10 Best Nike Running Shoes for Roads & Trails


There are many good Nike shoes on the market. but which ones are better? Checkout the top 10 best Nike shoes in 2018 here!

Nike, and its recognizable swoosh, has come to represent a wholly reliable product for many serious runners, casual athletes, and recreational wearers. Nike offers a wide selection of shoes for all sorts of athletic uses, and with such a huge availability and variety it can be difficult to narrow it down to a shoe that fits your exact needs. So we put together a list of the best trail and road running shoes for the outdoors. These shoes will help with the problems that can accompany runners who spend a lot of their time with nature, minimizing risk of injury from things like poor trail conditions or unpredictable terrain.

When you see someone at the gym or even walking around the mall in Nike’s (because they’re great to wear all day long), you see someone who could be an occasional runner, an athlete looking to train, or a truly professional long distance runner. They appeal to everyone, and this is for two reasons: they’re fun, and more importantly, they’re seriously well-made.

Known for bringing together pleasing design and noteworthy craftsmanship, Nike is a brand recognized on site. From their more modern colorful forms to their classic black and white minimalism, every Nike shoe comes with a promise of dependable running technology that has become so synonymous with the brand itself. The shoes we’ve included on this list carry that same promise, a promise of versatility and reliability, and can easily meet all of your trail and road running needs.

Last Updated: February 15, 2018
By Brian Price:

During our most recent update to this page, we added a few replacements to Nike's road shoes. Also check out the additional information we've added to help you with your search.

The Road

Nike LunarTempo
  • Nike LunarTempo
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • BRS 1000 carbon rubber
  • Price: See Here
Nike Air Zoom Elite 8
  • Nike Air Zoom Elite 8
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Rubber crash rail
  • Price: See Here
Nike LunarEpic Flyknit
  • Nike LunarEpic Flyknit
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lunarlon pods
  • Price: See Here

The Trail

Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3
  • Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • High-abrasion TPU bars
  • Price: See Here
Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 3
  • Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 3
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Rock plate
  • Price: See Here
Nike Wild Trail
  • Nike Wild Trail
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ghillie lacing system
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Nike Running Shoes


1. LunarTempo

These LunarTempo is really a step up, as every aspect of them has been carefully thought through and designed according to function. The design is based on the beloved fit of the Nike LunaRacer, but it’s also an improvement with Lunarlon cushioning, finely engineered mesh, and Flywire cable support for flexibility and breathability as well as midfoot lockdown.
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Comfort / Stability
The Lunarlon foam in the sole not only provides great comfort and excellent responsiveness, but also allows them to be much lighter than most other cushioned running shoes currently out there. General customer reviews suggest that the shoes are a bit stif at first, but tend to break in rather well. Aiding in the lightweight build, the upper is almost entirely constructed of a mesh material, which also keeps the shoe breathable. This also helps with comfort during use. The LunarTempo offers pretty good traction and stability. They are flexible, but have just enough stiffness to help keep you stable.

Quality / Durability
The thin rubber on the sole helps with durability, while providing a little extra grip. The fabric used in the upper seems to be of decent quality and holds up fairly well under continuous use. It comes complete with waffle pistons that help absorb impact when your feet hit the ground. The outsole is made with BRS 1000 carbon rubber and is placed in high-wear zones to provide great durability and traction.
It has a 8mm heel-to-toe drop. These are lightweight running shoe and do not contain heavy duty materials, however they have been put together pretty well.

These are a bit more expensive than what you may expect. However, they come from a brand with a great reputation. I doubt that you will be disappointed.
  • Lunarlon foam provides a mega-soft, super responsive cushion
  • Very breathable upper mesh that allows your feet to breathe
  • Flywire technology wraps the midfoot and arch
  • Waffle pistons absorb impact
  • BRS 1000 carbon rubber in high-wear zones provide great durability and traction
  • 8mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Runs small, order a 1/2 size up for best fit
  • A bit stiff (Though great on heel support)
  • Runs narrow in the toe box

2. Air Zoom Elite 8

A lightweight running shoe that made our top 10 list due to its responsive cushioning, and supportive tight fit.
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Comfort / Stability
The Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 provides a great amount of responsive cushioning during your run. Its flymesh upper provides ventilation which allows your feet to breathe easily. The Flywire cables allow for a supportive tight fit. It's a fairly lightweight shoe with the men's size 10 weighing in at 10 oz. It has a heel counter that helps support your heel while you run. It's made with a Phylon midsole which provides cushioning.

