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Nike ZoomX Zegama Review Analysis (2022): Worth the Hype?

Nike ZoomX Zegama

Published on: 09/16/2022

Naming a trail running shoe after the mythical Zegama Aizkorri Marathon shows you mean business - and Nike knew what they were doing! The ZoomX Zegama mark the introduction of the famed Nike ZoomX foam to the trails and they're doing it in style in a pair that's (almost) the whole package for long distance running.

The Consensus

9.2Overall Score

Very good new trail running shoes with energy-packed ZoomX cushioning for long runs and races.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.

Calling your shoes Zegama will signal to seasoned trail runners that a speedy, technical terrain pair is on the market. Instead, the Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail is built for long distances, comfort, and bounce on rolling dry trails. Despite the contradiction in name and function, these are a superb pair of trail running shoes for anyone hitting over 50 miles in their goal races.

As the first foray of the ZoomX foam into the trail world, this is a success. The adapted cushioning offers the right amount of shock absorption without being too bulky. There’s a bit of fun bounce, with enough stability to take you through various off-road terrain.

Just like other Nike shoes, the Zegama look good and feel great. The new lug pattern on the outsole gives good grip uphill and downhill on dry and loose dirt tracks, unfortunately failing in the wet. They make up for that with a superb foot lockdown, stretchy, comfortable material, and decent toe box.

All in all, the new Nike ZoomX Zegama is an all-around delight: bouncy but stable, soft but durable, and a perfect choice for ultra-distance events and long trail runs and races.

Please read our full review of the Nike Zegama for more information.

Comfort
9.5
Grip
8
Foot lockdowb and protection
10
Responsiveness
9
Durability
9
Value
9
Design
10

PROS

  • Great overall comfort;
  • Just enough bounce and energy return for the trails;
  • Stretchy, comfortable upper;
  • Great heel protection;
  • Breathable;
  • Ideal for dry conditions.

CONS

  • Slippery on wet rock;
  • Toe box not very sturdy;
  • Fiddly laces – but works great once you find the best combination for you.

Nike ZoomX Zegama Complete Review Analysis

Introduction

Nike Zegama Reviews

If running in the same trail shoes as Zegama Aizkorri (1) winner and Munich 2022 European Marathon Championship bronze medallist Nienke Brinkmann (2) is your dream, then it’s about to become reality. The new ZoomX Zegama launched this summer comes hot off the heels of some amazing trail tests in Chamonix by the Nike Trail team, including Golden Trail Series stars Nienke and Francesco Puppi (3) (whose Instagram stories (4) have some great close-ups of the shoes!).

Designed for longer runs on mostly rolling, dry terrain, the Zegama is a delight both visually (giving the New Balance Fresh Foam Hierros a run for their money in color combos!) and underfoot feeling. Nike is bringing its revered ZoomX midsole to the trails for the first time, going for comfort and cushioning in a mostly superb shoe.

Nike Zegama on feet

Does the Nike Zegama trail running shoe live up to the bouncy expectations rightly set out since it’s related to the Vaporflys? How does it fare on more technical terrains, and how far should you run in it? Read on to find out in our in-depth analysis.

Grip (outsole)

Nike Zegama rubber outsole

First off, the Nike trail shoes’ one Achilles’ heel has been the grip on wet rocky terrain, so that’s one of the main areas of concern when reviewing any trail running shoes from the Swoosh brand. Despite using a brand new lug design for the ZoomX Zegama, the 4-5 mm lugs with various shapes and distributions are effective on dry, loose terrain and on dirt tracks, but they fall short of supporting a runner in wet conditions.

Nike ZoomX Zegama lugs

The outsole compound is very slippery, especially on wet rock – a general problem that the brand needs to address in future iterations of the shoe. However, the diverse lug pattern highlighted by testers makes for excellent traction for climbing and descending and will offer a great ride on various dry surfaces, up for more technical terrain (but staying in the medium difficulty area generally).

Cushioning (midsole)

Nike Zegama lightweight shoes with cushioned midsole

This is where the ZoomX Zegama truly shines. A trail shoe that uses an adapted ZoomX foam from the unbeatable road shoe models found in its cousins, the Vaporfly, the Zegama allows for a soft and bouncy cushioned trail experience. Despite not being a full ZoomX midsole, so it’s a little less plush than the one you’d find in road shoes, the cushioning and comfort absolutely shine through. The ZoomX compound compresses well with every foot strike, giving great shock absorption without becoming too clunky.

Nike ZoomX Zegama rear view with counter

In fact, at first look, you may expect the Nike ZoomX Zegama to be quite heavy given its rather bulky design and the high stack height (37 mm heel, 33 mm toe). However, the combination of bounce and responsiveness from the trail-adapted ZoomX foam makes them feel lighter than they look and gives them the comfort levels required for longer distances.

Combined with some great features in the upper, this shoe has the potential for all-day comfort you’ll be looking for from ultra running shoes covering upwards of 50k.

Foot lockdown (upper)

Nike Zegama engineered mesh

Another shining feature of the ZoomX Zegama is the upper construction. The soft mesh offers optimal breathability keeping runners’ feet dry and cool in high temperatures. Also, the shoe molds to the feet when you put them on.

