Nike’s newest spikes, alongside shoes from several other companies, have created quite a stir in the running world. Its technology, which first appeared on the roads, has now entered the track arena in a big way. Here’s a look at the Nike Air Zoom Victory, the newest middle-distance ‘super spike’ from Nike.
Weight: 130 g (size 9)
Availability: Currently available in the U.S., limited availability in Canada
Price: $180 USD
The upper is made of Nike’s Atomknit, and it is their lightest upper yet. When you pick up this shoe, it’s feather-light, it’s am-I-actually-holding-a-shoe light. I found the upper extremely comfortable and it fit my foot perfectly.
The laces aren’t a part of the upper I usually touch on, but the Victory’s are particularly well done. The laces have grooves that help to keep them from untying, and a slightly tacky feel, which is a very nice touch (especially when the shoes are for traveling at your top speed).
The midsole is a combination of ZoomX foam (the same foam found in Nike’s road shoes), a carbon plate and a version of Nike’s air bags. These three components give you a high-cushion feel without a high stack height. Admittedly, on first wear, this shoe feels strange. Because track spikes have become so minimal, runners are used to feeling the ground underneath them – and this shoe is a complete departure from that sensation. However, after a couple of wears, I came around to sprinting in a shoe with serious cushion.
The outsole is where the least innovation has taken place. Added traction is almost non-existent once you reach the heel of Victory, but this is common in spikes across all brands (your heel will barely ever touch the ground in these shoes anyway). The front of the shoe has a plastic plate with six holes for removable pins. As with all spikes, the shoe comes with a spike wrench.
Full disclosure: I didn’t like these spikes on first wear. They felt way too built up and awkward on my foot. Toward the end of a workout, I put them on to do a fast 200m, and said aloud, ‘Nope.’ The air bag created an unfamiliar sensation when I was going fast. It felt like I was running on a bubble.
But after giving them a second chance, I fell in love. For runners who are considering purchasing these spikes, they certainly take a few wears to get used to, so don’t pull them out for the first time on race day. Also, because of the nature of the air bag, your foot will be dorsiflexed when you’re not running, so limit the time spent just walking around in them (between sets, for example).
These shoes deliver on lightness and cushion – like the road version. My legs felt much less beat up after a tough day on the track, and once I was used to the added bounce that they provide, I really enjoyed wearing them. These particular spikes are intended to be worn for the 800m and 1,500m and are not yet available in Canada.
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