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