Nike remains the biggest fitness brand in the world, with products and athletes across every sport you can think of, but running has always been at the heart of this brand – after all, Nike was founded back in 1964 by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and Olympic running coach Bill Bowerman.
The pair experimented with new running shoe designs, and that desire to create and innovate trainers that help runners to go faster and further has been at the heart of Nike ever since.
Yet with such a vast array of shoes for every kind of runner, it can be a bit of a minefield to figure out which trainer is best for you.
We put some of Nike’s most popular long-distance running trainers to the test, looking at cushioning, stability, durability and speed. So whether you’ve just decided to start Couch to 5k or you’re lacing up in preparation for your sixth marathon, we’ll help you choose the right pair (or maybe even “pairs”) of running shoes to suit your mileage, preferred fit and run surface.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Nike air zoom pegasus 37
Best: Daily training shoe
Nike’s pegasus is a classic running shoe – we clocked up our first half marathons wearing older versions of these. The pegasus 37 is arguably its best update to the line in a while. Versatile, durable, lightweight – and not to mention comfortable, with “react” foam and a custom “zoom air” unit – we’re big fans of this bouncy iteration.
Pegged as “your workhorse with wings”, the pegasus 37 is, in our opinion, the perfect shoe for the everyday runner. From easy to tempo runs and speed sessions to races, it’s designed to handle everything and is a tried and tested favourite among many runners.
At £104.95, it’s also a way more affordable shoe than the competition. And, with the pegasus 38 on the horizon, the price of these could be about to drop even lower.
Buy women’s: £70, Jdsports.co.uk
Buy men’s: £105, Runnersneed.com
Nike air zoom vomero 15
Best: For long runs
Another customer favourite, the Nike air zoom vomero 15 has been updated with “zoomx” foam in the heel and a “zoom air” unit in the forefoot, so it feels (and looks) quite different to the previous iteration, the vomero 14.
We found ourselves continually reaching for these when the words “easy long run” popped up on our training plan. The “flywire” cables help to prevent any in-shoe slippage, while the foam makes it feel cushioned and comfortable. These shoes are way more durable than their predecessors too, with rubber covering the heel to help prevent any heel-strike trauma – we think it’s an ideal pairing for distance runners.
Buy women’s: £129.95, Runnersneed.com
Buy men’s: £110.46, Run4it.com
Nike zoomx invincible run flyknit
Best: Cushioned shoe
You can tell this shoe is made for serious miles due to the thick, mashmallow-like, foamy cushioning (it’s even squishy to touch) and full-length waffle outsole for added traction. Super soft and surprisingly lightweight, we found this trainer to be very responsive and bouncy.
And there’s a reason why. The energy-return technology aims to absorb impact and then push it back out for a bounce-like effect, reducing any unnecessary use of muscle power, diminishing fatigue and enhancing performance. This shoe is designed to help reduce injury and make running feel easy.
You’ll also notice that the shape of the invincible run flyknit is slightly different to the other shoes on this list – with a square heel, it’s made to provide more support through your gait.
We really enjoyed running in the invincible – it’s a soft, bouncy shoe that’s great for easy miles (mainly thanks to that midsole). The only thing we’d change? Just a tad more room in the toes – but that can arguably be solved by going up half a size. Oh, and the price: for nearly £160 we’d be tempted to steer towards slightly cheaper options for more of an all-rounder.
Buy women’s: £159.95, Sportshoes.com
Buy men’s: £159.95, Nike.com
Nike react infinity run flyknit 2
Best: For injury-prone runners
We found the extra cushioning on this shoe helped to absorb any unwanted impact (especially the padding around the heel), which made even the hardest of runs feel a little easier on our legs, mile after mile after mile. We’d recommend this shoe for any extra support and protection on easy training runs – not for speed sessions.
Designed to keep you running, injury-free, Nike’s react infinity run flyknit 2 combines a breathable, ventilated upper with added “flywire” technology for support and stability. The aim of the game here is comfort.
What felt noticeably different about these trainers was the wider shape and higher stack height, which is great for any runners who tend to overpronate or need a little extra support. We also like the little loop of material at the heel for an easy on and off.
And if “pink glaze” isn’t quite your colour, you can choose “bright mango” or black with “aurora green”. Personally, we’ve got our eyes on this summer’s limited-edition colourway – a bright white with a leopard print Nike swoosh.
Buy women’s: £139.95, Nike.com
Buy men’s £139.95, Nike.com
Nike air zoom structure 23
Best: For stability
This shoe didn’t feel as fast as some of the others on this list, but if you’re looking for a pair of running trainers that can also double up as an everyday pair of kicks for brunch dates or the weekly food shop, or if you need a shoe to combat overpronation, then the zoom structure is a great pick.
Our feet felt pretty snug in these – the combination of the plush tongue with the woven heel kept our foot in place, anchoring the foot and reducing any in-shoe slippage. We found the amount of stability wasn’t overbearing and we also liked the honeycomb pattern on the outsole.
Buy women’s: £104.95, Sportshoes.com
Buy men’s: £105, Runnersneed.com
Nike zoomx vaporfly next% 2
Best: For racing
Nike’s vaporflys are arguably the most talked-about trainers in the world – and, honestly, they live up to the hype. Using data taken from the running app Strava,TheNew York Times reported that, yes, it was exactly like Nike claimed: runners wearing vaporflys ran three to four per cent faster than similar-pace runners wearing other shoes.
You’ll probably recognise this somewhat controversial shoe from when Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner of all time, used a variant of the vaporfly for his sub-two-hour marathon in October 2019. The next day, Brigid Kosgei ran 2:14.04 at the Chicago marathon in a pair of modified vaporflys, taking 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record.
These shoes have changed running forever. And you too can get your hands on a pair for just over £200. Whether you’re lacing up to finish your first ever marathon or aiming for a 5k personal best, the right race-day shoes can help you showcase all that hard training. Just remember, it’s important to break your race-day shoes in ( not just around the house) to make sure you feel confident in them.
Buy women’s: £209.95, Nike.com
Buy men’s: £209.95, Sportshoes.com
The verdict: Nike running trainers
Nike made some crucial updates for it’s 37th shoe in the pegasus line to create a more responsive, bouncy feel, and for that reason the pegasus 37 steals the crown here as the best all-round trainer for running. From easy efforts to racing, this cushioned but quick shoe would make a great half marathon or marathon shoe for most runners.
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Enjoy support and comfort while you train with the best women’s running shoes
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.