It really is not that hard to assemble a list of the best Nike running shoes. From the record-breaking Vaporfly series to the fan-favourite Pegasus line, Nike has always been at the forefront of innovation and created shoes that enable athletes to push their performance to their absolute limits.
The company went from being a relatively small brand in the 80s – Michael Jordan famously wanted to launch his basketball shoe line with Adidas initially – to becoming the absolute fitness juggernaut brand it is today. This is due to a number of factors but what made Nike running shoes famous is the company's innovative approach to running footwear design.
Below you'll find what we think are the best Nike running shoes for training, racing, trail running and more. Want to see how Nikes compare to other running shoe brands? Check out T3's best running shoes, best women's running shoes, best trail running shoes and best workout shoes guides. We also have a roundup of the best Brooks running shoes, in case you're interested.
Best Nike running shoes to buy right now
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The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 is a superb daily trainer for runners who don't mind their shoes looking fly.
Nike perfected the Pegasus formula by doubling the Air Zoom units, adding more React foam and including the Flywire technology for better lockdown. The outsole now has more rubber where needed and less where it's not necessary, reducing the overall weight down a notch.
The Pegasus 39 can be used for any type of running, but it enjoys itself the most at moderate paces; however, joggers will find it equally as comfortable to wear as people who run a bit faster.
Finally, a comfortable Nike trainer without the exorbitant price tag – we concluded in our 5-star Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 review.
It wouldn't be my first choice for running training, but the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit has many great features for people who appreciate cushioning and like a bit of extra support when they run. Heck, these shoes might even be an excellent choice for beginner to intermediate runners who prefer a bit of help and don't mind the extra bulk.
The ZoomX foam delivers a premium running experience; it's soft but not unstable and bounces without losing much energy in the process. The 'evolved' Flyknit upper closely follows the foot's contour, and the padded collar and tongue cradle the ankles beautifully.
The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit might not be the cheapest running trainers, and we're sure the chunkiness of the shoes will put some off, but if you like Nikes and have some money to burn, we'd recommend giving the shoes a try.
Read our full Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit review
Is the Nike Alphafly 2 better than the Vaporfly NEXT% 2, ASICS METASPEED EDGE+ or the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3? Yes and no. The Nike Alphafly 2 is a superb shoe, but so is the OG Alphafly and even the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. If you’re a fast runner looking for marginal gains, you’ll need the Alphafly 2 to break your PBs. For less speedy runners, there are many alternatives that will help you move forward faster and are also available to buy now for cheaper.
In any case, we'd recommend giving it serious thought whether you need the shoes or not. They are far from being cheap, and spending this much money on shoes that should be used for racing and tempo sessions only (to preserve the foam for when you are in peak performance mode) is a big ask from people who run only recreationally. If you have the money, though, by all means, go for it, and go faster for longer than ever before.
Read our full Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 review
Nike has done it again: the ZoomX Streakfly is a brilliant running shoe that's well-suited for the running distances it is designed for. It's nimble, fast as hell and enables you to run fast without completely obliterating your legs in the process.
You know you'll have to pay for such a privilege, but that said, the ZoomX Streakfly is far from being the most expensive Nike running shoe on the market (check out the Vaporfly's price tag below). It's on par with similar shoes such as the On Cloudflash and the ASICS Metaracer. If you can get hold of a pair of Nike ZoomX Streakflys, we recommend buying them ASAP.
Read our full Nike ZoomX Streakfly review
Nike knows how to make gorgeous shoes, but when it comes to pure performance footwear, they tend to end up looking... peculiar. The Nike Zoom Tempo NEXT% is one of these peculiar-looking Nike running shoes. For us, this is the true testament to Nike's ethos: form should always follow function. No need to make racing shoes that look pretty but underperform when the time comes.
Funnily enough, it's not for racing, or more like it wasn't exclusively designed for racing, unlike its stupidly expensive counterpart, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%. No, the Tempo is ideal for – wait for it – tempo runs, but also racing to some degree. It might not be quite as fast as the Vaporfly or the Alphafly, but at least you get more functionality for your money here since you can use the Tempo at other times than just race days.
Read our full Nike Zoom Tempo NEXT% review
Running shoe reviewers love harping on about the Vaporfly/Alphafly duo, but the shoes you actually want to get are the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38. We were a bit harsh with the shoes in our original Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 review. However, since then, we have put more miles into the Peg 38, and we're happy to confirm that these shoes are indeed lovely and worthy of your attention.
Better still, now you can find excellent deals on the Pegasus 38, making the shoe more appealing than ever, especially for runners with wide feet. Overall, the updated mesh upper might not be as comfortable as plush shoes from other brands, but we're sure many people will prefer to wear a Nike nevertheless.
If Nike still sold the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail, we'd probably recommend that as the best Nike trail running shoe. Since that's not the case, we must recommend the next best thing: the Nike Pegasus Trail 3. And to be fair, it's not the worst situation as the Pegasus Trail 3 is a brilliant trail running shoe that delivers an extraordinary running experience both on and off-road.
The main appeal of the Pegasus Trail 3 is the same as what made the Pegasus 36 Trail great: it's an excellent hybrid running shoe that feels fine on forest trails, mountain paths and even on the road. You probably shouldn't use it for technical courses or road racing, but anything between these two extremes, the Pegasus Trail 3, will perform just fine.
Another thing that sets the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 apart from the competition is just sexy this shoe looks. Whatever colourway you end up choosing, these shoes won't let you down. My personal favourite is the Total Orange/Wolf Grey/Obsidian/Signal Blue colourway: it has so much personality.
As well as looking good, the shoes also provide ample traction thanks to their "shockwave-like" outsole pattern that mimics mountain-biking tyres. This, combined with the resilient React foam, should give you enough propulsive force to make it through most running sessions you might have in the Nike Pegasus Trail 3.
Which is the best Nike running shoe right now?
The best Nike running shoe overall is the Nike ZoomX Streakfly. It can be used for fast tempo runs and racing, making it a great choice for short running distances.
For jogging, we recommend the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38. This shoe has a generous toe box, plus the Air Zoom units provide some propulsion so that you won't feel sluggish either.
For pure racing joy, we would still recommend the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% (or NEXT% 2). Now that the stock issues have been sorted, you can actually get hold of this fantastic performance shoe that will help you unlock your full potential.
Need some more support? Give the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit a try. this Nike running trainer provides a plush ride and will make every running session a joyride.
And if you prefer running off the beaten path, you won't find a better option than the Nike Pegasus Trail 3. Blurring the line between trail and road running shoes, the Pegasus Trail 3 can be used for gravel and tarmac sessions and as a bonus, they look pretty acceptable too.
Make sure you check our Nike discount codes to save on your order.
What is Nike's fastest running shoe?
Theoretically, the fastest Nike running shoes right now are the Alphafly 2s; these shoes combine the responsive ZoomX foam with two Zoom Air units at the front. Eliud Kipchoge wore an Alphafly prototype when he broke the 2-hour marathon record in October 2019.
That said, we would argue that the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% is still the best choice for most runners who need fast Nike running shoes. The Vaporfly allows for more manoeuvrability than the Alphalfy, thanks to the lack of Air Zoom units. However, these units do a great job of providing better energy returns which will pay off over long distances.