Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Nike Zoom Vomero 16 Multi Tester Review: Returning to Form with a Friendly, Softer Ride

Article by Sam Winebaum and Zack Dunn

Nike Zoom Vomero 16 ($150)


Sam: The Vomero 16 joins, or should I say rejoins, the Nike line up as the more mellow paces daily trainer. I did not run the Vomero 15 but our Derek Li did (RTR Review) and examining his review and the stats it appears the V16 is more an evolution (particularly the midsole feel) of the not widely distributed V15 than the V!4 which was a very different shoe. 

I did run the Vomero 14  (RTR Review) which unlike prior Vomero was an aggressive very fast up tempo if heavier trainer, notable for its almost race shoe fit like upper, stable heel, firm React midsole and thin lightly cushioned forefoot helped along by an Air Zoom unit. It was my 2018 shoe of the year.  

The Vomero 16 returns to the model’s prior heritage as the easy going. softer neutral but heel stable daily trainer / recovery / long run shoe and fills a previous hole in a line up of what I would call highly opinionated trainers.

Pegasus 37 and 38: a more aggressive firmer faster pace daily trainer with a high pressure Air Zoom up front. Not much fun for easier paces for me and requiring strong mid to forefoot strike to make the Air Zoom shine. Vomero is clearly more mellow and softer riding. 

Infinity React: Also React with notable stability side rails, and on both sides, that for me got in the way of transitions. No such issues with the more neutral yet still stable enough Vomero 

React Miler: A dull riding, heavily cushioned React shoe somewhat more neutral than the Infinity but still more support oriented. 

Tempo Next %: a highly cushioned plated and Air Zoom uptempo trainer with a Zoom X/ React combination midsole and one of my favorites of 2020, replacing the Vomero 14 for me for uptempo longer runs.

Invincible Run with its all Zoom X midsole and minimal outsole is springier, wilder, and far less stable than the Vomero, loads of fun but not for everyone. 


Sam / Zack : Clearly fills a hole in the Nike lineup for a more mellow paces neutral daily trainer

Sam / Zack : Versatile from daily moderate pace miles to recovery to long runs

Sam / Zack : Soft forgiving cushion with a lively bounce from combo of Zoom X and soft outer carrier and upfront from the Air Zoom unit

Sam / Zack : Retains stable heel, flexible forefoot of prior Vomero now on a wider platform

Sam / Zack : Full converge, well lugged outsole grips everything and helps stabilize, durable and long lasting

Sam / Zack : Easy on the foot broad yet secure upper 


Sam / Zack : No longer the uptempo faster trainer the V14 was but there is Tempo Next % and Zoom Fly 4 (RTR Review soon) for that.

Sam / Zack : Durable, complete coverage, gripping outsole could use a bit more decoupling at mid foot 

Sam / Zack : Maybe a bit too mellow and comfy in fit despite great lockdown

Sam / Zack : Forefoot more forgiving, softer and more cushioned than V14 is still on the thin side

Tester Profiles

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 48 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA.

Zack Dunn: I am high school senior. I’ve been running for 7 years, and focused solely on running after giving up on years of baseball and wrestling. I race distances between 800 meters and 10K  whether it be on the track, the roads, or on cross country courses. I do most of my training on the roads, some training on the track, and occasionally run trails logging anywhere from 40-60 miles a week. My typical training consists of easy days, long days, workouts (fartleks, tempos, interval training, etc.). My typical training paces range from 7’30 a mile on easy days to sub-5 minutes a mile on fast interval days, and with many paces in between. My personal bests are 2:02 for 800m, 4:30 for 1600m, 9:50 for 3200m, 15:57 for 5K, and 34:10 for 10K. 


Approx. Weight 10.3 oz / 292g US9 

(+0.3 oz over V14).

Stack Height: 33mm heel  / 23mm forefoot, 10 mm drop

$150. Available now at our partner Running Warehouse here  

First Impressions, Fit, and Upper

Sam: Almost resembling a lifestyle or court shoe with a massively padded rear collar, external plastic heel counter, mid foot non stretch support panel and unstructured broad toe box, the Vomero 16’s looks promised comfort.

