10 Best Nike Running Shoes For Men in 2021
Nike has already made a big name in the running industry for their top-performing running shoes. But here in RunRepeat, we don’t rely on popularity.
To select the best Nike shoes for men, we spend a lot of time examining each shoe in our very own shoe testing lab. They go through a myriad of tests, before we crown them the cream of the crop.
Overview of this guide
How we review the best Nike running shoes for men
There are a lot of meticulous steps taken prior to picking the best Nike shoes for men. And although Nike shoes can be expensive, we always buy them with our own money. We like to avoid brand loyalty and be as transparent as possible.
Apart from that, here are the other processes we strictly follow:
- Log 30-50 miles of test runs in each model
- Slice them open to examine their parts
- Measure each feature of the shoe in various parameters, including breathability, flexibility, firmness, etc.
- Calculate their CoreScore through thousands of expert and user feedback
If we could only have one workhorse forever, choosing the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 is a cinch.
To determine that this is indeed the best of the best, we have also tested past iterations of the Pegasus. And the Peg 38 won us over.
During easy days, it’s cushy and fun. When it’s time to pick up the pace, it can go fast. Long miles? This shoe swallows them. And if you don’t want to change gears for your gym sessions, the Nike Pegasus 38 won’t be a letdown.
Intrigued by how responsive and comfortable the shoe is, we went ahead and conducted our lab tests. It blew our minds.
As opposed to the average midsole, the Pegasus 38 is 18% softer. And for that lively ride, there are Zoom Air pods that amp up energy return.
The shoe’s fit and lockdown are also showstoppers. Everyone can agree that Nike shoes are narrow, but the Nike Pegasus 38 has more room, especially in the forefoot. Even more, we can’t move past how awesome the gusseted tongue is. From lace-up down to the last stride, our feet were tucked in place.
To seal the deal, the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 is not just a workhorse. It’s a tank. After clocking up 30 miles of rough wear testing, it barely has any scratch.
The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run isn’t just successful for being Nike’s true max-cushioned trainer. Runners love it too for bringing the fun in their run. And we couldn’t disagree.
Bounce is the Invincible’s forte. With so much of it, you’ll feel like you have springs underfoot. What’s more is the ZoomX foam is also insanely soft (47% softer than the average in our lab tests). Even after long miles, recovery time is a thing of the past in this shoe.
It may not be a featherlight running shoe. But with its spring-like cushion, it never weighed us down.
Choosing between the Pegasus 38 and the Invincible Run was a challenge. In the Invincible, the bounce comes at the price of stability. To truly feel surefooted in it, you need strong feet and ankles, which is the reason it falls as second best.
But don’t fret, it’s really not a deal-breaker.
If you want to feel what premium responsiveness feels like, then don’t write off the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run.
Best for race
It can set winning PBs and it’s designed to let you run like one of the elites during race days.
We also assessed and ran in the first version of the Vaporfly. With every detail covered, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is the surefire winner.
Once you put it on, prepare to blast off. The carbon-fiber plate coupled with the ZoomX foam creates the fastest, most responsive ride we’ve ever experienced in a racer. Powering a propulsive performance, this speedster also kept us up on our toes.
It’s got speed written all over it. With it’s insanely light weight (6.9 oz), it’s one of the lightest shoes in the history of running.
Although we pride ourselves in nitpicking, we just couldn’t find one thing about the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 that we didn’t love. It’s everything a runner could hope to have in their competition.
With Eliud Kipchoge’s sub 2-hour marathon record, there’s no denying, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is fast.
Like everyone else, we were stoked about the new speedster in town. And with $275 spent, we weren’t disappointed.
Packed with Nike’s latest and greatest technologies, the Alphafly is made for speed. To create snappy transitions, a carbon plate is sandwiched in the midsole. It works hand in hand with the Zoom Air pockets that take energy return to new heights.
The result? A crazy fast ride.
Despite being jam-packed with technologies and despite being the Vaporfly’s max version, the Alphafly Next%’s weight is anything but max. It’s even 16% lighter than other shoes we’ve tested.
To top it all off, it’s a comfortable speedster. In a world where fast means stiff, the Nike Alphafly Next% is a standout.
Best for trail
The Nike Pegasus is just as reliable on the trail as it is on the road. And of all the trail-ready Pegasus shoes, it’s the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 that took our breath away.
For a trail shoe, its comfort level is that of a road shoe. It has so much cush underfoot, our feet and legs didn’t feel beat-up. We didn’t even have to switch gears for our park walks.
And with its wide base (116mm in the forefoot and 92.6mm in the heel), stable and confidence-inspiring aren’t even enough to describe it.
