Our verdict

The Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 has become a go-to cross-country shoe for many athletes including us! It is a premium option from Nike in the spikeless category. So, if your XC federation bans the use of spikes, this flat is among the best to consider.


  • Excellent materials
  • Excellent build
  • Lightweight
  • Performs well on softer terrain
  • Responsive forefoot
  • Snappy ride
  • Moisture-wicking


  • Tight midfoot to toebox
  • Requires break-in period
  • Irritates the Achilles

Who should buy the Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5

You are sure to appreciate this cross-country flat from Nike if:

  • you are an advanced XC athlete who needs a high-class cross-country shoe
  • your area prohibits spikes (i.e. California) or you just don't like the feel of spikes underfoot

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 who should buy

Who should NOT buy the flat

If you prefer spikes, we think that you will be better off with the Waffle 5's spiked counterpart - the Nike Zoom Victory XC 5.

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 who should not buy

Beginner cross-country runners will most likely benefit from shoes like the Nike Zoom Rival Waffle 5 or the Nike Air Zoom Streak LT 4. These flats are much easier on the wallet and have more a comfortable in-shoe feel.

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 is the brand's best XC flat

As much as a spikeless cross-country shoe can do on demanding courses, the Victory Waffle 5 does it. It sports identical features to the renowned Zoom Victory XC 5, minus the spikes. From our experience, this shoe is a real gem for regular non-muddy courses.

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 traction

The shoe's all-rubber outsole provides grippy traction on a variety of surfaces. In addition, it features efficient, anti-clogging traction from six rubber spikes.

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 grip

Extremely lightweight

It is easy to forget that you are wearing a pair of shoes with the Zoom Victory Waffle 5. It's got a barely-there feel with 4.6 oz (130 g) per shoe. For reference, the average weight of cross-country shoes is 5 oz (143 g).

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 lightweight

Propulsive ride of the Victory Waffle 5

A thin layer of cushioning placed on the Waffle 5 delivers a lightweight yet responsive ride. And for that extra speed boost, a stiff carbon fiber plate is added to the shoe. We felt like it was really pushing us forward!

Similar technology is used on Nike's top-range marathon shoes which helped to break the world's marathon finish time record.

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 propulsive ride

Snug upper keeps you locked in

Nike put three fused layers on the Victory Waffle 5's to create an extra snug fit and it indeed kept us secure on the move. The arch band wrapped around the midfoot contributes to the support over uneven terrain.

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 midfoot support

We took note of the water-resistant characteristic of the upper which proved to be effective in keeping our feet dry throughout the meet.

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 water resistant

Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to the upper:

  • it can be difficult to put on
  • it tends to rub the heel
  • it runs small: you will most likely need to go a full size up from your regular shoe size to achieve the right fit in the Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5

Nike Zoom Victory Waffle 5 heel collar