Nike Air Zoom Mariah Flyknit Racer

The Nike Air Zoom Mariah Flyknit Racer is a lightweight racing shoe that comes in as many colorways as you can imagine. The throwback runner was designed to act and feel like a sock without compromising the support many runners crave. It's also made of recycled materials. Props to Nike for going the eco-conscious route with this sneaker. Each pair contains the equivalent of six plastic bottles, so you can run hard and rest easy knowing that your shoes are made of environmentally friendly materials. The racer comes in a slew of colorways for both men and women and received generally positive reviews from users. Should you check out the Mariah Flyknit? If you've got a race coming up or you're hoping to check off those upcoming speedwork sessions on your calendar, the Flyknit Racer may be worth considering. Our review lets you know why that's the case.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Comfortable, true to size fit
  • Lightweight
  • Responsive midsole cushioning
  • Attractive design
  • Feels like wearing no shoe at all
  • Durable outsole
  • Good arch support¬†
  • Cons
    • A few found the shoe a bit narrow
    • Some found the midsole a bit rigid
    • Key Features
      The Mariah Racer features an outsole with a web tread at the forefoot for traction. If you take a look at the underside of the shoe, you'll also notice a significant cutout area that leaves the midsole exposed. This helps to cut down the overall weight of the shoe. The heel area also features some texture for grip. Most reviewers found the outsole was well-made and durable.
      The name of the shoe gives away what you'll find in the midsole. It's composed of Nike Air Zoom cushioning. Pockets of air provide impact protection and energy-return. Reviewers liked the feel of the shoe's cushioning citing that it felt there was enough padding for longer efforts. A few users thought the midsole was a bit too rigid for their liking, but most found the midsole cushioning to be quite comfortable. Many reviewers also said the cushioning felt lightweight and responsive.
      The upper of Nike's racer features FlyKnit which is a lightweight fabric that allows the feet to breathe. The seamless nature of the upper helps to keep blisters at bay and makes the shoe really feel like a sock, just like Nike intended. The sock-like fit is comfortable but secure. Many reviewers found that wearing the Mariah was just like going barefoot, which tells you a lot about the design and fit. The upper also features a convenient QuickLace system so you can get your shoes on fast and head out the door.