My pair is true to size and fit true to size with an extremely comfortable roomy yet secure fit. I was surprised as even my narrower right foot was well held with only a tiny bit of slip at front of midfoot during a rainy day run. Do not mistake the fit for the more performance oriented fit of shoes such the Pegasus, Tempo Next, or even Infinity React yet it works, and well, I think for comfortable daily training as my first two runs of 5 and 6 miles indicated. 

The upper is a very soft pliable variable density engineered sandwich mesh. To illustrate the variable density, note the more dense area just around the final lace up to lock the front of the very unstructured broad and soft forefoot.  

The only on mesh overlays in the shoe are two small ones up front (with reflective patches) on either side which extend with a tiny touch more structure the pretty much non-existent toe bumper which is just denser mesh with maybe a touch of stiffener.  The result is an extremely accommodating toe box yet a secure one for the shoe’s more mellow training purposes. It stands in sharp contrast to the V14 dense locked down and narrower fit up front and far less padded rear collars not to speak of its mostly unpadded tongue. 

The midfoot is held by a combination of a non-stretch outer panel and an inner full and not overly stretchy gusset attached to the tongue. This gusset lines the entire midfoot all the way back to the last lace hole.  Again as with the toe area, a comfortable very easy fit yet still a secure one.

The tongue is very soft and constructed with multiple functional zones. The black band towards the front is a non-stretch overlay over the main tongue and is clearly intended to help front lockdown in conjunction with that denser mesh further forward. It does so gently and effectively. 

The top of the tongue when laced (see right shoe) seems like it may have slipped? Not so! Look at the left shoe unlaced. There is a bulge in the tongue to keep the laces in place and over the logo. Clever and works. I would say that area could use a touch more padding given how soft the tongue is especially if you have narrow feet and have to cinch it down tight.

The heel counter is massively padded but looks are deceiving. 

While very easy on the foot this padding is not crazy soft. The rear of the foot is gently cradled in comfort but there is no over soft sloppiness/slip.

The prominent external plastic clip on both sides is clearly noticed as securing and stabilizing the heel but unlike Infinity React and Miler it does not extend as far forward, and thankfully for me as a more neutral runner, it is not noticed as interfering with transitions or pressing into the side of the foot. This said it clearly provides some definite and noticed rear stability on both sides.

Zack: I really enjoyed the fit of this shoe and I think the upper was really well thought out / engineered. It ran very true to size and length / width was no problem. There were so many things I think that Nike did well in terms of fit and the upper, and very little that I think they did wrong. I really enjoyed how comfortable and soft the whole upper was, everything from the heel counter to the mid foot and the toe box, everything was just super nice. The only real light downside was that I think the tongue is a little exaggerated in cushioning but it really is not that big of a problem. Other than being very cushioned the tongue it felt good on the top of the foot.  The midfoot support band does a fantastic job of locking down the foot as well as just improving the overall fit. The heel counter did a great job at keeping the foot locked down, as it was both cushioned as well as super sturdy to insure great lockdown.


The midsole is made up of an external carrier of foam (not React and not a normal EVA either) which is definitely softer to pressing than the V14’s foam or the Tempo Next’s React and even the softer than men’s React in the women’s Pegasus 37. It feels in hand, and on the run bouncy and rubbery. Not the springy feeling of say the all Zoom X Invincible or the firmer more “reactive” feel of the Pegasus, Tempo Next, or Vomero 14 React foam.

We also have a central core of Zoom X which is not really noticed as distinct beyond a springy, central area with a mild contrast to the bouncier outer feel.

Finally, upfront, we have an Air Zoom unit. It is very, very slightly noticed as ridges on the run but this is clearly not the high pressure larger units in the Pegasus or Tempo Next but more a responsive thin layer in feel. There is now softer less snappy cushion up front but the forefoot does remain a bit on the thin side as after all we have only 23mm of stack up front. That said the ride there is now less harsh for sure, more cushioned in feel than in the V14 where on the plus side that firmer thin feel led to the shoe snappy fast ride.

