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Nike Zoom Elite 7 Review: Versatile All-Around Trainer With Room for Improvement

Nike Zoom Elite 7I haven’t followed Nike’s offerings for that long. In fact, the only Nike shoe I’ve spent time running in prior to this year was the Nike Zoom Streak XC 3 (now sold, with an updated upper design, as the Zoom Streak LT 2). This year I’ve run in three Nike shoes: Terra Kiger v1, Kiger v2 and the Zoom Elite 7. Just like I was pleasantly surprised with the Kiger, and quite impressed with the Kiger 2, I was also somewhat impressed with the Elite 7 when trying it on. I had tried on the Pegasus 31 not long before, and while the Elite 7 has some similarities to the Peg 31 (even beyond its looks), I found the fit and feel of the Elite to be a little more to my liking.  The main differences are a lower drop at 8mm compared to the 10mm of the Peg, firmer midsole, forefoot zoom unit (Peg 31 only has one in the heel) and slightly lower stack heights.

I’ve now run well over 75 miles in the Zoom Elite 7, about 50% on road and 50% on mostly hardpack, non-technical trail.  Below are my thoughts at this point.

Nike Zoom Elite  7

Specs

Price: $110 MSRP (the color I bought is now on sale at Running Warehouse here)

Colorways: 6 colors that I’ve seen (5 on Nike’s site here and the initial launch color that I purchased that is now on sale )

Weight:  9.0 oz/255 in size 9 mens; 11.11 oz/315 g in my size 13 men’s; and 7.9 oz/223 g in size 8 for women (stats via Running Warehouse)

Stack Height: 25 mm Heel; 18 mm Forefoot stack height for both men and women

Upper & Fit

Nike Zoom Elite  7

Nice materials, completely seamless, flywire.  Notice fairly thin tongue; not problematic for me, but noteworthy.

This is one area where I really think Nike did well with this shoe.  Before getting to the good stuff, I should mention that I had to cut the arch area away on the sockliner/footbed because it seemed to cause blisters on my arch at times. I did this on the Kiger and Kiger 2 as well – since the interiors of all three of the Nike shoes are completely seamless it appears to be a footbed-specific issue.  Not a problem overall because it is fixed very easily with some scissors. It’s just somewhat annoying to have to do this to every new Nike shoe that I buy.

The Elite 7 has a very nice internal liner and I’ve had no problem running sockless in them.  The overlays hold the foot well, and the material seems very durable.  It has a similar construction to the Kiger where it has an outer mesh (in the Elite 7’s case with some thin welded overlays instead of the engineered mesh), an internal liner, and flywire sandwiched in between.  The fit is probably medium width in the toebox, with the shoe running just a bit long to me (1/4 size maybe).  The lacing is slightly asymmetrical, which didn’t cause any problems, but I usually don’t prefer it.  The only slight issue I had with the fit is that I felt that the heel collar, while well padded, extended up a bit too high.  This only caused a small hot spot one time (on a 2.5 hr run), but it is definitely a design flaw in my mind…probably irrelevant if you wear socks.  Overall, another example of Nike’s use of quality materials and construction methods at a decent price.

Midsole & Ride

Nike Zoom Elite 7

Lots of similarity to the Pegasus 31 in design and appearance of midsole.  Firmer and notice somewhat rockered geometry that creates the “roll” in the ride.

While the Elite 7 is designed as an uptempo running shoe, its stack height is somewhat substantial.  Additionally, while the midsole material is firmer than, say the Pegasus 31, it is not as firm as most racing shoes.  The shoe is fairly stiff longitudinally though, and that, combined with the “crash rails” on the lateral side of the shoe, give the ride a rolling feel (akin to, but not as pronounced as, a Pearl Izumi N1/N2).  While this may or may not be a good thing, depending on your preference, the end result is that the shoe is not that flexible, but still runs fairly nimbly despite the lack of flexibility.  It has a zoom air unit in the forefoot, along with a solid patch of rubber outsole on the forefoot, which provides great protection across the metatarsals.  That protection is no doubt the best feature of the ride for me; lots of help for tired feet without the weight of a full blown trainer.

There are some problems with the ride for me, however.  Mainly it has to do with the outsole design in which there are pretty stiff crash rails on the lateral side with no rubber under the medial heel. This leads to feeling your heel dump medially on initial contact.  It stabilizes for me pretty quickly once I’m on my forefoot, but I find that I’m compensating for it, and after awhile I get fatigued at trying to weight my forefoot earlier than normal.  This could have been easily fixed if Nike had just extended the medial heel rubber over another two inches.  I’m fine with not having rubber on the arch area on a road shoe, but I think the heel needs it on the medial side (unless the entire outsole is EVA and not rubber, like the inov-8 Road-X Lite 155).

