The 8 Best Nike Running Shoes of 2022 – SI Showcase
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Nike has consistently taken an innovative approach to shoe design that’s kept the brand at the top of the shoe industry for decades. It has successfully integrated carbon fiber plates into racing shoes, making them a staple among the serious running community. Whether you’re looking to try out carbon fiber for the first time or want cushioning with impressive energy return, the best Nike running shoes will cradle your feet and potentially shave seconds off of your times.
This well-known brand makes running shoes for long distance, training, speed work, racing and more. To pick your next pair of Nike running shoes, you’ll need to carefully consider your natural biomechanics, training style, goals and comfort preferences. If you like to look good while you run, you’ll also have quite a few stylistic choices too. Take a look at our top picks, plus tips to help you pick the shoes that will let you relax into your next run.
Our Picks for the Best Nike Running Shoes:
- Price: $160
- Weight: 1.4 pounds (per pair)
- Drop: Nine millimeters
- Colors: 14 options
The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 incorporates Nike’s Flywire technology, React foam and a wide base for better stability for flat feet, also known as overpronation. This Nike shoe skips a heavy medial post used in many stability shoes in favor of Nike React foam for a more supportive, responsive ride from the midsole. A rocker in the sole also helps the foot roll through each phase of the stride, for a smoother feel.
The Infinity Run Flyknit 3’s also have a high-rise cushion that aims to keep the sole of the foot in better contact with the shoe, improving response times. For runners with flat feet, that also keeps more of the foot’s surface area in contact with the shoe for added control and precise cushioning. There’s also added cushioning in the heel and ankle for better comfort and support. Finally, a higher volume of rubber in the outsole is designed to give runners extra durability and traction.
A downside that several reviews from REI.com report are the aesthetics. Some users find the overall look to be disappointing, though the performance is spot-on.
- Lightweight and responsive Nike React foam
- High-rise cushioning keeps more of the foot in contact with the shoe
- Added cushioning through the heel and ankle
- Not as cool looking as some Nike shoes
Purchase Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3
- Price: $99.99
- Weight: Not available
- Drop: Not available
- Colors: Six options
The Nike React Escape Runs are a daily trainer with a tough rubber outsole designed to grip the pavement for miles and miles without breaking down. Multidirectional lugs give you some added traction, though they aren’t intended to be trail running shoes. A high foam midsole keeps your foot in contact with the shoe for better responsiveness, but it’s also filled with React foam through the midsole for a well-cushioned ride when you’re road running. They also feature ample cushioning and a lace design that keeps the mid-foot in contact with the shoe without adding painful pressure points.
The mesh upper is the final feature that can is helpful for long-distance running. It provides plenty of ventilation to prevent moisture and heat buildup while being comfortable.
- Well cushioned midsole with high placement
- Durable rubber outsole with multidirectional lugs
- Good ventilation
- Designed for the road
- May be too flexible for everyday wear
Purchase Nike React Escape Run
- Price: $130
- Weight: 1.2 pounds (per pair)
- Drop: 10 millimeters
- Colors: 16 options
Two Zoom Air units, a group of tensile fibers inside a pressurized Nike Air unit, are included in the sole of this shoe to give the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 a snappy responsiveness.
A shaped heel helps give runners a contoured, cushioned fit that keeps the foot moving through the transition phase while locking the heel in place. The waffle pattern in the outsole provides traction while remaining flexible, which many runners find helps provide a smooth ride.
They have a roomy toe box that fits runners with wider feet well. As a reviewer from Dickssportinggoods.com puts it, “The toe box had plenty of volume and was wide enough as well for my foot. The lockdown was superb thanks to the Flywire and the upper has a very lightweight yet padded feel.” It also comes in an extra wide version. However, you’re down to one color if you opt for the extra wide.
- Added snap with Zoom Air units in the forefoot and heel
- Extra wide option
- Excellent toe box volume
- Traction pattern with good grip and adds flexibility
- Only one color choice in extra wide
Purchase Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39
- Price: $180
- Weight: 11.2 ounces (per shoe)
- Drop: Nine millimeters
- Colors: Six options
Give those sky-high arches all the cushioning and support they need in the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 2. A high arch can increase the shock on certain areas of the foot, and it can increase overall forefoot pressure. Consequently, if you have a high arch, you might be more comfortable and experience less fatigue with a well-cushioned shoe with adequate arch support.
