Nike along with Adidas are the most well known and well respected shoemakers out there, but with hundreds of varieties of shoe on offer it can sometimes be a little overwhelming for new runners (or even seasoned runners) to find one that suits them. In this article we will take a look at eight of the best Nike running shoes for women.
What makes a good running shoe?
Here’s the thing about running shoes, picking one is a lot simpler than you think. You might have heard of gait-analysis which is a measure of how you naturally run, your stride length, your knee placement, the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground etc … But the reality is that no scientific study has found that analysing your gait can improve your running or lower the risk of injury.
Studies have failed to find evidence that buying shoes based on arch-height makes any difference on injury risk . Nor was there any difference between assigning specific shoes based on plantar shape (your footprint while running) and using regular shoes .
This does not mean that wearing any old shoe will produce the same results, studies have shown that the more comfortable your foot is the less likely you are to get injured . The most likely reason for this is that if you are experiencing discomfort your technique will change for the worse (imagine running barefoot on very hot sand).
This means that your number one priority should be a shoe that is comfortable, that provides support, and that is durable. If you are buying a pair of running shoes you need them to last you a long time, because you don’t want to be buying a new pair every two months or so. This will hinder your training, and hit your bank account hard.
So this review will mostly focus on comfort, durability, and style (because you still want to look good in these shoes, ugly shoes definitely hinder progress). The following eight shoes are in no particular order, and please be prepared for some slightly repetitive names!
|Nike Zoom Elite 9||224g 4/5||4/5||4/5||12/15|
|Nike Air Zoom Span||258g 3/5||4/5||3/5||10/15|
|Nike Zoom Structure 20||286g 3/5||4/5||4/5||11/15|
|Nike LunarGlide 8||258g 3/5||4/5||5/5||12/15|
|Nike LunarEpic FlyKnit||221g 4/5||3/5||2/5||9/15|
|Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33||306g 2/5||5/5||4/5||11/15|
|Nike FlyKnit Air Max||335g 2/5||3/5||5/5||10/15|
|Nike FlyKnit Racer||170g 5/5||2/5||5/5||12/15|
Nike Running Shoes for Women #1: Nike Zoom Elite 9
Think of these running shoes as your day-to-day running shoes, they may not be as fancy as some on this list but they are nice comfortable and perform excellently under pressure. This is a racing flat shoe suited to longer distances (and definitely not suited to obstacle courses, or cross-country) where a lightweight shoe will help you keep a fast pace.
Perfect For: Marathon runners looking for a shoe that can take them over the finish line in a fast time.
When a shoe has “structure” in its name you know it’s going to be effective but potentially boring. Luckily the Nike Zoom Structure 20 is a nice looking shoe. The shoe has two forms of foam mixed together and used in the sole, with the outside being quite light and soft while the medial side is more rigid. Great shoes for running in, but also a great idea for wearing casually or on the way in to work.
Nike Running Shoes for Women #2: Nike Air Zoom Span
These shoes are well suited to long distance and can be used on treadmills and on roads, they are probably best designed for daily running. The soles are made up of two types of rubber, with a soft rubber covering the majority of the sole but a heavier (or tougher) rubber covering the heel to provide extra support. The stability of the Nike Air Zoom Span is excellent though this does limit the flexibility.
The shoes should last quite a long time, depending on your level of running with an estimated 300-400 mile lifespan. These shoes are surprisingly light which will really help with longer runs, and the cushioning should make them very comfortable for most foot sizes. They also have a pretty cool design, for running shoes which should please the fashion-conscious.
Perfect For: Training for half marathons or full marathons
Nike Running Shoes for Women #3: Nike Zoom Structure 20
Nike Structure shoes are all about stability, this is great if you are running long distances regularly or if you are planning on running off road. They are also supposed to be useful for flat-footed runners, although as I mentioned before, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that specific shoe choice can affect flat-footed running (either positively or negatively).
Saying that though, if I was flat-footed I would probably buy these shoes because 1) They are an excellent pair of running shoes, and 2) It wouldn’t hurt to try, science hasn’t conclusively proven that they don’t work (the study couldn’t find any difference between specific shoes and regular shoes but this does not prove that specific shoes don’t work).
One criticism that I do have is purely aesthetic, these shoes look like something that you’d wear normally but they don’t look like running-specific shoes. This is both an advantage (you can go out to the shops in them without looking crazy) and a disadvantage. If you are serious about running, you’ll have your running shoes, and your regular shoes, they aren’t interchangeable. This is a very petty criticism though.
