It can be difficult to know where to start when shopping in big-box stores. Although there are many options, not all of them are equally worthy. You’ll find that some brands do things better than others when you shop as often as we do. Nike is one such brand, offering over 600 styles of sneakers. Its collection of performance clothes and shoes for athletes needs to be carefully sorted to find the best. We’ve gathered all the Nike clothes and shoes that our editors, professional basketball players, Tiktok athletes, fitness instuctors and stylists have recommended to the Strategist.
Nike Air Force 1’o7 Sneaker $100
The Nike Air Force 1s are the most popular sneaker on Strategist. They come in all white and are loved by everyone, from TikTok celebrities to teens. “Air Force 1s are the best,” says Christel Langue, stylist and personal shopper. She adds that she would be embarrassed if she didn’t own one as a native New Yorker. Arica Himmel, a mixed-ish star, has “probably owned five to six pairs over the years.” She also considers them a wardrobe staple and notes that they can be worn with “pretty much everything.” Keke Palmer, Hustlers’ star, is another fan. She says they are the “most stylish shoe.” Leigh Plessner (co-creative director at Catbird) pairs her Air Force 1s to look “cool and unorthodox”. Real Housewife of Beverly Hills ErikaJayne also wears them with shorts, tights or with a suit. TikTok’s star Loren Gray customises her Air Force 1s using Drip Creationz and Nike. She claims she has at least four.
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 $160
React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 was designed specifically for runners. Vanessa Chu, cofounder of Stretch’d recovery studio, said that these shoes are her “go-to” running shoes and her first choice for HIIT training (because she feels like she’s bouncing, but also protected). Chu says that they are lightweight and specifically designed to prevent injuries from running.
Nike Air Max Bella TR 3 From $128
The Nike Air Max Bella TR 3 is the perfect shoe for dance cardio. Candance Taylor is a 305 Fitness instructor and says that shock-absorption capability and ankle protection are key ingredients for healthy feet.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 $120
There are many running surfaces. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 is specifically designed for street running. Tempo’s head trainer Melissa Boyd says she was frustrated by the lack of responsiveness and cushioning in other shoes. She eventually fell in love with the Pegasus 38s. She says they have enough bounce to speed up, but are light enough to run longer distances. The wider toe box also helps her strike a consistent stride. This shoe solved a lot my previous concerns about the sport.
Nike Free TR8 $100
Boyd prefers the Nike designed-for-lifting Nike sneakers for weight lifting and HIIT training. They have less cushioning than running footwear but offer more stability. However, we did speak to some athletes, including Jen Romanelli, founder of Trooper Fitness, who prefer these sneakers for running. She said that she has flat feet and people swear by arch support, but she doesn’t. “I prefer to have less support for cardio-intensive activities, because it forces ankle stability, strengthens my foot, and allows me to engage more muscles.” She doesn’t feel restricted by the shoe’s lightweight and simple design.
Nike React Phantom Run Flyknit 2 $140
Denajha Phillips, a personal trainer swears by the laceless Nike Nike pair for her HIIT training. They are comfortable for her flat feet and they also stay on. She says, “I want something that is (1) comfortable and (2) molds to my foot and gets me through my workouts or my walks. This one does all of that.” These shoes are easy to put on and have a thick cushioned sole that Phillips claims absorbs impact.
Nike ZoomX Vaporfly From $240
The creative director at fashion-forward outdoor line Arc’teryx Veilance Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly said that the sneakers are unbeatable in terms of comfort as well as performance. The sole of the men’s ZoomX Vaporfly is the same as the women’s model. It also features carbon-fiber plates which act like springs, according to Freeman. This design allows professional and amateur runners to cut down on their times. Kasuga claims these shoes are his go-to for everyday wear and road runs due to their “great cushioning.” He also added that they are lightweight, portable, and easy-to-pack, making them ideal for travel.
Nike Metcon 5 Training Shoe $130
Personal trainer Ariel Brill recommends Nike Metcon 5 for strength training. It is lightweight, durable, and provides “great support” due to its stable, firm sole that can handle many dynamic movements. They are light-weighted with little to no heel lift. This makes them ideal for proper biomechanics in performing dead lifts and swings as well as squats and snatches.
Air Force 1s have the same unisex appeal as the Metcon 5s. Many men, including Noah Schnapp, tell us that the sneakers are their favorite. Schnapp says, “Everyone has them.” They look great with every outfit, and I have them in white. They are comfortable and I can wear them anywhere.
Chris Bosh, a former pro basketball player and NBA All-Star, says that “they’re a timeless classic.” I have three pairs of them: white and black, white and red and blue and white. Bosh claims the sneakers are comfortable and can be dressed up or down. Nicolas Lazaro is a community specialist for Grailed menswear-resale site Grailed. He tells us that the Cortez silhouette is flattering for those with slim legs and narrow ankles. Cortezes are his favorite white sneakers.
Julius Randle, a professional basketball player from the New York Knicks, says the Air Jordan 1 Mid sneaker is another versatile sneaker that can be worn “just walking around” or “for dressing up.” Stephen “tWitch”, a street dancer and DJ, agrees and calls them the “first stylish street sneakers” and a “classic,” which he has “about 20-something pairs of.”
Kiyoshi Martinez is a lead fit specialist at Hall Madden and a proponent of Nike’s Huaraches for everyday sneakers that make a statement. Martinez says, “I wanted a sneaker to go with an obsession that I was getting into with Hawaiian shirt and shorts, but still have a modern edge and be comfy for walking and standing in.” Martinez says that the sneaker’s futuristic, structured look is “very comfortable and stretchy due to its design.”
Keith Pollock is West Elm’s SVP of Creative. He is a big fan of the Nike Air Max 95. He says that he has a uniform now, consisting of all black and navy, and always wearing a pair Nike Air Max 95s. You can currently get them in Smoke Grey or Cosmic Clay. These shoes were also featured in our list of 42 most comfortable shoes for walking and standing, which was recommended by Erica Lall, professional ballet dancer. She says, “I need to be careful about what shoes I wear since I use my feet for everything.” She has never had a blister from these sneakers, and they support her arches, which is a necessity for ballet dancers.