Nike vs Puma – What Brand is Right for Me?

Nike and Puma are some of the most popular running shoe brands on the market today. Both are positioned as large sporting wear companies that make shoes for a wide range of sports, but they both happen to make great running shoes. So which brand is better for you?

Ultimately, both Nike and Puma are good running shoe brands that make footwear to fit any runner's needs. However, these shoes are fashioned in different design features, so we will cover all of that within this article.

I conducted some extensive and detailed research for Nike vs Puma running shoes.

Nike vs Puma Running Shoes: The Greatest Similarities

Heel-to-Toe Drop

 Both Nike and Puma shoe models are usually equipped with a heel-to-toe drop of 6-10mm to fashion a more traditional feeling underfoot to offer more support and elevation for your calves and chilies.

While some may benefit from lower drop shoes, many will find themselves most comfortable with a heel-to-toe drop of about this range of 6-10mm because that is what we've become accustomed to throughout the lifetime of our footwear.

PUMA running shoe NRGY

Puma Heel Toe Drop

This is not to say that all of these company's shoe models are within this range, but it's a good generalization to give you an idea of what you're getting into.

 Those with chronic pain in their feet, calves, and chilies may benefit from this higher drop, as it will alleviate some of the strain on these areas while running.

Cushioning

 The standard trainer foams from both Nike and Puma feel fairly similar in terms of impact absorption and responsiveness. The React foam from Nike and Vitro foam from Puma both seem to help you get some feedback from each stride while still easing some of the force you're putting into the ground with each stride.

That being said, each individual will interact with these foams in a slightly different way based on mechanics, bone structure, foot strike, and weight.

Nike Zoom Pegasus cushioning

Nike Zoom Pegasus cushioning

Nike vs Puma Running Shoes: The Greatest Differences

Fit & Width

While Nike has improved its last to be more accommodating to a wider audience, they still tend to run a little narrow for most people's liking. However, if a Nike shoe fits well then it's absolutely perfect and you may not even want to try a different brand again.

Puma does have a more universal fit, as it tends to feel wider in the forefoot, but most of its shoe models feel a half size long, so consider sizing down a half size if you are not into your shoes feeling just a little too long.

Shoe Selection Variety

Nike's consistency within the running shoe game means that it offers an incredible variety of running shoe options, so there is bound to be a model that's right for you. This includes price, fit, feeling, cushioning level, support level, etc.

Puma has just recently become invested and consistent within the running shoe market, so it is still dialing in its variety in shoe selections, but it is quickly catching on. We expect Puma to have some incredible variety of options for any runner over the next couple of years.

These are some of the primary differences between Nike and Puma, but to give you an even better idea of what you’re dealing with let’s run down some more specific differences to note between these two brands.

Durability

Nike and Puma shoes should normally get you between 400-500 miles.

Both standard daily trainer foams from Nike and Puma are the React and Nitro technologies respectively, they are going to hold up to similar amounts of stress and also provide similar signs of wear once they are past their prime. 

 You’ll see creasing on the sides of the shoe’s midsole foam area, and they both have this “packed-down” feeling while running past a certain point. They may still have some life after that point, but best to get a new shoe and then transition your old pair to a “double-run” or “shakeout run” type shoe that puts less volume per run into the shoes.

 For outsole durability, however, the Puma Grip rubber outsole has proven to be pretty incredible as far as durability and traction are concerned. Even after feeling the midsole of my Velocity Nitro pack out, the Puma Grip outsole still shows little to no signs of wear, which is impressive if you ask me.

I hope the midsole foam can catch up a little to see these puma daily trainers get up to the 600-700 miles area. They have that potential.

 So both shoes will offer a pretty comparable lifespan, but Puma may get the slight upper hand because of that Puma Grip Outsole rubber.

Comfort

When looking for a daily training shoe for your runs, comfort may very well be the most important feature to seek out. You’ll be happy to hear that both brands offer some extremely comfortable options to get you through those miles. 

Some of the best options from each brand would be the Nike Pegasus and the Puma Velocity Nitro, as these two models both offer a reliable mixture of performance and comfort. You’ll find stride getting plenty of impact absorption while still maintaining some respectable responsiveness at the toe-off of each stride.

The bottom line is that both shoes offer some excellent options if you are looking for comfort, and that has a lot to do with the cushioning systems from each brand so let’s take a look at those.

Cushion

Nike running shoes have pretty much coined its React midsole foam as its tried and true daily trainer foam, and it really does offer some excellent shock absorption and durability, but the only problem that some may feel is that it is heavy compared to other brand’s foams now, kind of like the Nitro foam from Puma—which feels far lighter underfoot while still delivering a similar performance.

Some other key feature of Nike cushioning is the ZoomX foam, which is much lighter weight, but less stable at times. It is amazing for faster-paced runs and is the primary compound in the best racing shoes in history. So you may enjoy some models with that. 

The Air Zoom unit is a signature in many of Nike’s shoes as well, it is part of what makes for a snappy toe-off. 

Puma’s Nitro Foam has been a great way for Puma to go to market with its products. It’s lightweight, durable, reliable, and dare I say…FUN!

This foam will get you a big bang for your buck in terms of versatility and reliability. Those who are seeking a traditional ride will love this foam for its solid mix of the soft and snappy cushion.

Both brands will bring some traditional feeling shoes that include new innovative cushioning technologies. It really comes down to a personal preference and what you look for in the ride.

 Conclusion

You are getting a lot from both Nike and Puma, as they have some very fun and innovative technologies that they are implementing into their shoes. 

Nike will provide that comfortable and traditional fit and feel, but with new performance additions that can make even slow easy runs fun. 

Puma is doing a great job for a company only reintroducing itself to the running shoe market with its Nitro foam. It has the potential to be one of the best in the business, so give it a couple of years and watch out!

Overall, it really does depend on personal preference and what you prefer for your gait cycle. It is hard to go wrong with either brand, but they do bring a different ride to your feet. If you want something that will feel familiar, yet sprint then go for Nike. If you are seeking out a more exciting shoe with lots of potential to win your heart, then absolutely give Puma a try.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.

Last update on 2022-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API