10 Best Nike Running Shoes, 100+ Shoes Tested in 2022

How we review Nike running shoes

Nike is a serious brand. But we are even more serious here at RunRepeat. Equipped with our proprietary shoe testing methodology, we go beyond the vague marketing statements to find out which Nike shoe is truly the best. Here is what we take each shoe through:

  • We purchase Nike shoes with our own funds to stay unbiased while testing every new release.
  • We cut, slice, and measure all Nike shoes in our lab to test them on more than 30 different parameters like durability, breathability, flexibility, and others.
  • Our testers run 30-50 miles a week to provide extensive feedback on each Nike model.
  • We also reflect thousands of expert and user reviews in our scores for a more comprehensive overview.

As a result, each Nike shoe receives a CoreScore, a number from 0 to 100, which helps us define the best Nike running shoes on the market.

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Why is Nike called Nike?

As we have already seen, the name Nike is derived from the Ancient Greek Goddess of Victory. But why was the name chosen?

Originally co-founder Knight wanted to name their brand “Dimension Six”. 

“Knight went for Dimension Six; we thought perhaps for his love of the pop group The 5th Dimension,” said Geoff Hollister, the company’s third employee who managed one of their first stores.

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Various other suggestions were bounced around by other early employees, including Jeff Johnson, BRS’s first-ever employee. In a famous recollection of the meeting, Hollister believed they should take a leaf out of Puma’s book.

“I stayed in the zone of Puma,” referring to the successful German shoe company named after a cougar, suggesting the name “Peregrine,” a type of falcon.

Perhaps also inspired by Puma, another early BRS employee suggested “Bengal.” But none of these ideas were popular amongst the current staff.

According to Business Insider, “Johnson, who ran the company’s East Coast factory in Exeter, NH, would come up with another idea.” Runners World contributor Matt McCue documented how Johnson read an in-flight magazine about great brand names, such as Kleenex and Xerox.

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Stone carving of Nike in Ephesus, Turkey. Source:
Stone carving of Nike in Ephesus, Turkey. Source: Carole

“They had no more than two syllables and at least one exotic letter or sound in them with a Z, X or K,” writes McCue, paraphrasing Johnson.

At 7 a.m. the next morning, Johnson awoke with the name ‘Nike.’ But it was only 4 a.m. in Portland, so Johnson waited three hours before calling Woodell.

‘I’ve got it!’ Johnson said to Woodell [another early employee], according to Strasser and Becklund.

‘What?’

‘Nike!’

‘What?’ Woodell asked. ‘What’s a Nike?’

‘It’s the Greek winged goddess of victory,’ Johnson said.”

But despite reaching a sort of consensus amongst existing staff members, Knight was not too enamored with the name. 

“I guess we’ll go with the Nike thing for a while…  I don’t like any of them, but I guess that’s the best of the bunch.”, Knight told his staff before eventually signing off on the new brand name.

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The rest, as they say, is history.

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Nike Vaporfly Models: Marathon Dominance and Controversy

Nike competition shoes, particularly the Vaporfly models, have shown dominance in major marathons including New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Tokyo Marathon, and Boston Marathon.

In 2018, out of the 12 winners (both men and women categories), 7 were wearing Nike Vaporfly shoes and 10 in 2019.

The controversy around Vaporfly

The controversy around Vaporfly

A study conducted in 2019 found that the new Nike Vaporfly shoes improved an athlete’s running economy by 4.2%. This sparked disputes as researchers and runners think that it confers an unfair advantage

The overall design of the shoe (a combination of the foam layer and carbon-fiber plate) that helps runners run faster ignited a discussion on whether it should be banned or not in competition. But after the World Athletics reviewed all the guidelines, the controversial Nike shoe was given a go for the Tokyo Olympics.

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