7 Best Nike Racing Shoes

7 Best Nike Racing Shoes

Running a race is like playing a game of chicken against a train loaded with dynamite. Your endurance is the fuse, and you don’t know exactly how long the fuse is, but the faster you run, the quicker it burns. If you get everything just right, you can hit your time goal, or set a PR, or have enough left at the end to kick down your rivals. Get it wrong, and you blow up with miles left to go. Unsurprisingly, serious racers obsess about the details, especially where their feet are concerned. The lighter the shoe, the faster you’ll run—as long as the shoes provide enough cushioning for you to avoid injury, of course. In the last few years, Nike racing flats have been game-changers, propelling some of the world’s top athletes to world and national records and Olympic medals. But even if you aren’t (yet) as fast as Eliud Kipchoge, Galen Rupp, or Jordan Hasay, keep reading to see which Nike racing shoes best match your next race.

Number 7

Nike Zoom Streak LT 4

Nike Zoom Streak LT 4

Your race: 3K to 10K. The Zoom Streak LT 4 is a true racing flat for chasing competitive times on the road or track, while its lugged sole will give you traction over grass, groomed trails, or a cross country course. At just 5 ounces in a men’s size 9, these are the lightest Nike shoes—and that’s saying something on a list where the average is barely over 7 ounces. If you’re an aspiring road warrior or NXN finalist, the Zoom Streak LT 4 deserves a spot in your closet next to your track spikes.

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Number 6

Nike Zoom Fly

Nike Zoom Fly

Your race: Half marathon to marathon, chasing a BQ. When you have to take approximately 28,000 steps to complete your race—hopefully before you exhaust your glycogen supply and slow to a crawl—every ounce counts. With the Zoom Fly from Nike, lightweight shoes are only half the equation. The Zoom Fly’s dual-density Lunarlon sole also comes equipped with a nylon/carbon plate for enhanced energy return, letting you get more forward spring out of every step. If you’ve got designs on Boston 2019 or you’re trying to break that elusive three hour barrier, you’ll probably notice a lot of Zoom Flys in your pace group at your next race.

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Number 5

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

Your race: Half marathon to marathon, chasing an OTQ or WR. The Vaporfly and the Zoom Fly are both Nike lightweight running shoes, and externally the resemblance is striking. The Vaporfly isn’t just shockingly expensive, though. It’s 1.5 ounces lighter than the Zoom Fly, thanks to using Nike’s latest ZoomX foam and a pure carbon plate for enhanced energy return. Maybe the most shocking thing about the Vaporflys is that they seem to be the real deal. Runners who have endured decades of marketing hype and crackpot shoe designs are trying the Vaporflys and watching their PRs fall. That’s created an online version of Black Friday running shoe madness as runners scour the Nike website and their favorite retailers, trying to find a pair in their size while they train to hit the qualifying time for the Olympic trials or even loftier goals. You know the guys who ran in Nike’s Breaking2 project? Vaporflys all the way.

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Number 4

Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2

Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2

Your race: 5K to marathon (at your own pace). As odd as it may seem, some people prefer to enjoy their marathons from beginning to end, rather than staggering across the line bleeding, vomiting, or fainting. If that sounds more like your kind of race, the LunarEpic Low’s Lunarlon and Phylon sole provides plush cushion so you can go the distance in comfort.That doesn’t make these shoes clunky, though—they’re only a half ounce heavier than the Zoom Fly. The LunarEpic Low is quite stable for a neutral shoe and also flexible, so the ride is smooth from landing to toe-off. For these Nike lightweight shoes, women’s and men’s models both have snug-fitting Flyknit uppers to avoid slippage, chafing, or blisters from mile 1 to mile 26.

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Number 3

Nike Zoom Streak 6

Nike Zoom Streak 6

Your race: 5K to 10K. The Zoom Streak 6 only seems heavy in comparison to the Zoom Streak LT.It’s still the second-lightest shoe (6.4 ounces in a men’s size 9) on a list of lightweight Nike shoes. The extra ounce and a half gets you a more forgiving heel, with an 8 mm heel-toe drop instead of the Zoom Streak LT’s ultra-aggressive 4 mm. Those of us whose running form is less about floating over the road and more about pounding the asphalt into submission appreciate the additional responsive cushion (and Air unit in the heel) during our chase for precious seconds in a road race.

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Number 2

LunarEpicFlyknit Shield

LunarEpicFlyknit Shield

Your race: Boston Marathon, 2018. Who needs a weatherproof racing shoe? The majority of the elite field who dropped out before the finish due to miserable weather conditions, that’s who. The Lunarlon sole and Flyknit upper with Flywire filaments for a reliably snug fit is an effective combination in any Nike shoe, but the Flyknit Shield is also water repellent and comes with a high-top cuff to protect your feet against the elements. Despite the extra engineering, the Flyknit Shield is barely a half ounce heavier than the Zoom Fly. Thanks to the shoe wizards at Nike, light running shoes don’t have to leave you scrambling for traction or sloshing your way toward Copley Square when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

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Number 1

Nike Epic React Flyknit

Nike Epic React Flyknit

Your race: Anytime, anywhere. According to Nike, light shoes aren’t necessarily for racing. The goal of Nike’s innovative React midsole material is to be both soft and responsive, while remaining light in weight and durable. That sounds too good to be true, but the Epic React provides excellent energy return and cushion for its minimal weight—it’s a half ounce lighter than the performance-oriented Zoom Fly. Add a premium, form-fitting Flyknit upper for long-lasting comfort, and you’ve got a highly versatile shoe that’s ready for any starting line you choose.

Find it on shoekicker


or get it on Amazon