This cushy shoe fits the bill for many high-arched runners. It takes the strength and durability of Flyknit to a new level, using it beyond the expected upper, adding it to the tongue, the vamp (the area from the toe to the instep) and the heel. That extra strength and structure provide a secure fit and keep the foot in contact with the shoe for better responsiveness.
Nike calls the forefoot “exaggerated,” meaning there’s extra room in the toe box. High arches can also lead to a need for extra vertical space or volume in the toe box, which this shoe can provide. It also has higher foam heights using Nike’s ZoomX foam to keep the foot secure, cushioned and in control over the small details of your stride. This foam brings a mix of flexibility, support and cushioning that high arches need.
However, these shoes are pricey, and some reviewers via Nike’s website report the upper tearing prematurely.
- Ample cushioning
- Added height in the ZoomX foam keeps the foot in contact with the shoe
- Use of Flyknit in three areas for a more comfortable, secure fit
- Lack of durability of the upper
Purchase Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 2
- Price: $159.95
- Weight: 9.5 ounces (per shoe)
- Drop: Eight millimeters
- Colors: Five options
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 brings innovation to speed training workouts. While this shoe can go from a casual LSD (long slow distance) run to race day, the sweet spot is the speed work, which is where improving your speed begins. The Zoom Fly 5 features a full-length articulated plate designed to help propel you forward on the toe-off.
These shoes are designed to have a plush feel, thanks to plenty of ZoomX foam in the midsole, but the articulated plate should keep you from losing responsiveness. Nike puts a wide base in the forefoot and heel, for a stable base when you’re putting on the speed. However, be ready to pay a hefty price for all of that technology.
- Full-length articulated plate boosts responsiveness and propulsion
- Excellent lightweight cushioning from ZoomX foam
- Wide stable base in the forefoot and heel
- Price: $150
- Weight: 8.6 ounces (per shoe)
- Drop: Eight millimeters
- Colors: Two options
First, a shoe alone, no matter how great, can’t completely fix shin splints. There are complex forces at work, from your biomechanics to the surfaces you run on. A shoe that works for one runner with shin splints may not work for another. However, the Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature strikes a good balance of cushioning with support to reduce pressure points due to foot strikes, which can contribute to shin splints.
It’s a sustainable design with recycled ZoomX foam through the midsole, giving the shoe a slightly firmer feel than you’ll find from a model with virgin foam. There’s a second foam surrounding the ZoomX foam to improve durability, adding a little extra cushioning.
Flywire through the center locks your foot down. However, there are no double eyelets at the ankle for runner’s knots, which can create fit issues for some runners. More durable rubber on the forefoot and heel aim to provide plenty of durability and grip. Overall, the mix of firm and soft foams should disperse the impact put on the legs and feet of someone who runs regularly.
- Durable rubber in the forefoot and heel
- Recycled foam improves sustainability
- Good weight dispersion to prevent pressure points
Purchase Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature
- Price: $130
- Weight: 11.14 ounces (per shoe)
- Drop: Eight millimeters
- Colors: Four options
The Nike Wildhorse 7 lives up to its name with some fun and interesting color combinations that highlight the technical features of the shoe. But where this shoe really shines is the cushioning and the upper. Nike includes a Dynamic Fit System in the midfoot that locks the foot in place to reduce slippage when wet roots and rocks are underfoot. Midsole cushioning provides plushness for trail runners who need extra shock absorption.
A segmented rock plate protects you from more rugged terrain, though it’s not designed for the biggest and sharpest of rocks.
- Excellent fit through the midsole
- Comfortable cushioning for a plush ride
- Multidirectional lugs
- Segmented rock plates don’t work well on the roughest terrain
- Doesn’t do well in mud
- Price: $275
- Weight: 7.4 ounces (per shoe)
- Drop: Four millimeters
- Colors: Five options
Hold on to your spandex because the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is a flagship running shoe that’s backed with innovation for top speeds, excellent rebound and optimum cushioning. It comes with a hefty price tag, but if you’re in the running class where this much shoe will make a difference, it’s worth it.
It’s packed with Nike’s highest energy return system that includes two Zoom Air units and ZoomX foam from toe to heel for the ultimate cushioning. It also has a full-length carbon fiber plate that propels the foot through each step increasing energy return when road racing. There’s also strategically placed traction to provide better grip in high-wear areas. Nike also uses its best Flyknit-Atomknit in the upper and notched laces to keep the foot secure.
