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Road Running Shoes • January 4, 2024

Best Nike Running Shoes Right Now

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What You Need To Know


Let’s get into the best Nike running shoes right now

A Swoosh for everyone

We’ve picked out some faves for the roads, trails, and race day


If we missed a favorite of yours, let us know in the comments

Ahh, new shoe day, there’s not much better. However, if you’re looking to pick up a new pair of Nike running shoes, then you might be overwhelmed by the number of options. There are like 90 types of padding, just as many materials, and a whole rainbow of colorways to pick from. Not to mention an entirely different set of shoes for life on the trails. We’re here to help you narrow it down with our handy guide to the best Nike running shoes you can get.

The Beaverton brand has come a long way since its early days as Blue Ribbon Sports, going from selling ASICS Onitsuka out of a trunk to breaking the two-hour marathon barrier with Eliud Kipchoge in 2019. Now, the Swoosh is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to race day, boasting an unbelievable stable of elites outside of the GOAT himself. Nike’s foams just keep getting lighter, its plates bouncier, and its colorways even sweeter — even though we reach for the white-out Proto version any chance we get. We can’t say you’ll break world records with our picks, you’ll certainly look great and hopefully run a bit better. 

We’ve picked our top eight options currently available to keep it simple for us (and for you, too), so let’s hop to it.

Key Terms In This Review


The successor to Nike’s React foam, made with a similar formula but a simplified, greener injection-molding process.

Zoom Air

Midsole technology where a Nike Air unit is reinforced by tensil fibers that compress and expand beneath each step, not to be confused with Air Max, which has no tensil fibers.

ZoomX (yes, they're different)

The lightest, most responsive, softest foam in the Nike lineup, originally introduced in the Nike Vaporfly 4%, ZoomX has an impressive 85% energy return.


Lightweight knit upper material that debuted at the 2012 London Olympics, fits snug to your foot like a sock. Breathable, form-fitting, durable upper material made partly from recycled polyester.


An even lighter version of Flyknit that features in the Alphafly.

The Best Nike Running Shoes Right Now

nike alphafly 3 - feature

Nike Alphafly 3


Watch The Review
Best For

Setting a marathon PR


7.8 oz. (221 g) for a US M10.5,

5.8 oz. (164 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

40 mm in heel, 32 mm in forefoot (8 mm drop)

The king is back, baby. No, not Elvis — it’s too late for him and for Austin Butler’s portrayal of him — but the Alphafly, on the other hand, is back in a big way. We weren’t shy about the fact that we didn’t like version two (Meg has been hoarding OG Alphaflys like Smaug on a pile of gold), so we won’t be shy about liking version three quite a lot. It’s the biggest departure from the classic Alphafly in terms of aesthetics but also upgrades, so let’s get into it.

For starters, the Alphafly 3 looks nothing like its predecessor. There’s no longer a gap behind the Zoom Air pods, and the entire shape of the midsole has received a full BBL. It reaches its widest point right below where it meets the upper, which is now an even lighter Atomknit 3.0 mesh. Every part of the Alphafly 3 seems tuned towards being lighter and leaner, including the name — you’ll notice that “Next%” is no longer the supershoe’s middle name.

Oh, and by eliminating that weight-saving midsole gap, Nike has vastly improved the transition of the Alphafly 3. It no longer sounds quite like a pair of hooves clippity clopping across the Baltimore streets, which we can only list as a benefit. Even though Meg’s attempt at CIM in the Alphafly 3 didn’t exactly go to plan, it was hardly because of her feet. In fact, the Alphafly held up its end of the bargain, only for the rest of a very, very tired Meg to go through the pain cave and come out rather scathed.

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nike alphafly 3 - shop right
Shop Nike Alphafly 3 Men
nike alphafly 3 - shop right
Shop Nike Alphafly 3 Women
The nike air zoom flyknit is sitting on a rock.

