Hands-on Gear Review

Nike Air Zoom Structure 20 - Women's Review

A classic Nike shoe with a modern twist.
Nike Air Zoom Structure 20
By: Brittney Ahrens ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 3, 2017
Price:  $120 List  |  $99.99 at Amazon - 17% Off
Pros:  Supportive, durable, good value
Cons:  Takes some time to wear in, does not fit all feet
Manufacturer:   Nike
74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Responsiveness - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 8
  • Landing comfort - 20% 7
  • Weight - 10% 6
  • Upper comfort - 10% 8
  • Breathability - 10% 6
  • Stability - 10% 8
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

The newly updated Nike Air Zoom Structure 20 delivers stability and a supportive ride. With focused support and a locked down fit, we felt secure and comfortable with every step, while running on any road or path. The new technology on this shoe meshed in perfect harmony with the upper and we found that this contender was a great everyday go-to as a supportive high-mileage daily trainer. The elaborate design is timeless and the stability was a benefit that we found to be conducive to overall body health and longevity as a runner.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Performance Comparison


Nike Zoom Air technology adds responsiveness underfoot.
Nike Zoom Air technology adds responsiveness underfoot.

Responsiveness


The Nike Zoom Air was highly responsive in the forefoot, providing less cushion than the Hoka One One Bondi 5 and has a less in your face cushioning profile. Don't let the low-profile mislead you with this shoe - the cushion is responsive with every step of your stride. When tested during wind sprint exercises, the Nike Air Zoom stood strong in the test; the deep flex honeycomb grooves allowed for natural movement from fast to slower paces and delivered a quick and even toe-off. The 10 mm offset is on the higher end, especially compared to the ever growing popularity of Zero Drop shoes such as the Altra Intuition 4.5. Even with the higher offset, this shoe scored high in the responsiveness metric when compared to other contenders we tested. The responsive triple-density foam midsole, carbon rubber under heel, and blown rubber under forefoot all contributed to this award winning earning an 8 out of 10 in this metric.

Landing Comfort


When we first put on this shoe we had our suspicions, but after some wearing in, we started to really feel the full potential of these kicks. The cushioning is not overly bouncy, but you can feel the softness of the cushion in the heel. There is a nice subtleness that the Nike Zoom Air technology adds under the forefoot, which allows for excellent responsiveness when ground contact occurred. We feel that overall the Air Zoom Structure 20 is a good running shoe for absorbing and combating some of the impact that occurs on the body over time.

Absorbing impact and reducing shock is what made this award winner stand out over others in the lineup. If you are interested in a pair with comparable landing comfort, take a peek at the Editors' Choice Brooks Ghost 10 - Women's or Bondi 5. The HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 5 is a lightweight shoe that has a full EVA midsole which provides a cushioned ride. The Brooks Ghost 10 has a midsole that is a blend of earth-friendly BioMoGo and responsive Brooks DNA, ensuring a smooth and dynamic ride.

Upper Comfort


Nike knitting techniques offer more support and flex along with breathability in the upper for supreme upper comfort. The Flymesh ("engineered mesh") upper of the Air Zoom Structure 20 offers plenty of comfort and support for long road runs or fast speed exercises, making Nike's marketing pitch ring true of "stable and fast". The laces wrap nicely around the mid-foot for a complete locking down of the foot. We rated this shoe's upper comfort on the same level as the award winning Brooks Glycerin 14 - Women's and ASICS Gel-Cumulus 18, but slightly below the Brooks Ghost 10, whose plush tongue and collar in the upper material guaranteed the shoe's overall superior feel.

The honeycomb outsole pattern and rubber crash rail gave enough traction mile after mile.
The honeycomb outsole pattern and rubber crash rail gave enough traction mile after mile.

Stability


The Nike Air Zoom Structure 20 is supportive - without feeling constrictive or suffocating. The tightness and hug of the upper provided great support and might be a good option for those that overpronate due to their security and stability. The triple-density foam midsole provided plenty of support and was responsive for anything from a short jaunt to a long road pounder. We felt that these shoes gave us awesome arch support without feel awkward underfoot.

When we put these shoes to the test, they offered us guidance and medial support to keep our gait in an ideal pattern, delivering a smooth, stable ride that didn't leave us feeling it the next day. It has an internal heel counter that promoted a more locked and cozy fit, which in turn, provided a secure, stabile ride. This contender broke the misconceptions that a stable shoe equals bulk and a heavy weight, as these kicks are neither. Another pair that we considered to be a stable and worthy shoe was the Brooks Glycerin 14, which scored the only 9 out of 10 in this metric, along with the Asics Gel-Cumulus 18 and New Balance 860 v7.

Durability


This shoe is meant to last. The colorways are appealing and every color that sticks out on this shoe serves its own purpose. From the Flymesh upper layering that offers focused support, to the triple-density foam midsole, there are three colors because there are three different foam materials. Everything comes together to make up an updated shoe that fits right in the Nike family, earning an 8 out of 10 for its durability factor. Another shoe that we felt had similar durability (but a little more comfort) was Brooks Glycerin 14 and the Brooks Ghost 10, as they also offered exceptional layering systems that increased durability.

Breathability


The seamless Flymesh upper allowed for stable foot temps during short to long high mile training sessions. The breathable layering, including the OrthoLite sock-liner, vented quite nicely, especially considering the many levels intertwined in the upper design, and did not cause us to overheat. With the overlaying system, these shoes scored an average 6 out of 10, as they are not overly or underly breathable. Supportive models that tended to have more layers and offered more breathability was the Salomon S Lab Sonic and the Altra Intuition 4.5.

Nike Air Zoom Structure 20 had a nice overlay venting system.
Nike Air Zoom Structure 20 had a nice overlay venting system.

Weight


At 9.3 ounces, the Air Zoom Structure 20 has a similar weight when compared to other stable and supportive road running shoes in our review, such as the Brooks Glycerin 14- Women's, which weighs in at 9.2 oz. They mimic a simple fitness shoe design, but are capable of managing anything from pavement to dusty dirt roads. Generally we observed that stable sneakers models are more rigid than their neutral counterparts, and can be heavier due to the additions used in structuring the foundation of the shoe; this is all true for the Structure 20.

Weight from this contender was shed when Nike constructed the shoe from Flymesh and a cotton lacing system. We thought that the weight was extremely light for the package that the shoe delivered, though outdone by the surprising light and stable Saucony Guide 10, Brooks Ghost 10, Salomon S Lab Sonic, Hoka One One Bondi 5, Altra Intuition 4.5, and Salming Race 3. However, we didn't feel that any other shoe felt as light, combined with an exceptional fit and level of security, as the Air Zoom Structure 20 did.

Best Application


Use the Air Zoom Structure 20 for stabilizing your running on any even terrain such as the road and mellow trails. This is a great shoe for heavier runners and over-pronators looking for amazing cushioning and support. A good way we would describe this award winner is a sturdy and reliable contender.

Value


At $120, the Structure 20 is a good buy for a supportive trainer. These shoes are an exceptional purchase that will last through many runs - due to their high level of durability. They will keep you looking fashionable, with a style that is as ageless as Nike's brand.


Conclusion


Nike has it figured out with this shoe, offering high-quality technology with every new version. The Nike Air Zoom Structure 20 stays true to Nike's marketing pitch of being "Still Stable After All These Years". This award winner has many positive aspects going for it, as it offers a responsive and stable ride that has a durable upper make up that encapsulates this shoe as a high ranking and high-quality road model.

Brittney Ahrens

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Most recent review: February 3, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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4 star: 100%  (1)
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