How to Choose the Best Nike Running Shoes for You

Nike running shoes Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%
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Nike running shoes are highly popular, and with good reason—the Swoosh makes some excellent kicks. Nike has been an innovator in the running world for decades, and its list of inventions, from Zoom Air pods in the ‘70s to carbon-fiber midsole plates more recently, is long. These inventions aren’t just gimmicks, either: Eliud Kipchoge ran a sub-two-hour marathon in a pair of Vaporflys, and the Infinity Run demonstrably reduced injuries in an independent study (to name just two standout examples). Nike continues to push the envelope with running shoe designs for elite athletes and the rest of us, too.

Whether you’re in search of a workhorse trainer or a speed-focused racing shoe for your next 10K, there’s a pair of Nike running shoes for you. Below, we’ve rounded up top models from across the company’s lineup that work for a variety of runners and running styles. Lace up and get out there.

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Best Nike Running Shoes for Every Pursuit

Nike running shoes Air Zoom Pegasus 38
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Courtesy Image

1. Best All-Rounder: Air Zoom Pegasus 38

The Nike Pegasus has been a beloved part of the company’s running shoe lineup for decades, and if you’re looking for a dependable, versatile training shoe, this is it. The latest version features a generous layer of Nike’s lightweight React foam paired with a Zoom Air unit for added bounce and responsiveness. It’s topped with a stretchy mesh upper for an accommodating fit and good breathability; Nike also widened the toe box and added more padding in the tongue for a plush feel. From speed workouts to high-mileage training, the Peg can handle whatever kind of running you like to do.


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Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% Courtesy Image

2. Best for Racing: Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

When people talk about cutting-edge Nike running shoe designs, this is what they mean. The Alphafly is the brand’s top-of-the-line racing shoe, and it features all the latest speed-oriented tech (and a hefty price tag as well). The thick sole is made from lightweight, bouncy ZoomX foam and includes two Zoom Air units and a full-length carbon fiber plate for excellent shock absorption and a snappy, propulsive ride. The upper utilizes AtomKnit, a version of the company’s signature Flyknit fabric that’s steamed and stretched for maximum breathability and even lower weight. The result? A breezy, well-cushioned shoe that’s built for breaking records.


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Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT%
Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% Courtesy Image

3. Best for Speed Training: Air Zoom Tempo NEXT%

The Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% is the training counterpart to the Alphafly above. While the Tempo is plenty fast and utilizes some of the same tech found in the Alphafly, it has a bit more cushioning and support to keep your feet protected through a rigorous training routine. ZoomX foam and an Air Zoom unit in the sole combine to create a cushioned-yet-responsive ride, and a layer of Nike React foam adds durability for long-lasting shock absorption. A Flyknit upper creates targeted support and a snug fit at midfoot.


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Nike Wildhorse 7 Nike running shoes
Nike Wildhorse 7 Courtesy Image

4. Best for Trails: Wildhorse 7

Although brands like Salomon get a lot of love for its trail shoes, Nike makes capable options for off-road exploration, too. The Wildhorse is a great pick for trail runners. The outsole features burly lugs made from high-abrasion rubber for excellent durability and grip in loose terrain. The React foam in the midsole provides bouncy cushioning, and an embedded rock plate keeps your feet protected from sharp roots and rocks. It’s topped with a breathable mesh upper for a lightweight, energetic feel on the trail. (Author’s note: These have become my go-to hiking shoes as well).


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Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 Courtesy Image

5. Best for Support: React Infinity Run Flyknit 2

Support shoes have a reputation for being clunky, but the Infinity Run defies that trend. While it has plenty of cushioning—Nike added an even thicker layer of React foam in this version, which provides a responsive, energetic feel underfoot. Combined with a rocker-shaped sole, the Infinity Run helps you roll through your stride, while a wider forefoot and a Flyknit upper support your foot and help counter overpronation. Better yet, an independent study found that the Infinity Run significantly reduced injuries compared to Nike’s previous support offering, the Structure 22.


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Nike running shoes Air Zoom Vomero
Nike Air Zoom Vomero Courtesy Image

6. Best for Maximum Cushioning: Air Zoom Vomero 16

If you love a plush feel underfoot, check out the Vomero. The latest version comes with Nike’s top-tier ZoomX foam and a Zoom Air unit placed under the forefoot; together they create a supremely smooth, cushioned ride with plenty of energy return, especially at toe-off. A midfoot band embedded in the upper connects with the lacing eyelets to help you dial in the fit and get extra support, and a heel clip keeps the back of your foot in place on uneven ground. Plus, the upper features mesh in key areas for targeted ventilation and stretch where you need it.


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Nike Free Run 5.0
Nike Free Run 5.0 Courtesy Image

7. Best for Minimalists: Free Run 5.0

On the other end of the spectrum, some runners prefer a firm, close-to-the-ground feel in their running shoes—and the Free Run 5.0 is built for exactly that kind of sensation. The latest iteration comes with an improved foam in the sole for better responsiveness and lower weight, and the distinctive laser-cut grooves give the shoe excellent flexibility, so it moves with your foot as you run. Rubber placements at the heel and forefoot add durability in high-wear areas, but overall, this shoe is designed to feel like it’s not there. It’s not quite barefoot running, but it’s close.


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Winflo 8
Winflo 8 Courtesy Image

8. Best Affordable Shoe: Winflo 8

You can spend a lot of money on Nike running shoes, but you don’t have to. The Winflo 8 is that rare pair of kicks that offers quality materials and engineering at a bargain price point. A capable trainer, the Winflo comes with soft Cushlon foam (the same stuff used in older versions of the Pegasus) and a Zoom Air unit for a plush feel that doesn’t sacrifice energy return. The mesh upper is designed for optimal breathability, and it’s built with Flywire cables that connect to the lacing eyelets for a lockdown fit at midfoot.


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ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit
ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit Courtesy Image

9. Best for Long Runs: ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit

While speed demons need shoes that are light and peppy, distance runners need a pair that can keep their feet cushioned and protected through double-digit mileage. If you fall into that latter category, Invincible Run is definitely worth a look. It’s made with ZoomX foam for plush, responsive cushioning, and the sole has a rocker shape to help you transition smoothly through your stride. The Flyknit upper offers great breathability, and studded rubber covers almost the entire outsole for excellent grip and durability.


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