Nike Structure 16 General Info:
Nike has done a ground up overhaul for its most popular running specialty shoe, the Structure. Now 16 years deep, Nike eschews the medial post legacy of the past Structure series and debuts a wedged midsole which was first tinkered with way back in the Nike Cesium. Sporting a stripped down, back to basics feel, I got to test both the road and all-weather versions of Nike’s newest support shoe design.
Nike Structure 16 First Impression:
I have run in a multitude of Nike support shoes with the Structure being the shoe I have the most experience in so, naturally, I was eager to see what the new Structure 16 was all about. I tested the road version in a hot orange and gray color way and the all-weather Shield version in lime green and black.
Both good looking shoes that immediately give the impression of a stripped down feel. Minimal overlays and the absence of a medial post convey at once that this is not an updated shoe; it’s a whole new concept and execution in design.
Nike Structure 16 Sole Unit:
Beginning from the ground up, the Structure 16 no longer uses any medial posting to curb the inward roll of an over pronating foot. Instead, Nike is now using a Dynamic Support wedged midsole that provides a very soft and collapsible lateral border of Cushlon foam which is co-molded to a firmer medial Phylon foam. Also gone is the heel Zoom Air unit but Nike left the forefoot Zoom Air in place. A Nike + sensor port is located underneath the sock liner.
Nike BRS 1000 carbon rubber provides long term heel durability and softer blown rubber comprises the classically styled waffle pattern forefoot.
Nike Structure 16 Upper Unit:
The Structure 16 sports one of the most basic, yet useful uppers I’ve tested in a shoe. The somewhat shallow toe box is left impressively open and free of overlays but doesn’t feel sloppy and will accommodate many foot shapes. The overlays present are concentrated on the mid foot and are robustly designed, especially on the medial aspect. Nike also decided to abandon its relatively new Flywire design for this newest Structure.
The mesh of the shoe is lightweight and offers good breathability. Additional reflectivity is added to the Swoosh logo and the heel counter. Speaking of, the Structure 16 provides a firm heel counter and a fairly snug heel fit to complement the medium fit in the mid foot and toe box. Nike’s firm Fitsole 2 features a moldable fit and finishes off the upper of the Structure 16.
The Structure 16 Shield version is identical underfoot to the road version but adds a few neat and useful features to the upper. In its Shield guise, the Structure is all about low light visibility and all weather performance. Nike has incorporated a 360 degree reflective upper which also features a DWR(Durable, Water Repellant) finish. When running at night the Shield version lights up when, for instance, an oncoming vehicle’s headlights hit the shoe’s surface.
Nike Structure 16 Opinion:
I truly wanted to fall in love with the new Structure 16 but it ended up breaking my heart a little. In less than 50 miles the medial midsole began showing signs of fatigue from my over pronating feet. I am 6 feet tall and 160 pounds and I was crushing this shoe! I require a training shoe to provide a solid heel and arch and the Structure 16 just could not keep up.
Not only did the shoe exhibit signs of break down but by 30 something miles into the test I began having some posterior tibialis pain when training in the Structures. I have more mileage on the Shield version and when I put on the newer road version it was immediately apparent just how much the first shoe had broken down. Disappointing.
However, the Structure 16 has a brilliantly executed upper and the fit was quite good on my medium width foot. The heel is snug and the mid foot and toe box have a nice medium fit. The Structure rides firm for a Nike and has some notable snappiness in the forefoot-both qualities that I appreciated. It is lighter and certainly transitions through foot strike faster than the previous Structures did.
However, all of this greatness is lost when the shoe fails underfoot. I like the idea of the Dynamic Support wedge but Nike really needs to shore up the medial aspect of the shoe to include runners with moderate to high stability needs. If you needed the support of the previous Structure then I advise you to try before you buy. As it sits right now, I can only recommend this shoe for the mildest of over pronators.
The Nike Structure 16 and Nike Structure 16 Shield are exclusively available at running specialty stores and from Nike.com
We thank the nice people at Nike for sending us a pair of Structure 16 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.