Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14 Review

A complete redesign for the Nike Vomero in its 14th version. The upper and midsole have seen big changes, giving the new Vomero a revamped ride. Let’s see how the new one fits, feels, and functions!

The Vomero, traditionally Nike’s max-cushion neutral trainer, get streamlined and slimmed down in the update. The 14 breaks from the fairly long and consistent tradition of soft, pillowly Vomeros and becomes a sleeker, lower (especially in the forefoot), faster shoe.

Nike Vomero 14 Review

Nike Vomero 14 vs 13

  • Basically a new shoe, the Air Zoom Vomero 14 is now much lower and responsive
  • The midsole has been updated to provide a single, full-length zoom air unit with React foam
  • The change to React foam has caused the Vomero to gain a slight amount of weight, but because of the responsive nature of the updates and overall lower stack heights you really can’t tell when you have them on-foot
  • The ride is much lower on the 14, especially in the forefoot, more flexible, and more responsive
  • While you still have some cushion in the heel (not as plush as the 13s, but maybe equivalent to a Pegasus), the forefoot has very little there
  • Fit has changed a little bit, with the upper being narrower, shallower, and having a pretty intrusive collar
  • The first batch that we received in-store has had a noticeable (to everyone who has put them on) bulge in the middle of the forefoot – this could be a result of the much lower forefoot or a production issue, but something to look out for

Fit

Nike has updated the Vomero to their new streamlined style, and it changes the fit to be pretty hugging throughout the entire upper. Starting in the heel, the Vomero 14 has a pretty tight and firm collar that many of the staff and customers have noticed immediately. The exposed lacing system does a good job of keeping things snug and your feet locked in and allows for a good deal of adjustment. Things get tighter once you get to the forefoot, with the Vomero 14 having a considerably narrow and shallow forefoot – runners who need some space up front will have to stay away from the new Vomero.

Feel

Nike introduced the Vomero in 2006 to great fanfare as one of the first highly-cushioned neutral trainers. Throughout its run, it has consistently served as a benchmark for the entire category of max-cushioned shoes. The latest version runs in almost direct contrast to that legacy, with Nike creating a responsive and pretty fast-feeling neutral trainer that provides a decent amount of cushion in the heel and less than average amount in the forefoot. Replacing the EVA/Lunarlon midsole foam is Nike’s new React foam – designed to be soft on impact yet provide a greater energy return overall. That React foam is simply not as plush as EVA and reducing the height to only 17mm in the forefoot really creates a different feeling shoe.

Vomero vs React – The bottom line is that runners who are new to the Vomero will experience a unique ride that’s essentially a bulked-up, softer Epic/Odyssey React. Putting those shoes on head-to-head makes the new Vomero’s purpose come into focus. Runners who have been in the Vomero throughout it’s life as a bulked-up, softer Pegasus will be sorely disappointed by the update.

 Function

The change to React foam and overall lowering of the platform might make the new Vomero slightly more stable than it has previously been, it still functions as a purely neutral shoe. While great for neutral runners, it’s not going to provide any guidance to prevent pronation.

Comparisons:

Nike Vomero vs Pegasus:

In their newest versions (Vomero 14 vs Pegasus 35), the two shoes are as comparable as they’ve ever been. Traditionally, the Vomero has been considerably softer and plusher than the Pegasus. Nike has been able to take the Pegasus to a much more cushioned feel over the past couple of versions without really sacrificing a pretty responsive ride, and the 35 is probably the most cushioned Pegasus to date. Meanwhile, the Vomero just took a big swing away from cushion/plushness – to get to a point where you might not be able to tell which is which if you weren’t looking down at your feet. Both are pretty narrow throughout the shoe, with the Vomero giving you a little more room in the toebox, but the Nike’s new upper design and overall streamlined shape provides a pretty snug fit. The Vomeros are about an ounce heavier than the Pegasus, but each feel about the same on-foot. Neither shoe provides significant guidance for runners with more flexible foot strikes.

Nike Vomero vs Structure

With the Vomero becoming less cushioned, the actual on-foot feel is more similar than it has been in the past – but these shoes are designed for very different runners. The Vomero is a max-plush neutral shoe (that’s no longer as plush as it once was), whereas the Structure is Nike’s standard guidance shoe designed to prevent pronation. The Vomero remains higher and softer than the Structure, and it’s an overall plusher experience. The Structure has more room throughout the shoe, most notably in the toebox.

Nike Vomero vs Glycerin (Brooks)

While previous generations of the Vomero and Glycerin were pretty comparable, the update to the Vomero has resulted in very different feeling shoes. The Vomero now feels firmer and more responsive but the overall ride is much lower in the Glycerin with noticeably less drop. The Glycerin is much wider overall, from the heel through the toebox.  The uppers are very similar, with a knit mesh featuring few overlays that tapers towards the toe a little more in the Vomero, but the fit is just more snug in the Nike. Because of how low and flexible the Glycerin is, you can’t really tell a difference in weight between the shoes on your feet. The scale, however, has the Vomero about an ounce lighter.  The amount of guidance in each shoe is minimal, and both are great options for neutral runners.

Nike Vomero vs ASICS Nimbus

Despite having a similar overall conceptual goal of providing a maximum amount of perceived cushion, the Vomero and Nimbus have remarkably different on-foot feels. The experience of the Vomero is (by design) much more playful and springy while providing almost the same amount of cushion. The Vomero feels much more flexible, while the Nimbus’ heel feels a lot more stable/platform-like. In terms of weight, the Vomero feels and is a little lighter thanks to the springy midsole and flexible upper. The Nimbus is wider throughout the shoe, and has much more room in the toebox. Nike’s knit upper somewhat mitigates the snugness of the Vomero, but it’s something to consider for runners who need wiggle room for their toes. As each is designed as purely neutral trainers, guidance for each shoe is minimal.

Nike Vomero vs Hoka Bondi

While max-cushioned neutral trainers as a category were already pretty well established by the time Nike introduced the running-specialty-focused Vomero 14 years ago, a few years later took that category and based an entire brand off of it. Overall, however the Vomero has gotten away from the formula that would make these similar-feeling shoes. The Bondi is simply really soft, and even ignoring the unique Hoka rocker-feel, the Vomero feels like a racing flat next to the Bondi. The Bondi is much wider overall, from the heel through the toebox.  The two shoes weigh about the same, but the two are really just different on-foot – with the Hoka maybe feeling a little heavier because of how much you sink down into the foam.  One aspect of Hoka’s wide platform and cradling foam is that the Bondi can provide a decent amount of inherent stability for runners who have some flexibility (pronation) in their footstrike, something that is lacking from the Vomero.

Come in and try the new Vomero 14s on for yourself! 

Nike Vomero 14 Review

 

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