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13 Best Nike Running Shoes for Roads & Trails

last updated: Sep 23, 2020
Nike running shoes remain one of the biggest brands on the market for a very good reason. Runners love that Nike is able to marry style with function in a line up of trainers that are built for any and all activities. 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 perfectly. Nike uses modern technology to craft supportive and lightweight sneakers that will help you achieve longer distances or higher speeds. In this guide, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite styles and designs of Nike running shoes that will help you tackle even some of your toughest fitness goals in style!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research

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Zoom Fly 3
93.8/100 our score
Breathability
94
Protection
94
Flexibility
93
Terrain
94
Zoom Fly 3
Why is it better?

Unmatched lockdown

Incredibly versatile

Lightweight upper

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Zoom Fly 3
Test Winner: Zoom Fly 3
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Researched Sources
4
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
2k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
17
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Breathability Protection Flexibility Terrain By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Breathability
94 %
Protection
94 %
Flexibility
93 %
Terrain
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Breathability
92 %
Protection
91 %
Flexibility
94 %
Terrain
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Breathability
89 %
Protection
93 %
Flexibility
94 %
Terrain
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
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#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
Breathability
91 %
Protection
92 %
Flexibility
90 %
Terrain
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Breathability
89 %
Protection
92 %
Flexibility
88 %
Terrain
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Breathability
89 %
Protection
89 %
Flexibility
88 %
Terrain
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
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#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Breathability
90 %
Protection
87 %
Flexibility
84 %
Terrain
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Breathability
85 %
Protection
84 %
Flexibility
85 %
Terrain
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
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#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Breathability
84 %
Protection
83 %
Flexibility
84 %
Terrain
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
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#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Breathability
82 %
Protection
84 %
Flexibility
85 %
Terrain
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
#11
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Breathability
82 %
Protection
83 %
Flexibility
82 %
Terrain
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
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#12
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Breathability
84 %
Protection
79 %
Flexibility
83 %
Terrain
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)
#13
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.5
Breathability
88 %
Protection
80 %
Flexibility
77 %
Terrain
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (24.09.20)

13 Nike Running Shoes Reviews

1. Zoom Fly 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Zoom Fly 3
Amazon Link
Breathability
94
Protection
94
Flexibility
93
Terrain
94
best offer for today
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Pros:

Unmatched lockdown

Incredibly versatile

Lightweight upper

Cons:

Slippery when wet

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!

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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 rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Zoom Fly best nike running shoe for women
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Breathability
92
Protection
91
Flexibility
94
Terrain
95
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Pros:

Optimized for high-performance running

Smooth stride

Durable enough for use in multiple marathons

Form-based rubber sole to improve comfort

Cons:

Runs small and narrow

Breaking them in can be painful

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. These Nike running shoes were one of the developments to come out of Breaking2's research.

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Breathability

The sole is a foam-based rubber material for a smooth stride and the upper is highly ventilated and secures your foot very well.

Protection

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 Nike running shoes on the market. This is a good option for a runner who wants a nice balance between budget and performance optimization.

Flexibility

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.

Terrain

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Wild Trail Cool best nike running shoes
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Breathability
89
Protection
93
Flexibility
94
Terrain
92
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Pros:

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

Cons:

Some runners had minor durability issues in the upper

Sizes may run small

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.

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Breathability

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.

Protection

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.

Flexibility

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.

Terrain

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit Mens Aj3857-600 red
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Breathability
91
Protection
92
Flexibility
90
Terrain
93
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Pros:

Lightweight for Increased Performance

Highly flexible

Increased cushioning in midsole and heel to increased spring

Mesh material that increases breathability

Cons:

Not as durable as you would expect

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.

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Breathability

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.

Protection

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.

Flexibility

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.

Terrain

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
best nike running shoes Lupinek Flyknit Low
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Breathability
89
Protection
92
Flexibility
88
Terrain
93
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Pros:

Highly responsive cushioning

Supportive fit

Excellent traction provided

Good ventilation

Great grip on a variety of surfaces

Cons:

The toe box is a bit narrow

Shoes run small at times

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.

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Breathability

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.

Protection

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.

Flexibility

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.

