Puma Phantomcat Nitro Golf Shoe Review

Puma's latest shoe arrives with a bold new take on the spiked outsole, but does the new tech work?

Puma Phantomcat Nitro golf shoe review
(Image credit: Future)
Golf Monthly Verdict

A well rounded spiked golf shoe with a unique traction system that is both low profile and lightweight. New technology in the heel makes for a comfortable walk while the bright colors and touches of detail across the upper make for a stylish and practical golf shoe.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Low profile spiked outsole offers great grip

  • +

    Pops of color on the outsole

  • +

    Nice touches of detail on the upper

  • +

    Lightweight build

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Outsole has a tendency to clog with mud

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Puma has always been a brand that excels when discussing the best golf shoes. From the four or five models I've tested over the last few years, they have always been comfortable, high quality and, above all, stylish. It's latest offering in the spiked golf shoe space is the Phantomcat Nitro, a shoe that is boasting one of the most unique outsoles I've ever seen and a big departure from Puma shoes gone by. Has the risk paid off? Well, I took them out onto the golf course for a couple of rounds to see what it was all about. 

The headline new tech comes on the outsole which has debuted a totally new Flexspike integrated cleat and some flash colors to boot. This has been re-imagined by Puma from the ground up and there's no arguing it is a unique design like no other I've ever seen on the best spiked golf shoes before. Sure, we've seen integrated cleats on the likes of the Adidas Tour360 22 before, but this is the first time in a while a brand has taken the plunge again. 

They have been engineered to increase surface contact with the ground as well as improve weight distribution across the foot. The design has also allowed Puma to make the shoe much lighter than before and in turn more comfortable. Another byproduct of the new cleats is how low profile this shoe is compared to other spiked shoes. Is it as convincing for grip as other 'conventional' spiked shoes? The jury is still out on that, but I was very impressed overall with the grip especially on the wet and muddy days I tested them on. 

The Flexspikes also feature multiple elements of traction from the spikier elements you can see in orange which offer ground penetration while the longer lines of traction on the black segment offer lateral support. Secondary traction that can be seen in the majority of the green on the outsole offers more grip especially while walking, but I did find this clogged with mud and debris quite quickly. 

Dan Parker hitting a ball down a fairway wearing the Puma Phantomcat shoes

The outsole really pops as you gold the follow through

(Image credit: Future)

Also new in this shoe is the nitrogen infused foam that has been injected into the heel area. It's certainly as comfortable, if not more so, than the Puma Ignite Articulate that this shoe is replacing. There's not as much arch support as I'd like in a golf shoe (I'm slightly flat footed) but overall the sensation underfoot is one of softness and with plenty of rebound as you walk. The toe area has also been reshaped to be slightly squarer and offer more room than Puma shoes of the past and I suspect this should allow the fit to suit even more shaped feet than before. 

Although the upper is a full grain leather, it didn't feel as soft or premium as other shoes I've tested this year on a spiked shoe, but they're represent the £130 price tag well enough. I'd day the upper materials in the Adidas Tour360 24 and FootJoy Pro/SLX Carbon are much softer and more premium (but that's represented in the price tag) and probably on par with the new Under Armour Drive Pro shoe. It's worth noting the shoe is fully waterproof, and I got to test that out to the fullest on the particularly wet day I tested them. 

Overall, this is another very solid golf shoe from Puma, at a price I'd consider to be decent value considering some shoes are topping out at nearly £200 this year. The low profile spiked outsole works well and will give you all year round wearability, even when the ground is very dry or very wet. My only concern with integrated spikes like these is that you can't replace them if they break like conventional soft spikes. However, considering how well built and sturdy they feel, I doubt this will ever be a problem. 

Dan Parker
Staff Writer

Dan has been with Golf Monthly team since 2021. He graduated with a Masters degree in International Journalism from the University of Sussex and looks after equipment reviews and buyer's guides, specializing in golf shoe, golf bag and golf cart reviews. Dan has now tested and reviewed over 30 pairs of golf shoes and is an expert in the field. A left-handed golfer, his handicap index is currently 6.5 and he plays at Fulford Heath Golf Club in the West Midlands. 

Dan is currently playing: 

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 

Fairway: TaylorMade Stealth 2 15°, Ping G425 Max 21°

Hybrid: Ping G425 

Irons: Cobra King Tec Utility, Ping i230 (5-PW) 

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged Pro

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour X

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x