Durability / Quality
This is a durable and quality made running shoe. It has a rubber crash rail on the outsides of the outsole which allows for great transitions.The outsole has a hexagonal pattern that helps provide excellent traction.

Cost or value
The Nike brand in particular can be pricey, but you are paying for the brand name and the quality that comes with that. It's pretty fair to say you won't be disappointed.

Highly responsive cushioning

Supportive fit

Excellent traction

Good ventilation allows your feet to breathe easily

Great  grip on a variety of surfaces

Heel counter comfort your foot

Rubber crash rail assists in transitions


Toe box is narrow

Shoes run small, order a half size up

3. LunarEpic Flyknit

A running shoe that blends into your leg with a high collar, is super soft, and provides support where you need it most.
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Comfort / Stability
Most runners appreciated the super soft comfort that accompanies the LunarEpic Flyknit, however some did not that it bothered their heel and/or achilles area. The high collar blending into your leg is definitely a preference that some enjoy more than others. It is well ventilated allowing your feet to breathe easily. It's targeted cushioning areas provide extra comfort as you run. It has Lunarlon pods that help absorb impact when your feet hit the ground. The flywire laces add support and stability. It has an extra overlay on the heel portion of the shoe to provide more support. It is recommended that you do wear socks with these.

Durability / Quality
Most runners agree that this shoe is quite durable and made with quality materials. It has a fused foam midsole to ensure longevity. It's laser cut outsole provides excellent traction on different types of terrain.

Cost or Value
Nike shoes in general can be quite pricey, but the name alone tells you it's made with durable quality materials that will be worth it.

Provides good ventilation allowing your feet to breathe

Effortless heel-to-toe strike

Targeted cushioning gives it a super soft feeling

Lunarlon pods help absorb impact

Flywire provides superb support

Added overlay heel support

Excellent traction on multiple surfaces

Extends up over the ankle


Some users had issues with the shoe rubbing against their achilles.

Shoes may run small

4. Flyknit Lunaracer

The Lunaracer is well-cushioned yet lightweight, making it the perfect shoe for trainers and long distance runners all the way up to a marathon.
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Comfort / Stability
With the cushioning of a trainer wrapped up and packaged closely as a lightweight racing flat, these give you that happy spot in the middle making them fairly versatile shoes. For the most part these rate pretty well as far as comfort, support and stability goes. It provides good traction on flat, road surfaces, but does not handle well in other conditions.

Quality / Durability
They seem to hold up well. The overall durability of a shoe really depends on the type of activities that they are worn for against what they are intended for. In all, the LunarRacer appears to be a well built running shoe, made of quality materials.

These are more on the higher priced side of Nike’s product line. That may affect the decent quality found with this model.
  • Lunarlon cushioning
  • Waffle pistons for cushion and kick-offs
  • Available in many bright colors
  • Very lightweight 
  • Flywire upper mesh provides good breathability
  • Lunarlon foam adds comfort
  • Insole too thin for some
  • Somewhat costly

5. Air Zoom Structure 19

The Air Zooms are versatile and can be used for short and long distances easily. They’re massively stable, cushioned, and breathable.
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Comfort / Stability
The Air Zooms offer excellent comfort while running, walking or any other sports activity that you may be into. Containing dual-density foam in the midsole and Nike’s Zoom unit decoupled crash pad in the forefoot provide the wearer with a smooth, supportive ride. Some of the runners suggest that these are ideal shoes for those who have flat feet. Its upper mesh materials allow your feet to breathe easily. It has a triple-density Dynamic Support System that provides support like no other. Additionally, its heel counter adds support to your run. It has a nice supportive glove-like fit.

