Review

Nike Zoom Elite 8 Review

Nike Zoom Elite 8

Introduction:

I have now ran over 680 miles in the Nike Zoom Elite 8 models (2 pairs). Unfortunately, the time has come where I need to retire a pair, so as such I thought I would write-up my review.

As a child, my nan and grandad always bought me a pair of Nike trainers for my birthday. As such, I started out on my running journey with a pair of Nike Air Max trainers. These had just happened to be my everyday trainers. I wrongly assumed that because they were made by Nike, they could act as running shoes! I found that they were too heavy and almost forced me to heel strike.

A week or so later I headed to my local sports shop and purchased some Nike Revolution 3s. These were listed under the running shoe category. I liked the way they laced up and hugged my foot. Unfortunately, they didn’t feel so great to run in! The soles of my feet would feel sore after a, what was at that time, plod. I needed more cushioning, which was a shame as I liked the design of the shoe.

By this time I started doing some research and reading reviews of different models. Then, as if by chance, the Nike Zoom Elite 8 happened to be on sale on the Nike website. I had read the review on SoleReview and decided to give them a try.

I paid around £40, including postage, for my Zoom Elite 8. These were to be my sole (excuse the pun!) running shoe, at least for a short while. I relegated my Nike Air Max back to being a casual everyday shoe and the Revolution 3 for cross training.

First Impressions:

Other than the reviews (and the sale price!), the thing that really sold me on the Nike Zoom Elite 8 was the design. The shoe looked fast and fun! I had purchased the “competitor’s pack” colour theme which consisted of white, grey, black and volt yellow. I did switch the white laces to a hi-vis yellow though, purely for aesthetic reasons! The Nike Zoom Elite 8 does come in a range of different colours though, which is one thing that I love about Nike shoes.

As soon as I put the shoes on for the first time, I was feeling a lot more confident about taking them for a run than my previous models. The forefoot felt cushioned but responsive. In comparison to the Revolution 3, the Nike Zoom Elite 8 felt better underfoot. I could feel less of the ground underfoot.

Sizing:

For sizing, I usually wear a UK size 5.5 or 6 in my regular shoes and day-to-day trainers. With Nike running shoes I go up half a size to 6 or sometimes to a 6.5. I opted for a size 6 in the Nike Zoom Elite 8 and had no issues. The flyknit upper wrapped around my foot but without making it feel cramped. I had no issues with the toe box.

Running:

I remember my first run in them like it was yesterday. Mainly because the Nike Zoom Elite 8 was the first time I had enjoyed a running shoe, but secondly… because I trod in dog poo!

My first impressions had been correct, the Nike Zoom Elite 8 was definitely more cushioned and responsive than the Revolution 3. I knew that I had made the correct choice straight after my first run! The balls of my feet no longer hurt from pounding the pavement. The Nike Zoom Elite 8 felt more responsive on the toe off and just made me feel like my legs were turning over faster. They made the Revolution 3 feel like a lifestyle shoe rather than a running shoe.

I also really liked how the shoe fit my foot. The flyknit upper wrapped around the outside and kept my foot locked down. The use of flywire helped in pulling the upper tight. My ankle felt secure and well locked in by the heel clip. Despite being a neutral trainer, I felt well protected from over pronation and never felt like my ankle was going to roll. I enjoyed these shoes so much, I actually purchased an identical second pair!

Due to the lightweight, one-piece upper, the shoe was well ventilated and I experienced no rubbing or hot spots. Despite having two pairs of these, with over 680 total miles, I have never had a blister, black toenail or any other foot related nasty!

The one thing that did have me concerned was the wear on the outsole. The lugs on the bottom looked worn down after just a handful of short runs. This didn’t turn out to be an issue as I got plenty of miles out of the Nike Zoom Elite 8!

At 540 miles I decided to retire my main pair, especially as I purchased them second-hand and was unsure how many miles they had already covered. The seller had said “a handful of runs”, and this did look to be the case when looking at the outsole. I do feel like I could continue running in the Nike Zoom Elite 8, however I am starting to notice the wear on the outsole resulting in less traction. Not wanting to run the risk of injury, I have taken them out of my rotation and relegated them to casual or driving shoes.

Distances:

I’ve worn these for numerous distances, however I start to want more cushioning at around 10 miles. I don’t think I would enjoy running 10 miles in the Nike Zoom Elite 8 on the road, as I just about cope on a 12 mile treadmill run. They are great for 5-10k though and were my go-to race shoes.