      Most found the shoe true to size and felt that the Racer fit better than other similarly categorized Nike brand shoes. A few users had issues with the width of the shoe, citing it as too narrow. And it's true that the Nike Mariah isn't a great shoe for wide footed runners. Despite the snug fit for some, users mentioned that they found the FlyKnit material stretchy and forgiving.
      Nike doesn't seem to list the weight of the Mariah shoe anywhere. But it's a racer, so it's definitely lightweight. Reviewers agreed, all parts of the shoe feels light as a feather. The midsole material is protective and bouncy, but minimal in terms of weight. The upper FlyKnit fabric is equally featherlight, which helps with breathability and really makes the shoe feel paired down.
      The FlyKnit design really helps to encourage ventilation. Reviewers loved how breathable the Mariah felt even on hot run days. The intention is to make wearers feel like they're wearing just their socks. The seamless interior means you could technically forgo actual socks altogether. The true to size fit means your foot should breathe just fine and the lining materials should work to wick away sweat as you work hard on your run.
      Reviewers seemed to love the overall fit of the Flyknit Racer. They commented on the comfortable seamless upper, which could be worn without socks - since it's supposed to fit like one anyway. They appreciated the secure and true to size fit. They also liked the midsole feel - a responsive, snappy sensation that made the running experience a little bit peppier. Reviewers felt comfortable even when hot days struck during hard training periods thanks to the breathable Flyknit upper. Users also commented on the arch support in the midfoot, which felt just right. Sure, a few found the Mariah a little rigid underfoot and some felt the shoe was a bit narrow, but these commenters were largely in the minority.
      If you're wondering whether the Mariah Racer is stylish...heck yeah it is. The shoe features a sleek design with a prominent Nike swoosh. A sock-like cuff adorns the opening of the ankle collar and a leather-like heel cup round out the rear of the shoe. At the bottom, there's a wave-like midsole piece that's - for most of the available colorways - bright white. We could describe all the colorways to you, but that would take a whole lot of time. Bottom line is that they're gorgeous. Trendy meets classy meets modern athletic aesthetic. The best part, though? You can design your own Nike Mariah Racer with Nike's design tool. The silhouette looks attractive enough on its own that it's easy to choose from a variety of colors and end up with a beautiful shoe in the end.
      When it comes to durability, there isn't really anything that stands out about the Nike Air Zoom Mariah. The shoe is clearly well-designed, features quality craftsmanship, and features durable components, but it'll likely last you just about as long as any other running shoe. Expect the shoe to last at least 300 miles. Of course, this depends largely on how you intend to use it. Crappier weather and hard foot pounds will wear the sole out a lot quicker than sunny day runs on soft ground by someone who has a tendency to land lightly on their feet.
      These racers aren't the best choice if you're looking for a highly built-up sneaker with lots of midsole cushioning and intensive support for pronation control. The Mariah just isn't that. It's meant for faster efforts, so expect a paired down lightweight package. Thankfully, although the design is inspired by a sock that doesn't mean you're running in one. The Nike shoe features a decent amount of Zoom Air midsole cushioning and a durable outsole as the first protective component underfoot. The sock-like fit isn't just a comfort thing, either. The Mariah fits snugly like a sock so you, the wearer, don't move around as you speed by like the wind. The breathable Flyknit upper fabric also works to keep your foot temp under control so you can move fast without worrying about your feet catching fire.
      You want a racer to be lightweight and obviously comfortable. A little durability doesn't hurt. A stylish design? Yes, please! The fit should be just right, too. And, of course, you want your racer to be responsive. This shoe's close to the ground design helps runners get instant feedback as they move quickly through each mile of a race or training run. The Mariah's midsole has some spunk, too. The Nike Air Zoom cushioning doesn't just add a comfortable bit of padding under the foot, it's also super responsive. Reviewers found the Flyknit Racer speedy and snappy. The shoe goes through the motions with gusto, from heel to toe, everything feels like one sweeping movement that gets you from one step to the next.
      The Nike Mariah provides a nice amount of arch support in the midfoot area said, reviewers. The upper, too, delivers plenty of support thanks to a secure sock-like fit. Users had nothing negative to say about the supportive nature of the racer. The lightweight shoe provides the correct degree of support without sacrificing speed and comfort.
      Keep these babies for road runs or treadmill speed drills. They're not for off-road training. If you want to head for the hills (mountains, that is), keep an extra pair of shoes for that. Would you even want to get these beauties dirty? We don't think so. They're too nice to wear out in the mud and grit at the nearest trailhead.
      They're a little pricey, but reviewers seemed to think the investment was well worth it. Not only do you get a comfortable lightweight racing shoe, you also get a shoe that can be worn far beyond its expiration date. Why? Because it's a hot looking shoe. Even when it's no longer supporting your footsies for racing purposes, there's no reason you couldn't don the Mariah for a day out with a friend or an evening at the movies with your partner.
      We've mentioned the web tread outsole before, it's what provides traction in this shoe. The rear of the shoe has a bit of texture but the bulk of the grippy material is in the forefoot. It's not heavy duty or particularly aggressive but it provides wearers with the right amount of traction for its intended use. Reviewers had no complaints, after all.
      A few reviewers did find the Mariah a bit rigid, the rest had little to say on the matter. Most reviewers did find the shoe responsive and some even called the ride 'snappy'. The rigidity of the shoe helps provide this snapback upon toe off and it isn't a bad thing. We're no physics experts, but we can tell you that the firmness helps with energy-return. It also provides a bit of support. Does this mean the shoe is a rigid and inflexible rock? Not at all. Reviewers did find the shoe extremely comfortable and none complained that the stiffness was so terrible it caused them to return the racer.
      Nope. You won't find much stability here. The snug upper fit helps, of course, but this is a racing shoe, not a daily trainer. The upper fits securely but is made of super lightweight fabric, so don't expect the Mariah to hold you in so tight that your foot barely moves. If you choose a shoe like this Flyknit Racer, it's expected that you have a handle on your form and don't need that much extra support and stability. If you're looking for a racer with some stability features, look elsewhere.
      Again, Nike doesn't list the heel to toe drop of the Mariah Racer. But that's okay. From user comments, it's pretty easy to gather than the shoe features a low heel to toe drop. The fit is close to the ground for an ultra-responsive ride feel. While there aren't any stability components in this shoe, users felt they were highly in control when running in the Mariah. That's, in part, thanks to the low drop height.
      Key Features
      - Made with recycled materials
      - Available in a 'design your own' option
      - Flyknit upper
      - QuickLace system
      - Sock-like design
      - Nike Zoom Air cushioning
      - Web tread outsole
      Bottom Line
      Here's the down low on the Nike Air Zoom Mariah. It's a superb racer. Reviewers seemed to be in agreement about most elements being expertly designed. The fit is comfortable, the cushioning feels great, the shoe feels fast, it's lightweight, breathable, looks incredible, and the sock-like fit makes you feel like you're barely wearing a shoe. That's an impressive feat! As much as we all love to run, it's tough to find a good shoe that feels truly comfortable. There always seems to be that one pressure point that rubs your toe or pinches your heel. Reviewers agreed that the Mariah is wholly comfortable, true to size, and despite a select few complaining of a narrow fit, its design was a big hit. Feel like going barefoot because you want to feel the freedom of shedding your shoes but don't quite want to risk injury or accidental impalement? The Nike Air Zoom Mariah Flyknit Racer is an excellent choice.
      Where to Buy
      By Steph Coelho
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 24. 2021

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