Nike InfinityRN 4


Watch The Review
Best For

Easy, stable miles


12.4 oz. (353 g) for a US M10,

9.9 oz. (281 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

39 mm in heel, 30 mm in forefoot

When Nike introduced its React Infinity a few years ago, it did so with bold claims about injury prevention. Whether it really made much difference in how healthy you stayed, we may never know, but damn if we didn’t pick up our pairs anyway. Either way, we’re on to version four of the Infinity, and Nike has entered the vowel-cutting phase of its development.

Vowels or not, the InfinityRN 4 might be this trainer’s best iteration yet. It’s the first version to adopt a new midsole shape — and foam in the form of ReactX underfoot. Nike also stripped away the traditional plastic heel clip, meaning that the wider platform now has to pick up a bit of the slack, which it does with ease. We’re fans of the revamped upper, which has a bit less arch support and a bit more comfort, making it a more approachable Nike running shoe if you just want a little bit of stability.

We mentioned the swap to ReactX above, but don’t worry — it’s still basically the same foam you know and love. The InfinityRN 4 is sustainability-minded, which means it uses a slightly more efficient injection molding procedure to craft the slab of foam underfoot, but the formula itself hasn’t changed one bit, it’s still made of dinosaur bones and unicorns as expected.

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nike infinityrn 4 - shop men
Shop Nike InfinityRN 4 Men
nike infinityrn 4 - shop women
Shop Nike Vomero 17 Women
nike ultrafly on a rock

Nike Ultrafly


Watch The Review
Best For

Non-technical racing at any distance


10.6 oz. (300 g) for a US M10,

8.8 oz. (249 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

38.5 mm in heel, 30 mm in forefoot (8.5 mm drop)

We don’t always know how excited to get when Nike drops a trail running shoe. Sure, the colorway is gonna be a banger, but who knows if the outsole rubber will be reliable or rubbish. Thankfully, the Nike Ultrafly put our fears to rest early when it was unveiled with a sweet, sweet yellow logo on the midsole. Yeah, it’s got Vibram, baby. In the Ultrafly’s case, that means Vibram Megagrip, which sticks to pretty much everything you put your feet on.

Outside of the vastly improved outsole material, the Ultrafly is built up like a Vaporfly for the wild side. It has a carbon Flyplate tucked into the fabric-wrapped ZoomX midsole, a water-resistant (or at least water-shedding) Vaporweave upper, and the white, black, and orange Proto colorway that we love so much. Adding to the positives, Robbe was happy to point out that the Ultrafly has a wider platform than we’re used to seeing from Nike’s racing shoes, so it doesn’t feel like you’re racing on a razor blade.

We’ll readily admit that we prefer the Ultrafly for a very specific type of terrain — we’re talkin’ fire roads and light trails. After all, it’s tough to unleash a superfoam like ZoomX when you’re worried about each and every footfall, but you can really let the Ultrafly sing once the terrain opens up. The inherent instability of Nike’s top-shelf foam means that any iteration will have some trouble with highly technical trails like the Appalachian Trail, but don’t let that stop you from lacing up the Ultrafly for something like a rail-trail half marathon.

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Nike Ultrafly - Men
Shop Nike Ultrafly Men
Shop Nike Ultrafly Women
nike vomero 17 - looking down black

Nike Vomero 17


Watch The Review
Best For

Long runs, daily training


10.6 oz. (300 g) for a US M10,

8.7 oz. (243 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

39.5 mm in heel, 30 mm in forefoot (9.5 mm drop)

Ya know what? The Nike Vomero gets a bad rap. Not because it’s a bad shoe, but because it just doesn’t have the same legacy or longevity as the Pegasus. Well we think that should change because this just might be Nike’s more enjoyable daily trainer. Put simply, it’s just a bit more exciting than its winged cousin, thanks to the combination of ZoomX and Cushlon 3.0 (throwback, anyone?) in the midsole.

Don’t get us wrong, the black colorway that Thomas and Ryan received isn’t exciting in anyone’s book, but the ride of the Vomero 17 more than makes up for it. It’s a thick, comfortable slab of foam with just enough of a rocker to keep you moving, as well as more than enough waffle-patterned rubber coverage. The Vomero 17 still feels as fun and fresh now as it did when we unboxed it, but some of us — like Meg — have put the better part of a marathon training cycle into our pairs.

