Nike offers a wide selection of road and trail running shoes for beginners and seasoned runners. If you are unsure which one is best for you, this article will help you narrow down your choices.
How we review our Nike running shoes
At RunRepeat, we provide up-to-date recommendations for Nike running shoes by taking into account the latest reviews and shoe releases.
- We spend 7 hours per shoe doing research and reading reviews around the internet
- More than 1,000 expert reviews and 200,000 user reviews were analyzed to list the pros and cons of each shoe
- We have done more than 200 in-depth reviews for Nike running shoes
- We provide a CoreScore to each Nike model based on the user and expert reviews. The score is from 0 to 100, which indicates how liked the shoe is.
If you want a separate list of Nike road shoes and Nike trail running shoes, check out these corresponding buy pages:
4 things to consider in choosing the best Nike running shoes
To choose a perfect Nike runner for you, consider the following factors: terrain, running goals, and shoe feel preferences.
1. Terrain: Road or Trail
|Nike road shoes
||Nike trail shoes
|Best for: pavement and surfaces with minor irregularities
||Best for: light and rugged trail
- more flexible
- generally responsive
- more durable
- aggressive sole
- enhanced foot protection
- usually have a stiffer midsole
|Good to know: It’s fine to wear your trail shoes on the roads, but only at a minimum distance to avoid knee or foot pain.
2. Your goal: Daily run or Competition
Nike offers running shoes for competition and everyday runs. To help you get the right pair, here's the quick comparison between the two:
- Road running shoes are more responsive, flexible, and more breathable.
- Trail running shoes are more durable, more grippy, and offers added foot protection.
Disclaimer: These are based on how each type of shoe performs in general. This does not apply to a specific model that exists.
3. Shoe Feel
Nike offers a classification of their running shoes based on shoe feel - barefoot, neutral, and stability.
made from low-density midsole foam
minimal foot support
enough cushioning for shock absorption and more comfortable experience
typically flexible and responsive
durable enough for everyday run
most Nike stability shoes are equipped with Dynamic Support technology
softer foam is added on the lateral side for cushioning
firmer foam on the medial side for support
|Ideal for: minimalist runners
Ideal for: runners with neutral pronation
|Ideal for: runners who overpronate or supinate (read this guide to learn more about pronation)
Nike also groups their shoes based on the benefits they offered.
durable and responsive cushioning
designed for races and short-distance runs
they tend to be more snug (aggressive)
lightweight shoes with soft cushioning
outsole have thin cuts or flex grooves for flexibility
promote the natural motion of the foot
cushioned and comfortable feel
excellent impact absorption and flexible toe-off
usually have a wider shape for a more stable ride
average amount of flexibility and responsiveness
comfortable upper design that also keeps the foot secure
well-ventilated upper for a breathable, sweat-free run
See: Nike competition shoes
See: Nike lightweight running shoes
See: Nike cushioned running shoes
See: Nike daily running shoes
Additional features of Nike running shoes
Another factor to consider in choosing the best Nike running shoes is the extra features the shoe offers.
- Water-repellent/Waterproof - Some Nike running shoes are equipped with Nike Shield technology, which offers protection from moist and cold weather without compromising breathability. They also have a few shoes equipped with a GTX membrane that gives the feet waterproof protection. See: Nike water-repellent running shoes
- Reflective - Some Nike running shoes also use Nike's reflective element to give additional visibility on low-light running conditions.
- Slip-on - Without the fuss of laces, slip-on running shoes allow you to simply slide your foot in and out of the shoe in an instant.
Nike Vaporfly Models: Marathon Dominance and Controversy
Nike competition shoes, particularly the Vaporfly models, have shown dominance in major marathons including New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Tokyo Marathon, and Boston Marathon.
In 2018, out of the 12 winners (both men and women categories), 7 were wearing Nike Vaporfly shoes and 10 in 2019.
A study conducted in 2019 found that the new Nike Vaporfly shoes improved an athlete's running economy by 4.2%. This sparked disputes as researchers and runners think that it confers an unfair advantage.
The overall design of the shoe (a combination of the foam layer and carbon-fiber plate) that helps runners run faster ignited a discussion on whether it should be banned or not in competition. But after the World Athletics reviewed all the guidelines, the controversial Nike shoe was given a go for the Tokyo Olympics.