Thanks to the helpful heel loop, they are extremely easy to put on.

The stretchy ankle collar (unlike Salomon shoes of a similar design like that S/Lab Ultra 3 or the Pulsar) also helped. It’s reminiscent of other Nikes like the Wildhorse, providing good protection against trail debris. Underneath is a rigid heel counter and a very secure heel hold, optimal for trail running conditions.

Nike ZoomX Zegama mesh fabric

You can expect a good foot lockdown with a secure fit thanks to the lacing system over a protective gusseted tongue. However, like the Terra Kiger 8, the Nike Zegama trail shoe needs tight lacing for optimal hold. This can be a bit of a pain to get right and will certainly need a few tries.

Finally, the toe box is roomy and quite high, which gives toes more room to wiggle and breathe. However, it’s not as sturdy as other similar shoes. As a result, most reviewers have steered clear of kicking rocks in the Zegamas!

Ride

Nike ZoomX Zegama trail running shoes

The Nike ZoomX Zegama trail is one of the most comfortable shoes in the latest summer releases in trail running. The adapted ZoomX cushioning lets runners hit more technical trails without fear of topping over. Also, it has just enough bounce to simultaneously make you feel fast and comfortable. Generally, the great fit and comfort mean you can rely on these shoes for long distances in good trail conditions.

Trailer wearing Nike Zegama

There’s a great level of cushioning without too much bulkiness. The Zegama shoes are in the middle of the pack regarding weight (9.3 oz/265 g for women’s size 40, 10.2 oz/289 g for men’s size 42). This is a sweet spot for long-distance trail running, allowing runners to feel comfortable for long days out without weighing them down.

All in all, the Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail will be a go-to shoe for long runs and ultra-distance races in good weather conditions on mixed terrain.

Durability

a male runner on a trail wearing Nike ZoomX Zegama

With a few reviewers getting the chance to test the Nike ZoomX Zegama Trail on long distances up to 100km and on multiple runs, the consensus is that they’re more durable than their nearest counterpart, the Hoka One One Torrent 2.

The outsole is flexible enough to take you through more technical trails if needed and also bouncy enough to take in some miles on the road. Besides the thick midsole, a thin rock plate is visible under the forefoot, offering more structure to the shoe and protecting it (and your feet!) from early wear from rocks and shocks.

As for the upper, its soft and stretchy nature makes it more likely to last a long time.

Conclusion

Nike ZoomX Zegama

Like other Nike Trail shoes, the ZoomX Zegama jumps out with its amazing colorful design and overall good quality for all types of trails. However, unlike any of the brand’s trail stars from the Pegasus Trail to the Wildhorse, the Zegama’s unique combination of ZoomX foam and comfortable, mouldable inner shoe make it a dream for running longer distances in good trail conditions.

Nike ZoomX Zegama

Trail running is so versatile that you simply cannot have one shoe for all your runs. With the Nike ZoomX Zegama, you can hit upwards of 50 miles confidently and comfortably through rolling mellow trails and a bit of road thrown in.

It’s good for all types of runners and those racing ultras, but it’s not a fast and nimble Skyrunning shoe or a shoe for wet weather. It’s simply something new and very interesting from Nike – and it will be exciting to see where the ZoomX pops up next!

Facts

Nike ZoomX Zegama

Technical Specs

TerrainTrail
Pronation typeNeutral
Drop4 mm
Heel height37 mm
Forefoot height33 mm
Lugs4 mm
Weight (men)289 g/10.2 oz
Weight (women)265 g/9.3 oz
FeaturesRock plate
Athletes
Release year2022

Cushioning

SoftnessSoft
ResponsivenessMedium

Technologies

OutsoleFull-length Lugged Outsole
MidsoleZoomX
UpperEngineered Mesh, Protective Skins, Ankle Gator

Use

SpeedSlow, Moderate, Fast
DistanceMid, Long, Ultramarathon
WorkoutDaily running, Racing

Reference: Nike's official site

Comparisons

We are working on the following (stay tuned!):

  • Nike Zegama Trail vs. Terra Kiger
  • Nike Zegama vs. Wildhorse

References

https://www.zegama-aizkorri.com/en/

https://www.instagram.com/nienke.brinkman/

https://www.instagram.com/francesco.puppi/

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17933815328202961/

Alecsa Stewart

Alecsa Stewart

Alecsa is an ultra-trailer, mountain guide, and freelance writer living in the Pyrenees-Orientales (France). She is passionate about the mountains and life in the wilderness and also practices cycling, climbing, and skiing from time to time. Her passion is to share her adventures with others and inspire them to spend more time outdoors.

1 thought on “Nike ZoomX Zegama”

  1. I complete agree with your positive and informative review about this incredible trail shoe. I have not even had any issues in wet conditions with mine. My first two trail runs were in the rain and the grip was good, no complaints. I already bought a couple more pairs and plan on using these for quite a while, best trail shoe I have ever had. Really comfortable and roomy up front. unlike so many other trail shoes including Hokas. Great review and I enjoyed reading it, and I can relate after having put some miles in these. I have nothing bad to say about this shoe, that’s a first for me.

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