10 Best Nike ZoomX Running Shoes in 2021

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
10 Best Nike ZoomX Running Shoes in 2021

Nike has nothing to prove. It’s already one of the strongest brands in the running scene. But as it enters the world of super foams, it’s made itself even stronger. 

The Nike ZoomX foam is the brand’s cutting-edge tech. It’s Nike’s lightest, bounciest, softest cushioning to date, and runners swear by it. 

Having tested all versions of the ZoomX shoes, we are here to help you trim down your choices by selecting the best of the best from various categories.

How we test Nike ZoomX running shoes 

We don’t just cherry-pick the shoes we put on this list. To really give you the best, we test them out ourselves and put them through the wringer. How? 

  • We purchase all the shoes we review with our own money to avoid bias. 
  • To make sure we’ve done sufficient testing, we log 30-50 miles in each shoe. 
  • Through our own RunRepeat testing lab, we do a series of tests (e.g. flexibility, durability, breathability tests, etc.)
  • To help you save time, we also gather thousands of user and expert feedback on each model. 

And, give a verdict via CoreScore to rank each shoe from 0-100. 

Best overall

The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is the epitome of fun. It’s got so much spring underfoot, it felt like we were bouncing through the streets! 

And the star, of course, is the ZoomX foam. It’s got a ton of spring. And what’s surprising is that despite its pep, it’s very cushy and soft, it’s like pillows to the feet. Contrary to the average foams (in our lab tests), it’s 47% softer.

How did this translate on the run? After long miles on the road, our feet and legs felt like they could have another stretch. This shoe - with its extremely plush cushioning - made us want to run further. 

At 9.65 oz, it’s a wee bit heavier than the average 9.4 oz. But because of its insanely lively ride, the shoe almost feels like air. 

It’s not news - Nike shoes are narrow. But the Invincible veers away from that. We have wide feet, but this shoe stretches and wraps around the contours of the feet so well, it almost felt like second skin. No slips at all. 

If you want to have all the comfort you could get, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is a no-brainer.

See our full review and facts

Best for race

Want to set a sub 2-hour marathon record? Get the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2. Like the first version, it made us zoom through the blocks with no sweat! 

The first version of the Vaporfly was among the best racers we’ve ever tested. And the second version only takes everything up a notch. 

Combining a carbon-fiber plate and Nike’s premier ZoomX foam, this speed devil has got what it takes to pace you. Even better, it’s made to beat the competition! 

Everything about it screams fast. It kept us up on our toes, and it pushed us forward. Not to mention, the exceptionally responsive cushion. And true to its name, it sent us flying to our next PB! 

At 6.9 oz, it’s among the lightest racing flats in the running scene. Despite its copious amount of stack, it’s as light as a feather. From mile 1 to the last, all we felt was the propulsive ride, and none of that weight. 

Overall, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is here to shake the running world again. And if you want to set or break records, this is THE shoe.

See our full review and facts

Best for PB

Like the Vaporfly, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is here to make runners outrun the competition! 

It may be the max sibling of the Vaporfly, but it sure didn’t drag our feet down. On the contrary, it made us run as fast as lightning. If there’s one thing about it that we just couldn’t wrap our head around, it’s the cushioning. 

It’s cloud-like soft, but it remained bouncy even after long hours on the road. The Zoom Air pods and plate work together like magic, the shoe made us feel like we were blazing through our test runs! 

Want to set new records? It’s an easy feat for the Alphafly. It even helped the renowned marathoner - Eliud Kipchoge - break his world record! 

Even more, at 8 oz, it’s one heck of a featherlight shoe. Compared to the average, it’s 16% lighter. And it sure felt like it on the run. Not once did the shoe weigh us down. If anything, it almost felt weightless. 

The Nike Air Zoom AlphaFly Next% is a speed monster that’s ready to eat the competition. And if you want to run fast, this shoe can do the job.

See our full review and facts

Best tempo shoe

True to how it’s billed, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% is just as fast as its bigger siblings - the Alphafly and Vaporfly. Not only that but it’s the kind of tempo shoe that’s designed to swallow miles on the pavement. 

There’s a lot to like about this shoe, but what stood out to us the most is its incredible blend of comfort and speed. 

Typically, fast shoes lean toward the “uncomfortable” side because of their rigidity, but not the Tempo Next%. From the bottom up, it’s got loads of cushion to keep the feet cozy. After clocking up tens of miles on the road, our feet and legs did NOT feel beat-up at all. 

And there’s no need to break it in. From the moment you put it on down to the run, this shoe adapts to your feet. 

If it’s an airy upper that you want, it can’t get more breathable than this! Under hot temps, this shoe breathes superbly well, we had ZERO concerns for sweaty feet. 

It comes at an expensive price, but it’s one that’s justified. Apart from the record-breaking ZoomX foam and other speed-oriented features you get, the Nike Tempo is also built to last. 

100 miles later, the midsole is just as bouncy, and the outsole practically free from scratch. And among all the Next% shoes we’ve tried, this is by far, the most durable of the bunch.

See our full review and facts

Best for short distance

Although it shines in low-mileage efforts, don’t be deceived, the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 is just as good in marathons. 

When it came to our short-distance test runs, the Pegasus Turbo gave us all the responsiveness and lightness we could ask for. And when it came to marathon distances, it provided ample protection and bounce. 

And the champ behind all of this, of course, is the ZoomX foam. It’s not only mighty cushy, it’s also very springy. And what’s great about it is it’s not heavy at all! At 7.2 oz, this trainer is WAY lighter than the average (9.4 oz).

If you’re thinking this makes the ride unstable, it does NOT. Even on sharp turns, we were as surefooted as ever. 

Just when we thought things couldn’t get better, the upper made us change our minds. Apart from being extremely light, it’s also the superlative of comfort. It’s soft and it’s breathable. Even more, it does a darn good job at locking the feet in place. 

Overall, the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 blew our minds! By looking at it, the changes don’t seem promising.  But when we put it on, it was a whole different story. It’s more stable and responsive, we wanted to run in it all day!

See our full review and facts

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Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.