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Introduction

Nike is one of the world’s largest sporting goods companies in the world, founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. The Nike brand was established in 1972 after they went separate ways with Onitsuka Tiger whom they had a partnership with prior. Nike has a long history of innovation and running shoes development and in this article, we will cover the current midsole technology which Nike has.

Nike’s Current Logo, the “Swoosh”

Types of Midsole Technology

Today, Nike running shoes typically have the following list of midsole technologies.

  1. Cushlon – an EVA foam
  2. React – proprietary foam by Nike which replaced the Lunarlon
    1. Lunarlon – a EVA foam mixed with Nitrile Rubber (NBR).
  3. ZoomX – a Pebax foam, Nike’s top line midsole foam
  4. Renew Foam – (Editor’s Note: cannot be 100% sure) Lunarlon with or w/o external carrier foam (e.g., Cushlon or Phylon)
  5. CMP 010 – an unknown midsole foam.

Cushlon

Cushlon was Nike’s go to midsole technology prior to the development of React and ZoomX midsole. It is used previously in the Pegasus series and now believed to be in the Rival Fly 3 and Winflo 8 midsole.

React

The React is a project that was launched in 2017 for Nike’s basketball shoes. Developed by Nike’s own chemists and mechanical engineers, and after the success in basketball shoes, the team incorporated React to the running line.

ZoomX

The ZoomX foam is a pebax-based midsole foam which is used in Nike’s top range running shoes such as the Vaporfly Next %, Streakfly, and Invincible Run Flyknit. Based on information found on Nike, the ZoomX has nitrogen infused into its midsole to provide its responsiveness and lightweight.

Renew

Renew Foam, or perhaps a dual-density foam is made with two older Nike’s technologies – the Lunarlon and Cushlon/Phylon. The Renew midsole technology is used in Nike’s entry level running shoes Renew Ride and Renew Ride. Both running shoes are in its 3rd iterations.

Other

CMP 010 is one of the midsole spotted in the Structure 24. It is rumored to be Compression Molded Phylon and Phylon is one of Nike’s old midsole technology. Based on our research, nothing has been confirmed by Nike what midsole technology it is.

One last important technology which Nike has is their Zoom Air Unit. The Air Unit, and now the Zoom Air, is one of Nike’s fundamental technologies which they have employed since 1978 in the Nike Tailwind runner. Rather than have something like EVA or a foam to provide cushion, Nike debuted the use of air, coupled with a foam, to do so.

Nike Running Shoes Product Map

For our analysis, we include only road running shoes by Nike. Where possible we include the pricing for the latest model and omit the previous iterations. We also include in the mix running shoes with different iteration of the same model. For example, React Miler 2/3 and React Miler 2 Shield.

The median price of the Nike’s running shoes is USD 130 while the average price is USD 139.50. This meant that Nike has most of their running shoes lesser than the USD139.50 price point as its median is lesser than the average. The slight skewness of the average price is influenced by Tempo Next%, Vaporfly Next %, and Alphafly Next% which are more than USD 250 at retail.

Boxplot of Nike’s Road Running Shoes
(Source: Daily Running Co/ Nike)

The interquartile range starts from USD 100 and goes up to USD 160 and from the boxplot, there is a handful of running shoes going past then USD 160 mark. With the USD 160 budget, one can pick up a wide range of Nike’s running shoes such as the Zoom Fly 4, React Infinity Run Flyknit 3, and certainly the go-to Pegasus 39 among others famous series. At an average price of USD 130, a runner is treated to a more than capable starter pack with the Pegasus 39, Winflo 9, Rival Fly 3, and React Milier 3.

By Midsole Technologies

Renew Series

The Renew midsole series exists in the lower tier of running shoes within Nike’s product line up. The Renew Ride comes in at USD 75 while the Renew Run hits the USD 100 mark. Both pairs cater to runners looking for soft midsole and cushioning.

