Facts

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  • Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
    $120
  • Weight
    Men: 7.9oz
    Women: 6.7oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 8mm
    Women: 8mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Heel height
    Men: 27mm
    Women: 27mm
  • Forefoot height
    Men: 19mm
    Women: 19mm
  • Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Jan 2017
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Summary

We spent 8.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

11 reasons to buy

  • Several Nike Elite fans loved the exceptional comfort provided by the 9th version of this shoe.
  • It is very light and significantly lighter than the earlier version.
  • The price is considered by some as very reasonable.
  • A handful of runners noted that the cushioning is clearly softer and more forgiving than past iterations of this shoe.
  • It has a responsive ride, based on the comments of some reviewers.
  • The Flymesh upper breathes well and hugs the foot in comfort and security.
  • The new Zoom Air unit in the forefoot makes the shoe snappier than before.
  • A few reviewers remarked that the grip excels, even on wet areas.
  • The Zoom Elite 9 is versatile where distance and speed are concerned.
  • As noticed by a moderate number of runners, it is strong enough for almost any mileage and fast enough for short and quick runs.
  • Many runners were impressed by the smoothness of the ride of this shoe.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Heel strikers do not get to enjoy the responsive Zoom Air technology in the forefoot.
  • A few runners were frustrated by the shallow toe box.
  • The Nike Elite 9 lacks reflective details.
  • Several runners had to go up in size to get the best fit.

Bottom line

Most runners consider the Air Zoom Elite 9 as either a Pegasus 33 on a diet or a brawny Nike Streak 6 in Nike’s line up. The shoe shines when used for up-tempo runs and distances ranging from 5Ks to full marathons. It has a snappy ride, good arch support, and effortless transitions. Overall, the Elite 9 should be a more than expected sight on the road this year.

Rankings

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

92 / 100 based on 10 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 | Kory Mueller

    Nike Air Zoom Elite 9: The King of Kings

    When shopping for the Nike Air Zoom Elite 9, my goal was to find something with a wide range.

    I was looking for a shoe to run on roads for a long slow day or bring to the track and throw down 400s with the middle school cross country team. This shoe has an ability to hit the trails for 10+ miles after cross country practice.

    It was helpful to not have to carry two different shoes with me on a daily basis.

    What I learned was this shoe was more versatile than I could have ever imagined. After wearing these for most of a trail marathon training cycle, I decided to forego lacing up my trail shoes and chose Zoom Elite 9's on race day.

    I found these shoes matched my neutral stride and mid-foot strike quite well. What first had me interested in the Zoom Elite's were the complete rubber out-sole and the light weight.

    Outsole

    The outsole of the Zoom Elite 9 includes rubber from heel to toe.

    As I was planning to have this shoe double as my daily trainer and trail runner this was a must.

     

     

    I found the rubber grippy in all road conditions (wet, rainy, and even a little snow).

    They also provided plenty of bite on single track dirt and gravel trails, however, I would not recommend them for a muddy trail or one that includes many slick/wet/mossy rocks.

    I have put about 350 miles on this pair with wear showing on the toe and heel at about mile 250.

    Upper

    The upper includes both flymesh and flywire setup.

    I found this setup both forgiving and durable as I blow through the uppers of many shoes within a couple hundred miles. The Zoom Elite 9s are still without holes or rips at 350+ miles.

     

     

    The upper is also stable. I am able to lock down my foot and get a comfortable fit, good for 2-3 hours on the trails without adjustment.

    I have noticed two areas of concern. One, the laces need to be knotted tightly or even double knots do not hold.

    Two, I found the angle of the heel counter a bit steep and I would have to make sure to not tighten the top lace too tight or I would feel added stress to my Achilles. 

    Midsole

    This shoe is responsive and you get good ground feel.

    The Zoom Elite 9's do not provide a whole lot in the way of plush cushioning. However, I did feel it was enough for 20+ mile road and trail runs.

     

    Pros

    • Mesh upper with flywire
    • Rubber outsole with tons of grip
    • Versatility in many distances and workouts
    • Lightweight

    Cons

    • Shallow toe box (plenty of width for me but not much height)
    • Laces 
    • Steep heel counter

    Final Thoughts

    The Nike Zoom Elite 9 is a workhorse. I have done it all in these shoes from track workouts to a trail marathon. They are durable, they are responsive. 

    Are you looking for a shoe for your speed work days and use it again for a long slow run? If the answer is yes, put the Nike Zoom Elite 9's on the top of your list. 

    At first, it feels as though there is a slight bump under the ball of the foot, this sensation relaxes after a couple of runs. I would say this is due to the Zoom Air pocket found in the forefoot of the Zoom Elite 9's.

    Is this the shoe for your next 100-mile ultra? Probably not.

    Does it have the responsiveness of a daily trainer from intervals to long slow runs? Absolutely. 

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 89 / 100 | Believe in the Run

    I highly recommend the Nike Elite 9. Great performance shoe.

  • 87 / 100 | UltraLeap

    Great shoe, definitely!

  • 95 / 100 | Road Trail Run

    The Nike Zoom Elite 9 is a gunslinger of a swiss army knife. At this point if I could only have one shoe for all workouts, it would be the Zoom Elite 9. It’s light and flexible. It’s cushioned enough for a long run, and it loves to go fast. It’s been a delight on tempo workouts, hills and long runs. I’m very tempted to run my next marathon in them. I think they’ll be a good marathon shoe for a lot of people.

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Updates to Nike Air Zoom Elite 9

  • The midsole of the Nike Air Zoom Elite 9 was updated. It now used the Cushlon LT midsole that is designed for a lightweight cushioning. The Cushlon was extended in the entire midsole for a more resilient ride.
  • The 9th version of the Air Zoom Elite still features the Duralon rubber compound, but in this version, the rubber compound was extended in the entire outsole for durability and added underfoot protection.
  • The upper of the shoe was also updated to deliver a more breathable, and comfortable fit. It still uses the Flymesh material, but added to it is the Notched Inner Sleeve that offers an enhanced comfort and a snug fit.

Nike Air Zoom Elite 9 size and fit

The Nike Air Zoom Elite 9 offers an improved fit because of the modification in the upper and the addition of an inner mesh sleeve. The heel and midfoot areas of the shoe accommodate runners with narrow to medium foot measurement. The forefoot is a bit narrow and not ideal for runners with wider feet. The shoe is available in standard D and B widths for men’s and women’s versions.


Outsole

The Duralon rubber compound is extended in the entire outsole of the Nike Air Zoom Elite 9. It gives durability to high-wear areas and added underfoot protection for an improved running experience.

The waffle-pattern outsole is specifically designed to provide a reliable multi-surface traction and added cushioning.


Midsole

The midsole of the Air Zoom Elite 9 utilizes the full-length Cushlon LT midsole foam that delivers reliable cushioning for a more resilient ride. The Zoom Air placed in the forefoot also gives added flexibility for a more responsive ride.


Upper

With the single-layer Flymesh upper, the Nike Air Zoom Elite 9 offers a great combination of seamless support and breathability. The Flymesh material was modified to reduce weight while improving the overall fit and feel. The inner mesh sleeve in the forefoot and midfoot wraps the foot for an unmatched fit and comfort.

The Dynamic Flywire technology joined with the laces delivers an enhanced midfoot lockdown and it generally improves fit without adding weight.

The shoe comes with an asymmetrical lacing that wraps the foot comfortably while the heel counter holds the heel securely for an enhanced running experience.

Lastly, the EVA sockliner follows the natural curvature of the arch and heel to give added comfort and support.