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

10 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 new Zoom Air unit in the forefoot makes the shoe snappier than before.
  • A few reviewers remarked that the grip excels, even on wet surfaces.
  • 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.

3 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.

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.


Update: Nike Air Zoom Elite 10
Terrain: Road
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 7.9oz | Women: 6.7oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 8mm | Women: 8mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Strike Pattern: Midfoot strike
Distance: Competition
Heel height: Men: 27mm | Women: 27mm
Forefoot height: Men: 19mm | Women: 19mm
Release date: Jan 2017
Brand: Nike
Type: Low drop
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $120
Colorways: Blue, Green, Grey, Multi, Pink, Red, White
Small True to size Large
See more facts


A top rated Road running shoe
A top rated Nike running shoe
A popular pick
It has never been more popular than this April

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.

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92 / 100 based on 13 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.


    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.


    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. 


    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.



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


    • 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.

  • 87 / 100 | Tomek Szulczyk

    My thoughts on the Nike Air Zoom Elite 9

    More photos

    After running for nearly a year, my overall performance and weekly distance coverage significantly improved. I was learning a lot via online research about different running techniques, training variations and available gear.

    I incorporated in my schedule tempo and hill runs plus interval training to keep things interesting. I figured that a good way to maximize my speed potential would be to get myself a so-called “fast-day shoe”. I love my comfy spongy sneakers, don’t get me wrong, but is it’s always nice to buy new gear.

    After seeing all those hyper-positive reviews of Nike Zoom Elite 9 and hearing how versatile and fast they are and that many top athletes were beating some solid records while racing in them, I knew that it is time to break my piggy bank and spend some money - $180 AUS to be exact.



    Elite 9 comes in several interesting variations. Two colors blending seamlessly with a big Nike mark running through the side. They look like they mean business. If you decide to grab them from the rack, prepare to break some sweat. I did notice on some occasions that people cannot help but look with pure admiration while I am flying past them.

    I would not carry them casually, but I guess fast running units are built for fast running and fast running exclusively. Every aspect of the design is there to make them perform their best. Like a racing car, no place for unnecessary weight. That comes with a certain appearance. You will look like a star on the track, but not so much while doing your weekly grocery shopping.

    With great shoe comes great responsibility. If you choose to slide your foot into AIR ZOOM, you are obligated to run like wind. I am not 100% sold on the visuals yet. I do prefer a more minimalistic approach and those can be described as flashy type. I will learn to love them.


    I went true to size which is US 11. I was guiding myself based on my Adidas size perfect fit, but when we check the European size conversion, there is a slight difference.

    After 100km in them, I didn’t encounter any issues and I am hopeful that nothing will change in that area, it is just bit smaller space between the end of your longest toe and end of the shoe.



    Some blood blister came out, but it could be from overtraining as I run a lot. I would recommend just in case to go a half size up. You have plenty of room in the forefoot and it gets bit snugger while moving towards your heel which combined with FLYWIRE lacing gives a nice solid and comfortable lockdown.

    Super light model, according to my kitchen scale they are close to 250g give or take. They sit nice and firm on your foot while not being too restrictive. I am a huge fan of how that shoe feels on your foot.


    The upper has an interesting construction. On the outside we have a FLYMESH layer with FLYWIRE lacing, then there is that thin tongue which is attached to the sides creating an inner sock-like sleeve which is going all the way down wrapping your foot nicely.

    It is a one-piece build. FLYMESH is very comfortable and breathable but not as stretchy like FLYKNIT for example.



    It is super light and the toe box is nice and wide, great for people with a wider foot like me. Laces are on the thin side, so it may create problems for some. I always double knot before running so It is ok.

    I do have this feeling though that they lose just because they are long and tend to bounce around a bit. So sometimes I will need to stop to check, creates a bit of paranoia.


    It is made of CUSHLON which is an upgraded Phylon foam. The main fact here is, that it is super lightweight. Zoom airbag cushioning system from what I’ve checked allows for extra stability due to the thin build which brings your foot closer to the ground.

    In short, the way it works is that when the foot lands on the ground it compresses to absorb the impact and springs back providing runner a boost of acceleration.



    It is still comfortable but because it is not as cushy as the other shoes I have, it is way more responsive. It seems right as I can feel that during my runs, and usually when wearing those I try to push hard.

    Just the shape of the midsole gives you that feeling of motion. It looks flatter than it is as we still have here an 8mm drop which I think it is bit much for a racing sneaker.


    Majority of the outsole is covered by a thin layer of carbon rubber DURALON with a nice hexagonal pattern. It has a nice grip that allows running great in a vast range of terrains.

    Looks solid and have great traction. I took them for several bush runs where I was jumping on wet rocks, felt good and no damage to the body received. Even though it is slim it is quite durable. After 100km of usage, it is not showing any wear at all.  



    It rides great. If I would give a nice wash to the upper they would look like a brand-new pair. I would not use them on my weekly long runs too often as I still prefer a bit more cushioning like the Nike Epic React which I am using in the rotation now, but it is a definitely a great choice when I want to hit a fast pace or want to do some hills. They hold on to your foot like their life depends on it.


    • Price - for the quality,  the $180 retail is a no brainer (now on sale even for $120).
    • Weight, it is super light.
    • So far so good.
    • Great fit, the way the shoe feels on your foot is priceless.
    • Performance, you will be obligated to break speed records on each run.


    • Look, it is just bit too out there, for my taste.
    • Upper could be bit stretchy.
    • Lower drop for that type of sneaker.


    For the price you are paying, Nike is rewarding you with a versatile shoe filled with great tech, light weight, and speed. They do not disappoint when you want to pick up your pace and they can be trusted on tricky terrains. Good for training, racing, casual runs. The great fit will make your feet feel at home.

    Initially, after purchase, I did not give them enough love as I was hugely attached to my Ultra boosts and Lunar epics, but now as I grew as a runner and some of my shoes retired, I got them in my rotation and our relationship seems to be blossoming. It is interesting, but just recently I took them for some tempo runs and I did achieve an excellent time.

    I ran very successfully a 13km race lately and in the upcoming half marathon I am still undecided which sneakers to go for, but Elite 9 is in the top two contenders. It took me a moment, but like I was saying they are growing on me and I will be using them more and more.

    They are high end running shoes and they do not break your wallet. Comfortable plus something is telling me that they will last long.

    I highly recommend that if you love running, give them a try as they are worth it. They will bring a smile to your face and sweat to your forehead.


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

  • 89 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 5 expert

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

  • 87 / 100 | UltraLeap | Level 1 expert

    Great shoe, definitely!

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  • 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 this lightweight 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.

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.

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.

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. This ride quality is also experienced in the Nike Elite 10 as it features the same Zoom Ait element.

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.


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.