Sock-like sneakers are trendy right now, and with the release of the new NikeLab Veil runner, Nike has put their mark on this new trend. Designed for short training runs, it is in many ways a minimalist shoe, and contains several exciting technologies. The Innovative Nike Free Sole is flexible, comfortable, and extremely responsive. The sock-like upper is made of a breathable Flyknit material and features a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish and the shoe is lightweight and stylish, with minimal construction. But the price is very high, the upper looks like it will rip easily, and support is offered in a rather unorthodox way. Read on to discover whether this stylish yet expensive footwear is the right choice for you.
The outsole has flex grooves that should create excellent flexibility; it also has rubber traction pods that add durability and, well, traction. This Innovative Nike Free Sole almost gives you a barefoot feel. It is very flexible thanks to the flex grooves. The outsole also has a firm layer of foam just to ensure it is extra comfortable. It has been reported that the durability of the outsole is higher than most, largely because of the rubber traction pods that are strategically placed along the sole. As far as support goes, the outsole is very supportive because of the firm layer of foam.
The NikeLab Veil utilizes a unique new midsole design that flexes and expands along with the movement of your foot. It is incredibly responsive and will serve you well as you run. Not only is this midsole design flexible and responsive—adding to the overall barefoot minimalist feel of the shoe—it is also lightweight and durable. Nike stepped up their game and provided the best of all worlds in the NikeLab Veil’s midsole package. The single issue with the midsole is that it does not seem to be very supportive. The excellent responsiveness and flexibility, however, should outweigh this one con.
The sock-like upper is made entirely of Flyknit;
this technology puts fabric and yarns only where they are absolutely necessary in order to create an upper that is lightweight, formfitting, and almost seamless. It is very flexible, comfortable, and breathable, although perhaps not the most durable. Another thing to note about the upper is that it does not have any kind of lacing system—it is a slip-on shoe. You simply pull it over your foot with the aid of front and rear ankle tabs located at the top, and then the upper (which truly is like a sock) simply conforms itself to your foot. This mid-cut cuff, wraparound design aids with comfort, style, and flexibility, and gives you a snug fit all over your foot. The upper also features a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish. Overall, the upper is certainly the best part of the NikeLab Veil. Between the seamlessly comfortable Flyknit, the unique lack of a lacing system and wraparound design that molds to your foot and ankle, and the DWR (durable water-repellent) finish, it cannot be beat.
In a men’s size eleven, the NikeLab Veil weighs 8.4 oz per shoe. The upper is constructed from a very lightweight Flyknit fabric. The outsole is a little heavier than some athletes might prefer, but the midsole is so lightweight that it makes up for it. The NikeLab Veil is a fairly lightweight shoe,
a fact that will serve you well as you wear it for short training runs.
The upper portion is very breathable due to the Flyknit material used in the upper. It should effectively prevent overheating, blisters, or any other potential issues caused by a lack of breathability. As an extra-added bonus, the shoe also incorporates technology that repels water (DWR, standing for durable water-repellent—this technology was used to finish the upper), meaning that you will stay dry no matter what kind of conditions you are running in.
The Flyknit upper is comfortable; the minimalist construction
means that it is nearly seamless, creating a smooth feel against your skin. The upper section is designed to conform to your foot/ankle, wrap around it, and give you the feeling of a snug and secure fit. Elsewhere in the shoe, the Nike Free sole almost creates a barefoot kind of feel. A soft layer of foam immediately under your foot, combined with a firmer layer near the outsole, helps with comfort as well. The NikeLab Veil knocked it out of the park in the comfort category.
The men’s NikeLab Veil appears to come in only one colorway—Black/Midnight Nylon. The women’s shoe comes in Port Wine/Sail/River Rock, which is an attractive mixture of muted purples and grays. Both shoes feature the trademark Nike “swoosh” on the side, as well as two small tabs on the top of the shoe to aid with putting on the shoe. Reflective details help you stand out at all times of the day and night. A handful of reviewers think that the overall structure of the shoe is trendy and will work for hitting the streets
as well as working out. However, many more think that the shoe looks goofy and not like something they would want to wear, so attractiveness is relative to personal preference.
The outsole is quite durable because of the sturdy rubber traction pods, but the midsole’s durability is at an average level. Further lacking, the Flyknit upper might not be durable enough to withstand much use; because of its other good traits, it seems to be somewhat delicate. Stick to short distance runs when wearing the NikeLab Veil, and you will get more use out of them than if you were to utilize them for runs that are longer and more intense.
