Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14 Review
Cons: On the heavier side, can feel too stiff, premium price
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14 is among our favorites because of their overall superior performance and breakout qualities, like full-length Zoom Air midsoles and the Dynamic Fit technology. In fact, it's the midsole that largely landed it such great scores for responsiveness. These aspects, and a handful of others, make them super versatile and set them apart from the crowd. After running the heck out of them, we found they performed as well on short, punchy runs and speedwork as they did on long, slow slogs out in the heat. They were even great just to walk around in, and that versatility is what makes them such awesome running shoes.
As with many of the puffy Brooks models, the Vomero 14 has a lot of give in their plush midsole. While that improves landing comfort, it can eat into your stride and affect speed. Nike's way around it is by marrying the plush Nike React foam with a full-length Zoom Air unit, which delivers the best of both worlds. The energy return from the foam and natural cushion of the air just barely edge out the thick, plush stacks of the other top models riding on EVA and other standard foams.The Vomero also has a bit more support in the upper by using Dynamic Fit Flywires and a sturdy heel counter to keep the shoe clean, snug, and adherent throughout the stride. It's a fine alternative if you want a little more speed at the cost of comfort. You'll be hard-pressed to find a shoe with more responsiveness than these.
One of the major reasons these perform so well is because of the superior comfort and performance delivered by the Nike React foam and Zoom Air unit in the midsole. The foam and air-based design delivers the same plushness and pop with each stride for an indefatigable bounce. The extra-thick midsole also goes a long way to cushioning every step like a maximalist comfort shoe, but its overall design is more like a racing flat, which is another reason why it earned such a high rating in this metric.
Each stride is aided by the supportive heel and second-skin feel of the upper, though it should be noted that the heel can slip out of the shoe a bit with the smooth collar design and foam padding. It doesn't catch and secure the heel like more stable versions. But that can also help your foot move more naturally and improve speed. If you do more high-pace runs, this Nike model might be a good fit.
At 22.3 ounces per pair of men's 11, these aren't the lightest running shoes in the world, but they wear it well.
You get a fat, sturdy stack with great responsiveness and a natural upper that hugs the foot. That doesn't exactly make up for the extra ounces, but it reduces energy loss and keeps your feet popping.
This is a tough shoe with durable materials and good design. Nike uses its patented React foam, which is more durable and responsive than EVA midsole foams, so it will last longer. That means it will hold up better against both physical contact and repeated compression, as well as temperature and environmental variations.
The mesh upper on the Vomero 14 is more fine than coarse, which helps it hug the foot better. That can be a liability, but unless you're doing a lot of trail running in these road shoes, you shouldn't be too worried about them lasting a reasonable amount of time. The other note here is that the carbon rubber outsole could stand to be a bit thicker and cover a bit more area than it currently does, but there's no real concern that it will break down before a few seasons of hard running.
The Vomero 14 also earns a top spot here with foam pods placed inside the collar to create a more natural, snug feel. That's paired with thin, firm padding in the tongue and all around the remainder of the collar and heel, which is also covered by a smooth felt-like sockliner. Additionally, Nike uses a Dynamic Fit design, which is a combination of supportive Flywire and soft foam to improve midfoot fit. The result is a pretty stable, adherent speedster.
Out on the road, these shoes feel almost like carbon-soled cycling shoes. Wearing them loose, they still have a fast, locked-in feel. They're a bit of a pain to open up and get into, but once you're in, you feel ready to sprint. And given that it's a tighter fit, one of the nicest attributes is the tongue, the underside of which is lined with compression foam that drastically improves comfort over comparable designs. The top of the foot is always a hot spot for tight shoes, so the added padding goes a long way toward discouraging that.
The Vomero 14 is slightly less breathable than other lightweight racing flats, but it's still cool and aerated enough that you'll likely never have a complaint. While it uses a finer mesh than most shoes, it allows plenty of air in to remove heat and moisture. Its modest sockliner also does a good job of allowing heat and moisture out without skimping on the comfort.
The great advantage of this shoe over more cushioned models is in the thickness of the padding. Heavily padded models both insulate your feet and soak up sweat. The thin, firm foam in the Vomero 14 doesn't feel hot at all out on long, sunny runs, and there's very little moisture left in them, even at the end of a hard training session. This model retains way less moisture than standard running shoes.
Having dominated much of our lineup, we feel confident that this super comfortable, versatile running shoe is worth its asking price.
The Air Zoom Vomero 14 competed against a huge field of the best running shoes around. They excelled across most of our measures and made up for shortcomings with other virtues. Their full-length Zoom Air unit in the midsole is a huge selling point, earning them our Top Pick for Responsiveness with its pop and gentle squish. It's not super light, but at 22.3 ounces in a men's 11, it's pretty manageable as a tradeoff for comfort.We also like that the simple design and premium materials help this shoe to last long enough to be worth the investment. The last major tipping point is the combination of upper padding and breathability. The padding is firm with a nice sockliner, so you're not overcrowded and never have to worry about rubbing or blisters. This also allows a lot more circulation into the shoe to remove heat and moisture, which is awesome for late-summer runs. Clearly, we enjoyed this stylish shoe, and we suspect most runners will agree with us.
— Ryan Baham
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