A company that has deep roots in American culture from both a business and running background, Nike is truly a leader in the running (and business) world. Starting as just a two man operation distributing other brands’ shoes, this company exponentially grew through ground breaking innovation. So much so, that they gained more than half of the running shoe market share in just under 16 years of existence.

Always putting quality and innovation over all else, Nike now sits as the world’s (not just the united state’s) 53rd most valuable brand. And this happened in just under 47 years. In fact, anywhere you go, whether it be to the park for a run, or just to your local mall, you are bound to see someone wearing some type of Nike apparel.


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nike logo

Nike History

Nike was founded in 1964 by University of Oregon athlete Phillip Knight, and his coach Bill Bowerman. Originally known as “Blue Ribbon Sports”, they started as just a distributor for ASICS, and sold shoes at Oregon track meets out of Knight’s van. In just 3 years the company’s’ profits exponentially grew, and they soon opened their first retail store in Santa Monica, California. With the relationship with ASICS coming to a close, Blue Ribbon Sports released their first line of footwear, the “Swoosh”. Within a year of opening their store, they changed their name to “Nike” and adopted the trademarked “swoosh” as their emblem.

Even though this company was fast growing and doing well, it wasn’t until Bill Bowerman was experimenting with new and different designs for shoes, did he invent the “waffle” design. This new innovation was a pattern put on the bottom of shoes that allowed for shoes to more effectively grip the new types of tracks. Once this design came out, Nike cemented their place as a leader in the running world.

Innovation and Technologies

Released in 2006, Nike introduced their “Nike+” technology which changed the way people run. The technology is a small accelerometer placed in the runners shoe, which communicates with a specialized wristband. (later iPod’s, and other android devices) This could tell the runner the exact distance, time, calories burned, pace, and a slew of other goodies in real time. If used with an iPod, the device can actually talk to you (telling you how much longer your run is, where to go, etc.) again enhancing your experience. Recently they also added a GPS app, that allows you to run without the need of a shoe sensor. You can read more about Nike+ here.

One of Nike’s newest innovations, and something that has put them ahead of the game is their Flywire technology. A material composed of vectran used in the upper of the shoe, this thread  makes the shoe extremely stable, durable and still extremely lightweight. This technology has allowed Nike to make some of the best shoes on the market. One example is their famous “Victory” running spike. While it has some of the best traction on the entire market it sits at just 3.2oz!

Bill Bowerman, one of the founders of Nike, was the inspiration behind the design and innovation for all of the shoes that created Nike’s foundation. After he passed in 1999, Nike decided to create a line of footwear that honored his passion and ideology. This is now called the Bowerman series. Following the three principles of keeping it light, making the fit perfect, and going the distance, this line of shoes has really set the bar high for great running shoes. Some of these include the Nike Air models, the Equalon models, the Structure Triax, and the Zoom Vomero’s. Along with the lunar series (which are Nike +) these shoes put Nike on the top of list as far as quality, and innovation.

Best Nike Running Shoes

As with every brand, our editors come together and pick which shoe’s we think are the best. And while it isn’t always a perfect ranking system, (because certain shoes serve certain purposes for certain people) there is still a general consensus. So here it is, the best Nike running shoes on the market:

1 Nike Zoom Vomero+ 5  

Since the Vomero 4 was so good, Nike did a great job keeping the foundation of the shoe, and just tweaking some of the problems out. One of the tweaks is under the arch: they added a small piece that keeps the shoe in contact with the ground. This creates a better overall gait transition. They also added more Flywire material, which makes the shoe lighter, but also lightly hugs your feet as you run. With a little bit more overlay in the forefoot, it closes this shoe up, but still doesn’t make you feel restricted. This shoe retails for about 130$, however, it’s been out for a while and you could definitely find it lower with some proper searching. Overall we give this shoe a 5/5.

2 Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ 14

A perfect shoe for going off road or in any terrain, this shoe has a highly breathable mesh upper, with synthetic overlays throughout for extra support. The unique lacing design also creates a nice snug fit (which is something Nike is very good at) also with a specially designed tongue that will keep dibris out, and is extremely comfortable on those long runs. This shoe also has a Gortex membrane which is lined around the shoe, this will keep your feet dry and warm, without suffocating them. (it also wicks away any extra moisture) This shoe also comes with Nike+ technology so you can track and monitor all of your runs. There is added Phylon material in the midsole which allows for added shock absorption which will make your run as smooth as butter. With a Duralon bottom, this shoe will also give you amazing traction even in the roughest terrain and nastiest conditions. This shoe retails for 100$, however i’ve seen it as low as 60$ online. Once again our editors give this shoe a 5/5.

3 Nike Air Pegasus+ 27

Nike Air Pegasus+ 27

A perfect shoe for going off road or in any terrain, this shoe has a highly breathable mesh upper, with synthetic overlays throughout for extra support. The unique lacing design also creates a nice snug fit (which is something Nike is very good at) also with a specially designed tongue that will keep dibris out, and is extremely comfortable on those long runs. This shoe also has a Gortex membrane which is lined around the shoe, this will keep your feet dry and warm, without suffocating them. (it also wicks away any extra moisture) This shoe also comes with Nike+ technology so you can track and monitor all of your runs. There is added Phylon material in the midsole which allows for added shock absorption which will make your run as smooth as butter. With a Duralon bottom, this shoe will also give you amazing traction even in the roughest terrain and nastiest conditions. This shoe retails for 100$, however i’ve seen it as low as 60$ online. Once again our editors give this shoe a 5/5.

4 Nike LunarElite+ 2      

Nike LunarElite+ 2

Perfect if you are training for longer distances like the half or full marathon, this is a great shoe with a lot of durable and resilient cushioning. This is part of the “Nike Air” collection so it has a zoom air insert in the heel of the shoe. For those of you who don’t know about “Nike Air”, it is a technology that was designed to be the most “responsive”, or springy and durable material of any shoe out there. The midsole is much softer than in previous models giving it a more comfortable feel. The forefoot is very flexible and soft which just gives your run a more natural feel. There is also no stitching on the inside of the foot so there is no uncomfortable rubbing. Retailing for just 90$, we suggest this shoe to anyone going into the longer distances. 5/5

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