No. 10 - Air Zoom Structure 18
Recommended if you like: Sturdy support in the heel with more responsive cushioning up front.
Standout tech: Dynamic Support midsole
The Air Zoom Structure 18 lives up to its name with stability cushioning that is suited for mild to moderate overpronators. This is achieved through a Dynamic Support midsole, which combines varying densities of foam for a feel that is supportive in all the right places. The cushioning is especially firm in the heel, but softens up in the forefoot with a responsive Zoom Air unit. Up top, the engineered mesh upper, supported by Flywire cables, is not only breathable and lightweight, but modern and stylish.
No. 9 - Nike Free 5.0
Recommended if you like: An extremely close to the ground feel.
Standout tech: Updated Free outsole
Minimal shoes are quickly beginning to wane in popularity, but Nike’s still got a few winners up its sleeve. Among them are the Free 5.0, which uses an all-new outsole for higher levels of natural flexibility. To achieve the new pattern, the hexagonal grooves were cut with a hot knife and extend to the medial portion of the shoe for an unparalleled feel. On the upper, a breathable mesh is locked down by four Flywire cables on each side.
No. 8 - Nike LunarEclipse 4
Recommended if you like: A lockdown fit with highly responsive cushioning.
Standout tech: Lunarlon midsole
For years, the LunarEclipse was one of Nike’s premier running models thanks to its responsive Lunarlon cushioning and emphasis on lockdown support. Now, with the advent of technologies like Flywire, the LunarEclipse has somewhat taken a backseat to other models in the spotlight. That doesn’t mean it’s any less of a performer, because the LunarEclipse 4 keeps tradition going with a Dynamic Support cushioning setup, Flywire lockdown, and an oversized heel clip for added stability.
No. 7 - Nike Air Zoom Elite 7
Recommended if you like: A lightweight, speedy feel without sacrificing underfoot support.
Standout tech: Zoom Air cushioning
Lean, mean, and priced at under a Benjamin, the Air Zoom Elite 7 is a great choice for neutral runners looking to save some cash. It’s got everything you need for serious mileage: forefoot Zoom Air cushioning for explosive toe-offs, Flywire cables for lockdown support, and plenty of breathable mesh. With just two colorways in stock and a recent price drop, these could likely be on their way to the archives, so scoop up a pair while you have a chance.
No. 6 - Nike LunarRacer+ 3
Recommended if you like: Lightning-like speed.
Standout tech: Flywire
When it comes to performance, the LunarRacer been one of Nike’s top running choices in recent years. From its early incarnations to the latest exposed Flywire model, the LunarRacer has always been about lightweight speed, ample cushioning, and a high degree of support. The LunarRacer+ 3 is the most impressive yet, with its completely exposed Flywire support system and full-length Lunarlon setup. As equipped as it is, the engineered mesh upper helps keep the model light at just 6.3 ounces.
No. 5 - Nike Air Max 2014
Recommended if you like: As much cushioning as you can get.
Standout tech: Air Max
Nike cooks up some brilliant things in their Innovation Kitchen, but few technologies have had the lasting appeal of Air Max. Ever since its debut in 1987, the Air Max runner has been a staple model in every yearly collection from the Swoosh. This time around, the full-length cushioning is as chunky as ever, and the upper combines engineered mesh and no-sew overlays for a breathable, supportive feel. This model is also offered in a Flyknit variation, but we prefer the futuristic aesthetics of the original.
No. 4 - Nike Flyknit Lunar2
Recommended if you like: A snug, sock-like fit that makes used of the latest technologies.
Standout tech: Flyknit
There are at least half a dozen different Flyknit runners, but the Flyknit Lunar2 is at the top of the pack. In fact, we’d even go as far as to say that the awesome colorways and a great use of technologies make this one of the best shoes of the year, period. Whether you’re looking to try out Flyknit for the first time or need a new pair of neutral runners, the Lunar2 is one of the best options around.
No. 3 - Nike Air Zoom Vomero 9
Recommended if you like: Responsive cushioning in the forefoot and heel.
Standout tech: Zoom Air
With so many options, Nike has a few models than tend to get overlooked, and this is one of them. Year after year, the Zoom Vomero never seems to get the props it deserves. It’s seen some major design improvements over the years, going from a basic looking in-line model to a more aggressive and modern aesthetic. The Zoom Vomero 9 is another shoe that will be seeing an update sooner than later, so try it out now while it’s on sale.
No. 2 - Nike LunarGlide 6
Recommended if you like: Some of the softest, most responsive cushioning you’ll find.
Standout tech: Lunarlon
The LunarGlide 6 isn’t just one of the best Nike Running shoes, it’s one of the best deals around, too. Built with stability in mind, the LunarGlide 6 is packed with ample cushioning from front to pack. Sturdy Phylon is used on the medial side, while cushy Lunarlon foam fills out the lateral section. Even the outsole of the LunarGlide 6 is designed with efficiency in mind, with a pressure point pattern for natural impact. Flywire cables are combined with a large heel clip on the upper for maximum lockdown. On sale for $75, you’d be missing out if you didn’t hop on these.
No. 1 - Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31
Recommended if you like: Out of the box comfort that is suitable for runners of all levels.
Standout tech: Zoom Air
The Air Zoom Pegasus 31 isn’t the most technical shoe on the list, nor is it the most cushioned or the most expensive. However, it is one of the best-reviewed runners on their entire site, and its neutral profile and reliable cushioning make it a top choice for everyone from beginners to marathoners. Still not convinced? Consider the fact that the Pegasus franchise has been around longer than Air Max. At this rate, they might even outlive us.