If you don’t require as much cushioning on longer runs, but need more protection than what is offered by true racing flats such as the Nike Streak 6, then this could be the answer.

Pace:

I have worn these for 16 minute miles down to 8 minute miles without experiencing any issues. They do feel better at a quicker pace, but perform fine at the slower paces, depending on how much cushioning you require. The shoes feel snappy when you turn on the burners and head out for a quick 5k! I’d have no qualms in taking them out for some track intervals, but they are versatile enough to also handle a slow 10k.

Rotation:

Typically, I have 3 pairs of shoes in my running rotation, plus another for cross training. The Nike Zoom Elite 8 filled the space as my every day training shoe. I then used a secondary pair of the Nike Elite 8 as a dedicated race day shoe.

For the majority of my training, my rotation was as follows:

  • Nike Pegasus 34 – easy paced runs on the road, half marathon and marathon events
  • Nike Zoom Elite 8 (pair 1) – treadmill, speed work (intervals and tempo runs)
  • Nike Zoom Elite 8 (pair 2) – 5k and 10k events
  • Nike Vomero 12 – long distance slow runs, trail runs, recovery runs after a tough session if running outside and feel I need more protection
  • Nike Revolution 3 – cross-training

Despite having to retire one pair of my Nike Zoom Elite 8 at over 540 mile (plus additional mileage as I purchased them second hand), I still use a pair now as my treadmill trainers!

My rotation now looks like this:

  • Nike Pegasus 35 – easy paced runs on the road, medium tempo runs, half marathon and marathon events
  • Nike Odyssey React – may take over from the Pegasus 35 for half marathon and marathon distances and then leave the 35s as a training shoe
  • Nike Zoom Elite 8 (pair 1) – treadmill, speed work (intervals and tempo runs)
  • Nike Zoom Elite 10 – 5k and 10k events
  • Nike Vomero 12 – long distance slow runs, recovery runs after a tough session if running outside and feel I need more protection
  • Adidas Galaxy Trail – trail runs
  • Nike Revolution 3 – cross-training
  • Nike Pegasus 34 – walking

Conclusion:

Overall, I love these shoes! As mentioned above, I have ran over 540 miles in the one pair which were purchased second hand. They have held up really well, with no wear showing on the exterior or upper, just on the sole where the lugs have worn down resulting in a loss of traction. I have over 140 miles in my second pair of Nike Zoom Elite 8. These are also holding up perfectly, despite the early outsole durability concerns.

These are fairly light shoes, especially when compared to the Nike Pegasus or Vomero models. For me personally, the Nike Zoom Elite 8 wouldn’t offer enough cushioning to comfortably run a half or full marathon. I found 10 miles to be the upper limit for the shoe, especially on pavement. I have completed a handful of 12 mile runs on the treadmill but will be changing to a different model as my long runs increase. They are definitely fun when it comes to racing or speed work though!

I don’t really have any negatives to point out… other than the fact that these are now discontinued (boo!). At the time of writing, there are two newer models, the Elite 9 and Elite 10. I have recently purchased the Elite 10 so you can find my review here to see if it lives up to its predecessor!

Unlike the Nike Pegasus 34 which I marked down due to the lack of reflective elements, I won’t be listing that as a negative here. The reason for this is that I see the Nike Zoom Elite 8 as a race day or speed work shoe. Most races take place during the day and speed work usually takes place on the track or a treadmill. As such, reflectivity isn’t required for either.

I would definitely recommend these for people who want a lighter shoe than the Nike Pegasus range but need more cushioning than the Nike Steak 6 or LT models offer. They are comparable to the Adidas Boston, but with more cushioning in the forefoot as opposed to the heel.

4.5 out of 5 is probably a little harsh, but due to the firmness of the forefoot past 6 or so miles, I wouldn’t be able to rely on these shoes for all of my runs. They are great race shoes and amazingly responsive at 5-10k distances. For me, I would always need an additional pair of shoes for my long runs.

The Pegasus 35 is a much more versatile shoe, so it really depends on your shoe budget and needs. If you are looking for a more cushioned racer and have an everyday or long run training shoe, train mostly on the treadmill, or want a lighter weight model than the Pegasus, then the Elite range could be the perfect solution.

4.5 Star

Photos:

Nike Zoom Elite 8 Nike Zoom Elite 8 Nike Zoom Elite 8 Nike Zoom Elite 8

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