The Vomero is the Nike you buy for maximum cushioning, and until recently, you did so knowing you’d be breaking in a spongy Lunarlon foam slab that felt about as lively as the fish you promised your mom you’d take care of when you were 8. Impact protection was the focus—not fast or sexy. That’s no longer the case: The totally revamped Air Zoom Vomero 14 keeps the cush but packages it in a responsive shoe that feels alive underfoot, thanks to a redesigned midsole. The shoe now uses React foam to deliver more energy return than Lunarlon, and rather than burying separate forefoot and heel Zoom Air units beneath a layer of foam (as Nike did in the Vomero 13), the company layered a single, full-length air unit just beneath the footbed. (We cut one in half to check—it’s there.)
The design makes the air cushioning more evident and provides a firm underfoot feeling, relative to older Vomeros. Wear-testers gave the shoe high marks for cushioning and traction; the shoe felt planted on every surface we encountered. The upper is also new: Foam pods line the heel collar to cradle the foot, and the bottom half of the padded tongue is sewn to the upper for a 360-degree secure fit. Some testers took issue with the collar’s stiffness and the fact that the tongue doesn’t extend above the upper, irritating the occasional ankle. Those were minor gripes on an otherwise highly rated shoe. The Air Zoom Vomero 14 is a well-cushioned, grippy shoe that’s more responsive than a trainer of its substance should be. In other words, Nike supercharged its Cadillac.
We put each shoe through real-world usage and a battery of mechanical tests in our lab to provide you with objective—and exclusive—data. In addition to a shoe’s weight, we measure sole thickness (everything that sits between your foot and the road), how well the foam cushions your stride, and the flexibility of the forefoot. All this is taken into account in our reviews of each shoe.