Sunday, December 13, 2020

Nike Air Zoom Vomero 15 Review

Article by Derek Li


Nike Vomero 15


Weight 10.40oz / 295g for men’s US9.5

Measured stack height per World Athletics rules including the sockliner: Forefoot 22mm, Heel 32mm

Retail at S$229 (Peg37 S$199)

Projected retail US$130-140. US release date unknown.



Introduction


Derek: The Vomero has traditionally been considered Nike’s most cushioned neutral trainer. Well, the Vomero 14 threw a spanner in the works because stylistically and ride-wise, it was such a big departure from previous iterations of this shoe. Vomero 14 went with a React midsole that sported a much more performance-oriented ride and feel. It did the job so well, that I think most would agree that it became a faster-feeling shoe than the Pegasus range.


I liked the ride of the V14, but I struggled with the fit of the shoe. The raised midsole towards the rear of the shoe, caused my feet to ache and unfortunately that led to a premature end to that love affair. 


Fast forward to the present day and the Vomero 15 just dropped, in limited markets in Asia, and with very little fanfare. Fortunately for me, Singapore is one of the chosen markets for early release of this shoe, and I promptly bought a pair to try. Stylistically, the V15 appears to head back in the direction of the older more familiar Vomero models. 


First Impressions

Derek: Aesthetically, the launch colorway of the Vomero 15 could not have been more subdued. In a time when even the Peg 37 is sporting some radically blended hues, the Vomero 15 comes in black and white. 


The enticing part of the V15 is the promise held by the inclusion of that magical foam we all know as ZoomX. When you first put on this shoe and walk around in it, there isn’t anything in particular that really stands out. The fit is true to size


The shoe is still relatively firm, has pretty decent cushioning, and seems to have the same outsole last as the V14 but not as pronounced as a toespring. The flex in the shoe was moderate sitting somewhere between the men’s and women’s version of the Peg 37. There is also the faint hint of the ribbed texture of the airbag under the balls of your feet. Time to put in some miles to see how it runs. Expectations are not high at this point, as I don’t feel any of the familiar ZoomX squish in this shoe. 


Upper

Derek: The upper uses a double layer engineered mesh that has minimal stretch to it. It is not the most breathable, but isn’t warm by any means. 

There is good toe box volume here, aided by an internal toe bumper. 

The tongue is the most interesting part of the shoe for me, sporting a material akin to Cordura (that fabric you see on soft shell luggage, that manufacturers dare you to try and tear. It is thin and textured, and does a great job of distributing lace pressure. The lace eyelets are spared fairly far apart, and comprise only 5 rows excluding the extra heel loop lace. Three of them use a flywire type system, but as you can see, the wires are now slightly thicker and less likely to dig into your foot at high tension. There are otherwise very few overlays in the upper.

The heel is quite built up here, sporting a firm plastic external counter that runs halfway up the heel. If that’s not enough, there is a copious amount of padding to hug your heel. In terms of fit, the heel is the snuggest part of the whole shoe for me, and I actually have narrow ankles. There is no worry of heel slippage with this shoe. The included sockliner is aftermarket by Ortholite, and while it is not my favorite type of sockliner, I think it is familiar enough to most people that they would know what to expect from it. 


To summarize shoe volume and fit, the heel is snug but not restrictive while the rest of the shoe fits more on the relaxed side. People will appreciate that the V15 has maintained the relatively roomy toe box (by Nike standards). 


Midsole

Derek: If Nike’s schematic is to be believed, the shoe sports a forefoot tri-segmented airbag sandwiched between a ZoomX topsole, and another foam designated as SR-02, with SR-02 acting as a stable carrier for the softer Zoom X. SR-02 feels (by hand) like regular Cushlon to me, sitting at roughly 50 durometer.


This combination at its stack height of forefoot 22mm / heel 32mm creates a good compromise between the maximalist trainers and the more responsive daily trainers on the market. 


Ground feel and vibration attenuation are decent, though the amount of bounce and softness is less than I would have liked for a shoe at this weight. The feel is quite smooth, especially after the initial break-in period. And yes, there is a break-in period. The first few miles, you might find that the shoe flexes in an awkward way through the toes, but this goes away and soon you won’t even know where the shoe flexed, just that it did next thing you know, you already toe-ed off. 


Keeping with the latest trend in dynamic stability, the midsole is raised around the heel and midfoot in this shoe to create a cradling effect. 


Outsole

Derek: The outsole uses full rubber coverage. The rubber is a little bit softer in the forefoot and midsole and firmer with higher carbon content in the heel. One thing I want to emphasize is that even though there is a lot of rubber coverage here, it does not make the ride overly stiff. In fact, the shoe flexes quite nicely even through the areas with rubber coverage. I especially like how the base rubber is thin enough that it flexes with the grooves between the nubs up front. I don't consider this outsole a big departure from that on the V14, but that’s a good thing as the V14 outsole was really good! Outsole grip and stability here are excellent, and if the V14 outsole is anything to go by expect durability to be similarly good.


Ride

Derek: I think the ride is OK. The shoe has an overall fairly traditional feel, and while the entire set up conjures an experience of good vibration dampening paired with good stability, there isn’t anything uniquely memorable about it for a 2020 shoe. 

The shoe does take a few miles to break in, and while it becomes a fairly smooth consistent trainer, it is just that. Transitions are smooth but carry the necessary baggage of being slower than it could be because of a more flexible forefoot than men’s Peg37. 