Quality / Durability
The rubber sole offers a bit more durability as well as grip to the shoe. These really do not seem to have many issues regarding the overall quality. It provides good traction on a variety of terrains, and its deep flex grooves increase grip while you run.

These are priced significantly higher. However, they can be found on Amazon for a pretty fair price, and are well worth your money.

Flymesh upper allows feet to breathe easily

Increased stability thanks to triple-density Dynamic Support System

Cushioning for responsive toe-to-heel movement

Heel counter adds support

Supportive glove-like fit

Provides good traction on a variety of terrains

Crash rail allows for smooth transitions

Deep flex grooves increase grip

  • May be narrow in the midfoot
  • Sizes may run large

6. Zoom Fly

The Nike Zoom Fly is based on Nike's Breaking2 project, Nike's attempt to break the 2-hour marathon record. They consulted numerous world champion runners, engineers, coaches, and biomechanics experts as part of the project. These shoes were one of the developments to come out of Breaking2's research.
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Comfort / Stability
This shoe uses nice foam cushioning for the sole that uses new materials to remain nice and light. It has a carbon infused nylon plate that offers a nice snap when you run. The sole is a foam-based rubber material for a smooth stride. The upper is highly ventilated and secures your foot very well. The whole shoe is designed to be responsive as you run.

Like almost all Nike running shoes, it runs small. It also tends to be quite narrow. The break-in process can be quite painful, though after you get them broken in you'll probably notice a substantial improvement.

Durability / Quality
This is a shoe designed for marathons. The soles are much more durable than you'd expect for their feel. They won't last you forever, but they have a good lifespan that will get marathon runners through several races.

Cost or Value
It’s cheapest of the shoes that came out of the Breakign2 project, which you’ll notice if you try them all out. The primary difference is in the materials. They’re not cheap, but also not the most expensive high performance running shoes on the market. This is a good option for a runner who wants a nice balance between budget and performance optimization.

• Optimized for high performance running
• Smooth stride
• Durable enough for use in multiple marathons


• Runs small and narrow
• Breaking them in can be painful

7. Air Zoom Pegasus 34

The Air Zoom Pegasus 34 is part of a long running series of Nike shoes. The AZP serie is a solid example of what Nike has to offer for trail and distance running.
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Comfort / Stability
The Air Zoom Pegasus 34 is designed with a Nike engineered mesh to make it both lightweight and to give it a sure fit. The AZP 34 also contains pocketed air sections on the toe and heal for more comfortable and impact sensitive cushioning. Some runners have seen some issues with the narrowness of the Pegasus 34, as well as some issues with the lace length and maintaining a tight tie during use.

Durability / Quality
Many runners have praised the Air Zoom Pegasus 34 for having a remarkable durability in terms of extensive use. The AZP 34 was designed for long distance endurance and that is exactly what the shoe design is great for. It should be noted, however, that the Air Zoom Pegasus 34 has been said to have signs of increased wear when used for other athletic activities.

Cost or value
The affordability of the Air Zoom Pegasus is really what earns it a place on this list. These shoes are a quality Nike product for a more modest cost, providing reliability within a lower price range.

Mesh integrated into the design to make it lightweight

Padded for maximum comfort

Durable design made to last for long distance running



Some lacing issues

Some runners thought the shoe was too narrow compared to previous models 

8. Free 5.0

The Free 5.0 makes the best of Nike list for quite a few reasons. It’s especially unique in that Nike used it to introduce many beloved new features like the Dynamic Fit System and a shoe designed for a more natural running experience.
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Comfort / Stability
Although they look a lot lighter than what they are, they still aren’t heavy shoes. Nike returned the padded tongue in the Free 5.0, which, for some, is big for comfort. Although they are stable and fairly comfortable, according to many customer reviews, they may not be so great for long distance running. These are probably not ideal for those with flat or wide feet.

Quality / Durability
The quality of this shoe is okay, but not as good as the more expensive models. There seems to be something to that. Some customer reviews say they aren’t very durable when used for continuous running or high tempo activities, but seem to work pretty well with jogging and casual wear.

You can find some very different price tags on these, all depending on where you are shopping. However, they tend to fall into that lower cost shoe category.

