Nike Air Zoom Structure 18

Nike is far and away the most popular athletic apparel brands currently in existence. Their status as a time-tested athleisure manufacturer is cemented by their reputation for creating products that are effective and affordable. This design trend can be seen clearly in the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18, with its bevy of new features that help set this product apart from its predecessors. Major improvements can be felt in the overall ride and stability thanks to the stiff EVA coverage along the heel and midfoot. Nike hit the perfect balance of cushioning, stability, and support with this iteration of the Air Zoom Structure series.

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Where to Buy
Road Runner Sports Link
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Where to Buy
Road Runner Sports Link
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Pros & Cons
  • Affordable
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Highly supportive
  • Cons
    • Narrow toe box
    • Not as durable as its predecessors
    • Not suitable for rough terrains
    • Key Features
      The particularly strong coverage offered by the Air Zoom Structure 18’s outsole is enabled through the use of two rubber compounds. Hard recycled rubber is used for almost the entire underfoot with softer blown rubber around the forefoot area. Deep flex grooves have been added to the outsole’s design as well as hexagonal lugs in the forefoot. These features are Nike’s trademark and are highly praised for their ability to improve flexibility and traction. A specific piece of rubber extends from the lateral to the medial side of the midfoot; these are commonly referred to as crash rails and they help to facilitate a smoother running transition.
      After spending a great deal of time and effort into incremental improvements Nike settled on a midsole design that uses 3 different materials for their cushioning. The most external layer uses the softest material and foam with greater density covers the medial side of the midfoot. This tri-density midsole is capped with a cage-like structure wrapping around the foot with extremely dense foam. Another design staple present in the Air Zoom Structure 18 is Nike’s proprietary Zoom Air bags located on the heel and forefoot. As a result, enough density is present to ensure stability and enough forgiving cushion is present to maintain a comfortable ride.
      Nike resorted to newly designed mesh in order to create a lightweight, breathable, and durable upper for this shoe. The Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 removed the old overlays and replaced them with a combination FlyKnit/mesh makeup, providing an adequate level of support without feeling constrictive. An inside toe bumper provides protection despite the lower profile of this upper. To ensure high stability, Nike also implemented an internal heel stiffener in this iteration of their Air Zoom Structure line. Flywire cables connected to the laces provide a snug yet comfortable fit and additional cushioning is provided from a plush insole. As a lightweight yet durable and cushioned upper, this Nike shoe is perfect for long distance running sessions.
      With an average weight of around 10 ounces, the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 is at the ideal weight for a running shoe. It’s much lighter than many runners may have expected but still holds up against the competition. Despite its average weight, these shoes look and feel much more lightweight thanks to its excellent responsiveness and stylish upper. Fortunately, enough weight is present in the design of this Nike shoe that runners can enjoy terrific cushioning and high stability; even better, this weight is distributed so effectively that it doesn’t feel as heavy when worn and used.
      Nike understands just how important it is for a reliable pair of running shoes to offer adequate airflow. The great thing about the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 is its FlyKnit upper which provides that exact feature in spades. It’s well-ventilated to the point where runners can maintain cool and dry feet even in warm conditions or after running for longer lengths of time. The perforated mesh design of this shoe is reminiscent of Nike’s LunarGlide line of shoes which showcase similarly impressive breathability.
      This model of Nike’s Air Zoom Structure does feel similar to prior releases with one notable exception; this 18th iteration has removed overlays in the forefoot in order to provide a more forgiving feel. Many of Nike’s running shoes have this unfortunate shortcoming where they all run true to size except for their toe box, which tends to feel uncomfortably restrictive. Removing the overlays allow for some extra wiggle room in the forefoot, making the Structure 18 significantly roomier as a result. Without needing to make any additional changes, the midfoot and heel of this Nike runner feels secure and exceptionally comfortable. Another amazing feature sure to impress certain runners is the variable width sizing options, ranging from narrow to extra wide.
      For the most part, the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 is pleasantly stylish. A wide variety of different color schemes are available, making them perfect for individuals who enjoy some variety in their footwear. The eye is first drawn to Nike’s signature swoosh on the side of its FlyKnit upper, providing the appearance of the knitted fabric. This dual-layer multi-colored fabric looks and feels great, even when running over long distances. That said, they still look fantastic during jogging sessions or speed work. The essence of this running shoe is similar to that of Nike’s own Flyknit Lunar 2 without the same stretchy feeling. Men’s and women’s versions come in many different color options, all of which manage to be stylish enough that they beckon customers from across the store.
      These shoes are about the same as other Air Zoom shoes in regards to durability, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. The only difference in the Air Zoom Structure 18 is that Nike decided to use recycled rubber in lieu of BRS 1000. The loss in resiliency is minimal but the tradeoff is a more environmentally conscious footwear option, making it more than worth the compromise. Despite any presumed downgrades in this regard, the fact remains that these shoes will function beautifully on appropriate running environments for hundreds and hundreds of miles.
      A new design feature Nike introduced to the Air Zoom Structure 18 is a waffle style outsole that works to provide excellent long-lasting protection from common running hazards. Further protection is offered by this outsole through its terrific traction on a variety of running surfaces, helping runners to avoid common running injuries from falling. The tough FlyWire upper creates a form-fitting covering around your foot; because of this, some runners would say that these shoes fit them like a glove. Despite looking flimsy, this snug material is well-equipped to handle what you throw at it within reason.
      An impressive level of responsiveness can be felt while running in these Nike shoes. This is because of Air technology, a proprietary Nike feature that involves forefoot cushioning. This feature along drastically improves the response time a runner will feel when using this footwear in comparison to prior models. Aside from this, all of the features Nike implements in their Air Zoom models to ensure high responsiveness are still present, such as a lighter weight and a waffle style outsole.
      These Nike running shoes have terrific arch support due to the resiliently firm foam used in its midsole. Nike’s Dynamic Support system takes full advantage of the Air Zoom Structure 18’s triple foam construction to provide a level of underfoot support that is simply unbelievable. It’s even designed in such a way that faster speeds will provide better support; the first layer of foam will take over in a manner that is unobtrusive to the other two layers. Another excellent addition to this model is the Stock Fit system, which brings the support factor of these shoes from simply good to absolutely great.
      Unlike many other Nike running shoes, the Air Zoom Structure 18 works wonderfully on almost any surface condition. Whether it’s running or jogging, a smooth transition is guaranteed thanks to the revised rubber and foam layout. Wet or dry environments are no match for these running shoes. While this particular iteration of the Air Zoom Structure line may not have as durable outsole lugs as its predecessor, it still offers a very durable heel and midfoot area. Something worth noting is that despite these shoes functioning well in wet or dry environments, the protection and support may not work well in rougher trail running environments.
      You can expect to pay the standard price for most high-end running shoes if you order the Air Zoom Structure 18 through Nike’s official website. However, looking at other retail sites such as Amazon can reveal significant discounts of almost half off. Even at full price, the cost isn’t bad for these running shoes since they offer such great stability, high performance, amazing protection, and soft comfort. Nothing beats a good deal when it comes to buying running gear, and these can be found for a good deal for sure. However, runners shouldn’t feel cheated if they end up paying full price.
      A much firmer ride is guaranteed in the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 thanks to the strategic changes made from previous iterations. During an ordinary running session, individuals wearing these shoes shouldn’t feel as much compression or squeezing. This isn’t to say that they feel loose on the foot, simply that they are comfortably snug. Additionally, impacts from landing are significantly smoother.
      Some aspects of this Nike shoe’s design help to provide a comfortable level of flexibility. This includes a lighter weight and flex grooves along the outsole. However, these shoes also manage to maintain a level of stability through the use of a highly dense midsole. Because of this, Nike managed to accomplish the difficult task of balancing stability with flexibility in order to maximize the total possible performance and comfort.
      When loading weight on the lateral sides of these shoes, extra dense midsole foam helps to offset any stability issues. This helps greatly during regular movement from a standard running session. Despite being firmer than the older Air Zoom Structure model, this material manages to be softer than Nike’s Elite 7 and Pegasus 31 products. Because of all these features, you should expect an impeccable level of stability and run with confidence.
      The heel to toe drop of the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 is around 10 mm, making it in the same ballpark as most other running shoes of its kind. This results in a bulkier heel than some other forms of running shoe, such as trail running and barefoot running shoes, so runners who enjoy these styles of footwear may need to break into this new style. However, this is certainly worth taking as much time as is needed to adjust, since the result is a protective and energy efficient Nike running shoe.
      Key Features

