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Road Running Shoes • December 21, 2021

Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16 Review: How Does It Compare to the Pegasus?

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.3 oz. (292 g) for a US M9 / 8.4 oz. (238 g) for a US W8
  • Traditionally Nike’s comfort trainer
  • Midsole uses a ZoomX core with outer EVA wrap
  • Very nice alternative to the Pegasus
  • Available now for $150

The Intro

THOMAS: The Vomero has always held a weird spot in the Nike running family. Think loveable uncle that is slightly different from your pops, who that daily fixture in your life over the last 38 years (i.e. the Pegasus). The Vomero is kinda there when you need him, might lend you 50 bucks in a pinch, really enjoys time on the riding mower and telling war stories about all the crazy shit they did in the ’60s, a glass of Jack Daniels in one hand and a burnt-out cigar in the other.

All that to say, in case you’re wondering what the hell we’re talking about, it’s basically this: The Vomero is traditionally more cushioned and an upgrade from the Peg, but when it comes down to choosing the Vomero or the Peg, the Peg often wins out as, for many runners, the brothers are too close to warrant needing. So the choice between these two shoes comes down to the nuances in materials and how it translates to the ride.

MEAGHAN: Back in 2018 (basically a lifetime ago) we tested out the Vomero 14 and I absolutely loved it. I’m not totally sure what happened to the Vomero 15, apparently it was never brought over to the U.S. because of logistics issues, but either way, none of us here ran in it. And though it’s been out for a few months, we finally got the chance to run in the Vomero 16. And a lot has changed. Let’s jump right in.

nike air zoom vomero 16 - heel

The Good

THOMAS: The upper of the Vomero 16 is confusing, but the good parts are the airy open toebox and that it fits well once you get it laced up correctly. More about that in the “bad” section. The padding in the tongue and ankle collar is ample.

The area in which the Vomero 16 shines is in the midsole. ZoomX is used as a top layer of the cushioning package. If you’re not familiar with ZoomX, it’s the same foam used in Nike’s elite racing shoes, the Vaporfly and Alphafly (and also the Nike Invincible). It sits close to your foot, providing a light, soft feeling with some dynamic pop underfoot. Under the forefoot, the Articulated Air Zoom unit is noticeable and gives the toe-off some zesty kick. For me, it was very apparent, for Meaghan, not so much. The rim of the midsole is standard EVA foam. It serves to contain the ZoomX and help the longevity of the shoe. Nike put full coverage rubber on the outsole to finish the shoe off. 

Honestly, I really liked the ride of this more than the Pegasus. While the Pegasus also has a nice pop with a forefoot Zoom Air unit, it does feel a tad more block with the full React midsole, whereas I get a nice, cushioned roll through in the Vomero. I really wasn’t expecting to like the Vomero more in this respect, but again, I was pleasantly surprised.

The sensation of running in the Vomero 16 was surprisingly pleasurable. A soft landing, followed by a flexible toe-off with zing from the Air Zoom unit, had me enjoying my miles. It may be the best use of ZoomX in a shoe outside of the Vaporfly or Alphafly, because I never really enjoyed the Invincible the way a lot of Nike fans have (and I do consider myself a Nike fan).

My pair of US men’s 10.5 weighs 10.8 oz. / 308 grams. Not super light, but reasonable for a daily trainer with full rubber coverage on the outsole. Cause y’all ask every time, the drop is 10 mm (29.5mm in the heel, 19.5mm in the forefoot).

MEAGHAN: There are several updates from the Vomero 14 to the 16. The upper is now designed with an adjustable midfoot band and a stable clip at the heel for added support. Overall, the shoe feels a lot more structured. The mesh is pretty stretchy, breathes well, and Nike brought back the plush padding in the heel and collar.

In the midsole, React cushioning has been replaced with ZoomX, which is Nike’s lightest and ‘bounciest’ foam. For some added pop, there’s Zoom Air cushioning under the forefoot, though, unlike Thomas I didn’t really notice it. The outsole is fully covered in rubber with lugs that provide a ton of traction and durability. I think you’ll get plenty of miles out of this shoe.

Shop Vomero 16 – Men Shop Vomero 16 – Women nike air zoom vomero 16 - upper

The Bad

THOMAS: This is obviously totally subjective, but this shoe is ugly. The design reminds me of an old Buster Brown saddle shoe and an early 2000 cross-trainer. It looks like it was born to walk the runway of the DSW fashion awards show. I mean, honestly just looking at it I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a basketball shoe, Crossfit shoe, running shoe, or an accident.

Functionally, the lacing system kinda sucks. Instead of a traditional crisscross lacing setup, the Vomero 16 has a lace system that looks more like a ladder. I could get a good fit, but it took some trial and error. I just don’t like the way it looks or works.

MEAGHAN: I had pretty high expectations from the Vomero 14, so the 16 fell short. I don’t love the new midfoot band, in fact, I think it looks kind of cheap. It’s also not that comfortable and I couldn’t get a good lock-down fit. 

While there is some decent cushioning underfoot, 28.1mm heel and 18.5mm forefoot (for a 9.6mm drop), in today’s max cushion world, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Shop Vomero 16 – Men Shop Vomero 16 – Women nike air zoom vomero 16 - outsole

Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16 Conclusion

THOMAS: I really enjoyed the miles in the Vomero. The ride is well-cushioned without feeling too sloppy. The shoe still has a punch with ZoomX and the Air Zoom unit. I would probably go with the Peg 38 over the Vomero, though, because of two things. First, just look at the Vomero – it hurts the eyes. And second, the price difference. The Pegasus is an excellent daily trainer at $120 vs. the $150 for the Vomero 16. Now, if you can get past both of those things, the Vomero 16 may very well be your daily trainer of choice. For sure you can get a ton of miles out of it, and you likely won’t be disappointed if you do spring for the shoe. After all, $150 is about standard these days.

MEAGHAN: The Nike Vomero 16 is a solid daily trainer that provides plenty of structure and support. With a full rubber outsole, you’ll be able to get plenty of miles out of them. The question is, will you want to? I found the shoes to lack cushioning and overall comfort that I crave in a daily trainer. I think a true Vomero fan will still enjoy V16, and there are plenty of them out there, but for me, this version is a pass.

You can pick up the Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Vomero 16 – Men Shop Vomero 16 – Women nike air zoom vomero 16 - running


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