Nike didn’t just upgrade the midsole on the Vomero 17, either. The upper is all-new and finally looks like a much more modern running shoe. If you remember the previous generation, you’ll certainly remember that the Vomero used to rock a thick midfoot band that didn’t really add anything, but now that’s gone like the Dodo. The revamped upper is light, breathable, and much easier to style for casual wear. Oh, and the ZoomX and Cushlon 3.0 combo is a dream for long days on your feet.

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nike vomero 17 - men shop
Shop Nike Vomero 17 Men
nike vomero 17 - women shop
Shop Nike Vomero 17 Women
photo of the nike invincible 3 in men's blue colorway with a women's pink colorway behind it

Nike ZoomX Invincible 3


Watch The Review
Best For

Easy days and long runs


10.6 oz. (300 g) for a US M9,

8 oz. (227 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

40 mm in heel, 31 mm in forefoot (9 mm drop)

You want a thicc boi with a swoosh on the side? Well then, have we got the shoe for you. It’s a bouncy little beefcake called the Invincible, and it sits on a mountain of ZoomX foam. Nike’s non-racing ZoomX trainer is in its third generation, and it’s a great option for long, slow miles whether you’re in for a recovery day or on a pre-marathon long run. As always, there are a few changes from the previous version, including a redone upper with a more breathable (but less plush) weave.

Honestly, our whole team is on board with the aesthetic update, especially Meg. She pointed out that the new Invincible 3 no longer looks quite as clunky or bubbly, but still feels just as comfortable. Nike reworked the midsole geometry, using careful shaping to maintain the needed stability while also reducing the amount of foam needed for each pair of shoes.

Unfortunately, our reviewers ran into a bit of heel slippage in the Invincible 3, most likely due to the wider opening and slightly different tongue design. Robbe, in particular, resorted to thicker socks, heel-lock lacing, and a few other tricks to no avail. You might have some luck if you drop down half a size, but keep in mind that Nike’s shoes don’t run as long as those from Adidas, so you might find your toes getting pinched.

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nike invincible 3 - men shop
Shop Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 Men
nike invincible 3 - women shop
Shop Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 Women
nike zegama - feature black

Nike ZoomX Zegama


Best For

Speedy (but dry) trail days


11.2 oz. (317 g) for a US M10,

9.3 oz. (265 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

37 mm in heel, 33 mm in forefoot (4 mm drop)

Let’s head back to the trails for a little more fun on the wild side, shall we? Nike’s ZoomX Zegama actually predated the Ultrafly by a few months, and it’s nice to contrast the Swoosh’s first crack at superfoam on the trails from its second. The Zegama actually uses a core of ZoomX with a slightly more durable foam called SR02 to balance out the bounce and wildness of the ZoomX. Don’t worry, the combination doesn’t neuter the fun of the ZoomX, it just brings it to a point where you can feel a bit safer while bounding down the trails.

Outside of the change in midsole foams, the Zegama is actually a masterclass of Nike design. For starters, it’s a stunning shoe, but it also shifted to a slightly wider, more stable platform to keep you from rocketing to the left or right — or busting an ankle. Nike’s ZoomX Zegama also tops the Altra Mont Blanc and Saucony Xodus Ultra with a more secure upper. It pairs a debris-blocking bootie with a reliable toe bumper and any number of absolutely crisp colorways.

Ultimately, if you’re after a fun, bouncy Nike trail shoe, the Zegama is a great option. It’s much more affordable option than the Ultrafly without shifting away from the use of ZoomX. Sure, it skips the carbon fiber plate and doesn’t have Vibram rubber underfoot, but such is the price you have to pay to save $100.

