Alas, Nike has decided to create a true update to the extremely popular Zoom Elite 4 which was last available in 2009. Many runners thought Nike went astray when they created the Lunar Elite series that didn’t have the same feel of the popular Zoom Air, and I found that I was not alone in scrambling for new old stock Zoom Elite 4s from around the country for nearly a year to keep my favorite trainers on my feet.
Nike’s design team utilized their Portland based pro runners from Alberto Salazar’s training group, including Mo Farah and Galen Rupp, to develop a shoe that picked up where the Zoom Elite 4 left off. The Zoom Elite 5 is not just a faithful reproduction of a popular shoe, but a lighter and slightly lower update that is sure to please Zoom Elite 4 runners and then some.
Nike Zoom Elite 5 First Impressions
I have to admit I was skeptical. When I first learned that I would be testing and reviewing the update to one of my all time favorite shoes I anticipated the Lunar Elite series with some Zoom Air thrown in. When I first saw the shoes I even thought to myself there is no way that these will hold a candle to my old Elites. I slipped them on and things felt promising, even familiar. The fit and last felt the same, and that old familiar arch support hugged my feet in all the right places. While I don’t really like the canary yellow color that made my me feel like I was wearing tennis balls on my feet, these shoes looked and performed like workhorses. No bells, no whistles, just function.
Nike Zoom Elite 5 Upper
The Zoom Elite 5 features a durable dual density mesh upper with well placed underlays throughout the mid foot section of the foot which provides a nice snug fit. The mid foot section of the upper features a nylon mono mesh over the underlays which increases breath-ability and synthetic leather material is used as a webbing over the mono mesh to make this a pretty tough upper. Throughout the toe box area of the upper welded overlays are used which are completely seamless and The fit is very similar to the Zoom Elite 4, but I find the 5 to fit even better. A wide toe box gives way to a mid foot section that hugs the foot well due to the underlays being incorporated into the lacing system. Oval laces compliment a simple, yet effective, lacing system which never placed undue stress on the tops of my feet.
One complaint that I had about the Elite 4 was how snug the shoe was throughout the mid foot. The Zoom Elite 5 underlays do allow the wearer to tighten the upper to their liking but it never feels too tight or constricting. Nike steered clear of using any plastic logos or reinforcements throughout the upper which allows it to be pliable and lightweight. I found the upper breathable enough for running in warmer weather (70 + degrees) but I also didn’t have any issues wearing this shoe in temps below 20 degrees without heavy socks. I also noticed absolutely no wear throughout the upper after close to 200 miles in them.
Nike Zoom Elite 5 Midsole
I mentioned that the Zoom Elite 5 is a bit lower than it’s predecessor, and while I don’t have exact stack height specs from Nike, I will say that this lower stack height adds a bit of stability and sure-footedness the ride. Nike also lowered the heel drop from the previous version ever so slightly to 9mm (2omm heel – 11mm toe) in the midsole which gives the shoe a great transition through the gait cycle.
Rather than using Lunar foam as Nike used in the Lunar Elite, Nike kept the Phylon midsole foam from the Elite 4 in the new incarnation to preserve the firm responsive feel of the series. The feel is fantastic, especially throughout the arch area of the foot which is very supportive. Rather than achieving this through dual density foam or some sort of plastic device, the Phylon foam is shaped in a way throughout the arch foot bed that supports the runner.
Zoom air is present in the forefoot of the midsole which provides snappy and responsive cushioning for faster paced running. For those unfamiliar with Zoom Air, Nike describes it as:
Zoom Air cushioning comes in a flat, thin unit that provides low-profile, super-responsive cushioning for top speeds and fast “off-the-mark” movements.
Nike Zoom Elite 5 Outsole
A very simple waffle outsole made of durable carbon rubber is used throughout to provide great long lasting traction. Nike did not create awkward cutouts throughout the outsole of the shoe, and I’m happy to report that this shoe does not collect rocks.
Nike Zoom Elite 5 Overall Impressions
Nike has accurately recreated the best parts of the very popular Zoom Elite Series and improved the shoe where it was needed. Simply put, Nike has created an absolute winner in the Zoom Elite 5. This is the type of shoe that I could put on any runner, whether they underpronate, supinate, or are neutral, and they’ll be impressed with the feel and ride of the shoe. The upper is flexible, seamless, and the fit will accommodate many types of feet. The combination of Phylon foam and Zoom Air in the forefoot offers a plush, flexible, and fast ride.
At 10.7 oz (men’s size 10) with a 9mm heel drop the Zoom Elite 5 bridges the gap between lightweight trainers and a well cushioned shoe runners would use for easy days or long runs. This shoe can do it all: During long runs my feet felt supported even when my form fell apart from fatigue. Faster tempo running was a pleasure due to the Zoom Air in the forefoot, and the cushioning hasn’t lost any responsiveness in 200 miles.
If you were a fan of the Zoom Elite 4s then these shoes are a must buy. For anyone else, you don’t know what you’re missing!
we thank the nice people at Nike for sending us a pair of Zoom Elite 5 to test. This did not influence our review of the shoe, written after logging more than 200 miles on them!