I note that the overall platform is wider than the V14 was with the V16 having about 3mm more width at the heel and a very significant 9mm more width at the forefoot as shown below, V16 to the left.. 

Vomero 16 (left)                                        Vomero 14 (right)

It is interesting that the shoe only gains 0.3 oz in weight over the V14 given this additional platform width and as shown above a now more extensive rubber coverage, and rubber is the heaviest material in a shoe. it is quite clear the super light Zoom X core likely helps keep the weight down.

Zack: I very much agree with how Sam described the feel of the midsole. To me, there was nothing too crazy going on but at the same time it was still a very nice and pleasant ride. I think the midsole is great for easy/moderate runs as it is softer in the heel and has moderate cushioning in the forefoot but with also slight responsiveness from the Air Zoom unit. As Sam mentioned, the midsole has an external foam carrier with an internal core of Zoom X foam. I personally didn't really notice the Zoomx foam in this shoe, instead I think it was probably most likely integrated to keep the weight lower than if it was not Zoom X in the center


The outsole is largely unchanged from the Vomero 15 but significantly different in coverage than the Vomero 14’s with far more mid foot coverage and no deep central decoupling groove.  While the full coverage helps stabilize the relatively soft midsole, I do wish for a touch more of a mid foot decoupling groove to ease that transition.

The rubber is copious and as traditionally with Nike should prove durable. 

The outsole has prominent lugs and both my runs were on very wet roads covered with leaves and grip was impeccable. 

Light trail use and snow running should be feasible with this outsole on smoother terrain as the upper will likely not keep up with more technical terrain.

Zack:  I really enjoy a high coverage outsole, being that I am a cross country runner, I am running on many kind of terrain, whether it is roads, grass courses, dirt trails, or the track. Outsoles like this always work well because no matter what terrain, you know you will have adequate grip. Another pro of full-length outsoles is that the durability generally tends to be much higher, and being that this is an everyday training type of shoe, you most likely would want high durability. 

I will say that this much rubber does add a significant amount of weight to the shoe compared to if it went the route of mid foot foam exposure which is very popular nowadays, but that being said, this shoe is not made to be very light, it is made to be a everyday trainer so i feel this amount of outsole is justified. 


The ride is quite soft with a combination of bounce (outer carrier foam), a gentle sensation of rear to mid foot spring (Zoom X) and some rebound pop from the Air Zoom unit. This is a forgiving, softer ride unlike all very recent Nike trainers except the wild Invincible which is clearly springier. It is less dramatic than other Nike trainers of recent years (Pegasus, Invincible, Tempo Next) and less prescriptive and rigid riding (React Infinity and Miler).  

The ride is forgiving, on the soft side and stable.  My two test runs to date were at moderate paces (9:30 per mile or so) after a half race and were pleasant and smooth. I appreciated the shoe’s ability to handle both slow paces and moderate paces with the thinner flexible forefoot and its Zoom X and softer carrier providing plenty of cushion.  They don’t have dramatic pop or the firm thin front spring of the V14 but that is OK for their intended purposes.  The ride for sure leans moderate daily training, recovery, and long runs more than any recent Nike.

Zack: I very much agree with how Sam described the ride of the shoe so I won't repeat all of it, but in short, it just had a pleasant feel, mostly because it was soft and cushioned with slight responsiveness when needed. I had done about three 6-8 mile runs at both easy and fairly moderate paces (8 min - 6:30 per mile pace). I had also taken it out at 5 minute intervals of fast tempo pace work (5:20-5:30). It wasn’t anything too crazy or special , and it is not made for faster than moderate paces , but sometimes you just want a reliable, more traditional shoe you can forget about while running, and this is definitely that.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Well done Nike after a few years of really nothing in the line up that was softer, decently stable, well cushioned and neutral. I am very glad there is no React foam in the mix here.

