The Nike Zoom Streak 4 was released in 2012, and having been designed, developed and tested by world-class marathon runners they promised great things. However, they superseded the immensely popular Streak 3 and on first review, they were criticized: aren’t reincarnations meant to be an improvement on previous versions? The Nike Zoom Streak 4 has all the hallmarks of a great long-distance shoe: light weight, superb ventilation, close-fitting, and a low profile mid-sole. But somehow, they have not reached the glory and almost cult following of the Streak 3.
With a synthetic material outer and a BRS 1000 carbon rubber heel for durability, the Streak 4 has the added advantage of a highly durable, extra-thick but lightweight forefoot Duralon-reinforced rubber. The forefoot rubber is ideally positioned for extra protection at the key impact toe-off area under the metatarsal, whilst offering sound traction for pounding the streets. This winning outsole construction ensures that these shoes are made to last
and will survive marathon after marathon.
Zoom is almost part of our vocabulary, but despite its regularity in run vernacular, the technology is almost taken for granted. A better understanding of Zoom is needed to fully appreciate the benefit gained from its inclusion in the Streak 4. Essentially, it is two layers of nylon joined by compactly pressed fibers that are contained within polyurethane which when inflated create a tension in the fibers that absorb the stress of the wearer and assimilate it elsewhere, allowing the insert to keep shape and buoyancy.
The Streak 4 also has a full length Phylon midsole which feels firm underfoot but surprisingly supportive when running at speed, and when combined with the Nike Zoom unit in the heel, creates a very effective and responsive cushioning effect whilst being lightweight. The cushioning may not appeal to everyone. There has been criticism that the technology provides too soft a run for those that like a firmer and more authentic feel when going the distance.
The Streak 4 has again employed an ultra-lightweight
, breathable one-piece mesh which provides superior ventilation for your feet, a real benefit for long distance runs as your feet are less likely to swell from being contained. The midfoot saddle is seamless and gives an exceptional to ensure comfort under foot. However, there have been disappointing issues with the upper splitting just above the arch of the insole. While this does not seem to affect the fit or performance of the shoe, the fact that it happens a) on both shoes and b) early in the life of the shoe (100 miles) suggests a manufacturing fault at the least.
Size 7.5 U.S ladies shoe weighs in at 7oz or 200g. Non-runners often balk at the idea of the weight of a shoe being of importance, but research by Nike in the 1980s showed that adding 100g to a shoe increased the demand on the runner by 1%. This equates to an extra 0.83 seconds for a mile, per ounce. By making small adjustments such as having the upper as one-piece (therefore reducing the weight of the shoe significantly), the efficiency of the runner is increased.
The importance of a shoe’s breathability cannot be underrated. As the body heats up under the exertion of running, it releases sweat that evaporates to help an optimal temperature to be maintained, whilst layers of clothing can be removed, the feet rely on the design of the footwear to support their thermoregulation. The Streak 4’s single-layer open mesh upper gives maximum ventilation with a superior breathability that Nike
are renowned for.
The all important Zoom technology heel unit offers great cushioning and protection, particularly for the heel strikers amongst us, and the lightweight full-length Phylon foam midsole gives great comfort to the general population. However, the Streak 4 does have some drawbacks for those runners who have not got narrow fee. They can pinch a little on the inner sole due to the midfoot strap with potential for blisters.
The midfoot strap is designed to keep the foot secure by reducing slippage and should (at least for the majority) prevent blisters by providing a glove-like fit. Comfort is further enhanced by the addition on a compression molded EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate) sock liner which conforms to the shape of your foot and promotes motion comfort.
The Nike Zoom Streak 4 come in a variety of colors, but the predominantly available color is the garish luminous yellow/green. If you are wearing these, you will want the extra attention as you come over the finishing line. There have been some wonderful photographs from various marathons of the pro runners wearing this color on the start line: embrace it! The Nike Zoom Streak 4 exudes speed, even the curved shoe shape gives an apparent fluidity that will propel the runner forward. It’s a good-looking shoe that oozes confidence, not in an over the top and artificial way, but in a focused and serious way befitting of the great distance you will cover.
The rearfoot is made of highly durable
BRS 1000 carbon rubber, specifically designed and engineered for use in out-soles, and the forefoot is created from extra thickness, super light Duralon rubber. Any question of the Streak 4’s durability will not be from the outsole: it will not happen. Durability issues concern the split fabric of the upper and although it may not affect either the fit or performance of the shoe, it may affect the confidence of the runner should they be using the split shoes for a timed and important race, rather than for a leisure run.
The features of the outsole and midsole work together to create a well-considered balance of protection that do not compromise the weight of the shoe. The Zoom Air
located in the heel provides a responsive, resilient but most importantly, protective cushioning.
We return to the magic of the Zoom technology. The Air technology is low slung and gives hyper-responsive speed cushioning. Having said that, some reviewers have said that after a few long runs they feel less responsive, but it must be noted that these reviewers were not keen on the shoe as a whole, and complained that it ran too soft. However, reviews are subjective and that must be remembered.
There are several supporting features of the Nike Zoom Streak 4 that benefit the user. The midfoot strap definitely helps to secure the foot and in place, but can have the tendency to nip if your feet are not particularly narrow. The BRS 1000 carbon rubber heel provides an extra level of support for the heel that was missing from the Streak 3, and coupled with the full-length Phylon midsole gives fantastic dynamic support. The cherry on the top is the added forefoot support of the Duralon rubbersole.
These shoes are road shoes, and road shoes alone; there is no chance that these would be suitable for anything else, great for any distance and up tempo training.
The Nike Zoom Streak 4s seem to have held their value considering that they are possibly heading towards being called vintage
, but despite being released in 2012 they are not outdated and the price reflects this.
The outsole of the Streak 4 is well engineered and holds everything in place, and gives a good level of sound traction that one would expect from a shoe that had such input from elite and pro marathon runners in its development.
The Nike Zoom Streak 4 benefits from the Nike Flex Grooves which are intended to make the ride more natural
with an increased efficiency range of motion but this maybe why some users prefer the Streak 3 as it gives a firmer run. It is wholly dependent on your personal preference, the flexibility can make you feel like you have a little less control, and these are fast shoes. You don’t want to feel out of control completely!
The Nike Zoom Streak 4 offers a fully supported ride without stability being a concern. The glove-like fit of the shoe offers stability whilst not reducing responsiveness. The flexibility of the shoe may give the runner the feeling that stability is lacking but after a few miles the shoe will give you the confidence to know that you are supported.
The height of the heel is 29mm and the toe 18mm. That’s a drop of 11mm, which seems like a high stack for a racing flat but do not let that deter you. It all works. The idea of a large stack height plus fatigue equals a chance of a rolled ankle does not add up in this instance.
• Lightweight mesh with seamless midfoot saddle gives an exceptional fit and heightened performance
• Superior breathability
• Full-length Phylon foam midsole gives plush and resilient cushioning
• Duralon blown rubber is found under the metatarsal area for extra cushioning
The Elite and professional runners are perhaps any brands best advertisement, and it is no happy coincidence that the Nike Zoom Streak 4 has been spotted coming over the finishing line on the leaders of high profile marathons beyond the release of later versions from Nike. While not as popular as its predecessor, the Streak 4 is perfect for speedwork and as a Sunday-best road racing shoe and is a great choice for if you do not want to go straight into race flats. It’s a good compromise shoe and certain to help you get beyond your previous personal best times, or to be used as an entry level marathon shoe
. Its release way back in 2012 means that the Streak 4 is hard to get hold of following the release of 5 & 6, but this equally means that a real bargain can be found.