The new Nike Zoom family of running shoes have something to suit every type of runner. From the plush and responsive Zoom Air to the powerful, innovative ZoomX, here’s a look at what goes on inside the Zoom series’ softest and most efficient technologies.
What is the Nike Zoom Air?
The new Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 continues to evolve with the times, but age is not slowing it down. Embedded within the midsole of the Pegasus 36 is a full-length Zoom Air unit, a cushioning system that is designed to provide responsive, low-profile cushioning that athletes can feel.
Initially made available in Nike’s Air Marauder football cleat, where ground feel is paramount, the Zoom Air technology very quickly made its way into running shoes, where it made its first appearance in the Nike Air Zoom LWP.
The plush and responsive cushioning feel is aided by tightly stretched, synthetic tensile fibres inside the pressurised Nike Air unit. Each time an athlete’s foot touches down, the fibres compress to cushion the impact before quickly springing back to their original state, generating an explosive response off the ground.
The system has fans amongst both elite athletes and leisure runners, as they look to Zoom Air for a fast, responsive ride and the snappy, quick-off-the ground feel that helps optimise their quest for speed.
Inside the Nike ZoomX
At another end of the Nike cushioning spectrum is the ZoomX. Found in this season’s new Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, the system is the result of a brand-new tooling system comprised of the ultra-light, ultra-resilient Nike ZoomX midsole and a unidirectional carbon fibre plate.
The compliant and resilient ZoomX foam, whose properties enable it to absorb the energy that a runner applies with each foot landing and quickly spring back up for a high rate of energy return, is paired with a flexible and durable carbon fibre plate.
The plate’s main role is to improve a runner’s ankle mechanics, reducing the load on the calves. This is reflected in the unique “scooped-shaped” geometry of the plate, visible in the iconic sweep of the Vaporfly’s midsole colouring. The carbon fibre plate critically serves to add bending stiffness, allowing better muscle efficiency and also give the ZoomX foam a consistent surface to work off.
Dr. Geng Luo, Nike Sport Research Lab Senior Researcher, Biomechanics, explains, “The goal of having a plate is to reduce how much energy loss happens when the runner bends at the toe. This curved plate is stiff enough to achieve that and because it has this geometry, it does so without increasing demand on the calf.”
Runners can now experience the sensation of Nike ZoomX in the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, the fastest series production running shoe that Nike has made to date.