The Nike Air Zoom Vomero, a lackluster running shoe without any major distinguishing factor ………. until now.
Meet, the Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14
Until the details of the Vomero 14 were leaked, the Vomero was never a shoe I gave any thought to. Sure, the previous model had Nike’s newest foam at the time, Lunarlon, and contained the responsive Air Zoom air pockets, but the shoe didn’t have a superior cushion feel or responsive pop in my opinion. Not to mention, the look of the shoe resembled something I might’ve been interested in around 2009. As of 11/29/2018, the Vomero has been reborn and the only remaining resemblance of its ancestors is the concept of what the Vomero should offer; a plush, cushioned daily trainer made for comfort and shock absorption during longer runs and days when you want to have a softer ride than your faster shoe.
“The Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14 takes responsive cushioning to the next level. A full-length Zoom Air unit works with Nike React cushioning to deliver a super snappy, smooth ride. Up top, the sleek design is engineered to support your stride.” – Nike.com
The Test Subject
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14
Mens size: 12
Weight: 12.16oz (mens 12)
Offset: 10mm (22mm heel, 12mm forefoot)
Type: cushioned; neutral
Use: daily / long distance
Color: Burgundy Ash/Lime Blast/Black/Atmosphere Grey
Style Number: AH7857-600
What’s on the Outside Counts
This is definitely a performance review, but lets face it, most of us legitimately care about the look of our shoes. These are my personal feelings toward the design.
The overall silhouette of the shoe resembles that of the Pegasus 35 with the prominent swept back heel collar and the aggressive lines and edges across the midsole. Upon further inspection, many aspects about the Vomero 14 differ from the Pegasus and in most cases the result is a higher quality look and feel.
In person, the Burgundy looks like a crushed velvet and gives the shoe a high class and sophisticated look. I was actually very pleased with this color once I got the shoe in hand. The pattern of the mesh comes from a single piece of material unlike the pegasus’ 2 layers and has subtle markings with just enough pop to give the shoe some style. The only gripe I have is the odd large stain shaped marking near the medial tip of the shoe. I’m not sure what inspired this, but it looks off and provides no accent or flow to the overall look, it’s just sort of there.
Apparently the odd shaped marking is a strengthened mesh for durability above the big toe. I still feel like it visually could’ve been executed differently.
The lime green accents on the shoe are a big hit with me as I’m a sucker for an elegant shoe with minimal yet loud markings for a bit of flair. The lateral Nike swoosh was also upgraded and is a ribbed tpu material, this helps add dimension and also looks higher quality than the heat pressed or painted on logos of other models. I also really appreciated the green accent on the logo as well, although it does lead me to my second gripe. Why did they abruptly cut off the swoosh toward the tail and make it a different color? Sure I like an accent piece but I feel that this effect would have come out cleaner looking if they had transitioned from the grey to the lime with a gradient effect.
Below the swoosh is the patent number as well as the words “engineered for long distance”. Personally I’m a big fan of when Nike adds these to their shoes, as seen on the vaporfly and other premium models, it seems to give the shoe a feeling that it’s a special prototype that came fresh out of a laboratory.
The tongue is much shorter than in most Nike models and visually cleans up the front and creates a nice line between your ankle and the shoe as opposed to a tongue the seems to run up your shin.
Another factor of the shoe that I wasn’t a fan of, but didn’t stick out as a sore thumb like I originally expected was the way the flywire was exposed. Rather than uniformly being exposed, the flywire becomes more exposed as you work your way down from the ankle to the toes. Some may like this but for me I didn’t like how the flywire eyelet line wasn’t parallel to the lace eyelets.
Finally, the last little attention to detail that Nike added isn’t really visible in their stock photos, but the lateral and medial sides of the outsole are different colors. The lateral side is black with a lime accent and the medial side is burgundy to match the upper.
As far as looks are concerned the shoe exceeded my expectations and looks much higher quality than most of Nike’s running shoes, even more so than the Pegasus Turbo and other higher cost models.
Style Creativity: 10/10
Color Combinations: 10/10
Physical Lines: 9.5/10
Attention to Detail: 9.5/10
Overall Look: 9.5/10
The Important Stuff: Performance and Feel
Now let’s dive in to what really matters most for runners. How does it perform and how does it feel?
The upper is made of a couple layers of the light and breathable engineered mesh. Unlike the Pegasus 35 though, the outter layer doesn’t have perforations that allow you to see through to the lower layer but this didn’t seem to effect the heat of the shoe.
The upper fits noticeably looser than the Pegasus 35 in that the shoe is about 1/4 – 1/2 size longer than the Peg and the mid foot and toe box are more roomy. I suspect this was intentional as Nike wants this to be a long distance shoe and long term comfort is an important factor. My ideal shoe size would be an 11.75 so with this model being a little roomier, I’m going to swap these out for an 11.5.
The most notable change to the uppers fit is the addition of the 3D foam pads on both side of the ankle and 2 at the back that cradle the achilles tendon. When you first slip the shoe on, these bulges are noticeable, especially considering no other shoe I’ve run in had something like this. Once I got running I no longer noticed the feeling of them, but what they did provide was a nice non intrusive support for my ankles. You don’t feel the firmness of a highly supportive shoe, but just enough support to help absorb some of the effort your ankles are going through, once again a great feature for something your plan to run 1+ hours in.