Dynamic Fit System provides a secure, responsive while retaining comfort

Very flexible for a barefoot-like run

Beveled heel for more natural-feeling run

Hexagonal flex grooves provide great traction

Comes in a huge variety of stylish colors

  • Doesn't offer much arch support for those who need it
  • Sizes run small

9. Lunarglide 7

A lightweight running shoe that offers a lot of stability and support, is ventilated, and provides a good amount of traction while you run.
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Comfort / Stability
The overall comfort of this shoe seems to be satisfying to most runners. There are mixed reviews about the arch support with some runners saying it works wonderful and others stating it hurts. The Lunarlon midsole foam helps absorb shock while you run. It is well ventilated and will allow your feet to breathe easily. Its Dynamic Support platform provides stability. It has flex grooves that provide flexibility and allow for a more natural run. Additionally, the flywire cables provide good support.

Durability / Quality
There were no reports of wear and tear on the Lunarglide 7. This shoe is made of quality and will last you a long time.

Cost or value
The Nike brand can be a bit on the pricey end, but the end result is worth it.

Well ventilated and allows your feet to breathe easily

Dynamic Support platform provides stability

Inner sleeve and sockliner provide comfort

Lunarlon midsole foam helps absorb shock

Pressure-mapped outsole provides great traction

Flex grooves provide flexibility

Flywire cables provide good support


May be a little snug on the heel

Sizes run small

10. Air Max 90

The Nike Air Max 90 shoes are stylish and practical running shoes that are great for any runner who wants to run comfortably and look good doing it.
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Comfort / Stability
These shoes are incredibly comfortable. They have a breathable mesh upper with synthetic leather overlays that help provide support. There is injected foam cushioning in the midsole to provide more comfort and impact cushioning. This shoe is based on the 1987 Air Max shoe and shares its visible Air Cushion heel which offers a great lightweight cushion for runners.

As with almost all Nike running shoes, the Air Max 90 runs small. If you have a wider foot, these are not the best choice of Nike running shoe.

Durability / Quality
These shoes will last awhile, though they do have pretty soft soles. If you expect to be running in an area with lots of rough ground or rocks, you'll start to notice issues with the wear and tear on them. If you’re running on pavement or a track, however, these shoes will hold up for a reasonable amount of time.

Cost or Value
These cost about as much as most Nike running shoes. Their style is particularly appealing, however, and they look really great for such a lightweight shoe.

• Great look and classic Nike style
• Very comfortable for running and walking



• Run small
• Soft sole will wear quickly on rougher ground

For The Trails

What brings customers back every time, though, are features that all of these models share: they’re flexible and responsive, allowing for a natural running experience. They’re comfortable and offer support whether it’s from a large heel for heel-strikers or cushioning technology that gives you a great push-off. All of these models, of course, come with breathable mesh so you can avoid hot feet.

1. Zoom Terra Kiger 4

The Zoom Terra Kiger 4 does what it does very well. The ZTK4 is not optimized for road running but is perfectly designed for tackling even the toughest of trails.
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Comfort / Stability
The ZTK4 has very firm rubber treads, which helps with stability on uneven terrain. However, this inflexibility does effect the shoes wearability. The shoes are comfortably padded to compensate, and have air pockets placed in the construction of the toe and heel. These air pockets also provide stability when dealing with rocks or other obstacles you might run into (or step on) while trail running.

Durability / Quality
The Zoom Terra Kiger 4 has been tested by the runners in all sorts of trail environments and performed more than admirably. From cold, to wet, to steep and mountainous terrain this shoe can handle whatever you can throw at it.

Cost or value
The Zoom Terra Kiger 4 are a mid to high priced running shoe, but with the quality of the trail shoe you will receive makes it worth it.

