Nike Zoom Elite +6 First Impressions:
I was very excited about the sixth version of this shoe, as I’ve been a Zoom Elite fan since the first version some fifteen years ago.
Seeing the reduced support in this newest version coupled with a lower heel drop and lighter weight had me thinking this was going to be a perfect road shoe.
When I first received the shoe I was encouraged by the plush cushioning and gaudy color scheme (go Broncos!), but was disappointed after finishing my first run. I attributed this let down to the Zoom Elite 6 needing a break in period, however after 48 miles in the shoe I haven’t experienced this shoe loosening at all.
Nike Zoom Elite +6 Upper:
This is the most impressive part of the shoe, hands down, and Nike incorporates the Flywire technology from their popular track spikes to improve fit through the mid foot. The lace eyelets are tethered to Flywire which runs down to the rand of the shoe, and the tightness of this shoe through the mid foot is essentially adjustable for the wearer.
Open mesh runs over the Flywire throughout the mid foot of the shoe and the toe box is relatively open and accommodating for runners looking for a wide forefoot.
An EVA sock liner provides extra cushioning in addition to some arch support. Runners who enjoy a contoured feel to their running shoes will like how the Zoom Elite 6 hugs the foot.
Nike Zoom Elite +6 Midsole/ Outsole:
I gave the Zoom Elite 5 a great rating last year, and I felt that the shoe not only appealed to neutral runners but also overpronators looking for a lighter weigh trainer that doesn’t feel like a brick.
Nike lightened the newest version, but otherwise left the undercarriage of the shoe exactly the same. Some runners will love the stiff feel of the pylon midsole material, while others may feel that it lacks flexibility.
My personal feelings about the Zoom Elite 6 is that it feels stiffer than the last version, and I enjoy wearing the shoe for easy road running.
However, I feel the midsole is a little too stiff for my taste for faster paced tempo runs. From a cushioning standpoint, the combination of Zoom Air and Phylon create a pleasantly firm ride capable of handling high mileage and I don’t have any doubts that this shoe will last 500 miles.
The outsole of the Zoom Elite 6 is a refreshingly simple waffle sole pattern made of durable carbon rubber. The lack of cutouts, present in so many shoes that only function to pick up rocks and mud, make this a timeless outsole design.
Nike Zoom Elite +6 Overall Impression:
I run in a lot of different types of shoes, almost all of them made for neutral runners. Without a doubt, in this shift towards minimalism and more flexibility in the last several years, I’ve gotten used to and now favor shoes that allow my foot flex and toe off through the gait cycle.
Had I received the Zoom Elite 6 five years ago my judgments of this shoe might not be different, but I do think that Nike missed the mark on this shoe. I love the firm feel of the Phylon midsole, but too much of a good thing makes for too stiff of a ride for faster paced training. A reduction in the stack height of the shoe and a little less phylon midsole foam could yield a much more agile and flexible trainer.
Now, I do believe that many runners will like this shoe and probably disagree with me. Remember, this is one runner’s opinion. Overpronators who are looking for a lighter weight trainer may find a perfect marriage in the Zoom Elite 6.
But, if you were looking for the holy grail of trainers in a lightweight, highly cushioned, flexible package you may need to look elsewhere.
We thank the nice people at Nike for sending us a pair of Zoom Elite +6 to test. This did not influence the outcome of the review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.