Having been a massive fan of the Zoom Elite since the version 4 pair that I ran in back in 2008, I’ve looked on with curiosity to see what Nike would do with each edition to make it a better shoe. The honest truth is that they really peaked with the version 5. If could buy version 5’s today in my size I’d buy 5 pairs immediately. They were that good. Incredibly simple but beautifully effective. Then things went a bit south as version 6 became a heavier, clumsier update from the 5. Then 7, which was a complete reworking of the aesthetic appearance, sank lower and really lost the momentum that the shoe had enjoyed in the past. Version 8 was a bit better and was clearly what 7 should have been all along.
So that just leaves us with version 9. I had heard about this shoe well before it was released and had suspicions it might be something good. And man is it a good shoe. A really great shoe in fact and maybe the best Zoom Elite ever.
Snug fitting: The fit seems almost a bit overly worked and technically the first time you put it on. But after a few runs it gets snug and feels very customised. If you have the sizing just right its one of those shoes for me where the laces don’t matter that much, the shoe just fits. (No need to use the extra lace holes at the top).
Lightweight: These are light shoes and noticeably much lighter than previous Zoom Elites. Swapping out a Pegasus and into these, they feel featherweight. I notice a lot of people winning road races now in these shoes and that’s a reflection on the fact that they really are light enough to race in.
Fully responsive: With the full length Zoom under the heel and the forefoot you get response off the ground up front as well for people that impact in that area. People are starting to report about this shoe feeling like it wants to go fast and certainly on road surface particularly I would agree.
Fast: As mentioned above it is a quick shoe that is ideally suited to long intervals, threshold and tempo running. Some shoes are sluggish and some just in the middle but this is definitely a shoe that encourages you to go a bit quicker.
All round: Although the Zoom Elite has generally been dropped into the Zoom range to be approximately in the category of an uptempo training shoe the truth is I’ve found after months and months of use that they can do pretty much anything and everything for the conventional road runner. From 5k races, to marathons and from intervals to long runs.
Below are my scores based on how the shoe worked with my foot shape and running needs. Weight is a little subjective as the lightest possible is not always necessarily the best in certain types of training. However I do think the weight for the Zoom Elite 9 is just perfect for shoe.