We hope that you love our articles and find them useful and informative! In full transparency, we may collect a small commission (at no cost to you!) when you click on some of the links in this post. These funds allow us to keep the site up and continue to write great articles.

The Best Nike Running Shoes for Men in 2021

 

Nike is an ubiquitous brand. And for good reason. They draw on the input and expertise of world-class athletes to develop products designed for high performance. From their lowly origins on Bill Bowerman’s waffle iron, they have grown into one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world. Lately, they’ve been making waves on the running scene some of their performance-enhancing footwear.

Nike has the market share to offer shoes and many price points and levels of performance, from everyday casual wear to shoe that shatter world records. The best Nike running shoes for men are well worth considering if you’re looking for new footwear.

If you’re stuck for which one to get, we recommend the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37. This is a classic if the word “classic” means anything. It’s built on a foundation of Nike React foam for superb energy return, and an extra-firm bit of cushioning in the forefoot made for male runner’s specifications.

Whether you want to supercharge your performance or just feel like you’re running on clouds, here are the best pairs of Nike running shoes for men.

Top 3 Best and Favourites

 

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

 

  • Gender-specific cushioning
  • Interior midfoot band
  • Engineered mesh upper
Check Price

 

Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14

 

  • Engineered, seamless mesh upper
  • Flywire technology
  • Full-length Zoom Air unit
Check Price

 

Nike Air Zoom Structure 23

 

  • Phylon-EVA midsole
  • Nike Zoom Air in the forefoot
  • Padded heel collar
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

Nike’s own website likens these shoes to a caffeine boost for your legs. Meant for the long run, they’re designed to reduce fatigue and give you that little something extra in your stride.

The Pegasus is one of Nike’s shoes that comes in a gender-specific fit. The men’s version has a firmer cushion in the forefoot than the women’s. So even if you’re a heavy lander, your shoes will absorb a lot of the shock on impact and save your joints.

This particular bit of cushioning in the forefoot is also extra-large to provide maximum coverage. As for the midsole, it’s packed with Nike’s React foam. This newly-worked foam is lighter and softer than previous Nike foams.

Despite being light and super comfy, it also has incredible energy return. It may interest you to know that Nike React is used in basketball shoes, too. As much as running at a constant creates strong impact forces on the feet, the constant cutting and jumping in basketball does it even more so. If React foam can treat a basketball player’s feet well, it will be more than enough for running.

Despite being so well-cushioned, these shoes remain lightweight. The upper allows air to circulate and keep your feet cool and dry.

Another helpful addition is the midfoot band. It keeps the foot comfortably in place without constricting it, and provides an additional sensation of support.

PROS:

  • Gender-specific cushioning
  • Interior midfoot band
  • Extra-large forefoot Nike Air Zoom unit
  • Engineered mesh upper

CONS:

  • The durability seems to be less than previous iterations
 

Most Cushioned

2. Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14

If great cushioning is what you’re after, the Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14 could be the shoe for you. It’s said to be Nike’s most cushioned shoe yet, providing a good combination of comfort and sturdiness.

Full-length cushioning utilizes Nike’s React technology to deliver the best of both worlds: soft cushion and bouncy responsiveness.

You’ll notice the cushioning is thicker in the heel than the forefoot. This is superb for heel strikers. It absorbs much of the impact upon the foot strike, keeping your joints safer and reducing the chances for injury and pain.

With these on your feet, your ride will be smooth no matter the terrain. Your heel should remain locked in comfortably and securely, with foam pods behind the heel to increase the comfort and stability of the shoe’s feel.

There’s even extra support around the midfoot. Nike’s Dynamic Fit tech uses soft cushioning in conjunction with Flywire cables to keep your foot properly cocooned.

The mesh upper is attractive and breathable, made to enhance both the comfort and support of the shoe.

PROS:

  • Engineered, seamless mesh upper
  • Flywire technology
  • Full-length Zoom Air Unit
  • Foam pods inside the collar

CONS:

  • It may be slightly heavier than others due to the cushioning
 

Best Stability

3. Nike Air Zoom Structure 23

A stability shoe is a great option for runners who overpronate, but it can also be a good choice for runners who feel they need a bit more support than they’re currently getting.

