How To Pick The Best Nike Running Shoe For You
Despite the hype that surrounds every new release no brand has created the perfect running shoe, because every runner has different requirements from their footwear. But it’s fair to say that as of right now Nike can claim to have come closer than most.
That’s because the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, or some elite version of it, was worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he smashed the world record for the marathon in Berlin. And Kipchoge isn’t the only person to have been breaking PBs in the Vaporfly since it was released –runners of all levels are seemingly finding themselves running faster in the 4%.
However, even the Vaporfly isn’t for everyone. In fact it’s not really for most, because it’s expensive and nigh-on impossible to get hold of. Fortunately, Nike has a range of other shoes that fit the bill for all kinds of runners, so whatever you’re hoping to achieve with the sport, there’ll be one that works for you.
Best All-Rounder: Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo
Nike’s Pegasus line has been producing reliably great all-round training and racing shoes for 35 years, and in 2018 Nike released two Pegasus shoes – the Air Zoom Pegasus 35 and the Zoom Pegasus Turbo. The first is good shoe, the second is a great one, made with the lightweight, soft and responsive ZoomX foam found in the Vaporfly 4%. The Turbo is cushioned enough for easy training runs, but also perfect for holding a fast pace over long distances, making it a great race-day option.
Buy men’s | Buy women’s | £159.95 | Read our review
Best For Marathons: Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit
Normally you could dismiss claims that a shoe improves your running economy by 4% as outlandish hype, but the results produced by amateur and pro runners alike in the Vaporfly suggest it can back up the bluster. The ZoomX foam and carbon fibre plate in the shoe combine to make running fast for long distances feel smoother and easier, and while none of us will match Kipchoge’s new world record in it, the 4% is the shoe to go to if you’re seeking a marathon PB. That is, if you can find a pair in stock anywhere. Speaking of which…
Buy from Nike (currently out of stock) | £210
Best When The Zoom Vaporfly 4% Isn’t Available: Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit
The only real flaw in the Zoom Fly Flyknit is that it isn’t the 4% itself, so let’s focus on some of the positives of this top-notch racing shoe. The latest version of the Zoom Fly has the same carbon fibre plate as the Vaporfly, with the main difference being that it uses Nike’s durable and bouncy React foam in the midsole instead of the ZoomX. It’s a little heavier and not as responsive as the Vaporfly, but the Zoom Fly is a great option for PB-hunters, especially over half marathon or marathon distances. And it’s a whole lot cheaper than the Vaporfly too.
Buy men’s | Buy women’s | £139.95
Best For 5Ks And 10Ks: Nike Zoom Streak
While shoes like the Vaporfly are part of the trend towards cushioned yet reasonably lightweight racing shoes, the Zoom Streak is an old-school racer with very little cushioning and weighs in under 200g. For all but the skinniest, most efficient runners it will probably not have enough support for half marathon distances and above, but it’s a great shoe for speed days and shorter races.
Buy from Nike (unisex) | £89.95
Best Cushioned Shoe: Nike Epic React
It might have a big old chunk of cushioning on the bottom, but the Epic React is far from a clunker, weighing in at just 239g (men’s size 9). That means it’s not only a soft option for easy runs, but you can use it for pacier stuff as well, with the React foam offering a decent amount of energy-return when you do turn on the afterburners. We also rate the React as Nike’s most stylish running shoe, so you can wear it out on the town as well.
Buy men’s | Buy women’s | £129.95 | Read our review
Best Stability Shoe: Nike Air Zoom Structure 22
If you need a shoe to combat overpronation the Zoom Structure is a great pick that has been favoured by stability-seeking runners throughout its 22-version history. The amount of stability the Zoom Structure offers isn’t overbearing, with the heel overlay and midsole support smoothly guiding your foot through the heel-to-toe transition, rather than forcing it into line in an uncomfortable manner.
Buy men’s | Buy women’s | £104.95
Best For Trail-Running: Nike Air Terra Kiger 4
The Terra Kiger 4 is at its best on harder terrain like rocky trails rather than ploughing through muddy fields, where Nike’s Air Zoom Wildhorse would be the smarter pick. However, if you’re not going through full-on bogs, the Terra Kiger is a shoe that can tackle most trails comfortably and it’s also comfortable for stints on the road as well.
Buy men’s | Buy women’s | £114.95