Terrain

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
React Phantom Run Flyknit
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Breathability
89
Protection
89
Flexibility
88
Terrain
90
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Pros:

Lace free

Breathable upper

React cushioning

Cons:

Less than ideal lockdown

Runs small

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!

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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 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Air Zoom Structure 20 best nike running shoes
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Breathability
90
Protection
87
Flexibility
84
Terrain
89
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Pros:

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

Cons:

May be narrow in the midfoot

Sizes may run large

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.

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Breathability

It has a triple-density Dynamic Support System that provides support like no other and flymesh upper for extra airflow.

Protection

These Nike running shoes feature 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.

Flexibility

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.

Terrain

The rubber sole offers a bit more durability as well as a 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.

8. Free RN Flyknit 2018

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Free RN Flyknit 2018
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Breathability
85
Protection
84
Flexibility
85
Terrain
86
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Pros:

Very lightweight

8 mm drop

Great lockdown

Cons:

Slippery when wet

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.

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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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Revolution 5
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Breathability
84
Protection
83
Flexibility
84
Terrain
85
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Pros:

Breathable

Springy midsole

Wide toe box

Cons:

Squeaky

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.

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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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
best nike running shoes for women Air Huarache
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Breathability
82
Protection
84
Flexibility
85
Terrain
80
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Pros:

Very flexible for a barefoot-like run

Stylish look

Good comfort and support

Cons:

Doesn't offer much arch support

Sizes run small according to some reviews

Men's Air Huarache Nike Running Shoe 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.

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Breathability

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.

Protection

These Nike running shoes 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.

Flexibility

The quality of the Nike Men's Air Huarache Running Shoe 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.

Terrain

The Nike Men's Air Huarache Running Shoe 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 rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Air Zoom Pegasus 37
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Breathability
82
Protection
83
Flexibility
82
Terrain
81
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Pros:

Nike React foam cushioning

Lightweight

Great lockdown

Cons:

Awkward heel fit

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.

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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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Lunarglide 9 best nike running shoe reviews
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Breathability
84
Protection
79
Flexibility
83
Terrain
81
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Pros:

Well ventilated and allows your feet to breathe easily

Dynamic Support platform provides stability

Inner sleeve and sock liner provide comfort

Lunarlon midsole foam helps absorb shock

Pressure-mapped outsole provides great traction

Flex grooves provide flexibility

Flywire cables provide good support

Cons:

May be a little snug on the heel

Sizes run small

A lightweight Nike running shoe for men that offers a lot of stability and support is ventilated and provides a good amount of traction while you run.

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Breathability

These were designed to be well ventilated and will allow your feet to breathe easily and features Dynamic Support platform provides stability.

Protection

The overall comfort of these Nike running shoes 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.

Flexibility

It has flex grooves that provide flexibility and allow for a more natural run. Additionally, the Flywire cables provide good support.

Terrain

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.5
Air Max Torch 4
Air Max Torch 4 2
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Breathability
88
Protection
80
Flexibility
77
Terrain
81
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Pros:

Features Air Max unit under the heel

Great multi-surface traction

TPU overlays increase support

Features Phylon midsole

Cons:

Not as breathable as others

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!

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Breathability

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.

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.

Flexibility

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.

Terrain

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.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

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 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.

Protection

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 doesnt'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.

Flexibility

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.

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.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Stefanie Flippin
Ultrarunner

3:05 marathoner chasing sub

3:00 Boston & NYC marathon qualified

4x100 mile finisher

50k to 100k finisher x12

As a distance runner, I need my racers to be lightweight so I can feel light and confident chasing down a PR on a race day. I race on both road and trails though, so I appreciate a bit of underfoot protection and cushion while racing distances from the marathon and beyond. I like to look for a forgiving upper that allows for swelling during ultras and prevents blister formation. For me, I have had great success with the Nike Vaporfly collection and the Hoka Torrent.

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Breathability
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#2
Protection
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Terrain
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Flexibility
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Look for Ventilation!

Whether you are looking to run on the trail or the road, it's important to have a pair of running shoes that work for you, rather than against you. Do you know what it's like to run with sweaty feet? It can lead to moisture build-up, odors, irritation, and inhibit your ability to run at your full potential. Empower your runs by looking for footwear that is made from ventilated materials and focused on increasing breathability.

Know the Terrain and Know Your Outsole!

