Once upon a time, a “running shoe” was pretty much any kind of athletic shoe that was made to be a little lighter, a little faster, and have enough flex in the sole to make the running motion a little easier.
Things have changed a lot over the last few decades, and now running shoes are lab-engineered to offer runners every possible advantage, while still providing enough strength and support to ensure a more fluid running motion.
Strength, stability, and traction are paramount as well, in order to protect the runner’s feet and lower body.
Competition is fairly still in modern times, as it seems that nearly every shoe company has at least a few different pairs to offer runners.
There are certainly some good choices out there, although it may be a bit difficult to find them when looking past the aesthetics and brand name of a shoe.
Nike’s iconic Shox running shoe series has stood the test of time, and continually offers runners an incredibly lightweight shoe that excels in everything from shock absorption, to enhancing gait.
The men’s version of the Shox NZ’s is catered towards those who want a quick and responsive running shoe, but even more nimble, and even lighter.
The Shox NZ’s succeed in their intentions, providing an increased sense of speed and responsiveness, at an incredibly low weight of around just 9.5 ounces. In other words, they are comfortable, fast, and can at times feel like you aren’t wearing shoes. There’s a reason why they are so popular, after all.
Everything starts with a synthetic leather body that features mesh in certain areas for added ventilation. The shoes’ appearance is centered around an aggressive stance that is emphasized with a very thin midsole that begins in the middle of the foot. The Shox portion of the shoe is directly located under the heel.
Not that this is the most important aspect of running shoes, but the Nike Shox NZ’s really do look great. They demand attention while offering a minimalistic look, and come in so many color options that you are almost guaranteed to find the one that is perfect for your own preferences.
Anyway, moving on. The ventilation factor of the shoes is apparent, with mesh above the toe box, along the upper, and in small portions alongside the shoes, giving your feet some added breathing support that significantly cuts down on moisture.
The insole of the Shox NZ’s is soft and accommodating, but without being to padded, which can cause the foot to feel like it’s sunken.
The insole keeps your foot stable, supporting it with a plush softness that doesn’t get in the way of running. This delicate balance is hard to find.
The upper of the shoes is made from one-piece construction, helping to give it a sleek profile that doesn’t bunch up or crease n top of your foot. These helps keep the top portion of your foot comfortable and padded even with the laces tightened significantly.
The Shox portion of the Nike Shox NZ’s is the big star here. The four-tier “shocks” are made from elastic foam, which not only helps to absorb impact with each heel strike, but also helps to spring the foot forwards, encouraging your running motion while enhancing your natural gait.
The result of this is an added measure of cushioning that does anything but bog you're running down. The design of the Shox helps cut down on the shoe’s weight, while protecting your heel in a way that makes your strides more efficient.
Often overlooked with running shoes, the outsole of the Shox NZ’s is well-engineered, offering a perfect amount of flex. Made from BRS 1000 carbon rubber, the tread features a modified circular Waffle design for better traction.
It’s probably a little obvious, but the biggest advantage with the Shox NZ’s is the actual Shox portion.
The innovative design is a huge reason as to why Nike’s Shox series is so popular, regardless of show type. In this case, the shocks are perfect for providing a perfect running motion.
The Shox absorb most of the impact from each heel strike, which is the primary factor that makes them so comfortable while running.
The spring-back from the heel helps improve your strides, which is beneficial in more ways that go beyond overall speed and acceleration.
The thin design of the outsole is a favorite as well, as it helps the shoes from feeling too bulky, which is a big problem with other running shoes. This helps you get a better feeling for the ground, improving traction and adjusting your stride as needed.
The overall comfort of the Shox NZ’s is supported by the smart ventilation placement, along with the smooth, creaseless design of the upper. Your feet are surrounded by comfortable padding on all sides, while still being able to breathe as needed.
The lighter weight of the Nike Shox NZ’s is another factor that goes into making these one of the best running shoes you can buy.
It’s hard to really pinpoint anything that stands out as a negative aspect of the Shox NZ’s.
If anything, a tab on the back of the shoe would be appreciated, as this would help make putting the shoes on just a little easier.
The sizing of the Shox NZ’s is true to size, so no need to worry about ordering up or down a size.
Also, it is important to remember that these are running shoes, and have a running stance, so if you are looking for comfortable daily wear shoes for casual use, you should probably take a look at some walking shoes instead.
Bottom line, the Nike Shox NZ’s are truly one of the best running shoes you can possibly get. They offer all of the core things you need out of a running shoes, ranging from comfort and shock absorption, to breathability, traction, and of course -- style.
Whether you’re new to running, or a seasoned marathon runner, the Nike Shox NZ’s will always come through.