Outsole

Nike Zoom Elite 7 sole

Nice outsole other than glaring omission of medial heel rubber.

Other than the lack of medial heel rubber, the outsole design is pretty good for a road shoe.  I like the lateral midfoot coverage, something many shoes don’t have, which, if you land midfoot, tends to eat up the exposed midsole.  I like the solid rubber forefoot that gives great protection over the metatarsals, and the rubber seems to be holding up very well even though I’ve run at least 35-40 miles on trails.

Overall Impressions

The Nike Zoom Elite 7 is a really nice shoe overall with one issue that may or may not be a major one depending on your gait: the lack of rubber under the inner heel.  For me it has really detracted from what otherwise is a great all-around shoe that even handles trails quite well.  All in all, I would recommend the shoes with the caveat that for some (maybe most) you will notice some lateral buildup relative to the medial side.  If Nike fixed this one issue, I would call them one of the best versatile trainers out there that could go long or fast and not feel bad at either.

The Nike Zoom Elite 7 is available for purchase at Running Warehouse, Amazon.com, and Nike.com. Outside of the US they can be purchased at Wiggle. Purchases made via these links provide a small commission to Runblogger and help to support the production of reviews like this one – thanks!

 

 

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About David Henry

David Henry is a 31 year old husband and father of 3 young children. He has completed over 23 ultra marathon events as well as many other shorter races. Some of the notable races he has completed include The Pike’s Peak Marathon, Speedgoat 50k, The Rut 50k, Gorge Waterfalls 100k and Bighorn 100. He has raced in diverse environments ranging from Alaska in winter to the Arizona desert. David appreciates well-crafted running shoes and running on any surface and distance. If interested you can follow my running on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/davidjonhenry

Comments

  1. Nice review…. how do the fit and ride compare to the Kiger 2? Is the heel collar buildup of the Elite that much more noticeable, and is the midsole firmness comparable/more/less?

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Robert. Thanks for reading the review. The Kiger 2 has a lower volume fit overall (especailly in the midfoot) and a more anatomical last than the Elite 7, but I found the fit to be pretty good still for me. The ride of the Kiger is more responsive in my opinion just because of the lower stack height and a little more flexible ride. The Elite 7 felt like a responsive trainer to me compared to the Kiger which has a racier feel while still being forgiving. The heel collar isn’t a big problem to me, but just extended higher than it needed to be; again I only had a problem one time with it rubbing my achilles and it was a pretty hot day . Midsole firmness is hard to gage but I’d say they would be somewhat similar but with the Elite coming out as feeling just a bit softer than the Kiger 2. Hope that helps! -David

  2. That lack of rubber on the medial midfoot scares me away.

  3. I’ve been a long-time user of all versions of the Zoom Elite (30+ pairs), and this is the first one that has me trying to find another daily training shoe. My thoughts:

    1.) This shoe runs slightly shorter than the 6. Not really a problem (6 ran pretty long), just an observation.

    2). Versions 5 and 6 had a built up area under the medial arch. Some people describe it as a “bubble” under the arch and did not like it. I loved it as it provided some arch support without clunky anti-pronation devices/second densities. The 7 does not have this and feels much flatter in the arch area.

    3). Totally agree with you on your assessment of the lack of rubber in the medial heel. My heel feels very unstable in this shoe. It’s almost like this shoe has a second density (less dense on the medial side) that forces me to pronate much more than I do naturally. I don’t get this sensation in any other “neutral” shoe I wear (Adidas Supernova Glide Boost).

    Conclusion: I’ve loved all of the previous versions of this shoe (5 being the best in my opinion), so I’ll continue to use this shoe some and hope that Nike fixes some of the issues on the next version. However, this shoe has gone from being my everyday shoe to a workout/tempo run shoe. I think the forefoot cushioning in the shoe is perfect for me (firm, but substantial) for faster runs, but the rearfoot could certainly use some work.

  4. Quite an informative review has been written by you! I have always been a Nike lover and feel that the comfort Nike shoes provide at such affordable prices cannot be matched by any other brand. They have been very innovative in their designs without compromising on comfort.

  5. I love the colors combination, blue – pink.
    Now I use the lunarglide 6

  6. From looking at Nike’s website, they appear to have updated the outsole to remedy medial heel rubber situation. Appears to now curve around. Would be cool if you could test a newer pair to see if this is an improvement.

    • David Henry says:

      You’re right Andrew. I purchased the turquoise colorway a month or so back, which appears to be one of the few with the medial heel rubber added (basically the new colors for spring look to be changed) and have since run in them and it is much improved. In fact there is an upcoming post on using road shoes for trails where I have them on there with some pictures and impressions. Thanks for the comment! -David

  7. Funny. I cut off the arch on the insoles as well. Without doing so, my ankles hurt after a run.

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