Picking out the right running shoe takes knowing the terrain and the outsole. Reason being, each shoe is intentionally designed for certain environments and terrain. For example, running shoes with traction features and added durability on the outsole are better for trails, or rougher terrains. Before purchasing your next pair of running shoes, take the time to figure out where you plan to run. Understanding your running habits can help highlight the best shoe for you.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the most important thing you consider when looking for the best Nike running shoes for you is that they cover all of your needs. You need to make sure that you invest in a pair of shoes that are comfortable and fit your specific needs. All of the shoes on our list are great options to consider, but there is no pair that is perfect for everyone--if there was, Nike wouldn't have so many options available. So, at the end of the day, you need to keep your needs in mind when choosing your next pair of Nike shoes.

Make sure that you consider your foot type, how far you plan on running, where you plan on running, and what your budget is. We tried to cover all of these areas and more--so, we encourage you to do the same. Our shoes rated buying guides are designed to help you find the perfect pair of running shoes for you not just show you what the top 10 is. While our list is in ranking order that does not mean the number one pick is the best option for everyone. Regardless of what your budget is, take your time when choosing your next pair of shoes--you will be glad that you did!

Fit

The fit is something many of us often forget. We get caught up in the hype about what other people have to say about a specific pair of running shoes and we focus on all of the other features that we sometimes forget to make sure that they are the perfect fit for us. Nowadays it is hard to make a trip to the store to try things on for size, so we often end up ordering our shoes online. And, while there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever, it means that we often neglect to make sure we are getting a pair of shoes that truly fit us.

When looking for the right fit, make sure to measure your feet appropriately and look up reviews from actual users. Unfortunately, sizes can vary not just among different brand of shoes, but also between different models within the same brand. You will find that some Nike models are more narrow than others while others may be designed for wide feet. This doesn't mean that they won't work for you, it just means that you will have to make sure there is a size available to fit your foot properly. It is really important you take your time here because even though you can most likely exchange or return your shoes, that is still a hassle that will set back your training.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

a:

Nike shoes may often run up to half of a size too small, so if you aren't able to go into a store to try them on, we encourage you to go ahead and order a size up. If you have wider feet you may also have to face some trial and error since some models are also pretty narrow. If you have owned Nike shoes before then you have an idea of what size you are--however, if you haven't just make sure you follow the sizing instructions when ordering online. Fortunately, most sellers will typically offer a return or exchange policy so you if you end up with the wrong size it isn't a problem.

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

a:

If you like to run on the trails then you know how important it is to get a running shoe that can specifically handle that type of terrain. Even the easiest trails will require a pair of shoes that can provide you with more stability, traction, and shock absorption--which is where the rock plate comes into play. If you find that you have tried well-cushioned shoes with great traction and you still experience pain, then that is when you will want to consider a pair of trail running shoes with a rock plate. These are perfect for more technical terrain and for those of you with foot pain--so you don't have to give up trail running, you just have to find a pair of shoes with a rock plate.

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

a:

The Nike brand is well-renowned for a reason--because they have earned their spot among the best. Their shoes are some of the best out there and they offer options for all budgets, which we tried to showcase in our list of reviews. Nike focuses on producing durable, functional, and stylish products that are designed to fit your needs--and their running shoes are no exception. No matter what type of runner you are, Nike has something for you, you just have to know exactly what you need to find it.

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

a:

Air Zoom may be something you remember reading in some of our reviews since it is part of the name of the model of some of the shoes as well. The Air Zoom name comes from the fact that Nike has incorporated special features to allow those shoes to provide excellent bounce back and literally give you a spring in your step.

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

a:

Typically, there is not much of a difference between the men's and women's model outside of size, width, and color options. However, there are some models that have some differences--so some are specifically women's running shoes and vice versa. Make sure to take a close look before buying the best Nike running shoes and take the time to look at reviews written by someone of your gender if you want more tailored information.

Sources

  1. REI CO.OP, Running Shoes: How to Choose, Informational site
  2. Editor, Running 101: How To Select The Best Pair Of Running Shoes , Informational running site
  3. Editor, Top 5 Shoe Buying Tips For Runners, Informational running site
  4. Editor, How do I know what amount of cushioning is right for me?, Informational running site