Two new running shoes that channel the Tokyo Olympics


Running events are slowly starting to return to India so many runners are reportedly looking to purchase new shoes for race day. And the most fashionable are shoes featuring revolutionary carbon technology that has helped athletes break multiple records over all distances. These include a world marathon record and the very first marathon under 2 hours for reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge.

The two carbon plate shoes shown here were worn by various athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and even finished on the podium. For the purpose of this examination, they were subjected to an extended road test of more than two months. However, I did not run there because the running events have not yet fully returned. Here is how these two pairs behaved during my races and other training.

Also Read: How New Technology Changed Running Shoes Forever

The Puma Deviate Nitro.
(Courtesy of Puma)

Puma Deviate Nitro: The Puma Deviate Nitro shoes are among the most affordable running shoes that use carbon plate technology. American long-distance runner Molly Seidel competed for the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Marathon. Of course, the shoes most elite athletes wear are highly personalized to their needs, but the DNA of the shoes remains the same, even when you buy them in a store or from an online retailer.

Also read: The Olympic battle for the supremacy of footwear technology

Compared to classic running shoes such as Adidas Adios Boost or Asics Gel Noosa Fast, the sole of the Puma Deviate Nitro is almost twice as thick, which gives the shoes a lot of height. The brand has inserted a carbon fiber plate into a relatively affordable, albeit slightly firmer, foam that forms the sole of the shoes. The upper is made of a double-layered fused mesh and is extremely breathable. While it works like a charm in our Indian weather conditions, winter is coming and those in the north may want to purchase some cold weather socks with this pair. Staying with the upper, I like the subtle rainbow colored stripes on a white background (the pair I received and what Seidel wore at Tokyo 2020) and I suspect the designers knew what they were. were doing and it was their subtle way of showing their stance on gender issues. There are also many solid color options available. Like most new carbon-equipped running shoes, Deviate Nitro does not have a sock liner (that cushioning around the back and side of your foot).

Performance-wise, they feel quite bouncy as soon as you start moving, but the sole is firm enough that your heel doesn’t sink in with every stride. The shoes offer a better take off than any other regular running shoe I have used thanks to the carbon plate. It almost feels like the foot isn’t doing all the work it’s supposed to do. The minimalist upper and the lack of a sock liner does not detract from the functionality of the shoes and the feet do not slip at all. There are elastic wraps that the tongues of the shoes are built on, and these keep your feet in place during movement. The big difference from traditional running flats and newer running shoes is heel-to-toe drop which is a big factor. If you prefer a lower drop or use barefoot shoes, the Deviate Nitro will take a bit of getting used to. I used these shoes during the monsoon on the streets of Kolkata and the grip was about okay, but not great. A natural heel attacker, these shoes felt very comfortable to me, but I tried mid and forefoot running styles and the shoes responded really well. However, to get the most out of the carbon plate thrust during take off, I think mid-foot and heel runners are likely to find these shoes to be much more effective.

Also read: What Marathon Legend Eliud Kipchoge Tells Us About Training

I even tried regular HIIT and weightlifting sessions with these shoes. While shoes are good for jumping, skipping, and strength training, including lunges, the high heel-to-toe drop puts you off balance when doing squats. When using weights the shoes are not stable at all especially when doing squats.

I have been running since 2009 and have used a lot of shoes but have never come across a decent pair for running at Puma. This is the first one that I really like and find suitable for long distance running. In reality, The runner’s world The magazine claims the Deviate Nitro “marks the brand’s serious return to road running shoes.” And to add to that, these are the most affordable carbon technology running shoes on the market today.


Read also: Why I stopped running marathons in India

The Asics MetaSpeed ​​Edge.

The Asics MetaSpeed ​​Edge.
(Courtesy of Asics)

Asics MetaSpeed ​​Edge: While not the first in the carbon tech race (Nike beat everyone), Asics took a slightly different approach. He roughly divides runners into two categories: those who depend on longer strides and those who depend on cadence (number of steps) to go fast. The Japanese brand has developed two very different carbon-plated shoes that look identical for these two types of runners. For “stride” runners, they created the MetaSpeed ​​Sky. The MetaSpeed ​​Edge is intended for those with a “cadence” style, a style that involves smaller steps taken while hovering above the ground with minimal up and down movement. These runners increase their speed by both lengthening their stride length and increasing the number of steps they take per minute. The winners of the men’s and women’s triathlons at Tokyo 2020 wore the MetaSpeed.

Also read: Do Better Shoes Help You Run Faster?

I had received a pair of Tokyo 2020 MetaSpeed ​​Edge in a stunning red color that bleeds to black. These shoes have full-length carbon plates sandwiched somewhere inside the soles, which are made from a new nylon-based foam. It’s much softer than the Puma Deviate Nitro and feels a lot more bouncy. So much so that with each kick, my heels felt like they were sinking slightly into the soles of the shoes before being pushed off the ground. When you shift to the forefoot, the carbon plate kicks in and gives a huge take off. These shoes made me feel like I had springs under my feet. They were also bouncy thanks to the softer nylon foam (called FF Blast) which also quickly returns to its normal shape. The MetaSpeed ​​Edges weigh around 30 grams less than Puma’s Deviate Nitro, but have a similar 8mm toe drop despite slightly thinner soles.

These shoes take a bit longer to get used to than the Puma pair due to the softness of the soles, but once they do they are fantastic. Asics claims these shoes improve performance by 1.2% and while I don’t have enough data to back that up, they feel a lot faster than one of my favorite and fastest running flats: Asics Gel Noosa Fast. They are definitely faster than the Puma pair. The stems are wonderfully thin, yet sturdy and resemble socks. However, these aren’t as comfortable as the sock-like woven uppers used in the Adidas Ultraboost, Nike Flyknit, or Reebok Floatride of the past. The shoes are half a size smaller, so it is best to try them on before you buy. These are the fastest, brightest shoes I have in my closet today.


Shrenik Avlani is a writer, editor and co-author of The Shivfit method, a book on functional fitness.

Also read: How Indian runners coped with covid-19 and lockdowns

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