The Differences Between the Nike Zoom Running Shoes

The Differences Between the Nike Zoom Running Shoes


Over the years Nike has continued creating innovative technology to help athletes perform at their best. One of the best examples is the ever-evolving line of Nike Zoom running shoes. But with so many  options to choose from, it can be difficult to spot the differences between them. So we’ve created a chart showing which tech features each shoe has along with descriptions of those tech features, so you can figure out which Zoom running shoe is best for you. No matter which pair you end up buying, you’re sure to stand out from the pack with Nike Zoom running shoes.

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Nike Zoom Running Shoes Pictured Above
(from left to right)

Air Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2, Air Zoom Pegasus 37
Zoom Fly 3, Zoom Streak LT 4, ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%
Zoom Gravity, Zoom Winflo, Air Zoom Vomero 14
Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail, Air Zoom Terra Kiger 6


Chart showing which tech features each Nike Zoom running shoe has.

* Shoes feature a full-length Zoom Air unit. ** Shoes are designed for off-road trail running.

Technology of Nike Zoom Running Shoes

Engineered Mesh

Engineered mesh is more flexible and more durable compared to regular mesh. It’s often used as the upper for many of Nike’s performance running shoes to provide breathability while remaining snug on your feet.


This unique upper first debuted on Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. It’s super strong and lightweight, but more importantly it’s water resistant. So even in the worst rainy weather, the shoes won’t soak up water.

Flywire Cables

The exposed Flywire cables on some of the Zoom shoes provide a secure feel by allowing for a tight, but flexible fit. These cables stretch all the way to the sole, though you only see a bit on the top. So even though they may look insignificant, they provide substantial support without adding much extra weight.

Carbon Plate

Encased in the React cushioning, this full-length plate adds a layer of firmness to the shoes, adding a snappy response that propels you forward during your run.

ZoomX Foam

Originally designed to assist runners trying to break the two-hour marathon time, ZoomX Foam is the lightest, softest, and most responsive midsole cushioning from Nike. It gives you comfortable cushion without adding weight and bulk to your shoe.

React Foam

Originally, this foam cushioning debuted in Nike’s basketball shoes in 2017. Less than a year later, Nike figured out how to best incorporate it into running shoes. With this new technology, runners no longer need to decide between either a soft cushion to absorb energy or a firm cushion to provide energy return. They can have it all. React cushioning is lightweight and has significant energy return and durability to last long distances.

Cushlon Foam

This foam midsole is softer and more responsive than traditional Phylon. Cushlon absorbs impact and feels soft underfoot to provide cushioned comfort.

Zoom Air

Zoom Air debuted with Nike more than 20 years ago. Nike Zoom Air units come in different sizes, but in running shoes, the Zoom Air units are most commonly seen as either a full-length unit that goes along the entirety of the sole or two smaller units placed beneath the heel and beneath the toes. These units are filled with air and stretched fibers that contract when pressure is applied and bounce back when pressure is removed. So with every stride you take, you experience dynamic energy return.

To shop all Nike running gear, head on over to

Performance Fit For The King

Performance Fit For The King


words // Ben Schumacher
images // Tyler Berry

End-to-end speed, power to post up anyone, quickness to blow by anyone, versatility to guard 1-5, and elite dunking ability: these are all things that add up to the once-in-a-generation player that is LeBron James. At 6’9” 240 lbs., LeBron needs a shoe that can highlight his abilities and give him the support, stability, cushioning, and responsiveness that allow a player his size to do the things on the floor that he is capable of. Enter the Nike Zoom Soldier VIII.

Let’s start with the stability, lockdown, and support. When a man LeBron’s size is cutting and changing directions like a point guard, his shoes must be able to hold up to that. The Nike Zoom Soldier VIII features flexible forefoot mesh that gives The King the freedom of motion he needs to be agile, while the Flywire cables tighten around his feet to give his large frame a strong base to plant on. The updated collar strap helps secure his foot through explosive movements and the quick release zipper allows for easy on/off.

Now that you know the shoe will provide the lockdown and support that LeBron needs to cut on a dime, you have to look at what the shoe delivers underneath his foot. If you’re going to be playing the majority of the game in the fashion that LeBron James plays, you’re going to need the best materials under your feet. With its Phylon midsole and Zoom unit in the forefoot and heel, the Soldier VIII gives you the responsiveness you need for that quick second jump around the rim. This means more put-backs on offense and more blocked shots on defense.

Lastly, the lateral quickness and agility of both you and LeBron depend on superior court traction and natural motion capabilities. The Soldier delivers both through its decoupled forefoot and heel and advanced power flex traction pattern. The decoupled forefoot and heel allow these sections of the shoe to move independently, which means more flexibility for you. This increased flexibility creates a greater range of motion for your foot, allowing you to generate more power for your jumps.

As LeBron’s preferred on-court shoe in the 2013-2014 season, the Nike Zoom Soldier contributed to another MVP-caliber season for The King. You can get the Nike Zoom Soldier VIII at Eastbay in 21 colorways this season.Soldier-253641417-a1-ls-EAH453641417-a3-ls-EAH453641417-a2-ls-EAH4