Nike doesn’t market the Vomero line like the Pegasus line, but in recent years the better daily training option was a Vomero. We recommended the Nike Vomero 15 and 16 over most other Nike running shoes. The Nike Vomero 17, however, changes things up by getting a combination of ZoomX and Cushlon 3.0 in the midsole in place of the previous Zoom Air, ZoomX, and SR-02 build.
Dropping the Zoom Air unit from the forefoot is always risky. But, our previous positive experiences with the Vomero line (remember the awesome Nike Vomero 14?) gave us reason to keep the faith. As we hit the roads in the much-changed Nike Vomero 17, the question was, is it still a great daily training option?
Nike Vomero 17
Release Date: October 19, 2023
Weight: Men’s 10.5 oz., Women’s 8.5 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The Nike Vomero 17 is a comfortable, well-cushioned, durable, and versatile daily trainer with a price point to match the competition but beware of potential lockdown issues.
Drew: Let’s start with the part of the Nike Vomero 17 that made me the most skeptical—the midsole. Though the forefoot Zoom Air is gone (sad, I know), there’s no need for concern. The Nike design team implemented a cushion setup that works really well.
The top layer of ZoomX delivers a soft squish upon landing. The Cushlon 3.0 bottom layer is still soft (similar to React) but adds stability that ZoomX can’t manage on its own. It delivers a feel similar to the iconic Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 except with 15-18mm of extra stack in both the heel and forefoot.
If you’ve been searching for the feel of the Pegasus Turbo series (Editor’s Note: that Nike for some reason refuses to bring back despite constant calls to do so from a multitude of runners), this is the closest Nike has ever come.
Surprisingly, despite the Nike Vomero 17’s daily trainer build, it can pick up speed quickly. I found hitting paces on intervals and tempo runs fairly easy. This versatile midsole puts the Nike Vomero 17 on the list of daily trainers that are useable on speedier days.
Now let’s find out if Annie enjoyed the Vomero 17’s midsole as much as me…
Annie: The midsole experience was a rather oddly mixed bag for me, and spoiler alert: it wasn’t even the midsole’s fault. But we’ll get to that soon enough.
My relief was palpable when I put on the Nike Vomero 17 and discovered that I wouldn’t have to contend with a brazenly obtrusive arch like the one found in the Nike InfinityRN 4. The sculpting of that shoe, despite being well suited to so many, has long been my personal nemesis. The Vomero 17, however, remained plenty supportive without the feeling of being repeatedly punched in the arch.
As Drew mentions, the Cushlon 3.0 layered beneath the ZoomX makes for a relatively stable combo. So, those who have always wanted to get along with a ZoomX setup but have previously found it too wobbly on its own, you’re in luck.
Like Drew, I was shocked by the midsole’s readiness to take on up-tempo sessions without much fuss. While the Nike Vomero 17 doesn’t excel at speedier stuff, I too felt those little glimmers that echoed the Pegasus Turbo 2, particularly in the forefoot as I snapped through toe-off and into my next stride. There is ultimately too much that separates the two shoes (the stacks, for one thing) to give us the exact experience we may have been wishing the Vomero 17 would deliver, but I’ll take the glimmer of hope it does bring.
When it came to more relaxed paces, I felt that same initial squish into the ZoomX as Drew describes, and then the support of the Cushlon 3.0 to balance it out. But over the course of longer efforts, the shoe eventually verged on slappy (for lack of a better word), and the increasingly severe feel in the forefoot started to dominate my overall ride experience and certainly belied the substantial stack height.
By the end of a 90-minute run, I was admittedly ready to be in another shoe. I didn’t feel as pampered during or after runs in the Nike Vomero 17 as I would have expected for a shoe with such a high level of cushion, and I was frankly confused how the cushion could go from so soft but balanced to kind of harsh over the course of the same run.
Like I said, though, the culprit that created that sensation actually has nothing to do with the midsole…We’ll put a pin in that for just another moment or two…
Drew: The Nike Vomero 17’s engineered mesh upper feels almost knit-like and, along with a well-padded gusseted tongue, creates an all-around comfortable feel upfront. Conversely, there’s not a ton of padding in the heel but it’s enough to get the job done. I didn’t experience any hotspots.
While comfortable, the upper did come up short in two areas. Once you tighten the laces and get the fit right, the forefoot gets dimples around the toes on both the medial and lateral sides. This likely has to do with how the upper is attached to the midsole. It didn’t cause me any issues, but it looks a bit ugly and may cause issues for some wearers. You’ll have to overlook the excess material in the toebox to really love the Nike Vomero 17.
The second flaw is a byproduct of the comfy upper. There are several layers of engineered mesh and a thick tongue which means the Nike Vomero 17 is both warm and collects water in rainy conditions. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a summer running shoe so the almost winter release timing works well.
Annie: The upper didn’t give me any hotspots or blisters either and was comfortable in that regard. I agree that it isn’t the most breathable, and the materials really did love soaking up the rain.
What (uncharacteristically) gave me fits, however, was the lacing and lockdown situation.