Firm treads provide remarkable traction 

Endures a large variety of environments

Well cushioned 

Zoom air pockets prevent issues with debris, discomfort, and additional wear on the shoe



Sizing issues

Fit may become loose overtime

2. Air Zoom Wildhorse 3

One look at these shoes and you can see they are itching to tear up some rocky trail, give them their wish and take them for a spin! Sturdy, strong, durable and light, the Wildhorse 3’s will back you up every step of the way.
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Comfort / Stability
There are no complaints of comfort with the Air Zoom Wildhorse 3, you can rest assured that your feet will enjoy your run. It has Dynamic Fit technology that provides great support. It is well ventilated and allows your feet to breathe easily. The Phylon midsole provides added support to the heel, although some runners did feel some discomfort in the heel area.

Durability / Quality
This is a quality and durable trail running shoe that will last a good amount of time. You can expect to get about 300-500 miles out of it. It has a waffle outsole that provides great traction, and lugs on the outsole that also provide a great grip.

The protection of the Air Zoom Wildhorse 3 is really amazing. It has a rock plate that helps protect you from debris, high-abrasion TPU bars that protect your feet from debris, and its sticky rubber forefoot is great on wet surfaces.

Cost or value
These trail running shoes are a bit on the pricey end, but will be well worth every penny.

Dynamic Fit technology provides great support

Rock plate helps protect you from debris

Sticky rubber forefoot is great on wet surfaces

Well ventilated and allows your feet to breathe easily

Phylon midsole provides added support to the heel

Waffle outsole provides great traction

Lugs on the outsole provide great grip 

High-abrasion TPU bars protect your feet from debris

Wider forefoot allows for more comfort


Some feel that the heel fit is off

Sizes may run narrow

3. Dual Fusion Trail

The original Dual Fusion, this shoe has gained a lot of fans over time and you can see why. Halfway between minimalist and maximalist. Not heavy duty, but not flimsy these are a great hybrid pair of running shoes that you can feel confident taking to the state park as well as the gym.
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Comfort / Stability
The Dual Fusion trail is a comfortable trail running shoe that has upper mesh materials that allow your feet to breathe easily. The dual-density Phylon foam provides cushioning. Its flywire cables provide support while you run. It has flex grooves that allow for flexibility and let shoe move with your feet as you run.

Durability / Quality
This is a durable running shoe made with quality materials. It will last you a long time. It has a pressure-mapped outsole that helps to absorb shock when your feet hit the ground. It has angled edges and spaces between each lug that make it easy to shed mud and run on different types of terrain.

It has a partially leather upper for to help fight against water resistance. It also comes complete with a reinforced toe and heel.

Cost or value
Trail running shoes cost a bit more than average running shoes because of the extra protection they provide, but they are well worth every penny.

Partially leather upper for water resistance

Versatile usability

Many color options

Dual-density Phylon foam provides cushioning

Flywire cables provide support

Pressure-mapped outsole absorbs shock

Flex grooves allow for flexibility


The width may run a little narrow

Sizes may run small


4. Nike Wild Trail Cool

While not the top of the line, the Wild Trail’s are a solid shoe for the casual trail runner. Here you won’t find fancy technology, pink outsoles or gel contouring, but what you will find is a great shoe that will take care of your feet. It comes with what you’d expect from essentially any pair of Nike kicks: Good design, relatively light, well cushioned, breathable, durable and with just a touch of pizzazz.
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Comfort / Stability
This is a comfortable and stable pair of running trail shoes. It has dual density Phylon that gives the shoe more cushion and provides comfort. It breathes well and keeps the sweat away. The tongue and collar are padded for comfort as well.

Durability / Quality
The overall durability and quality of this running trail shoe is great with only a few minor complaints of the upper wearing. It has flex grooves and gripping lugs that provide great traction.

The upper consists of a Ghillie lacing system which helps to keep debris away. The toe and heel are reinforced for added protection.

Cost or value
This trail running shoe is actually quite average if not affordable.

Reasonably priced

Well ventilated with mesh sections of the upper

Highly versatile

Dual density Phylon provides comfortable

Outsole durability is strong

Reinforced heel & toe

Ghillie lacing system keeps debris away

Heel pull loop allows you to put your shoes on easily


Some runners had minor durability issues in the upper

Sizes may run small

The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of the Best Nike Shoes For Roads & Trails:

There is specific criteria we used to measure the performance and quality of Nike running shoes. These metrics were used to create this top ten list. Below we explain the metrics used:


How much do these shoes breathe?