There is some bounce to the ride, but I find it stemming more from loading the forefoot airbag than from any inherent characteristics you have come to expect from ZoomX. The ZoomX is hardly noticeable in the grand scheme of things in this shoe, beyond perhaps explaining why the shoe has good vibration dampening despite having an overall firm ride. This may be because the extensive rubber coverage mutes out any bounce ZoomX adds to the picture. 


I hasten to add that the ride, while firm, is not harsh. The extra stack and softer foam is noticeable compared to e.g. Pegasus 37, and is more telling on longer runs. In terms of overall “saving the legs”, it sits squarely between the Pegasus 37 and the Zoom Fly 3 in the current lineup. Yes, it is harsher than the Zoom Fly 3. Nevertheless, 


I see this more as an easy run shoe and a good complement to the Pegasus 37 if you are someone who uses the Peg 37 for tempo runs and daily training. I tried some faster strides in the V15 and while it gives a nice bouncy response when you stride out, the heft of the shoe becomes quite noticeable as a heavy weight on your foot. That said, compared to the V14 which some people may have found a little too heel-heavy, the overall balance of this shoe has been pulled off quite well. 


Conclusion

Derek’s Score 8.39 /10

Ride 8.5 (50%) Fit 8.8 (30%) Value 7.5 (15%) Style 7.5 (5%)

The Vomero 15 takes a step back towards the more traditional role of the older Vomeros, and sheds the more unique aspects of the V14. One can’t really blame Nike for doing this, since they already have some excellent faster trainers in the ZF3, Tempo Next% and the Peg 37. 


I think the Vomero 15 fits an important gap in the lineup for runners who just wanted a more traditional feeling shoe while still incorporating the newer technologies insofar as cushioning and vibration dampening are concerned. 


I see this shoe as the perfect complement for fans of the Peg 37, who went something a little softer and more cushioned for easy longer runs without having to deal with excessively soft rides (which are almost ubiquitous these days). 


At the projected retail price of $130-140, I think it will struggle to compete with other shoes in its weight class and price range, simply because it lacks any singularly unique quality that would set it ahead of the others. 


Comparisons


Nike Pegasus 37 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 for both shoes. The men’s Peg37 is firmer and snappier in feel and a narrower less stable platform. The women’s Peg37 is closer to the V15, but the forefoot is actually even more flexible than V15. The V15 transitions somewhere in between the 2 versions, but has a more cushioned underfoot feel than either. I think overall the Peg37 has better versatility but is on the harsher side. As mentioned in my review, the V15 acts as an easy run alternative to the snappier Peg 37.


Nike Zoom Vomero 11 

Derek: The last pre-14 Vomero I tried was Vomero 11. V11 was true to size for me as well. It’s been a few years and my memory is a bit hazy now, but V11 had a distinctly more squishy forefoot. It was also pretty flexible through the toes. I think V15 is a step towards that direction, but it’s still firmer in overall feel than those early models. As a recovery shoe, I think V10/V11 were better. 


Nike Zoom Structure 23 

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Structure 23 is another shoe that hit the market with little fanfare a few months ago. Though I didn’t write a formal review on it, I can tell you both shoes are fairly similar in underfoot ride, having a somewhat traditional underfoot feel. The the V15 has less ground feel and is a bit smoother through transition. Overall the V15 is a more forgiving and easygoing shoe. V15 is pretty stable as is, but if you need that extra stability then the Structure 23 would be a better choice. 


ASICS GlideRide (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. Even though the Glideride costs a little more, there is no question that the Glideride is the better shoe here, well worth the extra Benjamin’s. The Glideride has a more dynamic and more cushioned ride. Where it pales to the V15 is really only in terms of stability and outsole grip. 


ASICS Nimbus Lite 2 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. After my initial step in with the Vomero 15, my immediate gut feel was that it would be a close fight with the Nimbus Lite 2. Interestingly, that close fight ended with Nimbus Lite winning all the swing states. The more A/B comparisons I did with the Vomero, the more I appreciated the bouncy character of the Nimbus Lite, and though it’s outsole rubber is not quite as extensive and grippy as the Vomero, the Nimbus Lite is far and away the more forgiving and fun shoe to run in. Yes the Nimbus Lite is going to cost a little more, but it is well worth it. 


Saucony Endorphin Shift (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Shift, like the Glideride, is an amazingly good shoe for its weight, and really the only weakness is it’s grip on wet surfaces. Contrast that with the V15 which has really best in class outsole grip in all conditions, and you are really coming down to the kind of terrain you normally train on. A pure road runner will prefer the Endorphin Shift, but someone who mixes it up with some trail running will find the Vomero 15 much more versatile. Cushioning-wise, the Shift is miles better with more stack and vibration dampening. 


The Zoom Vomero 15  is in limited release in Asia. US release date is unknown at this time.

Tester Profile

Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.

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The product reviewed was provided at no charge for testing. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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4 comments:

Thomas G said...

every runner Nike makes under 200 USD has become deadly boring and pretty dated feeling in comparison to other manufacturers lately, it seems

Anonymous said...

Hi Derek,
I am wondering which you prefer the Nike Peg 37 (woman's) or the Vomero 15 for the ride of the shoe and which is more versatile?. Which is softer underfoot? Similar breathability. Thanks. :)

Derek Li said...

I prefer the women’s Peg37 overall. Vomero 15 has the softer heel and firmer forefoot but the difference is quite small. The main reason I like the Peg37 more is that the shoe just feels a bit more spritely and easier to vary the pace in. And it’s cheaper to boot.

mark said...

Aaahhh, the Vomero 10, best easy day shoe ever.