The category of 'running' has taken an interesting twist in recent times. While we're seeing major brands unleashing some of the most impressive running tech the market has ever seen, shelves have been continuously stocked with bring-backs of track stars and icons of time's past. Where it gets really interesting is how the line between 'running shoes' and everyday wear shoes has been blurred thanks to progressive 'sports luxe' fashion. Guilty as sin, this writer alone has a couple of closet's full of what a majority of readers would deem 'technical running' shoes, which have never once risen above a quick shuffle to not miss the bus.
Now, I have been a longtime believer in the Nike Zoom Air Structure line. Zoom Air is by far some of the comfiest tech in the Swoosh's whole fleet, and now with the Structure recently clocking its nineteenth iteration, this humble stability sneaker is truly better than it has ever been. So, when we were approached by the good folk at Nike to physically road test the new Zoom Air Structure 19 – not just rest our feet in them while we feverishly blog our hearts away – we packed our best socks and headed straight for the track to find out what all the fuss was about.
('Super Human Speed' – Nike Zoom Air commercial 1997)
Before we go giving you the full wear test breakdown, it's best to break down the technical dynamics of the new Air Zoom Structure 19 – Nike breaks the Structure 19 down by outlining these three key benefits ...
(1) Responsive Cushioning
- The Nike Zoom Air unit in the forefoot delivers a highly responsive, low-profile cushioning to propel your next step forward—ideal for faster-paced runs.
(2) Increased Stability
- The triple-density Dynamic Support system in the midsole helps slow the rate of pronation with firmer foam along the inside midfoot and wedged foam in the heel, supporting your foot as it transitions through foot-strike.
(3) Comfortable Support
- The woven Flymesh upper provides ventilation and support where you need it most, with an added yarn that creates structure without sacrificing breathability. Flat, wide Flywire cables integrate with the laces and wrap your midfoot enhanced lockdown and a glove-like fit.
Alongside those three key benefits, the technical aspects of the Structure 19 goes much deeper; including full, mesh inner sleeves providing better breathability; waffle outsoles for max durability and multi-surface traction; a rubber crash rail on the lateral side of the outsole for smoother stride transition; deep flex grooves for enhanced natural movement; and it all weighs in at just 11.2 ounces (men's size US10).
Now for the fun stuff. When we first slipped into the Air Zoom Structure 19, we felt nothing but pure familiarity – with a twist. I had been in and out of many of the different Structure models over the years, but Nike really seemed to have nailed it on the head this time around. The biggest noticeable difference was down front in the formation of the toe. For my short but fat foot, the footbed provided a perfect amount of width. The re-designed wider Flywire also made for some surprising improvement, creating a better sense of lockdown across the top of the foot. If you were to ask me to give these a rating out of ten, I simply wouldn't – as ratings systems are subjective and bullshit – but what I would give to you is a solid recommendation that, whether you're a top tier ultra-marathon runner or more simply someone like me who really needs to get off your ass at least once a day to keep your health in check, invest in a pair of the Zoom Structure 19s. Not only will they benefit your health, in their nineteenth iteration they have been far removed from the 'technical running look' stigma of the mid-2000s, and have now been transformed into a streamlined, fashionable, pavement-punishing piece of training artillery. Plus, they come in a bunch of great colours to choose from.
Alongside the slick pair of Zoom Air Structure 19s that Nike had us laced in, we were also asked to wear-test the Nike Dri-FIT Contour performance running range, Nike's latest technical apparel that aims to battle the effects of the elements we face in training in the Southern Hemisphere. Designed to support thermo-regulation in hot weather conditions, the ultra-lightweight construction and sweat-wicking fabrics really proved to have the dynamic edge, keeping me reasonably dry and my upper body cool and regulated even through the 33-degree mid-afternoon summer sun. In terms of fit, the Nike Dri-FIT Contour performance running tops provide a fitted feel, but are loose enough so you don't feel the fabrics sticking to your body. This is due to the three-zoned mesh construction, which creates a loose-feeling fit. This enables the knitted construction to wick sweat from the skin, to the fabric's surface where it can then evaporate. The fantastic fit, rolled seams, headphone cord securing loops and reflective panels make for a well-rounded, any time of the day aesthetic.
You can find the Nike Air Zoom Structure 19 and the complete Nike Dri-FIT Contour Running Performance range right now on Nike.com and at select Nike global accounts. Additionally, you can get involved with the Nike Run Club Melbourne by clicking here.