Are you ready to take your running game to the next level? Look no further, because we're about to unveil the ultimate compilation of the best Nike running shoes on the market. From the ground-breaking Nike Revolution 6 to the controversial yet awe-inspiring Vaporfly models, this article contains a treasure trove of information for both serious athletes and casual runners alike. Strap on your sneakers and get ready to dive into the world of performance, comfort, and style with Nike's finest running footwear.
Nike Revolution 6 Running Shoes
Most Affordable Nike Running Shoes
Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GORE-TEX
Weight: 309g (m), 263g (w)Drop: 9.5mm
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As you would expect from the name, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GORE-TEX is a hybrid shoe that fits and feels similar to the Pegasus 38 road shoe, but with waterproofing to keep your feet dry in wet and muddy conditions. The trail version features a React foam midsole and a widened toebox compared to the previous model. While it doesn't have a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot like the previous model, it still performs well on both off-road and on-road surfaces. The outsole has 4mm lugs that provide smooth rolling and good grip. The shoe also includes a toe bumper for protection and a gusseted tongue to keep out debris. While it may not be as aggressive as some other shoes for technical climbs or extreme terrain, it is a great choice for Pegasus fans who want to venture off-road.
Best for budget / new runners
Nike ZoomX Streakfly
Weight: 185g (m), 155g (w)Drop: 6mm
Designed for 5K and 10K efforts on the roads, the Nike ZoomX Streakfly is a lightweight racing shoe built for speed. It has a minimal heel collar and thin upper to reduce weight, while offset lacing eases pressure on the foot. Testers have found the shoe to provide a "barely there" feel, but with enough support to prevent stability issues during fast cornering. The midsole is made from ZoomX foam, which is light and responsive, and the shoe features a Pebax plate under the midfoot to provide springiness. The Streakfly offers a low-profile, springy ride that will appeal to fans of traditional racing flats, while still providing cushioning and protection for longer races.
Best for trails
Everybody knows Nike Air. That's how Nike got popular in the 80s. But do you know what Nike Air really is?
Nike running shoes in the "Air" category often use Cushlon foam in their soles. This foam is soft and resilient, but it is heavier than other foams and doesn't provide as much bounce. To overcome these limitations, Nike cuts off areas of the Cushlon foam midsole and fills them with plastic bags filled with "Air," which is a secret gas compound. This reduces the weight of the shoe and increases cushioning, as the "airbags" are softer and springier than the Cushlon foam. Depending on the shoe, Nike Air bags can be found in the heel, the toe, or both. There are three formats of Air bags: Air, Air Max, and Zoom Air.
- Nike Air - medium-sized air bags that fit well especially under the heel.
- Air Max - thick and highly cushioned bags of air, mostly used on lifestyle shoes.
- Zoom Air - the thinnest units, ideal for low-profile shoes. Initially developed for soccer shoes.
Nike Free is a concept. It was started around 2005 with the goal of creating a shoe that allows the foot to move naturally. Some people argue that the Frees are still cushioned shoes that prevent a true feeling for the ground. While this may be true, the extreme flexibility of the Free sole unit, combined with the open-mesh and unconstrained upper, provides a unique running experience.
What do the numbers next to a Free shoe mean?
Nike used to use numbers to indicate the flexibility of their Free shoes, with 1.0 being the most flexible (similar to bare feet) and 10.0 being a traditional running shoe. However, in 2016 they revamped the Free line and abandoned the use of numbers. The new auxetic construction allows the midsole to expand in all directions during foot strike, providing a more natural and comfortable fit.
Nike Free Auxetic Construction
The new Nike Free line of running shoes features an auxetic design in the midsole. This design allows the sole to expand in both length and width during foot strike, similar to how a ball deforms and rebounds. Most materials become smaller in the perpendicular direction when stretched in one direction, but the auxetic design allows the sole to expand in both directions. This design provides a more natural and flexible ride.
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Nike Wildhorse 8 Trail Running Shoes
Best Nike Running Shoes for Trail Running
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% Flyknit
The Alphafly is the production version of the shoe Eliud Kipchoge wore when he broke the two-hour marathon record in Vienna in 2019. It features two Zoom Air units in the forefoot, additional ZoomX foam in the heel, a full-length carbon fiber plate, and a lightweight upper material called AtomKnit. This combination of technologies allows for record-breaking speed.
In late 2021, Nike also released the Alphafly Next Nature, a new version that incorporates scrap materials, including leftover ZoomX foam. It is made of at least 50 percent recycled content by weight. However, it is slightly heavier than the regular Alphafly.
Nike Zoom Fly 4 Premium
The Zoom Fly is a training shoe with a carbon plate for faster turnover and energy return. It offers more cushioning than racing shoes, making it suitable for daily training. It has a comfortable sock-like fit, midfoot flexibility for natural movement, and promotes a smooth ride.
Nike Air Zoom Winflo 8
If you're on a budget, consider the Air Zoom Winflo 8. It offers a great value with its Peg-like pointed heel, soft Cushlon foam, responsive Zoom Air units, and breathable mesh forefoot. It provides a secure and snug fit for improved support.
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16
- Responsive ZoomX cushioning
- Collar caused ankle irritation for some testers
|Weight||11.1 oz (M), 9.1 oz (W)|
The Vomero 16 is Nike's highly cushioned shoe. It features responsive ZoomX foam cushioning, a lightweight and breathable upper, and an adjustable midfoot band for stability.
Nike Vaporfly Models: Marathon Dominance and Controversy
Nike's Vaporfly models, including the Vaporfly Next% and Alphafly, have demonstrated dominance in major marathons worldwide, with many winners opting for these shoes.
A study conducted in 2019 found that the Vaporfly shoes improved an athlete's running economy by 4.2%, leading to debates about their potential unfair advantage. The shoe's design, combining foam and carbon-fiber plate, has sparked discussions on whether it should be banned in competition. However, after careful review, the controversial Nike shoe was allowed in the Tokyo Olympics.
The controversy around Vaporfly
A study published in 2019 showed that the new Nike Vaporfly shoes improved an athlete's running economy by 4.2%, leading to debates about its perceived unfair advantage. The unique combination of foam layer and carbon-fiber plate in the shoe's design has ignited discussions on whether it should be banned from competition. Despite the controversy, the Vaporfly shoes were allowed in the Tokyo Olympics.
In conclusion, Nike offers a wide range of exceptional running shoes that cater to the needs of every runner. Whether you're hitting the road or tackling rugged trails, Nike has got you covered. From the versatile Nike Revolution 6 to the highly acclaimed Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% Flyknit, each shoe is designed with advanced technology and innovative features to enhance your performance. While the Nike Vaporfly models have made headlines with their unrivaled marathon dominance and controversy, there is no denying that Nike continues to push the boundaries of running shoe technology. So lace up your favorite pair and unleash your full potential with Nike's best running shoes.