Lastly, the most controversial part of the upper, the short tongue. Looking at the tongue you are instantly reminded of the 2017 Zoom Fly, except unlike the single layer tongue of the Zoom Fly, this is made up of multiple layers with a foam padding sandwiched between them. This made for a comfortable but not overbearing tongue pad. In comparison to the Pegasus 35 which I feel has too much tongue thickness, this was just right. The height of the tongue looks good but feels a bit odd when you’re lacing up, you can’t help but feel that your tongue got sucked down and you need to pull it up. As far as the edge of the tongue, it didn’t cause any irritation on my ankle while running but I did notice it rubbing at first as soon as I put them on. Now for anyone using the extra eyelets up top, the laces would ride the very edge of the tongue and possibly will go past on to your ankle. Since I don’t use these it wasn’t a problem for me. All in all I think the tongue is a great design and I prefer it over most of my other shoes.
The most important change to the shoe’s performance for this 14th iteration is the midsole. This year they ditched Lunarlon to go with the new React foam technology. Also inside, the heel and forefoot Air Zoom pockets were discarded and replaced with a full length Zoom Air unit just like the Pegasus 35. The combination of these is magic! The React gives you that soft shock absorbing cushioned feel and the Zoom Air provides the responsiveness that can tend to be lost from foam midsoles. The ride in these never felt dull but never felt harsh either. You will get a more responsive feel out of the Pegasus but this provides much more cushioned feel, once again as a wanted feature of any long-run shoe. While the footprint of the shoe is almost identical to the Pegasus 35, this shoe felt much more stable at the mid foot, as if it had a wider base. Since the footprint isn’t any wider, I can assume this stable feeling is a result of the high riding midsole section at the heel counter. As your legs and form get tired and lazy over the long miles, having the extra support to ensure a good landing and pronation is key to avoiding fatigue and injury.
The outsole of the Vomero 14 is very much like the Pegasus 35 with the design and feel of the high abrasion rubber. The decoupling groove is also offset laterally just like the Pegasus which makes for a more stable forefoot. The only significant change to the undercarriage is the fact that the decoupling groove is very wide and and incredibly deep.
My expectations for this groove was that it would feel like the ON Cloud lineup of shoes in which I could feel under my foot the fact that there’s 2 distinct sides of the shoe. This wasn’t the case for the Vomero 14 (to my enjoyment). I didn’t get any noticeable feel from this decoupling groove aside from what any normal groove would provide in that it disconnects the lateral and medial parts of the shoe for more precise feel and performance. I suspect that this deep groove has the purpose of reducing weight, after all it removed a pretty significant amount of material from the midsole and outsole.
Simply put, this is the heaviest running shoe I currently own that I will actually run in. I have a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost ST which are heavier than these but I can’t stand the way they feel to run in. The Vomero 14 weighs 12.16oz in a mens size 12 compared to the 11.2oz of the Pegasus 35. This is an increase of nearly 1oz or 13.43%. While I did notice the weight difference, it doesn’t feel as significant. Something about the React/Zoom Air midsole helps keep the shoe lively and avoids a clunky feel that heavier shoes tend to give. Given the stability and comfort of this shoe, I was willing to look past the negative of the weight in honor of the overshadowing benefits that are gained.
In a Nutshell
The Vomero 14 is basically your more comfortable Pegasus 35. From the looser fit to the softer midsole, this is essentially a Pegasus built for someone wanting long lasting comfort. Despite being a heavier shoe, it never felt intrusive and running a tempo run never felt hindered by the weight. The combination of React foam and a full length Zoom Air pocket is a winning combination, providing a soft and springy feel. The best way to put it is that this shoe’s feel and response lies right between the Pegasus 35 and the Pegasus Turbo. I felt that the Pegasus 35 wasn’t soft enough ( I actually hoped someday we would see a Pegasus with React), and the Pegasus Turbo wasn’t responsive and stable enough at times, the Vomero 14 is a great combo of the good features from both shoes. An added bonus is the design quality of the shoe. The added materials and design elements alone would justify the $20 price difference between this and the Pegasus.
This shoe is a winner in my eyes and will likely become my go-to daily trainer and long-run shoe. However, on speed and interval days I will still reach for the Pegasus 35 as that shoe is; lighter, more responsive and connected feeling. I highly recommend this shoe to anyone wanting a good balance between plush comfort and responsiveness. When ordering, keep in mind that the shoe feels like 1/4 – 1/2 size larger, if your current size fits on the looser end you may want to go a half size down.
Overall Feel: 9.5/10
Bottom Line: 9.5/10
Update, 12/04/2018: New Size Tested
Today the size 11.5 came in and I took them for a spin. These fit perfectly, in fact the Vomero 14 size 11.5 fits exactly the same as my size 12 Pegasus 35. The shoe feels even better now that the fit is right, I’m completely happy with this shoe. An additional benefit to going with the smaller size is the weight reduction.
By going down 1/2 a size, I saved 1/2 an ounce which shaved down 1/3 of the weight difference between the Vomero and Pegasus, making the Vomero 9.41% heavier than the Pegasus. At the same size, the Vomero felt better for daily use than the Pegasus, but now that it’s closer to the same weight due to downsizing, the shoe is even more desirable as my go-to shoe.
For different perspectives on this shoe, check out reviews from the OG’s of the running-shoe-review game.