The Air Zoom Structure 23 is perfect for this. It’s plush enough to wear daily, and stable enough to keep your gait rock solid.

The EVA foam midsole creates a plush, spongy feeling when running without sacrificing firmness and stability. An Air Zoom unit makes the shoe easy on the feet and propulsive, with a springy energy return.

The reinvented heel-placed crash pad minimizes impact on foot strike and makes heel-to-toe transitions easier and more efficient.

The shoe is not just about stability, though. Nike has taken steps to improve the comfort too, with a thick, plush ankle collar and tongue.

If you’d like to take these shoes off-road sometimes, the rubber outsole will keep you stable on any terrain. It’s also fairly durable, thanks to well-designed thickness-variability in spots of the sole most prone to wearing away.

If you’ve run in the previous version, you may find the transition to the 23 to be a little uncomfortable initially. The 23 actually has less cushioning, and a lower heel-to-toe drop than the 22 (7m vs 10mm).

But the 23 has received a nod for being more stable than its predecessor. So if stability shoes are what you need, you should find these to be a good choice.

PROS:

  • Phylon-EVA midsole
  • Nike Air Zoom in the forefoot
  • Micro-perforation pattern in the forefoot and midfoot
  • Padded heel collar

CONS:

  • The breathability may be less than other shoes
 

Top Value

4. Nike Air Zoom Winflo 7

The Air Zoom Winflo 7 has seen some noticeable updates from the 6. It’s packed with value and takes first prize in that category.

The mesh upper has been updated to streamline the fit and provide better air circulation. It also strikes a great balance between support and flexibility.

Traditional lace-up closures with the addition of Flywire cables provide a secure feel on your foot.

The Winflo 7’s cushioning has also been revamped. Air Zoom units in the heel and forefoot mean you’re well-covered underfoot. The forefoot cushion has been increased in size to spread pressure more evenly.

Beyond these superb little cushions, EVA Strobel memory foam adds softness and comfort to every step. It also helps the cushioning mold comfortably to your feet and retain its shape.

A higher stack height makes for a springy platform that some runners may find propels them forward better.

Another helpful feature is the Cushlon crash rail. This is situated on the outside of the sole to improve impact absorption and make for easier heel-to-toe transitions.

An extended heel counter and classic waffle-tread underfoot pattern keep you stable on your feet no matter what surface you’re running on.

PROS:

  • Nike Air Zoom unit in the heel and forefoot
  • DynamicFit feel
  • Cushlon crash rail
  • Extended heel counter

CONS:

  • Those moving up from the Winflo 6 may not like the changes
 

Best Racing Shoe

5. Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

We would be remiss if we did not include the Alphafly Next% on this list. As space-age as it is controversial, this is the shoe professional distance runners are wearing to smash records.

In fact, these are the very shoes that forced World Athletics to reexamine their guidelines for what’s legal in a competition shoe. The good news: you can race legally in these!

They are a revolution in runner gear for two reasons. First, Nike’s ZoomX foam in the heel is super lightweight but delivers unparalleled energy return on every step. It’s lovely and springy and cushions the impact of landing quite significantly, protecting your joints.

Second – and this is the big one – is the carbon-fiber plate that runs the length of the shoe. Nike pioneered this technology, now being copied by every shoe maker who wants to stay in the elite running game. It provides such efficient energy return that it was the reason World Athletics questioned whether these shoes provided illegal mechanical assistance.

Despite all that good cushioning and energy return tech, the footwear is surprisingly lightweight. The upper is a newly-engineered version of Nike’s FlyKnit, known as AtomKnit, and is breathable and contoured.

Underfoot, you’ll find a minimalistic yet effective tread pattern. Much of the heavy tread is focused on the forefoot, with a lighter grip on the heel. This does wonders for assisting with an explosive toe-off.

Want a demonstration of their power? Check out Eliud Kipchoge’s phenomenal record-smashing, 1:59:40 marathon for an example of what these shoes can do!

