8 Best Nike Running Shoes | 2021 Buying Guide
Whether you like to stick to the sidewalks or love to explore off of the beaten path, there is bound to be a design that fits your needs.
Like any brand or shoe model, there can be tradeoffs though, so we spent countless hours testing and reviewing the top models to identify the best Nike running shoes on the market. Peruse our top picks below.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Breathability is a factor that we consider in all of our shoes--if you have taken a peek at any of our other reviews or buying guides you have definitely seen this one as one of the factors we use across the board.
In fact, breathability is something you need to consider in everything you wear and even the running gear that you use. Breathability is an incredibly important factor in your running shoes because it is important that your feet stay cool and dry during each and every run. If you suffer from excessively sweaty feet you may want to appreciate the breathability of your shoes in order to get the most out of your running shoes.
The Nike running shoes we feature on our list are all really breathable--although, of course, some are more breathable than others. Breathability is also a personal preference to an extent since some people like more ventilation than others. When we looked at breathability we looked for shoes that will keep your feet well ventilated, cool and dry. We also made sure that they effectively wicked away moisture so your feet would stay dry and chafing and blisters wouldn't occur.
Breathable shoes are typically made of lightweight mesh, synthetic fabric, and other features that allow optimal airflow and this is something Nike brand does well. Keep in mind that depending on the terrain you are running on, you may have to sacrifice some breathability--however, there is a perfect breathable pair of shoes for all types of runners.
While protection may not be the first thing you think about when looking for your next pair of running shoes, it definitely should be at the top of your list.
After all, you need to make sure that your feet are protected from the terrain and environment you are running on. If you are a trail runner you know that you encounter natural obstacles and difficult terrain that could easily hurt you if you don't wear the proper shoes that can protect you from everything that comes your way.
Another important thing we considered when evaluating the overall protection of the running shoes on our list is how they protect you from impact and potential injury. Here you will also have to consider what your feet need specifically--you need to figure out whether or not you have pronation issues if you need more or less arch support, do you need additional insoles or orthotics to fit your shoes, and anything else you can think of.
This is important because no matter how amazing a pair of shoes are, it doesn't matter if they don't meet your specific needs. You will find that different levels of cushioning provide the right protection for certain runners and how the shoe is designed makes it perfect for either off-road running or road running.
If you want to make sure the running shoes you wear allow your feet to move naturally, you will need to look at the overall flexibility the shoe provides.
Sure, if you need more support and stability help, you will find that the shoes that are right for you may be less flexible than other shoes. It is perfectly fine to sacrifice some flexibility in order to give your feet the perfect pair of shoes--after all, it is much more important that your shoes fit your support and stability needs before they allow for full range of movement. In fact, a full range of motion is not ideal if you have severe pronation issues.
However, if you are a neutral runner you can run in more flexible shoes and enjoy the natural feel of your stride. Flexibility will increase your comfort and help you get the most out of your runs every single time--so you can keep going and going and going. When looking for the best pair of running shoes for yourself, you will notice that some material is more flexible than others. Less breathable shoes often utilize more durable materials--but this is only a sacrifice you have to make if you are running on more technical terrain.
Like all of the factors we have mentioned, the terrain is an incredibly important quality to take a look at when looking for the perfect pair of shoes.
This is because shoes are designed for certain types of terrains and ensure that the shoes perform optimally on the terrain it was made for. For example, trail running shoes are not the best option for running on the road or on a treadmill and vice versa. Nike produces all types of shoes, designed for all types of different terrains, uses, and sports--our list focuses on running shoes so let's continue to chat about that.
When looking for trail or road running shoes, one of the biggest differences is the outsole. Shoes for technical terrain have more durable outsoles and offer much more traction--some may even have lugs for additional grip. Trail shoes need to be more durable since you will encounter much more along the way--the material they are made of is also designed to be more abrasion resistant when compared to road shoes.
So, as you can see, the terrain is incredibly important if you want to get the most out of your shoes and ensure that you get the most life out of them.
13 Nike Running Shoe Reviews
1. Zoom Fly 3
Whether you want to shave a few seconds off of your time or push yourself just a few more miles, Zoom Fly 3 is a great trainer to help you achieve your goals. This neutral trainer offers the perfect blend of stability and flexibility that is kind to your feelings as well as your joints. Plus, it boasts a modern design that is unlike anything else in the Nike lineup!Read more
This design boasts an arch band that is attached to the laces to promote a snug and secure fit without cutting off circulation to your feet! Enhanced lockdown means that you can take tight corners without losing stability as the sneaker shifts around on your foot. The low collar also helps to promote a full range of motion to keep you quick on your feet.
The outsole has a high-abrasion rubber that adds a little extra spring in your step. The cushioning system of the Zoom Fly 3 makes it the perfect companion for long-distance running as well. The angle of the arch support lifts pressure away from your Achilles tendon for a more comfortable ride.
Whether you want to travel long or fast, this design is a great option to help you achieve your personal fitness goal in style. While it may cost quite a bit more than some of the other designs that we have seen, we think that it is well worth it!