Now we have the Vomero 16 as a Nike option for easier paces, long runs, and recovery.  The Vomero is a good option for beginner runners as well. 

It competes well against shoes such as the Saucony Ride 14, Puma Velocity Nitro, and New Balance 880v11 all higher drop flexible forefoot daily trainers.  I do miss the super lively aggressive ride of the Vomero 14 but welcome more forefoot cushion and a softer more easy going overall experience here. For those runs in Nike, and in general, I will reach for my Tempo Next. When things are planned for more mellow and after testing and with so many shoes in test I seem to keep reaching for them..

Sam’s Score: 9.15 / 10 

Ride: 9.35(50%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 9(15%) Style:8.5 (5%)

Zack: All in all, I think this shoe was very well made. It offered  a nice, soft ride while having an overall very nicely cushioned midsole, and upper as well. It definitely offered a soft ride but also provided slight responsiveness that could make it work for slightly uptempo paces. I think the shoe fits pretty well into Nike’s lineup, and is somewhat equivalent to a less stability oriented version of the Infinity React, although the infinity isn't a stability shoe it definitely has support features. Overall, I was pretty pleased with this shoe and thought it brought a lot of great things to the table. 

Zack’s Score: 9.2 / 10 


Nike Zoom Pegasus 37 and 38 (RTR Review): 

Sam: The Peg is a more aggressive, firmer, faster pace daily trainer with a higher pressure  bigger Air Zoom up front and a relatively firm React midsole. Not much fun for easier paces for me, unlike Vomero 16 and requiring strong mid to forefoot strike to make the Air Zoom shine. Vomero is clearly more mellow and softer riding but not the speedster trainer Pegasus can be. The Vomero midsole foam to pressing and on the run is softer than the women’s Pegasus 37’s which is softer than the men’s

Nike Infinity React (RTR Review): 

Sam: Also React based with notable stability side rails and on both sides that for me got in the way of transitions. No such issues with the more neutral yet still stable enough Vomero 

Nike React Miler (RTR Review): 

Sam: A dull riding, heavily cushioned React shoe somewhat more neutral than the Infinity but still more support oriented. 

Nike Zoom Tempo Next % (RTR Review): 

Sam: a highly cushioned plated and Air Zoom equipped uptempo trainer with a Zoom X React combination midsole and which was one of my favorites of 2020, replacing the Vomero 14 for me for uptempo longer runs. The Vomero 16 is clearly the more mellow and easy going training partner to the Tempo Next. Easy days Vomero, tempo… Tempo.

Nike Zoom X Invincible Run (RTR Review):  

Sam: With an all Zoom X midsole and more minimal thinner outsole, the Invincible is springier, wilder, and far less stable than the Vomero and is loads of fun but is not for everyone or for every day running as Vomero 16 can be.

Watch the Vomero 16 Video Review (9:54)

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes by Running Warehouse and Nike. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and currently preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

Zoom Vomero 16 is Available Now!
USA  Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
Zoom Vomero 16 is Available Now!
EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE



Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Unknown said...

Hi Sam,

I'm currently looking for a 5K racing shoe, which may also be taken up to the 10K distance in the future. I've considered options such as the Skechers Performance Speed Elite, Razor Elite, Razor+, Liberate Nitro, Takumi Sen 7, and so on, but am unsure which to choose. Whilst I don't mind a slightly firmer ride, I wouldn't mind a more-forgiving midsole. Additionally, is the ride of the Takumi Sen similar or comparable to those of the Boston 8 and 9?

For reference, I'm 5'10", 134 lbs, and a consistent forefoot/midfoot striker.

Kind regards,


Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Max,
Of those you mention for 5K to 10K I would go for Takumi Sen 7, Speed Elite, or for some more cushion and maybe training versatility and to longer distances adios 6 and Liberate Nitro. See our reviews of both by searching for "RoadTrailRun and shoe name" or at our index page.
Sam, Editor