Best Men's Nike Shoes

Updated December 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
170 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best men’s Nike shoes

When it comes to iconic athletic footwear, Nike shoots to the top of the list. From the signature Swoosh to the inspiring “Just Do It” slogan, it’s a brand that both excites and inspires. That’s why every man needs at least one pair of Nike shoes.

Let’s face it: footwear isn’t just functional anymore. It rises to the level of fashion statement, as well as being performance gear. Nike captures both sentiments in its shoes. Even fashionable and collectible styles are equipped with premium features such as traction outsoles, patented materials like Flyknit, and comfortable Air-Sole cushioning. Basically, when you buy a pair of Nike shoes, you’re making an investment in second-to-none quality and style.

With so many styles to choose from, you might be wondering where to begin your search. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our buying guide on men’s Nike shoes shares popular features to compare between styles and offers some of our favorites.

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Many athletes who train almost every day invest in more than one pair of the same Nikes. They rotate pairs so the shoes retain cushioning and other qualities as long as possible.

Key considerations

Sport vs. fashion

Sport: There are over ten categories of shoes that Nike manufacturers, including basketball, running, and tennis, just to name a few. Many people buy their shoes based on sports and activities, and Nike designs shoes with targeted technology to improve wear experience and boost performance. The brand’s basketball shoes, for example, are equipped with Nike Air-Sole technology.

Fashion: While all Nike shoes are considered fashionable, certain styles are intended more for curb appeal and collectibility than functional wear. These are embellished, platformed, or made with delicate materials that don’t hold up well in wet or dirty conditions.

With that said, the line is blurred between many sport and fashion styles. For one, many people choose Nike basketball shoes for everyday wear, and others prefer their premium Flyknit styles as their go-to pair of athleisure kicks. When it comes down to it, Nike style is in a league of its own, and it lends itself to lots of ways to wear it.

Four Cs of Nike shoes

Care: Nike shoes are no small investment, even their more affordable styles cost $60 and above. While all footwear requires some degree of maintenance, care is paramount to getting the most wear out of your Nikes. Leather and synthetic cleaners are available, and with regular cleaning, Nike shoes retain their fresh, out-of-the-box look.

Creases are also a concern when it comes to Nikes, especially in their Air Jordan and Air Force 1 styles. These persist at the toe box in leather footwear, including these styles, which is why some individuals in the sneaker community choose to invest in plastic forms to place inside the shoes to minimize creasing.

Collectibility: It’s safe to say that Nike shoes are highly fashionable, and some even become collectible. Not only do these shoes come with higher price tags, but fewer pairs are manufactured to drive up their desirability. As a result, it’s not unusual for a new release to be sold out or to have to preorder or wait in line for it.

Unfortunately, once a new release is sold out, it is rarely rereleased. So, as any Nike collector will tell you, the early bird gets the worm. If anything, the style may become a Retro, in which the design remains the same save for a new colorway.

Colorway: This refers to the color palette and scheme of a sneaker. Nike makes a point to display this information not only in the product specifications but also clearly on the shoeboxes.

When it comes to Nike shoes, the colorway is one of the most important features. Nike uses on-trend colors, and it also has a wide assortment of signature colors, such as Royal Blue and University Red. The brand also has a collection of signature prints, with Elephant being the most recognizable because it has appeared on a number of Air Jordan styles.

Cut: The cut of a shoe refers to how low or high the top line is in relation to your ankle. Low-cut shoes, or low-tops, are cut below the ankle and fully expose it. Mid-cut or mid-top shoes fully cover the ankle and offer more protection. High-cut or high-top shoes extend a few inches above the ankle. These are some of Nike’s most recognizable silhouettes.

After wearing your Nike shoes, go over the soles with a soft brush or rag to remove any dirt or mud trapped in the treads. Quick everyday cleaning helps your shoes stay looking like new.

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Features

Materials

Leather: Many of Nike’s premium shoes are made with leather, including cowhide, top-grain, and occasionally nubuck. These can be printed, embossed, or textured to achieve a specific look. While it’s not real leather, vegan leather is also used in some Nike shoes and can be manipulated similarly.

