Review by Mark Gorski
It’s never a surprise to me anymore when shoe companies mess with a good thing in the name of progress. However it does surprise when they admit they got it wrong and make up for lost time by redeveloping a shoe worthy of the name of the ancestor. Case in point is the Nike Zoom Elite 6, which is an old cult hero that’s back to it’s best.
Given that this shoe is called the Zoom Elite 6 you might be wondering what happened to the first 5 models? Well this was where Nike got onto a good thing several years ago with four iterations of the original Zoom Elite. Each model improved steadily and was gaining a bit of a cult following as a great lighter weight option for all your daily runs and some tempo type running.
When Nike started their Lunar cushioning phase they, for some bizarre reason, ditched the Zoom Elite 4 and turned it into a shoe called the Lunar Elite. In my specialty running store owning days I sold both of these shoes. The Zoom Elite 4 was easy to sell, however I returned all my Lunar Elites back to Nike because they were one of the worst shoes I’ve ever put on my feet!
The next version, the Lunar Elite 2 was only slightly better, slightly. The crew at Nike copped some serious flack from every angle, consumers were filthy, retailers weren’t buying it in and thankfully the experiment stopped. 2012 saw what really was a different shoe again to the original but a massive improvement on the Lunar models in the Zoom Elite 5. This brings us to this this years model, the Zoom Elite 6.
The fit & feel
Nike mainly use the Lunar cushioning for the Dynamic Support System in their supportive shoes. The Zoom Elite 6 uses the Zoom cushioning in the mid-sole, which I personally like as it gives a firmer ride than the Lunar based shoes.
Starting at the rear of the shoe the Elite 6 doesn’t have an overly aggressive heel counter, it’s there, but it’s not something you notice. Sometimes heel counters get in the way or rub on my Achilles tendon.
Sufficient padding around this area makes for a nice snug fit and the heel doesn’t sit too deep in the shoe so that the shoe collar rubs on your ankle bone. Given the lack of depth here I don’t feel these shoes would accommodate a chunky orthotic device too well but I haven’t tested this out to be sure.
The major evolution from this model from the Elite 5 is the introduction of the Dynamic Flywire. Pretty much the same system they use in the new Nike Free 5.0. It does make this shoe a super snug fit around the mid-foot once you’ve tied up the laces. Again this is something I love in a running shoe (a throw back to my years of wearing track spikes!) but may not suit everybody.
The toe box has sufficient depth and width to accommodate most runners feet. However, there isn’t a huge amount of volume around the mid-foot, so if you have an enormous arch like Brian that takes up a lot of volume, then this may not be your shoe.
Nike has built the Elite 6 on a 10mm pitch or drop from heel to toe. This is bang in my hitting zone for a shoe to use for long runs, daily jogging and tempo work. I’ve also used it for a couple of interval sessions on a harder surface and they were quite responsive, but certainly not like a racing shoe.
For the majority of runners these shoes have enough of everything that you need in a shoe without any of the rubbish that seems to complicate the running shoe market. Apart from long runs, tempo runs etc I also feel the Elite 6 could be a good choice for runners wanting a lighter weight option in the marathon for those running 3.30+.
I have possibly understated it throughout this review but I absolutely love this shoe! Brian and I get to test a fair few shoes, so there’s many pairs lying around, but every time I go for a run at the moment I struggle to walk past them to pick up another shoe.
Lucky to have worn plenty of shoes in 2013 but here is the clubhouse leader so far: Nike Zoom Elite 6 Review http://t.co/Z3esWKtLqL
— Mark Gorski (@MelbRunningCo) July 18, 2013
We say it often but the best shoes on the market are the ones that are structured simply and uncomplicated with techy nonsense, the Zoom Elite 6 is just that, uncomplicated. Ok it does have some technology on board but it fades into the background where it belongs.
It is a well made simple shoe that despite me giving it a reasonable flogging still looks like it’s got plenty of life in it yet.
By Mark Gorski