Puma All-Pro Nitro
The Puma All-Pro Nitro is the improved evolution of the Clyde All-Pro. The addition of Nitro foam takes it to the next level.
- Traction/Lateral Stability
- Heel-Toe Transition
- Forward Lockdown
- Court Feel
Here we are. The (only somewhat late) long-awaited review of the long-awaited sequel to one of the best shoes I’ve tested, the Puma Clyde All-Pro. The All-Pro Nitro follows the same, no-gimmick design philosophy of the first iteration, but with the addition of Puma’s well-loved Nitro foam. This cushion upgrade combines with a few tweaks to the overall structure of the shoe to create one hell of a performance basketball shoe and one of the best shoes for volleyball.
Puma All-Pro Nitro Pros
Right off the bat, we have the most obvious feature of the shoe, its namesake Nitro foam (originally developed for Puma’s running line). Puma says that they put a soft, inner layer of the NITRO for cushion and bounce, and a firm, outer layer for lateral stability. This outer layer is the one you can see and feel when holding the sneaker, and it’s noticeably supportive. We’ll talk more about stability later. For now, we need to discuss that soft, inner layer of Nitro.
The instant that you step into the All-Pro Nitro, you can feel the cushion. Landing in these shoes is joint-saving. In fact, when I was testing other shoes that were lacking in cushion, and my knees and feet started to hurt, switching to the All-Pro felt better than an ice bath. They feel so comfortable underfoot that I was afraid they would be too soft for good bounce. They aren’t.
In addition to that impact protection, the Nitro foam is noticeably responsive when striking the ground. I still think Nike Zoom is the premier tech for “bounce”, but the Nitro setup in this shoe is pretty close. Quick and springy off the ground, soft on the landing. What more could you want?
Traction & Lateral Stability
The most important feature in any volleyball shoe is the traction. You can’t play well without it. Luckily, most modern sneakers get the job done on clean courts. The All-Pro Nitro is no different. A diamond pattern near the heel and parquet in the front gets the job done. I tested these on both wood and plastic, clean and (very) dusty courts. On the very dusty plastic courts, I did have to wipe a lot, as the dust was clinging to the shoe (this happens on plastic courts more than wood). Despite this, I never noticed any slipping and even if the shoe wasn’t squeaking, it was gripping.
Going along with this, with great lateral traction comes the need for great lateral stability (otherwise the shoe stops and your foot doesn’t). This is where the All-Pro Nitro has some structural improvements over its predecessor. The firm, outer layer of Nitro comes up higher around your foot, and the outsole wraps over that on the lateral side. This works with the lacing system in the upper and the smooth, subtly outrigger-like shape of the forefoot to keep your foot safely under your bodyweight in the insole.
This section will be quick but it’s important. Jumping in basketball and volleyball is similar but just slightly different. In volleyball, players often have to exaggerate the angle of their foot in the penultimate step to really stop that forward momentum and jump straight up (or stay behind the 10’ line). Volleyball shoes are designed with this in mind, but sometimes basketball shoes can feel a little clunky rolling from outer heel to inner toe at such an odd angle. That is not the case here, however, and the All-Pro Nitro feels smooth and fast rolling through that transition.
Puma All-Pro Nitro Cons
These cons are pretty weak as this shoe is really just a masterclass in court shoe design. The first thing that could be perfected is lockdown in the forward direction. The shoe fits great with no extra room in the toe. If I landed with a lot of forward momentum, my foot slid forward slightly, which can jam toes into the end of the shoe. This is somewhat common in volleyball as players land and try to not go under the net. The lacing system does work great, and it’s rare that a shoe doesn’t have this issue (the Puma MB.01 comes to mind), but if I had one tiny complaint that would be it.
The other “con” is not really a con at all but more a callout for personal preference. If you’re a player who is used to really low, less-cushioned shoes where you can feel the cracks in the sport court under your foot then these might take some getting used to. In my opinion, that’s more than worth it for the extra cushioning.
All-Pro Nitro Summary
In case it wasn’t obvious from my longer-than-usual pros section and a pretty weak cons section, I really like playing in the All-Pro Nitro. It was a surprise a few years ago when Puma was making some of the best court shoes, but at this point it should be expected. The Clyde All-Pro was a great all-around court shoe that just did everything right, and its successor is a clear evolution of those design ideas. You can definitely expect this shoe to end up on my top 10 list. As of the time of writing this, the All-Pro Nitro is among the best shoes I’ve ever tested.