Now that Nike is a global sportswear brand involved in multiple sports, it's easy to lose sight of the fact it first started out in running. In fact, the company began around 60 years ago with a man selling running shoes out of the back of his car.

Phil Knight, a runner at the University of Oregon, started selling imported Japanese Onitsuka (later known as Asics) trainers in the early 60s. He was joined in 1964 by his former college coach Bill Bowerman, and the pair co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports, the precursor to Nike (it became the latter in 1978).

Together they started to develop their own running shoe designs, starting with the iconic, Bowerman-engineered Cortez, with its full-length foam midsole, in 1967 – displaying the kind of innovation that has become the brand’s hallmark ever since.

In 1970, while trying to find a way of improving traction without using spikes, Bowerman experimented with the family waffle iron and created the waffle sole, which is still in use today. The Air sole design, an air-filled pod in the midsole to absorb impact, was launched in 1978. More recently, Nike revolutionised running shoe design with the launch of the Vaporfly 4% in 2017, featuring a full-length carbon fibre plate in the midsole to increase energy return.

Throughout its history, the Swoosh has shown an ongoing commitment to creating shoes that help runners go faster, farther and more comfortably, and today Nike produces some of the best running shoes you can buy.

Best Nike running shoes

Here are our picks of the best Nike running shoes on sale now, for every type of run or runner. We’ve tested most of the shoes below, involving feedback from Runner’s World staff and our team of wear testers. Our choices include the brand’s newest latest innovations and flagship models, shoes for trail runners, beginners and overpronators. More information on the standout features of each of them is below.


    Best for everyday training

    Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
    good guy shoes nike price guide

    Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
    nike nike.com.uk
    £104.95

    Weight: 283g (men's), 232g (women's)
    Drop: 10mm
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    The 38th Pegasus upholds its reputation as a capable ‘workhorse with wings’. The midsole is made from React foam which, while not as light and bouncy as ZoomX, still feels medium soft and moderately flexible, while there’s an Air pod under the forefoot for extra pop on toe-off. On this update, the toebox is roomier and there’s a deeper heel cup for a secure fit around the heel. Additional tongue padding and a new plush mesh feel much softer, too. The Peg 38 offers a solid, stable and comfortably cushioned ride that can take a pounding. While it’s not nimble enough to be a speed-day weapon, its comfort and durability make it a reliable everyday training option.


    Best for long runs

    good guy shoes nike price guideNike Air Zoom Vomero 16

    Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16
    nike nike.com.uk
    £134.95

    Weight: 309g (m), 257g (w)
    Drop: 10mm
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    The Vomero is historically Nike’s premium, plush neutral trainer, and this latest version is one of the first of the brand’s high-mileage shoes to use lightweight ZoomX foam in the midsole. There’s also an Air pod under the forefoot for extra cushioning and energy return. The back half of the shoe is as smooth as silk when you heel strike and roll forward, then once you’re onto your forefoot, the platform firms up and, importantly, remains stable. The upper is as plush as it’s always been – the heel collar is so padded that your heel feels cosseted but secure, and it has one of the most pillowy-soft tongues of any shoe. The perfect companion for long training runs.


    Most stable

    Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2

    Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2
    nike nike.com.uk
    £144.95

    Weight: 302g (m), 244g (w)
    Drop: 9mm (m), 8.5mm (w)
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    The Infinity Run 2 isn’t categorised as a traditional stability shoe, but is almost one by stealth. You won’t find a firmer medial post on the inside of the shoes – instead there’s a clip running round the outside of the heel and the midsole under the forefoot is wider, both features designed to offer support and stability without being too intrusive or clunky like some stability models. The midsole is made of Nike’s React foam, which, while not quite as light as ZoomX, is durable and responsive, and there’s a rocker geometry for a smoother transition during footstrike. Overall, this is that rare thing – an everyday running shoe that offers an unobtrusive ride to neutral runners, but also enough support for mild overpronators when they need it.


    Best for road racing

    Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

    Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2
    nike nike.com.uk
    £209.95

    Weight: 196g (m), 142g (w)
    Drop: 8mm
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    When you update one of the world’s fastest shoes, you don’t meddle with it. In fact, the changes in this version are in the upper, for more comfort. The midsole is still where the magic happens, thanks to the lightweight and soft ZoomX foam and carbon-fibre plate that offer a plush, cushioned ride but with a spring of rebound with each footstrike. The previous Vaporweave upper, a nylon-like material that didn’t stretch, has been replaced with an engineered mesh for a more accommodating fit – snug but not constrictive and there’s also an extra bit of padding at the top of the tongue to help relieve pressure from the laces. Delivers a turbo-charged ride when you push it hard, even at shorter distances, and if you’re running longer you’ll appreciate the enhanced comfort of this version over its predecessor.