- Full-length carbon fiber plate
- Full-length ZoomX foam
- Excellent energy return and cushioning
Purchase Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%
What Makes Nikes Different From Other Running Shoes?
All running shoes are not created equal. That’s a good thing because no two feet are created exactly the same either, even when on the same body. Nike has a few things that sets it apart from other brands.
- Visibility: Nike could be one of the most well-known athletic shoe brands in the world. Most people, even if they have nothing to do with athletics, can identify the Nike swoosh.
- Innovation: Nike doesn’t stick to the same old, same old. The brand is known to push boundaries, so much so that its shoes have been banned from athletic competitions for creating an unfair advantage. It’s the brand to go to if you want the latest technology, from the fabrics to the foams.
- Fit: Every running shoe brand has its own last (form used to create the shoe shape). Nike’s last tends to have a narrower fit through the heel and midsole, though some of its shoes have wider bases to add stability.
- Style: Nike shoes have a long history of trendsetting, both in sports and in general pop culture. The brand has unique designs and color combinations, and often collaborates with professional athletes and fashion designers.
How to Choose the Best Nike Running Shoe for You
When choosing the best Nikes for your run, it’s important to consider a few factors. First, are the shoes designed for the type of running you’ll be doing? Wearing super-light road racing shoes on a rocky trail run can be a recipe for disaster. Second, do they come in the correct size? If you have especially wide or narrow feet, you may need to look a little harder to find shoes that fit you well. Third, do they feel good on your feet and provide the correct amount of cushioning and support for you? Shoe fit is incredibly personal. To make sure that you’re wearing the right shoes for you, it’s helpful to buy from a retailer that allows you to take the shoes for a run and return them if they don’t work for you.
Nike Running Shoe Technology
Nike has proprietary shoe technology that’s worth learning more about to choose the best pair for you.
Nike Air has been around since 1979. It consists of a flexible bag or pocket filled with pressurized air. The bag gets compressed on impact and returns to its original shape for adaptive cushioning. It’s looked and felt different over the years, but it’s still a hallmark feature of many Nike shoes.
Flyknit is a fabric that’s steamed and stretched, creating a material that’s lightweight but strong. It’s used in a shoe’s upper, with tighter weaves providing extra support and looser weaves creating more flexibility.
Atomknit is a type of Flyknit that’s used in the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%. It’s even lighter in weight yet still strong with enhanced breathability.
Flywire is made of strong Vectran filaments placed in the uppers of some shoes to create structure without adding weight. It’s often found in the midsole for a close fit while maintaining shoe flexibility.
ZoomX foam is made of a high-tech polymer called Pebax that compresses under pressure but quickly returns to its original shape, returning energy to the body. That energy return reduces fatigue and picks up the pace. It’s soft and springy.
React foam is ultralight but responsive, giving the shoe a bouncy feel. It gets its name because it makes runners feel like they’re reacting faster.
What Nike shoes make you run faster?
The Nike Vaporfly made headlines when Eliud Kipchoge wore them to break the world marathon record. The most recent iteration—Nike ZoomX VaporFly Next%—and its close cousin the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 are among the fastest shoes available. They feature everything Nike has to offer from ZoomX foam to Flywire and a full-length carbon fiber plate to increase energy return.
Are Nikes good for your feet?
Nike running shoes can be food for your feet, but they won’t work for everyone because everyone’s feet are different. A shoe that’s good for your feet fits the unique features of your foot, such as your arch height, heel width and foot spread.
How long do Nike running shoes last?
This depends on how far and where you wear them. Many of the brand’s proprietary foams are designed to be lightweight but aren’t as durable as more traditional foams. However, Nike has worked around this by covering the less durable foams with more durable foams or rubber.
Where can I wear Nike running shoes?
Nike makes shoes that can be worn on a wide variety of surfaces, including roads, trails, tracks and even the treadmill in your home gym.
Whether you’re looking for the best running shoes for men or the best running shoes for women, there’s a Nike running shoe that could fit your needs. Nike keeps a core group of shoes that have been proven over time, as well as regularly adding to its lineup with innovative designs to push the boundaries of running. The distances you normally run, your biomechanics, arch height and running goals can help you decide which Nike running shoes will take you further, faster.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.