Breathability is a very important quality to look for in a running shoes, as it keeps your feet ventilated, cool, helps wick moisture away, and prevent skin ailments (like blisters and hot spots). Breathable shoes are usually made of lightweight mesh or other synthetic fabrics that allow for air flow.

How do these shoes protect the feet?

Although you may not realize it at first, you need to make sure your feet are protected from the elements and debris while out on a run. Protection from impact and potential injury is also important. Different materials, levels of cushioning, and shoe frameworks supply varying amounts of protection. To choose the proper amount of protection, you have to consider the terrain on which you will be running as well your running form.

Do they provide enough flexibility?

A shoe that moves with your foot as your run allows you to run more naturally. Flexibility also contributes to increased comfort. Some materials are more flexible than others and this was taken into consideration when building this list.


What type of traction do these shoes offer?

The amount of traction you need from your running shoes is determined by the terrain on which you run, and the environmental conditions in which you run. Trails and slippery conditions require greater traction and grip than do paved surfaces, like roads.




Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Nike Shoes For Roads and/or Trails:

It’s important to know what type of shoes you need in order to make the best possible decision for your feet. What type of terrain will you be running on? What kind of feet do you have? Are they flat, wide, with a high arch? What type of cushioning is best for you?

Road Running Shoes

These are made to run on pavement. They are typically lightweight and flexible.  Most provide cushion and/or absorb shock when your feet hit the ground.

Trail Running Shoes

Hitting the trails? Trail shoes are made for trails, and rocky terrains with mud or water. They typically provide an amazing tread for great traction, along with underfoot protection and/or reinforcements.


Tips on Finding the Right Running Shoes:

Below we have listed some additional features to keep in mind when finding the right running shoes for your training needs.


Shoe brands, just like with clothing brands, have their own unique fit. Be sure to try on any pair of shoes in which you are interested to make sure you purchase the correct size.

When to Try Them On

Try on a potential new pair of shoes when your feet are a little swollen. This is usually in the middle of the day or at night. You need to make sure your shoes fit comfortable when your feet are at their most tired.


Toe Box

Although you don’t want to wear shoes that are too big, you do want some room for your toes to move. Purchase shoes that have a toe box wide enough to splay your toes out naturally. Having ample room for your toes also helps prevent blisters and irritation.


If you wear any type of shoe insert, make sure you bring it along when trying on new pairs of shoes. The insert will affect how the shoe fits, so you need to make sure the shoe fits well and is comfortable with any orthotic or insole you use while running.




In order to help you make an informed decision, we have gathered a collection of frequently asked questions that will hopefully be helpful in your search.

Q: Do Nike sizes typically run small, average, or large in length?

A: Typically, Nike shoes run anywhere between a 1/2 size too small and a whole size too small so make sure you order up when selecting your shoe. It’s also a good idea to measure your foot and compare your measurements to the measurements listed.

Q: When should I look at a running trail shoe with a rock plate?

A: If you run on trails and no matter how much cushion you have in your shoes and you still have pain, you may want to consider looking at a running trail shoe with a rock plate.

Q: What’s so special about the Nike brand anyway?

A: They are one of the most well known running shoe brands for a reason. Their shoes are durable, functional, and have style. You are paying for a well made shoe that will be worth the investment.

Q: What’s the purpose of the “Air Zoom”?

A: Nike came up with the term “Air Zoom” which is just another way of saying zoom air units that provide a spring in your step.

Q: Is there a difference between the men’s and women’s models of Nike?

A: Not usually. They are actually exactly the same in providing functions except for size, width, and color options which of course vary by gender.


Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:


  1. Rei co.op, Running Shoes: How to Choose, Informational site, Aug 29, 2016
  2. Competitor, Running 101: How To Select The Best Pair Of Running Shoes , Informational running site, Sep 09, 2014
  3. Competitor, Top 5 Shoe Buying Tips For Runners, Informational running site, Nov 18, 2014
  4. Road Runner, How do I know what amount of cushioning is right for me?, Informational running site,
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