      • Cushlon and Phylon outsole

      • Dual notches on the side of the tongue

      • FlyWire cable upper

      • Flymesh technology with enhanced breathability

      • Triple density compression molded EVA

      • Patent Zoom Air bags

      Bottom Line
      Runners looking for an excellently performing running shoe with a variety of color choices that is also well-cushioned, highly stable, and perfect for long or short distance running sessions can do a lot worse than this version of the Nike Air Zoom Structure. The triple-dense foam located in the Structure 18’s midsole help to put this shoe at the top of the heap in regards to highly supportive track and field runners. Engineered mesh used for the design of its upper also helps to keep runners’ feet cool and dry thanks to its fantastic breathability.

      With an outsole made of Cushlon and Phylon foam, cushioning and lightweight traction is guaranteed. Consequently, the Air Zoom Structure 18 is firing on all cylinders in any running condition. Runners can look forward to ultra-responsiveness, a smooth stride, increased stability, terrific comfort, and ample cushioning when wearing these runners. They come with Nike’s trademark eye for fashion with enough aesthetically pleasing color options to satisfy even the most choosy runners. Finally, a reasonable price point makes purchasing a pair of these shoes a no-brainer decision.

      Where to Buy
      Road Runner Sports Link
      See Deal
      By Ryan Sabin
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 28. 2021

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