Perfect For: Flat footed runners, regular wear
Nike Running Shoes for Women #4: Nike LunarGlide 8
The Nike LunarGlide 8 is all about comfort, with a nice inner sole that will make you feel like you’re running on air. The sole looks either really cool or desperately ugly depending on your personal tastes but the padding is clearly designed to cover the pressure points of your feet. There is a lot of breathability in these shoes particularly around the top.
From an aesthetic point of view, these shoes could only be worn as running shoes. They would be completely useless in a gym and would look quite crazy if you were wearing them whilst walking down the street. Also don’t expect them to look new for long, the bright white sole which takes up a huge proportion of the shoe will age very fast.
These shoes are designed to be run in for a long time and will last for hundreds of miles, definitely better suited for running on roads, pavements, and treadmills, but will probably be fine on dirt tracks and similar surfaces.
Perfect For: Road runners, treadmill runners, or even country paths
Nike Running Shoes for Women #5: Nike LunarEpic FlyKnit
The FlyKnit was invented by Nike in 2012 and is one of the most popular design changes in running shoes to date. FlyKnit is a way of manufacturing shoes to make them more comfortable, to fit the foot better, and to make them more breathable. The Nike LunarEpic FlyKnit uses this technology, and it is one of its biggest strengths.
The thing about this shoe is that if you are looking for a lot of ankle support they are perfect for you, but if you are looking for something that makes you look good …. then they’re definitely NOT for you. The shoes have an Upper Fit that looks like an attached sock, this goes over your ankle giving you a layer of protection that very few other shoes can offer.
The soles of the shoe are identical to the Nike LunarGlide 8 that we reviewed prior to this. You are also given the option of either 4mm or 6mm insoles, which is a pretty nice choice that you rarely get these days. The foam in the sole is designed to adapt to your running style, which it does pretty well and there are grooves built into the side of the shoe that can help absorb shock when your foot lands.
Some users have complained about pain around the back of the heel with these shoes, so it is recommended that you try them on first before buying, but thicker socks can usually solve this problem.
Perfect For: Anyone with weak ankles, any distance running
Nike Running Shoes for Women #6: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33
Picture the archetypal Nike running shoe and you’ll probably be imagining the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33. Beautiful design, would look equally good during a race or when walking to work. The upper part of the shoe is snug and comfortable and won’t irritate you while running, the cushioned sole will really help you run without any discomfort, and the lightweight design will help you travel at a faster pace during longer runs.
There is a lot of breathability around the top and the sole won’t get filled with small stones and twigs like a lot of running shoes tend to.
Perfect For: The weekend warrior, people who want to look good while running in decent running shoes
Nike Running Shoes for Women #7: Nike FlyKnit Air Max
The Nike Air Max and the Nike FlyKnit are two of Nike’s most popular shoes, the Nike FlyKnit Air Max is a combination of the two, the huge cushioned sole of the Air Max and the lightness, comfort and flexibility of the FlyKnit. These shoes are either the most beautiful running shoes you’ve ever seen or a monstrosity depending on your personal tastes, but they’ll definitely get you noticed either in the gym or out on the street.
They are one of the most expensive running shoes made by Nike, but they are also comfortable, durable, and have a nice mix of flexibility and stability which will really allow you to let loose while out running.
Perfect For: The fashion-conscious, long distance running, people who don’t mind spending more for a higher quality of shoe.
Nike Running Shoes for Women #8: Nike FlyKnit Racer
The Nike FlyKnit Racer is a high quality racing flat, probably best suited to longer distances. If your feet are in good condition, no flat-footedness nor ankle or Achilles issues then you will get a lot out of these shoes. They are created with the best quality materials and are worn by many professional marathon runners. If you are looking to not only complete a marathon, but to also set a competitive time then these shoes are for you.
But if you are brand new to running they may be a bit on the pricey side, you probably don’t need shoes that are incredibly light as you won’t be running distances that are far enough for this to be an issue. These are a very comfortable, very effective racing shoe, which will last you a long time.
Perfect For: Any experienced runner who is looking for fast times in the longer distance races.
Here are 8 Nike running shoes that will help you to run better, and in more comfort. If you have issues with your feet or ankles then there are shoes here that can help you. If you are new to running then the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33 would be my personal recommendation. They are a great price, will last you a long time, and are very comfortable.
If you are an experienced runner looking for more comfort then the Nike LunarGlide 8 would be a great choice. If you are an experienced runner looking to get a fast time then the Nike FlyKnit Racer is the perfect shoe for you.