PROS:

  • Full-length carbon-fiber plate
  • AtomKnit fabric
  • 2 visible Zoom Air units in the forefoot
  • ZoomX foam in heel

CONS:

  • Some may be put off by the chunky appearance of the shoe
 

Top Everyday Trainer

6. Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2

The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 is one of Nike’s most-tested shoes. They’ve refined it based on these tests, so you know this shoe has been put through the wringer by many a runner. Wrinkles have been ironed out.

From the top! The upper consists of Nike’s light and breathable FlyKnit fabric, and uses Flywire tech to add extra support.

The insole is thinner than usual, so you get the full feeling of React foam under your feet. Looking at the outsole, you can already see how thick the foam is. It’s rocker-shaped for a smoother, faster ride, allowing for a quicker transition from foot strike to toe-off.

The sole and toe box is slightly wider than average without being bulbous. This adds an extra bit of sturdiness to the shoe while you’re on your feet.

This shoe has been well-documented to reduce the chance of running injury and decrease running-related pain. Studies in both 2019 and 2020 reported that users of this shoe spent 52% less time recovering from running-related pain than others.

PROS:

  • Flywire technology
  • Flyknit upper
  • Increased foam height
  • Increased rubber on the outsole

CONS:

  • The shoe is heavier than its predecessors
 

Best Shoe for Rain

7. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Shield

Rain can’t ruin your run when you’re wearing these shoes! The Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is our best overall, so you know it’s a great Nike model.

This version of the classic is geared for wet weather. It features a weather-proof shroud that remains breathable and light on the foot. The covering has a DWR finish (durable water-repellent) to stop your feet from getting wet.

The outsole is also a little different from the usual Pegasus 37. It’s a Storm-Tread sole, which is designed to mimic winter tires. You’ll spot grooves, multiple shapes, and many areas of traction to help you stay stable on your feet on wet surfaces.

As well as all these great weather-resistant features, the shoe features the classic Pegasus React foam plus an Air Zoom unit in the forefoot.

PROS:

  • Water-repellent design
  • Storm-Tread outsole
  • Air Zoom unit at the forefoot
  • Reflective design elements

CONS:

  • They may feel slightly less breathable than the original Pegasus
 

Top For Wide Feet

8. Nike Quest 3

It can be a nightmare to find comfortable shoes when you have wide feet. Nike is known to favor snug fits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find suitable shoes for wide feet! The Quest 3 is our choice for these runners.

It is best for neutral strides, so if you happen to have a wide foot and you overpronate, you may find it uncomfortable.

The mesh upper is light and features extra structure around the midfoot to provide a snug fit and support. A traditional lace-up closure is enhanced with Flywire to provide even more stability.

A full-length midsole with an increased stack height is both comfortable and easy on the foot as you run.

The Quest 3 also has better cushioning than the previous models, thanks to a new waffle-tread pattern. It provides a good deal of traction on road surfaces, even when wet.

PROS:

  • Full-length foam midsole
  • Flywire lace-up closure
  • Bootie construction
  • Breathable mesh upper

CONS:

  • Not suitable for overpronators
 

Best Quick-Tie Shoes

9. Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% FlyEase

If you struggle with traditional lace-up systems, these shoes could remove that frustration. They feature a step-in heel and a one-handed tie system for your convenience.

The first quick-and-easy feature of this shoe is the step-in heel. There’s no need to fight with your shoes to get your heels into them anymore! Simply step onto the heel (conveniently labeled “step”), and it bounces back up once your foot is snug in the shoe.

The second feature that makes this shoe super-convenient is the one-handed lace-tying system. No more tying shoelaces! Just pull on the “lock” tab near the shoe’s tongue to tighten it as much as you wish. When they need to come off, pull the “release” tab near the toe.

In terms of performance, a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot coupled with ZoomX foam in the midfoot offers impressive energy return without losing out on the cushion.

The heel is reinforced with Nike React technology to absorb shock, prevent heel pain, and give you that pop when transitioning to toe-off.

The rubber outsole has been designed based on feedback from hundreds of runners. By listening to runner’s needs and experiences, Nike has beefed up the tread at points where you need it most when your feet are hitting the road.