Staying true to its Pegasus roots, the Nike Peg Trail 3 is heavy-duty. After putting it through the wringer, its solid outsole (86HC hard vs. 79.2HC average) barely has any signs of wear and tear. It can definitely last beyond 500 miles.
As a trail shoe, the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 defies conventions by being feet-pampering. And as a Pegasus model, it maintains some of the line's tried-and-true features like unmatched durability and well-supported steps.
Mixed all together, it’s a shoe that will keep your trail excursions enjoyable and forgiving.
If you’re faced with rugged and unfriendly terrains, there’s nothing grippier than the Nike Wildhorse 7.
Hands down, nothing compares to the Wildhorse when it comes to superior traction. On dirt roads, rocky trails, soft grounds, and branches, it clutched like claws. Not once did we find ourselves slipping nor feeling tippy.
We didn’t have to worry about the jagged rocks and roots underneath either. The rock plate kept our feet protected, they never felt strained during and after the run.
Stability is paramount in the Wildhorse 7. It’s not just evident in its outsole, it’s also very apparent in the sock-like wrap of the upper. Even during sharp turns, our feet were locked securely in place.
Ultimately, the Nike Wildhorse 7 lags behind in comfort if compared to the Pegasus Trail 3. But it was never designed for that. It’s a grippy trailblazer that will crush any outdoor adventure.
Best for speedwork
The Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% is our go-to if we want to go fast and far.
Speed and distance aside, the Tempo Next% is unlike any other speedster in our arsenal. It’s not stiff. If anything, it’s very forgiving and comfortable, we even logged 13 miles in one go.
Stepping up comfort, the upper is also very light and breathable. Even under scorching heat, our feet remained cool and dry.
And of course, the real star of the show is the shoe’s spring-like bounce. When we picked up the pace, we didn’t even have to push it. It was there working seamlessly with our strides. It was so easy to get from one step to the next.
Overall, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% is a no-brainer if you want to go fast and go the distance. Even better, it’s built to last long too. After 100 miles of harsh playtests, this shoe proved itself hard-wearing.
If you want to feel what it’s like to fly in your runs, we can’t recommend the Nike Zoom Fly 3 enough.
Despite it being the more moderate version of its racing sibling - the Vaporfly - it doesn’t hold back on speed. Like the higher-end speed monsters on the market, it has a carbon plate that makes steps snappy. We zoomed through the blocks with no sweat in the Zoom Fly 3.
Apart from making the shoe fast, the carbon-fiber plate is also there to make it stable. Its stiffness kept our motions in check, preventing any excessive rolling.
With its versatility, the Nike Zoom Fly is what we consider great value. It's undisputed - it’s a great tempo trainer. But when we took it to high-mileage distances (10K), we were more than confident it could beat the competition in marathons.
Take the Zoom Fly 3 if you’re still new to plated tempo speedsters or if you want to have a feel of the Vaporfly without breaking the bank.
Best budget shoe
Nothing beats the Nike Air Zoom Winflo 8 in giving runners the best out of their $90. Of all the advanced running shoes on our roster, we can even say that the Winflo has more to offer.
And this is especially true in the comfort arena. Its foam is so plush, we didn’t want to take it off.
Even better, the upper is so breathable, we didn’t have to worry about sweaty feet at all (even under 80F).
Want one shoe for everything? The Winflo 8 is not just your trusty daily trainer, it can also be your go-to for walks and gym training.
What’s more is that it's a very supportive shoe. We had no trouble clocking up 10Ks. We didn’t even mind staying on our feet all day.
Last but definitely not least, the Nike Air Zoom Winflo 8 is packed in a stylish shoe. With its Flywire and sculpted midsole, it’s ready to hit the streets
Retailing for only $60, the Nike Downshifter 11 surpassed our expectations.
Budget shoes typically sacrifice on some features, but not the Downshifter. From comfort to support, this shoe has everything covered.
And if you want one shoe for everything, the Nike Downshifter can take you from the road to the gym. Even better, it’s cushy enough to be your choice for walking.
Apart from comfort, this shoe is also a star in the support arena. It has a wide base, measuring 97.8mm in the forefoot and 74.8mm in the heel; missteps and slips are a thing of the past.
Even better, the Downshifter 11 packs a lot of flexibility. Its soft midsole encourages the natural bend of the foot, we never felt restrained.
The upper also amps up the comfort level of the shoe. It’s padded, but maintains a lightweight and cool sensation.
Overall, the Nike Downshifter 11 is a great choice for beginners who don’t want to dig deep into their pockets. It does a little of everything, but shines as a comfortable daily trainer.