2. Zoom Fly
The Nike Zoom Fly running shoes are 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.Read more
The sole is a foam-based rubber material for a smooth stride and the upper is highly ventilated and secures your foot very well. It’s the 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 Nike running shoes on the market. This is a good option for a runner who wants a nice balance between budget and performance optimization.
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. Overall, the whole shoe is designed to be responsive as you run.
This is a Nike running 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.
3. Wild Trail Cool
While not the top of the line, the Wild Trail’s are a solid Nike running shoe for men 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.Read more
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. The upper consists of a Ghillie lacing system which helps to keep debris away. The toe and heel are reinforced for added protection, which is important when running on rougher terrain.
This Nike running men's shoe is actually quite average if not affordable. The overall durability and quality of this Nike running trail shoe are great with only a few minor complaints of the upper wearing. As the name suggests, these shoes are designed for trail running and taking more difficult courses. It has flex grooves and gripping lugs that provide great traction.
4. Zoom VaporFly
These Nike running shoes for men are definitely the priciest option on the list, but if you are willing to make an investment they are definitely worth the cost. They are a top of the line long-distance race shoe--so if you are an ultra-marathoner this is the shoe for you.Read more
The upper is made entirely of a highly durable mesh that provides incredible breathability. This is very important during long runs to prevent rashes and chafing. These Nike running shoes are very comfortable and stable. They feature a new EVA compound along with a carbon plate. Furthermore, these running shoes provide optimal cushioning--unlike many other flat racing shoes.
They provide stability and comfort but may not be as durable as you would expect them to be. They are highly responsive and are designed for speed. They have a rubber outsole and feature lug patterns to improve traction. While they aren't the most durable, they are the best for speed and races. In fact, Eliud Kipchoge ran a 2:00:25 marathon in these!
5. Lupinek Flyknit Low
Lupinek Flyknit Low Nike running shoes for men found its place on our top ten list because of its responsive cushioning, and supportive sole design. Its cushioned soles minimize shock impact and its durable outer sole provides necessary traction necessary for safe and production workouts. No matter what type of running you do, these shoes will provide you the stability, comfort, and support you want and need.Read more
The outer shoe material is durable and resistant to snags and tears and protects your feet from the elements. The mesh upper does provide some ventilation, but not as much as some of the other shoes on this list. Much like other Nike running shoes on the list, the NIKE Men's Lupinek Flyknit Low provides responsive cushioning during your run that aims at keeping your feet protected and comfortable even on the longest and most intense of runs.
They support your feet with a firm yet comfortable fit and shock-absorbing soles. It's a lightweight shoe and features a great design that looks and feels great at mile one and mile 10 and onward as well. The NIKE Men's Lupinek Flyknit Low is a great example of what a durable and quality made running shoe looks and feels like. The soles hold up well under wear and tear of both indoor and outdoor running and are well suited for all terrains.
6. React Phantom Run Flyknit
What we love most about the React Phantom Run Flyknit is that they have a simple and laceless upper with a cushioned sole to provide a super comfortable ride. It is made from lightweight materials to keep you quick on your feet and is offered in a wide variety of color and design choices. It may cost a little bit more than some of the other options, but we feel that it is worth every penny!Read more
The reason that this design is so popular lies in the simple upper. The laceless design makes it a cinch to pop on and off, and you never need to worry about your laces coming untied. It is composed of durable stretch mesh that is incredibly breathable and allows for a full range of motion with no seam lines to create hot spots.
While the upper is simple and easy, the sole provides runners with a lot of support throughout all stages of their gait. It is composed of a thick layer of Nike React cushioning in the midsole to add an extra spring in your step. This is one of Nike’s softest cushioning materials, and it is incredibly flexible to keep you quick on your feet!
If you are on the market for a simple pair of stylish trainers that are ideal for road running or training at the gym, this is a great option. Runners love that it has a super comfortable lace-free upper that allows for a full range of motion while training. It may cost a little bit more than some of the other designs on our list, but we feel that it is well worth it.
7. Air Zoom Structure 22
The Air Zooms Nike running shoes are versatile and can be used for short and long distances easily. They’re massively stable, cushioned, and breathable guaranteeing you increased performance on the track.Read more
It has a triple-density Dynamic Support System that provides support like no other and flymesh upper for extra airflow. This option features 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.
The Air Zooms Nike running shoes offer excellent comfort while running, walking or any other sports activity that you may be into. They also have a style that looks great as casual wear as well.
The rubber sole offers a bit more durability as well as a grip on the shoe. These really do not seem to have any issues regarding the overall quality. It provides good traction on a variety of terrains, and its deep flex grooves increase grip while you run.
8. Free RN Flyknit 2018
The Free RN Flyknit 2018 is the perfect marriage between performance and freedom. It is composed of super lightweight materials to keep you quick on your feet, and supportive features in the midsole keep your knees and joints protected when training on hard surfaces. We love that it boasts a classic Nike styling that is offered in a wide variety of colors that is sure to generate quite a few compliments at the gym.Read more
The most important feature of this design lies in the construction of the upper. It is composed of sock-like mesh that really conforms to the shape of your foot. It has minimal seamlines to reduce the risk of hot spots of blisters. It also boasts a secure heel to keep the foot locked in place when taking tight corners.