    Best for marathons

    Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% Flyknit

    Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% Flyknit
    nike nike.com.uk
    £269.95

    Weight: 210g (m & w)
    Drop: 4mm
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    Eliud Kipchoge wore a prototype of these as he ran the first sub-two-hour marathon in history in October 2019 – there can be fewer higher recommendations for a shoe than that. By now, the innovations we first saw combined in here – a full-length carbon fibre plate, soft and lightweight ZoomX midsole foam, and two Air pods under each forefoot – can be seen in other Nike shoes, but this remains the brand’s top-of-the-range, barrier-breaking shoe. On the run, the shoe propels you forward and feels more at home as your pace increases. So even if you can’t run like Kipchoge (and let’s face it, who can?), the energy saving they provide will maximise your PB chances over the marathon distance. As such, they make the hefty investment worthwhile.


    Best for speedwork / tempo runs

    Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% Flyknit

    Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% Flyknit
    nike nike.com.uk
    £169.95

    Weight: 279g (m), 225g (w)
    Drop: 10mm
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    This shoe is designed as a more everyday training version of the Alphafly Next%. It contains two types of midsole foam – React in the rear (firmer and more durable) and ZoomX up front (softer and more responsive) – and more rubber on the outsole for better durability. Inside the midsole there’s a full-length composite carbon plate and Air pods under the balls of the feet for superb energy return. Other shoes with carbon plates can feel like the rebound comes with a slight feeling of instability, but here the more forgiving composite plate and wider forefoot combine for an effortless, stable but peppy ride. As well as being perfect for faster training runs, they’ll also do a sterling job on race day.


    Best for 5K and 10K races

    Nike ZoomX Streakfly

    Nike ZoomX Streakfly
    nike nike.com.uk
    £134.95

    Weight: 185g (m), 155g (w)
    Drop: 6mm

    Designed for racing 5K and 10K, the Streakfly is built for speed. A minimal heel collar and thin upper shaves weight and offset lacing eases pressure on the foot. Our testers enjoyed the ‘barely there’ feel, but also felt there was enough support with no stability issues, even when cornering at pace. The midsole is made from the same light and responsive ZoomX foam as the Vaporfly, although with a much lower stack height, and instead of a full-length carbon plate, the Streakfly has a Pebax plate under the midfoot. The result is a super-light, low-profile, springy ride. And with the midsole offering more protection than an old-school racing flat, they may also work as a half marathon shoe for lighter runners.


    Best for trails

    Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GORE-TEX
    good guy shoes nike price guide

    Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GORE-TEX
    nike nike.com.uk
    £134.95

    Weight: 309g (m), 263g (w)
    Drop: 9.5mm
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    A ‘hybrid’ road-to-trail shoe that fits and rides similarly to the Pegasus 38 road shoe, but with the added feature of being waterproof to keep your feet dry in wet weather. Both shoes have React foam midsoles and widened toeboxes, but the Trail 3 doesn’t have a Zoom Air unit in the forefoot – while there’s not as much energy return on the road, it’s not needed on the softer ground of most trails. The React foam performs just as well offroad as it does on, while 4mm lugs on the outsole roll smoothly and grip well, though you might want something a bit more aggressive for technical or steeper climbs. There’s a toe bumper to protect the front of the foot from impact while a gusseted tongue (attached to the insides of the upper) keeps out debris. A great choice for Peg fans wanting to go offroad.


    Best for budget / new runners

    Nike Winflo 8

    Nike Winflo 8
    nike nike.com.uk
    £89.95

    Weight: 295g (m), 238g (w)
    Drop: 10mm (m), 9mm (w)
    Shop now - Men's Shop now - Women's

    In a world where it’s increasingly difficult to spend less than £100 on a pair of running shoes, the Winflo 8 is a refreshingly capable budget option for new runners or those looking for a reliable workhorse for regular runs. Sure, you won’t get the lighter foams or carbon plates of some of the brand’s racier options, but the Cushlon foam is still pretty soft and smooth riding, while Zoom Air units in the midsole offer a welcome bit of responsiveness. It’s nice and cushioned around the heel and ankle, the upper mesh is breathable, and Flywire cables under the lacing provide a secure and snug fit.