In all my years, I have never ran in a pair of Nikes. Nike isn’t the first brand I associate with running. So when given the chance to review a pair I decided it was time.
The Nike Zoom Structure are one of two stability options Nike offers. The other is the Odyssey. While the Odyssey is build for performance stability, the Zoom Structure are build to be a daily trainer.
The Zoom Structures has many competitors in terms of price, ride and stability. I found the cushioning and stability similar to that of a Saucony Guide rather than an Omni, or a Brooks Ravenna more than an Adrenaline.
The ride of the Zoom Structures is comparable in stability and cushion to an Asics 2000 or the aforementioned Brooks Ravenna.
Those models run anywhere from 110 to 130, while the Zoom Structure are right in the middle with a price tag of 120.
Upon opening the box, I was extremely impressed with the colorway and design of the shoe. The navy blue mixes well with the orange-peel swoosh and the crimson flash heel.
The heel became my favorite part of the design because of how it flashed while on a run. The inside of the foot lacks a swoosh, which is more visually appealing. I was intrigued by the flyknit lacing system.
When I slipped them on for the first time I was surprised by how firm they felt. The upper – recently updated on this model – felt plush with plenty of room for my foot to move.
My first run out of the box was a relaxed 3.5 miles. It took my feet 1.5 miles to truly feel comfortable in them.
Nike Zoom Structure 22 Sole Unit
The Nike Zoom Structure’s sole unit was completely redesigned between the 19th and 20th edition, and hasn’t been touched since.
Recently, Nike has been a running brand which has tried to push the envelope in regards to many aspects of their running shoes, just look at their attempt at the Sub-2 marathon.
For this reason I am confused why Nike hasn’t put the same thought and development into this uninspired sole unit. It’s ground that has been trod (literally) before.
The sole unit is a dual-density mixture of Phylon and Cushlon foams. With the dual density mixture you get softness on the lateral (outside) part of the foot while firmness on the medial (inside) part of the foot.
The Dynamic support of the sole unit which i felt more closer to the heel felt unbalanced. This was mostly due to the height of the heel.
If the heel were lower to the ground, giving a more grounded feel and platform, it would help provide more support and stability. This feeling of unbalance became more evident the longer I ran.
It took 1.5 to 2 miles on each run before I began to feel comfortable. It almost felt as if the sole unit never truly broke in, as my feet had to adjust to the shoe on every run.. The whole shoe was stiff, but especially the sole.
The stiffness, however, was not alone in bothering me, the sole unit felt completely unresponsive.
With new technologies, many shoes have become adept at absorbing the impact of your foot striking the ground and returning the energy through bounce on your toe off.
The Zoom Structures absorbed the impact of my feet hitting the ground nicely but failed to return any bounce. After a while, I felt my legs and feet tire because I was fighting the shoe.
On the other side, the outsole provided a highlight for the sole unit. The traction provided by the outsole handled every surface I on which I tested it.
This included grass, crushed limestone and cement for surfaces I ran on along with rain or shine for weather. I knew I wasn’t going to have to worry about staying on my feet in these in any conditions.
Nike Zoom Structure 22 Upper Info
Nike made some updates to the upper to improve the shoe. They used their flyknit design which helps you lock your foot into the shoe. By using an engineered mesh as the main material, Nike was able to make the shoe breathable and durable.
It also handles the weather and the elements comfortably. This mesh material lacks the rigid structure compared to many other stability shoes in which I have run.
As a stability runner the structure provided by the upper helps hold your foot in place while you stride, and this is important.
Another change they made to the upper the location of the laces. They moved them up farther up the shoe. The was done in hopes to allow the forefoot to spread out in a natural way while you run.
This was an effective change as I noticed how my feet were landing on my stride. The wider than average toebox gives you ample room to spread out.
The look and design of the heel counter has been changed for this edition. The change has been strictly the visual design of the heel counter. I noticed quickly on my first run the heel felt very loose.
I stopped and retie my shoes thinking it was the laces being loose. I took off again but the heel was still loose and my midfoot hurt because the shoes were tied too tight.
This continued to happen to me on the rest of my runs on this test. Since my heels always felt loose, if I were to continue running in these, I would have to change my lacing pattern to lock in my heels.
This feeling along with the lack of structure of the upper made for an unstable ride.
What was striking to me is that Nike have incorporated their Flywire technology, which is designed to lock in your feet. This technology is in effective in allowing you to adjust the right amount of tightness and where on your midfoot.
However, the upper is a disappointment because the other elements of this shoe made the flywire ineffective.
Nike Zoom Structure 22 Conclusions
Overall, the Nike Zoom Structure was a disappointment. I had my hopes up for a new brand and a brand that recently has been on the feet of so many championship runners.
However, the Zoom Structures were average, at best. Yes, I was able to log my miles, but the sole unit was too firm and the upper too washy.
At $120, they fall squarely in a crowded field of stability trainers competing with the likes of Saucony Guides and Omnis, Brooks Adrenaline and Ravennas.
If you are going to be priced to compete with the heavy hitters of the stability trainers you need to have something distinguish you from the rest of the pack. Sadly, the Zoom Structures failed to have that distinguishing characteristic.
On the positive side, the Zoom Structure was a very visually appealing shoe. It has more of a casual, everyday look to it and is filled with bright and vibrant colors. Nike certainly knows how to design an eye catching shoe.
With every running brands there comes loyalists who stick with the shoe no matter what. They will be content with the newly designed upper along with new visual design of the Zoom Structure.
The problem, however, is that looks alone do not make a shoe. The sole unit was too firm, unresponsive and it took a couple of miles on every run to feel comfortable running in them.
Due to the lack of responsiveness and cushion, my legs were fighting these shoes on every stride, and this worked my legs harder than other shoes have done before. This was especially true on my long, slow distance runs.
I assumed that the shoe would soften and return more energy as it broke in. However, this was not something I noticed, and instead the double digit runs I did in these left my feet and legs feeling more tired.
For this reason I wouldn’t recommend the Zoom Structures as your sole daily trainer.
We purchased a pair of Nike Zoom Structure 22 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.