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Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite Performance Review

Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite

Puma delivers one of the most jarring running shoe aesthetics we’ve seen in a while with the Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite. With minimal cushioning and a 9mm drop that feels like 0mm due to the geometry, this is a shoe built for speed, not comfort.

Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite

Release Date: 2023

Price: $220

Weight: Men’s 6.6 oz., Women’s 5.2 oz.

Drop: 9mm (feels like 0mm)

Sizing: True to size but snug

Buy Men's at Puma Buy Women's at Puma
  • Rundown: With a polarizing geometry, small use case, and high price point, the Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite will mostly appeal to faster runners that regularly race 5ks and 10ks.
Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite Inside View

First Impressions

When we originally laid eyes on the Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite, we thought it was a concept shoe, like the concept cars the automobile companies often parade around to get attention for their brands. Think more of an experiment than an actual workable running shoe. And with its oddball geometry, who could blame us for that initial assumption?

And while he didn’t blame us for our incorrect assumption, Puma’s Running Product Line Manager, Todd Falker assured us that the Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite was runnable. And not only was it actually usable, but several Puma pros enjoyed racing in it.

With that in mind, we had to get our hands on a pair for testing. And the lucky tester that got a pair, Tyler Herrin, provided his detailed thoughts on the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite and who it’s best for.

Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite Heel Cushion

Tyler’s Take

While the Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite is far from the type of shoe I would use, I can easily see a smaller/lighter and extremely fast runner taking full advantage of the Fast-FWD NITRO Elite. The undercut heel and forefoot quickly let you know you need to be pretty dialed in with your form (Editor’s Note: Tyler’s form is solid so we’re glad he’s testing this versus…well, we won’t name names). If your form is on point, the near-weightless package will reward you immensely with a solid bounce.

I found the fit to be on the snug side with a form-fitting upper and incredible outsole grip (Editor’s Note: Puma Grip continues to deliver best-in-class traction across Puma’s entire running shoe line. If you covet A+ traction, it’s time to grab a pair of Pumas. You can find our Best Puma Running Shoes list here).

Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite Puma Grip Outsole

Is the Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite wide foot friendly?

The Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite will be too narrow for some wide footers. Due to the snug race fit, wide footers are encouraged to buy it from a website with a solid return policy (like Puma’s own site or Running Warehouse) so they can try it on and make sure it works for them.

Is the SHOE worth $220?

At $220 and only being hailed as a short-distance companion, I believe the price point will keep many people away. This shoe is for a niche audience of speedsters racing shorter distances on roads.

Puma Fast-FWD Nitro Elite Rear View

Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite Summary

The Puma Fast-FWD NITRO Elite’s polarizing geometry and small use case will shrink the potential market but there are a few groups of people that’ll like it. Lighter, peppier, more efficient runners who regularly race 5ks and 10ks and shoe tech nerds who want to feel the crazy midsole shape underfoot to get a sense for increasingly out of this world racing shoe construction. If you belong to one of those groups, grab a pair. You’ll enjoy it.

If you’re not in one of those groups, the $220 price point and narrow use case likely won’t be enough to justify a purchase. Depending on your personal needs, you’ll be better off spending a little more for a full-fledged marathon racing shoe or spending less and getting a high-end versatile daily trainer.

Total Score
Buy at Running Warehouse

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