If you’ve considered hitting the pavement, the track, or the trail this summer, coming across the best Nike running shoes on the market was probably inevitable. The Swoosh is a multibillion-dollar behemoth for many reasons, but none more compelling than the brand’s stellar reputation when it comes to performance footwear. See, before Nike was a global superpower practically synonymous with sports, it was a small-time operation founded by a former college track star and his coach with one eventual mission: Design a better running shoe. Today, the Portland-based operation churns out athletic wear of all types, but sneakers are still its bread and butter, and its running shoes work overtime to uphold that legacy. Nike’s running shoes are some of the best in the world because what they offer—from their cushioning, to their durability, to their energy return—is the opportunity to feel like Eliud Kipchoge, whether you’re an amateur enthusiast looking for a new daily trainer or a hardcore half-marathoner in the market for racing shoes that’ll help you smash your last PB.
When you buy one of Nike’s racers, you’re buying a product that’s been tinkered with to a fanatical degree: the foam midsoles, the treaded outsoles, the mesh uppers—every detail has been specially engineered for performance at the highest caliber, on long distance trails, 10-second sprints, or meandering uphill climbs. That level of attention is a crucial part of Nike’s story, the special sauce that the type of innovation snapped up by the sneaker-wearing masses—and shamelessly replicated by the brand’s competition. Flyknit, Flywire, FlyEase? All meaningless, insider-y jargon until Nike turned them into household terms, simultaneously making the technology they represent industry standard in the process.
There’s no doubt you can find good, even great, models from other brands—the Asics, Brooks, and Sauconys of the world—but it’s difficult to find models that perform well and do it with Nike’s signature panache. So why bother? Because we’ve rounded up the best Nike running shoes available right now. From trail-ready runners to everyday beaters you can wear to jog around the neighborhood, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to start your journey. C’mon. Just do it.
To see more of the best workout clothes and gear hand-picked by GQ editors, check out the GQ Fitness Awards.
The Hybrid Pick
One of the newest shoes in Nike’s running roster combines Pebax—the same performance foam that makes Nike’s cutting-edge Next% line a favorite among expert runners—with speciality cushioning to prevent soreness on longer, less intense runs.
The Everyday Pick
The Pegasus has been a stable of Nike’s running line since the brand introduced the silhouette in the early ’80s. The latest iteration of the all-purpose training shoe features its now-signature responsive foam and beathable mesh uppers, but also boasts a standout Zoom Air unit for more energy return and a slightly tweaked interior band to minimize slipping while you’re on the move .
The Budget Pick
Nike’s Winflo shoe is an ideal option for casual everyday runners, from its Flywire-enhanced uppers down to its soft cushlon foam. The most recent rendition of the silhouette sees the Swoosh upping the ante via added support at the heel and ankle, along with overlays by the toe box for extra durability.
The Fashion Head Pick
When Nike tapped Givenchy designer Matthew Williams to put his tactical spin on a classic running silhouette he knew what it was doing: enlisting one of the savviest aesthetes of his generation to imbue a dynamic style with his signature futurism. In technical terms, that translates to a high-tenacity shoe with mechanical plates that promote heel cushioning and forward propulsion. You can’t run a marathon in them, but if you’re looking to turn heads on milder runs these’ll sync up beautifully with your best workout gear and your techiest cargo pants.
The Modern Classic Pick
The Free Run 2 first debuted in 2011, but over a decade later it still looks like the future. Today it remains a go-to for runners who want a shoe that’s comfortable, lightweight, and will also look absolutely killer with a pair of trim sweats. The Free sole remains one of Nike’s best inventions, with its recognized scoring look allowing your feet to bend the way they’re supposed to while in motion. Buy ’em in black and they’ll look cool for another decade-plus, easy.
The Trail-Friendly Pick
If dodging trees sounds better than dodging traffic, you’re going to need a pair of shoes designed for less-than-ideal running conditions—dirt, muck, wet leaves, basically anything that might cause a twisted ankle. Enter Nike’s renergized Air Zoom Kiger, an even sleeker, even more sinister upgrade that still provides the trail-friendly features the silhouette is famous for.
The Record Breaking Pick
The most technologically advanced running shoe in Nike’s line-up now comes with a sustainable bent, thanks to a body made of 50% recycled materials. Rest assured, though, they’re still primed and ready to help you run fast—like, really fast—and look pretty damn cool in the process.