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Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail-womens shop
Shop Nike ZoomX Zegama Men
Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail-mens shop
Shop Nike ZoomX Zegama Women
pink women's nike shoe on pavement

Nike Pegasus 40


Watch The Review
Best For

Daily training


10.9 oz. (309 g) for a US M10.5,

8.5 oz. (242 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

33 mm in heel, 23 mm in forefoot (10 mm drop)

Lordy, lordy, the Pegasus is 40. That’s not a joke, somehow, Nike’s signature running shoe is officially over the hill. Is it the most exciting daily trainer? No, probably not, but man, the Pegasus has a devoted core of truthers who lace it up every single day. It’s one of those shoes that, if it works for you, it just works.

Honestly, there’s not a ton to regale you with when it comes to the Nike Pegasus 40. It’s a great running shoe because it’s so consistent, hanging onto largely the same formula of React with a similar Air Zoom pod to add a little extra bounce to your daily miles. If Nike changed anything in the Pegasus 40, it’s the upper — the mesh is just a little bit different from before and now houses a midfoot band instead of the tried and true Flywire from the Pegasus 39.

As Thomas put it, if the Pegasus 40 were a car, it would be a Honda Civic or a Toyota Camry. You can be damn sure it’s going to get you where you wanna go, even if it doesn’t hit 100 miles per hour.

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nike pegasus 40 - shop men photo
Shop Nike Pegasus 40 Men
nike pegasus 40 - shop women photo
Shop Nike Pegasus 40 Women
nike vaporfly next% 3 proto cover

Nike Vaporfly 3


Watch The Review
Best For

Race day when every single gram matters


7.2 oz. (204 g) for a US M10.5,

5.3 oz. (150 g) for a US W7.5

Stack Height / Drop

40 mm in heel, 32 mm in forefoot (8 mm drop)

Last, and certainly not least, we have the featherweight fighter. The king of the course. The racer that other racers dream of… the Nike Vaporfly 3. Like its Alphafly sibling, the Vaporfly got a bit of a facelift heading into version three. It gained a more angular midsole, lost some foam in the form of carefully placed cutouts, and swapped to the most breathable upper you might have ever seen. Seriously, make sure you have your sock game correct, because your toes will be peekin’ out.

As for the actual feel of the shoe, it’s just awesome. Meg barely noticed the weight — at 5.3 oz it’s one of the lightest shoes she owns — and probably one of the thinnest. The new mix of Flyknit is insanely breathable yet durable, and Nike’s slightly chunky laces lock right in place just like you expect from the Swoosh when you toe the starting line.

Underfoot, it’s all ZoomX, baby. Well, it’s ZoomX and a carbon Flyplate, but you get the idea. It’s extremely bouncy and pretty much just launches you forward at top speed. We’ve taken the Vaporfly for races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from a track-focused 5K with Tracksmith to a longer 12-mile blast through Baltimore for the Charles Street 12, and we’ve yet to find a race (or place) where it feels uncomfortable.

Shop The Shoe


Nike Vaporfly Next 3 - shop men
Shop Nike Vaporfly 3 Men
Nike Vaporfly Next 3 - shop women
Shop Nike Vaporfly 3 Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Doug Moreno says:

    It helped me alot to know about running shoes by Nike. Thanks for the information you shared.

    1. Robbe Reddinger says:

      Thanks for reading!

  2. David Walser says:

    You forgot the Structure (almost everyone usually does). I know that traditionally it hadn’t been everyone’s cup of tea, but the last few versions have been outstanding. It’s also a mild guidance shoe now, rather than a traditional stability shoe, so it’s softer and should work for a lot more people. It’s about the same price as the Pegasus, slightly softer and better cushioned, more stable (duh), and infinitely more comfortable.

  3. Jason W. says:

    So what would be your go-to Nike for speed work days? All the recommendations on this list are either racing, daily, trail, or easy/long days. My current rotation is a pair of new Balance Rebel V2s for speed work, and a pair of Invincible V3s for everything else. It’s about time to replace my Rebels and I’d like to go with something with a swoosh on it.

    I’m not really a big fan of the current Pegasus, and I tried a pair of Streakflys but didn’t like that the insoles are glued in – it didn’t help that the insoles in the pair I got were probably 1/2 size too small for the shoe with big gaps around the edges that made them uncomfortable to run in.

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