a shoe alone can realistically—and universally—keep feet “centered through each stride,” Puma lives up to its claims of “promoting proper alignment.” While wearing the Run XX Nitro, I don’t feel my ankle rolling in.
There are plenty of color and size options
The shoes are true to size for me, as my feet felt comfortable in my usual size 8 (which I wear in all everyday shoes and most running shoes). The shoes are also a fit when it comes to personal style, as the light purple color I received is among the prettiest sneakers I’ve ever run in. Puma also offers more neutral style options, however, if you prefer less “statement" footwear for your workouts.
What I don’t like about the Puma Run XX Nitro
It’s bulky for speed work
The Run XX Nitro is great for feeling supported on moderately paced runs, but it doesn’t fare as well for speed intervals. Although I love the foam midsole for distance, I felt my feet were sinking in too much during sprints, seemingly slowing me down a bit. Plus, as the Run XX Nitro weighs 8.25 ounces, there are plenty of lighter shoes available for track workouts and other speed-related efforts.
It was initially uncomfortable
While the size 8 was a perfect fit, the tongue of the Run XX Nitro dug into the top of my foot on my first wear. The break-in period didn’t last long, however. The toe box is wide and comfortable, and I never had a problem with blisters or discomfort after that initial try.
Is the Puma Run XX Nitro worth it?
Yes, if you’re looking for a solid stability shoe in a female fit
While everyone’s feet—and needs in a running shoe—are different, I found Puma Run XX Nitro’s cushioning both comfortable and supportive. If you’re looking for a stability shoe for pounding the pavement and don’t care about having a super lightweight shoe for sprints, the Run XX Nitro could be a solid choice. Plus, in case it’s not a good fit for your feet, Puma offers free returns within 45 days of purchase.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.