And yes, the lacing turned out to be the reason I had such a hit-and-miss experience with the midsole. Some of you may have already put that together, but I’ll explain.
I experienced some heel lift in my first run and thought I’d just fiddle with the laces a bit, tie my usual double knot, maybe even bust out the ‘ole runner’s knot for good measure, and that would be that. Nope.
First, I had to aggressively yank the laces just to cinch everything together enough to get a runner’s knot in place. The tongue did spare me from lace pressure on top of my foot. But my ankle was another story. The spot where the laces crossed for that topmost eyelet happened to hit me in an awkward place. It interfered with the natural flexion of my ankle to the point of pain, so I had to scrap the runner’s knot and retreat down an eyelet.
From then on, I had to resign myself to self-loosening laces that not even my trusty double knot could overcome. No matter how tightly and meticulously I laced up before a run, the lockdown would slowly deteriorate over the miles.
The source of the issue seems to be where the lacing system shifts from traditional eyelets to loop-like pass-throughs that change the angle at which the laces get cinched down. For whatever reason, every time I ran, the continuous tension placed on that area, in particular, proved too much and slowly worked it loose.
Impressively, the lack of reliable lockdown still never led to blisters or hotspots. The real problem it caused in my case was that I was slowly but surely losing my connection to the footbed (and therefore the glorious cushion) as each run progressed. So, slowly but surely, the ride went from feeling perfectly pleasant to slappy and even harsh as the space between my foot and the cushion grew.
I sincerely hope this was a fluke thing, and Drew obviously had a totally different experience. But as someone who has almost never had such significant issues of this nature, I was mystified and, frankly, annoyed, because I love a good dual-density midsole as much as the next runner, and my lockdown woes kept me from getting to fully enjoy it.
But let’s escape the lockdown twilight zone and talk about the traction.
Drew: The Nike Vomero 17 has almost complete rubber coverage utilizing an all-over waffle pattern. Despite heavy rubber usage, the overall weight of the shoe is still manageable. A flex groove bisects the middle of the shoe and branches both laterally and medially to maintain pliability in key flex zones. The outsole doesn’t feel bottom-heavy or feel too stiff. This is a well-designed outsole that’s also built for durability.
Speaking of durability, I’m seeing basically no signs of wear after the testing period which tells me the Nike Vomero 17 is going to handle a lot of miles without any issues.
Annie, how’d the traction perform for you?
Annie: Truth be told, if somebody were to ask me about go-to brands for traction, there would be at least a few that I’d list ahead of Nike. But the traction of the Vomero 17 performed okay on paved, packed dirt, and wooden surfaces. I did experience some minor slips when sharply negotiating a corner during interval work, but nothing too harrowing.
I was taking my life into my own hands, however, when attempting to traverse anything metal during rainy outings. Grates, those metal studded plates that mark the entrance to a sidewalk, manholes, or similar were a total no-go. The grip on wet pavement was solid enough though, and the traction overall performed slightly better for me than that of the InfinityRN 4.
Is the Nike Vomero 17 wide foot friendly?
Drew: The Nike Vomero 17 is slightly more wide foot friendly than the Nike Pegasus 40 and Vaporfly 3 but not quite as accommodating as the InfinityRN 4. Luckily, Nike offers a wide version and that should be enough for many of our wide-footed friends. Lengthwise, you’ll find it fits true to size.
Annie: I found the same on both counts. Length was true to size. And while the Vomero 17 skews to the more accommodating end of the Nike spectrum, it had just enough space for my average-to-slightly-wide forefoot. Our truly wide-footed friends will indeed want to opt for the wide version to be most comfortable.
Is the Nike Vomero 17 worth $160?
Drew: The $160 price point is the new normal for high-stack daily trainers and the Nike Vomero 17 fits well at this price point alongside the Asics Nimbus 25 and Brooks Glycerin 20. Could Nike have delivered extra value by keeping the price at $150? Yes. But this is Nike we’re talking about…they rarely leave any money on the table. Rocking quality Swoosh products is never cheap.
Annie: You said it, boss.
Nike Vomero 17 Summary
Drew: The Nike Vomero 17 is a comfortable, well-cushioned, durable, and versatile daily trainer with a price point to match the competition. To me, it’s Nike’s best daily trainer, edging out the InfinityRN 4 (Editor’s Note: if the Infinity’s arch doesn’t bug you), and easily beating the other candidates. If you want to rock Nike while grinding out the miles, the Vomero 17 is the way to do it.
Update: You don’t just have to take my word about the Vomero 17 being a good shoe. American marathoner (and full disclosure, Nike athlete) Connor Mantz recently mentioned the Vomero 17 as his favorite trainer on Strava:
Annie: Even with my persistent lockdown tribulations, I’d still call the Vomero 17 Nike’s top daily trainer when it comes to versatility and midsole tech implementation, making it perhaps one of the more democratized shoes the brand has to offer. It may not be the reincarnation of the Pegasus Turbo 2 we hoped for, but it offers the promise of a ton of enjoyable miles…for those who can keep their feet securely held to the footbed.