PROS:

  • Quick-lace system
  • Step-in heel
  • Runner-informed traction
  • Cushioned heel pods

CONS:

  • The step-in heel may not bounce back after a few months of use
 

Top Trail Shoes

10. Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6

Trail runners, there’s a Nike for you too! We feel that the Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6 does a great job fulfilling what trail runners want and need.

One of the things we love about this shoe is that it’s not as chunky-looking as many trail running shoes out there.

It has the sleekness and stylishness of a true Nike shoe, but it contains all you need to stay safe and improve your performance on the trails.

You’ll find lightweight, breathable mesh on the forefoot upper, and a woven heel for extra stability.

Underfoot, Nike React tech makes this a responsive and springy ride. There’s a Zoom Air unit in the heel to push you off with some bounce.

The outsole is as grippy as you could wish for on a light-duty trail running shoe. The lugs are multi-directional, making it easier to grip on just about any surface. This also helps a surprising amount when it comes to ascending and descending on the trail. An extra rubber pod in the midfoot adds traction for wet surfaces.

Other features we appreciate include an abrasion-resistant overlay on the front of the shoe, a padded tongue for comfort, and a segmented forefoot rock plate.

PROS:

  • Zoom Air unit in the heel
  • Multi-directional traction lugs
  • Segmented rock plate
  • Midfoot lacing system

CONS:

  • The insole isn’t removable
 

FAQs

Wondering why you should try one of the best Nike running shoes for men? Here’s some more info to help you make the decision.

History of Nike

Have you ever heard of Blue Ribbon Sports? They were the original Nike! They were formed as a sportswear company in 1964 and opened their first store in 1966.

In 1972, still under the name Blue Ribbon Sports, they launched a new shoe brand: Nike. In 1978, they renamed themselves Nike, Inc.

They expanded vastly over the next 20 to 25 years. In the 80s, they acquired shoe company Cole Hahn, and in 1994, Canstar Sports, an equipment manufacturer. By then, Nike shoes were being distributed and bought in more than 170 countries.

They continued to grow, taking over the hugely popular Converse, Inc. in 2003 and sporting equipment makers Umbro in 2008.

They’ve always made great shoes, and the Nike Swoosh is one of the most recognized logos in the world. Numerous athletes and celebrities have made the shoes even more popular thanks to endorsements.

In recent years, Nike has gone to great lengths to create shoes that are what runners really want. They’re worked closely with runners of all types, and are bringing out some of the most technologically-advanced running shoes on the market.

How Much are Nike Running Shoes?

Nike’s shoes have a very wide price range. The more features and technology is incorporated, the higher the price, naturally.

A quick search on Nike’s website at the time of writing shows that you can buy a track spike, racing shoe, or regular running shoe for $45. The upper end of their road racing shoes can cost $300.

But most of their shoes are priced in the $100 to $150 range.

How Do Nike Running Shoes Fit?

Nike shoes have a reputation of being designed for a snug fit. Of course, it really depends on your foot and your preference. But it’s a good idea to read through some reviews before buying a shoe, so you know what others have experienced.

Most of them also have a high heel-to-toe drop. It isn’t any higher than other brands, really, but it may not delight you if you prefer zero-drop or low-drop shoes.

How Should I Clean Nike Running Shoes?

When you’re investing in a quality pair of running shoes, you expect them to last a long time. But you have a part to play in keeping them in good condition.

While we can’t always control how much wear and tear happens to our shoes, you can keep them clean and looking good.

Cleaning your running shoes regularly will also allow you to find small problems, like cracks or areas of wearing-away that you can take steps to protect early.

Here are some tips:

  • A used toothbrush or soft-bristled brush is best.
  • Find out the manufacturer’s recommendation on using washing machines.
  • Allow shoes to dry completely before cleaning.
  • Brush them off dry first to remove loose debris.
  • For outsoles, scrub them vigorously with soap and a soft brush.
  • Remove the insoles and scrub them with mild soap, a vinegar and water solution, or water and baking soda paste.
  • Rinse insoles well and allow to air dry.
  • Remove laces before cleaning the upper.
  • Brush dry to remove debris and dirt.
  • Pour water and mild soap onto shoes and scrub with soft brush.
  • Rinse well, and allow to air dry.
The Wired Runner