Cushlon Series

Price range starts from USD 100 with the Rival Fly 3 and goes towards the Winflo series at USD 110. Based on the Nike Singapore’s webpage, the price for Winflo 9 is six Singapore dollar more expensive than its previous version. The same price adjustment has happened to Pegasus 39, a six-dollar increase. So far these are the two models which we have established using the Cushlon midsole midsole. As cushlon is an older technology, it would not be surprisingly if changes have been made in the Cushlon technology. The Cushlon series sit nicely below Nike’s most famous Pegasus.

The Rival Fly 3 has a very budget friendly price for runners looking to do distance no more than 10 KM. At the same time, the Rival Fly 3 with its forefoot Air Zoom unit can help to deliver snappy workouts. Moving up the chain, the Winflo 9 is equipped with a full-length Air Zoom unit instead of a larger unit at the forefoot in Winflo 8.

For runners looking for a more multi-purpose running shoes which has a thicker midsole for cushioning and a boost from the full-length Air Zoom Unit, the Winflo 9 is the option to go.

React series

The react midsole technology is one of Nike’s main players. Implemented in the famous Pegasus (from iteration 37 onwards), the Zoom Fly, and the React Infinity Run Flyknit among others. For the road running series, there are in total at least 6 models using the React midsole technology.

The React provides much more cushioning and rebound than Nike’s previous midsole technologies. The series starts with 2 options for runners at the USD 120 mark: The Air Zoom Pegasus 39 and React Miler 3. Both have a “Shield” version which caters to rainy weather which increases its price by about USD 10. Moving up the price point, runner has a plated option (Zoom Fly 4) as well Nike’s most tested model (Infinity Run Flyknit). Both priced at USD 160 retail.

The average price for the React series is about USD 136 with a median price of USD 135. The range which the React midsole currently stretches is USD 40.

Editor’s note: the upcoming Zoom Fly 5 is expected to be using ZoomX midsole.

ZoomX Series

Nike’s top of the range technology. The ZoomX provides lightweight responsiveness as such used in many of Nike’s race day running shoes. In total there are 7 models which utilize the ZoomX midsole.  However, there are 2 models with a hybrid midsole stack. These 2 are: (i) Air Zoom Vomero 16 and (ii) Air Zoom Tempo Next%. The latter utilize a mix of ZoomX and React while the former is mixed with EVA.

As ZoomX caters to the race day and its equivalent trainings, The price range starts from USD 150 with the Vomero and goes up to USD 300 with the Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature, a range of USD 150. The average price of the ZoomX series is about USD 216 while its median price is USD 170. Most running shoes with ZoomX midsole technology are priced above the USD 200 mark.

Other Series

The Air Zoom Structure 24 midsole technology is known as CMP 010. Further research into the midsole technology thus far has not yield conclusive outcome on what it is. There is suggestion in the market that CMP refers to Compression Molded Pyhlon. However, it is not confirmed by Nike.

Product Map

Scatterplot: Nike Product Map
(Source: Daily Running Co/Nike)

Summary & Conclusion

Nike is an established brand with a long history in the running world. The company’s midsole technologies have evolved and kept the company on top of their game. Here are the key takeaways from the Nike’s Product Map

  1. In total, Nike currently have at least 4 midsole technologies which are known in the market.
    1. Cushlon,
    1. Renew
    1. React
    1. ZoomX
  2. These midsole technologies are coupled with the Nike’s proprietary Air Zoom Unit which provides it a technological advantage.
  3. Nike’s median price for its running shoes is at USD 130 while its average price is USD 139.50.
  4. While Nike has its largely more expensive running shoes with ZoomX technology, it also offers many causal running shoes for consumers. This has kept the difference between its median and average price lower than expected.
  5. The starting price for Nike running shoes is USD 65 and goes all the way to USD 300.
  6. Nike’s product portfolio offering caters to the largest segment of consumers which include causal and serious runners. Simply described as capturing all markets. This is reinforced by its established brand and image in the eyes of the consumers.

We hope that this article has helped you to understand the Nike’s running shoes better and make an informed choice about which pair is for you. If you like what we are doing here, please do not forget to subscribe to our newsletter for notification of our latest post. Or you can follow us on social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram. Till next time, just keep running.

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