Mesh: It’s no surprise that feet get sweaty during exercise, which is why many Nike shoes are either all mesh or have strategically placed mesh panels to promote airflow around the feet to minimize sweat as well as odors. With these, it’s important to know that depending on the design, water or moisture may penetrate the mesh and saturate the feet.

Flyknit: Nike Flyknit is one of the most sought-after materials. It was engineered to be more lightweight and breathable than all other materials, including mesh. Given their second-skin fit, these shoes provide a snug, responsive feel loved by amateur and professional athletes alike. Nike Flyknit also allows for multidirectional flex, making the shoes more comfortable for prolonged wear.

Nike technology

Air-Sole cushioning: Especially for high-impact sports like basketball, Air-Sole cushioning is crucial to both shock absorption and a bounce-back experience. This pocket of air makes Nike shoes lighter and provides support in the heel and ball of the foot, the areas that come into contact with the floor the hardest.

Zoom Air unit: The Zoom Air unit is a fairly new arrival that is most focused on responsiveness, agility, and speed. The fibers of Zoom Air are designed to flex and snap back into place to reduce muscle fatigue and tension. As expected, it’s common to see Zoom Air units in Nike designs for basketball, running, and track and field shoes.

Nike Shox: Shox is a Nike shoe feature that is instantly recognizable — its exposed supportive platform has a series of individual cushions with spaces in between the hollow, cushioned columns. The shoes remain lightweight and promote a quality heel-toe stride, especially when running and walking.

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Did You Know?
Some Nike shoes have removable insoles, which means you can replace them with custom insoles.
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Men’s Nike shoe prices

Men’s Nike shoes start at approximately $60 and can reach $400. The more involved the construction, the more expensive the shoes.

Inexpensive: Budget-friendly Nike shoes cost between $60 and $100 and include pairs made of mostly synthetic materials. These shoes don’t have any of the high-ticket technology features, but they do have quality midsoles and outsoles.

Mid-range: If you’re looking for a well-made sport-specific Nike shoe, be prepared to spend between $100 and $250, because these shoes include premium Nike technology. You’ll also find many collectible styles, such as Air Jordans, in this range.

Expensive: For serious athletes or collectors, there are Nike shoes that are nearly tailor-made for certain sports and activities. These cost $250 to $400 and include a competitive assortment of Nike’s top features, including some of its latest technology.

In-season colorways are always more expensive than those from the past season. If you don’t mind wearing an off-trend color, you can save big bucks on your men’s Nike shoes.

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Tips

  • Buy shoes to match the season or weather. If you’re an all-season runner or athlete and train outdoors, you might need to invest in more than one pair of Nike shoes. Some styles are better for warm weather, whereas others are better suited for wearing in cold or wet conditions.
  • Change your shoelaces. Soiled, fraying shoelaces can make your Nike shoes look old. For a quick and affordable facelift, replace your shoelaces.
  • Store your shoes appropriately. To prevent crushing and creases, it’s a good idea to store your Nike shoes in a box, shoe rack, or shoe wardrobe.
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When packing your Nike shoes in luggage, stuff them gently with socks to help them keep their shape in transit.

FAQ

Q. How long will my Nike shoes last if I wear them for a specific sport or activity?

A. If you’re tough on your sneakers, be prepared to replace them every six months or sooner. For the average gym-goer, though, you can expect to get about a year out of your sneakers. If you wear them longer than that, you won’t get the most out of your shoes. The cushioning ends up compressed and won’t be as effective at shock absorption.

Q. What is the best colorway choice for Nike shoes to match most of my wardrobe and athletic apparel?

A. Predominantly white or black shoes are ideal, though these colorways can be too extreme for certain outfits or seasons. Strike a balance with a single pair and invest in gray, though keep in mind that there’s more than one shade of gray! Lighter grays can work with dark and light clothing, however charcoal grays can be a bit too dark for lighter-colored outfits.

Q. What are the best Nike shoes to wear if I need footwear with ankle support?

A. Many wearers opt for mid-tops and high-tops since the ankle is covered and protected with semirigid materials. With that said, if you require ankle support, it’s a good idea to see a doctor regarding any issues or injuries you may have. Instead of investing in supportive footwear, you may need to wear a brace.

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