The protection aspect of the NikeLab Veil is an iffy one. It does not have a toe guard, and at first glance, it may not seem to have much support. However, the outsole should provide adequate shock absorption through the two layers of foam, which will protect your joints. Nike made sure to add in some supportive features such as the TPU reinforcing the forefoot, and the large heel counter in the ankle. So while the NikeLab Veil’s protection isn’t perfect, it should suffice.
The Nike Free sole is very responsive. It works with your foot, adapting itself to your natural movement; the midsole flexes and expands along with each one of your landings and push-offs. The Flyknit upper also has good responsiveness—this is largely due to the sock-like design that molds itself to your foot and ankle. Many minimalistic shoes are more responsive than average running shoes, and because the NikeLab Veil is minimalistic in several ways, it should come as no surprise that it truly stands out in the category of responsiveness.
You may be concerned about whether this shoe—advertised as being like a sock
—offers enough support. Luckily, Nike went out of their way to ensure that, yes, it does. However, this extra-added support might be at the cost of some style and comfort. First of all, the forefoot has been strengthened with TPU. Secondly, the ankle has a big heel counter to make sure you feel supported in the heel area. Thirdly, two layers of foam (one directly underfoot, and then one thicker and firmer layer around the outsole) also help support you. Additionally, the upper provides support in the way it conforms to your foot and ankle, so even though this might not be the kind of support you are used to, it still works. The only portions of the shoe that do not seem to have good support are the midsole and arch as there is not much arch support at all.
The NikeLab Veil has good traction—the outsole features not only flex grooves, but also rubber traction pods. But it is meant to be solely a road running shoe, and meant for short road runs at that. Yes, the rubber traction pods provide good traction, but they are not made for trail running, and the flex grooves are not very aggressive. The NikeLab Veil was designed specifically for short training runs on the road, so that is what they should be used for.
The price of the NikeLab Veil is high; there’s really no way around it. However, Nike shoes in general seem to be a little more expensive than most running shoes just because it’s Nike—you pay to rep the swoosh.
For someone who feels confident that they will like this sock runner and all of the features it affords—such as comfort, breathability, and water repellant technology—the price won’t be too painful. But if you have any misgivings at all about the shoe, it’s probably best to pass on the elevated price, or at least wait until more reviews and perhaps some sale prices have come around.
One unique feature of this shoe is the rubber traction pods on the outsole that kick up its traction properties another notch. The outsole also features flex grooves, making it even more grippy. However, this is definitely a road running shoe exclusively; the NikeLab Veil will likely not perform well or keep you safe on trails.
The NikeLab Veil is quite flexible. It bends and moves with your foot very well. Nike’s Flyknit is the material that is utilized for the upper in the NikeLab Veil, and the Flyknit provides quite a bit of flexibility in the upper part of the shoe. The outsole, with its flex grooves, is also flexible as is the midsole material, which is very responsive. The overall structure of the shoe has helped its flexibility as well because it is meant to be like a sock and not one reviewer has reported the shoe feeling stiff. The NikeLab Veil somehow achieves the perfect combination of giving you support, while still being incredibly flexible and moving with your foot.
The NikeLab Veil is definitely not a stability shoe. It does offer you stability, but only the bare minimum necessary to get you through a training run. The supportive cushioning (layers of foam around the outsole) helps to support you and create a smooth, stable stride. The heel counter also gives your heel stability. So even though the NikeLab Veil is known for being stylish, flexible, and responsive, it will still give you enough stability to feel safe and secure as you move and run.
The drop (difference between the heel and forefoot height) of the NikeLab Veil is not listed on any websites.
• Outsole has flex grooves and rubber traction pods that add durability and traction
• Midsole flexes and expands along with the movement of your foot, creating great responsiveness
• Seamless Flyknit upper is comfortable, flexible, and responsive
• Upper features a DWR (durable water-repellent) upper to keep you dry
• Entire shoe is very lightweight and breathable
• TPU in the forefoot, a heel counter in the ankle, and two layers of foam add extra support and stability
The NikeLab Veil is a solid choice for short training runs when you want to stay dry, feel the ground, and look stylish. The outsole’s flex grooves and rubber traction pods are durable and flexible and the midsole is amazingly responsive. The upper package is made with Flyknit for top-notch comfort, plus a DWR finish. The shoe has a few problems: it’s very expensive, the support and stability could be better, and the upper is not very durable. But overall, the NikeLab Veil is a great choice for your next shoe.