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Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD Performance Review

Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD

The Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD is one of two court shoes utilizing Puma’s supercritical Nitro SQD (Squared) cushioning and looks to improve upon previous iterations of both Puma’s Accelerate and Eliminate models. After testing the Nike Zoom Challenge PB, I’ve highly anticipated more shoes from popular brands made with pickleball, and the Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD is no exception.

We were able to take the Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD out for testing over the last few weeks and now have a pickleball performance review so you can make an informed decision on this interesting shoe.

Buy Men's Accelerate Nitro SQD at Puma Buy Women's Accelerate Nitro SQD at Puma



On dedicated pickleball courts there were no issues with performance of the Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD. Judging by the herringbone inspired traction pattern and rubber compound, I have little doubt these will get the job done on other surfaces like hardwood floors. 

The subtle flex grooves in the forefoot of the outsole provide more zoned coverage to plant and even slide into shots without rolling over. The outsole allows for more natural movement of the foot compared to flatter, non-articulated outsoles and eliminates the need for a wider platform that would add weight and clunk.

Though more time will truly tell, I also think the pattern and proprietary PUMAGRIP rubber compound will be suitable as a longer-term option. Dedicated pickleball courts, like tennis, have a grittier surface, so the outsole is made with durability in mind. 

Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD outsole traction


Puma balances a mix of textiles and synthetics to create a thin, lightweight but form-fitting package that moves well with the foot. In addition, the Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD is also very breathable, which is even more impressive as it holds up well in durability and support, partially due to the fusing of Puma’s PWRTAPE placement throughout the shoe.


Nitro SQD, a dual-density evolution of the brand’s supercritical Nitro foam and makes up the midsole of this iteration of the Accelerate model. Because of the denser outer layer of Nitro SQD and its lower profile, minimal caging of the midsole is required and yet it still provides a high-response cushioning under foot.

The Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD beats out the Skechers Viper Court Pro as my favorite cushion set up of any pickleball shoe I’ve worn to date. Combined with the open-cell Ortholite X35 insole, it’s a very comfortable ride that helps my legs feel as fresh as they possibly can after long sessions and open play.


Puma combines all of its support features into a lightweight package with top-to-bottom foot security. While the materials wrap the foot and use fuse and PWRTAPE reinforcements to keep everything in place, Puma got things right in terms of heel support with its molded cup atop a laterally forgiving Nitro SQD base. 

The Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD is also very low to the ground which provides a great amount of court feel and adds a feeling of natural stability, which is hard to find in many court shoes.

Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD medial view



Unfortunately, I cannot claim the Puma Accelerate SQD as my absolute favorite pickleball shoe because of the fit. Due to the narrow fit, I’d recommend most people go up at least a half size, especially if you don’t have ability to try on the shoe before purchasing.

I’m far from a wide footer and I struggled with the fit in my true size, mainly in the toe box. There is no room for toe splay which isn’t ideal for such a forefoot heavy sport, and even further, it’s noticeably cramped up front upon getting your foot into the shoe.

Fit was not so big of an issue during play, but during dead balls and in between games I couldn’t help but think about when I could take them off. I also felt the effects of the narrow fit for a while afterward as I experienced soreness in my right big toe from it being pushed into the others with nowhere to go.

I’d really like to get my hands on a pair in a half size up somehow. At the very least it would even be nice to find a pair in store to try on briefly as I’m sure I’d be able to tell if it’s a better fit immediately.

Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD upper

Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD Overall

The Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD is so close to checking all the boxes in terms of performance. A better fit might make this the best pickleball shoe on the market, but this is the one area it misses the mark.

Since it’s a snug, supportive fit as opposed to a loose or wide fit that would be dangerous to play in, I would still encourage most who are interested to buy. But again, start with a half size up unless you have a very narrow foot. 

The Accelerate Nitro SQD is about as minimal as it gets without sacrificing performance. It almost performs like a barefoot athletic shoe with a sprinkle of lateral, heel, and torsional support atop well balanced cushion that meets the demands of pickleball. The Accelerate Nitro SQD may feel like I’m breaking in a new shoe, but that doesn’t mean I can resist going back to them every now and then because of how great they are on court.

Buy Men's Accelerate Nitro SQD at Puma Buy Women's Accelerate Nitro SQD at Puma


While Puma did send a pair of the Puma Accelerate Nitro SQD to facilitate this review, the company had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and has not attempted to influence it.

  1. The Puma accelerate nitro sqd court shoe is an elite outdoor court performance shoe and should be an excellent indoor shoe also. The best description is this shoe and your foot are locked in as one. They are stable and responsive to quick hard movement. The materials, design, and construction are all outstanding and the shoes appear to be durable. They are comfortable during aggressive play. The first time I wore them I played a couple hours of pickleball with no issues and my feet, knees, hips and back were all good from then on. Heck, you could even play basketball in them. Note, the fit can be snug even tight. I would recommend ordering 2 shoes (your normal size and a 1/2 size larger) and keep the size you like best and return the other. Price can be a little steep but there are deals available.

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