This design boasts an 8 mm drop, which is pretty standard throughout the Nike lineup. The traction on the sole is ideal for working out at the gym or on light trails. It is important to note that this design doesn’t do great in slick conditions, so it’s best to slip these on when conditions are dry to avoid slipping.
If you are in the market for something that is easy and lightweight that provides just a little push of cushioning, this is a great option. It is composed of lightweight and easy materials that are perfect for shaving a few seconds off of your time. The design of the 2 Free RN Flyknit is perfect for those that want to go fast, but still, feel supported.
9. Revolution 5
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to Revolution 5. It is composed of lightweight materials to help you clock in at high speed. If you need something that helps you really push into your cross-training or HIIT training, this design is able to keep up with you, while still offering a good deal of stability with your movements. The best part? It comes in at an affordable price point that won’t break the bank.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is the construction of the knit upper. It is composed of lightweight and easy materials that really move right along with you. It boasts a high collar that reduces the friction on the back of your heel, and a simple tongue that is light and breathable.
It also has a soft foam midsole that cradles your foot and adds an extra spring in your step. The blend of foam and rubber provides a flexible fit that doesn’t feel stiff, yet still provides excellent energy return as you train. Runners love that this design boasts a wide toe box for a more natural and comfortable overall fit.
If you are in the market for something that is comfortable as well as affordable, Revolution 5 is a really great choice. We love that it boasts a wide frame that is accessible to most runners, and clocks in at a super affordable price point which is great for those on a tight budget.
10. Air Huarache
Men's Air Huarache is another great shoe by this well-known brand that is Nike. This shoe is unique in that Nike introduced some new style items with this model. It has improved cushioning and support over some older Nike models and also features strong sole traction and shock absorption capabilities.Read more
Although these Nike running shoes offer the least breathability on the list, they still provide efficient airflow. These are ideal for shorter runs and light workouts. This option for women are stable and fairly comfortable, according to many customer reviews, and offer a great fit, though some report they may not be the best shoe choice for long-distance marathon type runs.
The quality is on par with many other Nike bran models though it is not as great as some of the more expensive models out on the market. They hold u well to daily runs and workouts and are good for jogging and training though some reviews state that they start to lose some of the support and durability of the tread after many long-distance runs.
The Nike Huarache is made to support your feet and provide protective support and cushioning for high impact surfaces like asphalt and rough terrain.
11. Air Zoom Pegasus 37
The Pegasus series is one of Nike's most popular styles. The very first design was introduced in the early 1980s, and things have only gotten better from there! What runners love most about this design is that it really hugs your foot, and it has a support system that makes you feel like you are running on a springy cloud. Plus, it comes in a few fun color options to match your personal style.Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that it utilizes Nike React foam in the midsole to put an extra spring in your step. This style of light and airy foam from Nike provides cushioning that you can feel from the beginning to the end of your gait cycle.
We also love that the upper of this design boasts a slightly lower profile, which provides users a larger range of motion. This makes it a great trainer not only for running, but for lifting weights, or cross-training as well. The is composed of a lightweight mesh upper that contours to the shape of your foot to promote excellent lockdown and stability when you are on the move.
If you are in the market for a great neutral runner, you can’t go wrong with the Air Zoom Pegasus 37. The Pegasus has been a part of the Nike lineup for over 35 years, and this latest version takes everything that runners love about this style and turns it up to an 11!
12. Lunarglide 9
A lightweight Nike running shoe that offers a lot of stability and support is ventilated and provides a good amount of traction while you run.Read more
These were designed to be well ventilated and will allow your feet to breathe easily and features Dynamic Support platform provides stability. The overall comfort seems to be satisfying to most runners. There are mixed reviews about the arch support in these running shoes with some runners saying it works wonderful and others stating it hurts. The Lunarlon midsole foam helps absorb shock while you run.
It has flex grooves that provide flexibility and allow for a more natural run. Additionally, the Flywire cables provide good support. There were no reports of wear and tear on the Lunarglide 9 Nike running shoes for men. This shoe is made of quality material and will last you a long time to ensure you track your running progress accurately.
13. Air Max Torch 4
For cross-country runners who really like to take on the elements, then this is the running shoe for you. The outsole features a waffle fill design that provides excellent traction on a wide variety of surfaces for optimal control. With 10 different colors and styles to choose from, you’ll have no problem finding something that matches your style!Read more
Although this features a mesh upper to improve air ventilation, this model is not as breathable as some of the other entries on the list. In exchange, you get extra protection. The Air Max Force 4 was designed for extreme athletes in mind and comes with all the protection you would expect from an industry leader like Nike. A Max Air unit in the heel increases cushioning and decreases stress.
The sole may not be as flexible as some of the other Nike running shoes, but they are more flexible in regard to what kind of terrain they can handle. These are designed for multi-surface traction and work great on both, pavement and natural terrain. The soles have excellent grip and can help prevents slips and falls which lead to injury.