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Let's just say that you used to love the Pegasus series but the latest versions feel much too soft and not as versatile as they used to be. Which trainer can you turn to which can match the Pegasus’ legendary durability but can also handle faster-paced efforts?
Enter the Vomero 16. The Vomero is a more premium upgrade of the extremely popular Pegasus. It has newer, livelier midsole foams, more outsole rubber and a plusher upper than the Pegasus 38.
The Nike Vomero 16 is designed to be a versatile daily trainer which can handle very high mileage because of its tough outsole and its airbag cushioning. Zoom Air has always been a staple cushioning technology in the Vomero series but its application has evolved over the years.
In the Vomero 13 and earlier Vomeros, there were 2 airbags: 1 in the forefoot and 1 in the heel. In the Vomero 14, the Zoom Air unit switched to a thinner, full-length airbag which made the ride smoother but firmer.
And finally in the Vomero 15 and 16, the full-length airbag was swapped out for a single forefoot Zoom Air unit which is thicker and larger than the older airbags. Like most trainers, the Vomero midsole foam has also changed and evolved over the years.
Cushion, Lunarlon and React foams have all been utilised in the Vomero over the years but now, the latest Vomero includes Nike’s most advanced, softest, bounciest foam, ZoomX, albeit a relatively small amount of it.
The Vomero 16 has the same midsole and outsole as the Vomero 15 but it has a brand new upper. It weighs 20 g more than the Vomero 15 and is exactly the same price.
Weight: 309 g (men's US 9), 257 g (women's US7.5)
Drop: 10 mm (heel: 29.5 mm / forefoot: 19.5 mm)
Pronation control: Neutral
The upper of the Vomero has traditionally been a plush, slipper-like, luxurious foot experience and the Vomero 16 returns with one of the most comfortable Vomero uppers in the history of the series.
Gone are the flat, racing inspired tongues that were found on the 14th and 15th versions. The Vomero 16’s tongue is generously filled with foam and covered in a soft, velvety material. It's also attached to an inner sleeve so there's no tongue slide during runs.
Like the tongue, the heel tab and collar are also filled with copious amounts of foam. The foam padding spills over the back of the heel tab which gives the Vomero a premium look and feel.
There are both internal and external heel counters so your heel gets a very high level of support. Your heel is securely locked in by the sturdy heel structure and there is no heel slippage at all.
The engineered mesh upper feels soft to the touch with very little stretch. It has an inner sleeve so the Vomero 16's upper is slightly thicker than the average daily trainer. There are perforations on top of the toe box for added breathability.
On the midfoot, support panels have replaced the uncomfortable Flywire cables which some runners found to have dug into their feet on the Vomero 15. The panels distribute pressure much more evenly so midfoot comfort is a big improvement on the Vomero 16 and there's still a very high level of midfoot support.
Reflectivity is high on the Vomero 16 so it's excellent for night or early morning training. The dashes on the eyelets, lines on the side of the toe box and swoosh logos on the midfoot are all reflective.
The fit of the Vomero 16 is true to size. It has a spacious midfoot and toe box with plenty of toe splay room. The Vomero 16 along with the Structure 24, have the most comfortable uppers in the Nike running lineup.
The Vomero 16’s midsole is a complex setup and it consists of 3 different components: a ZoomX core, an SR-02 carrier foam and a Zoom Air unit. This means that there are 3 different densities in the midsole and they all behave in different ways during ride transitions.
The Vomero is the only Nike shoe that uses ZoomX foam as a midsole core. It spans from under the heel, all the way to the end of the airbag in the forefoot. The airbag sits on top of the ZoomX.
ZoomX returns an incredible amount of energy with each footstrike but it's a very delicate foam which is prone to chips and abrasions. To protect the ZoomX, Nike placed it inside an SR-02 carrier foam which acts as an outer casing. SR-02 is also a soft foam which is of similar density to ZoomX but it's a lot more durable so the Vomero 16 can handle daily wear and tear exceptionally well.
A large, forefoot Zoom Air unit is situated at the front of the Vomero. This thick airbag is filled with an inert gas so it won't swell up during runs when it is compressed frequently. The Zoom Air unit provides a springy pop during toe offs which makes it easy to run fast in the Vomero 16.
Underneath the thick foam insole, there is no strobel lining or thick material above the midsole foam so your foot sits directly on top of the foam and the airbag. This setup allows your feet to be closer to the cushioning systems which results in a higher level of sink-in.
When it comes to daily trainer outsoles, you want a hard-wearing rubber and plenty of it. The Vomero 16 is an example of a shoe with an outsole that's built to last.
The entire outsole of the Vomero 16 from heel to toe is covered with rubber which is extremely rare for a running shoe in this day and age where such a big emphasis is placed on low weight.
Nike uses RS-002 high abrasion rubber which is right up there with the most durable outsole rubbers known to man. The outsole of the Vomero 16 is in fact so durable that it will take a couple runs for you to notice the tiniest bit of wear.
A Waffle pattern grip which the Pegasus and Vomero have been known for over the years is also present on the Vomero 16’s medial side. The protruding rectangular waffles provide extra traction.
You can expect to get extremely high mileage out of the Vomero 16. 1000 kilometres or higher can easily be done in the Vomero 16 thanks to its full coverage, thick rubber outsole- it's a true workhorse with high build quality.
In terms of ride, the Pegasus 38 is the trainer that’s most similar to the Vomero 16, especially in the forefoot. After all, they both have the same thick, forefoot Zoom Air unit. The biggest difference is how their midfoot and rearfoot feel due to their different midsole foams.
While the React foam of the Pegasus 38 has a dense, rubbery, sinking-in feel to it, the Vomero 16 feels more energetic because its midsole returns a lot more energy.
This is felt most at faster paces below 5.30 per kilometre. It's significantly easier to go fast in the Vomero 16 which makes it a really versatile trainer.
The Vomero 16 would be capable of top speeds faster than 4 minutes per kilometre if it wasn't for its hefty 309 g weight. The springy Zoom Air unit in the forefoot compresses when loaded and springs back quickly which quickens transitions.
The midsole of the Vomero 16 has enough deep cushioning for long distance runs however, the Zoom Air unit is firmer than the ZoomX and SR-02 foams so if you're a forefoot striker, you might start to find the airbag more noticeable after a couple hours of running.
The Vomero 16 has a wide rearfoot and forefoot which makes transitions feel very stable. There also isn't much lean bias because the Vomero's midsole isn't overly soft and the stout heel counters lock your heel in place.
A high 10 mm drop assists in heel-to-toe transitions so runs in the Vomero 16 feel effortless and easy on the calves.
The Nike Vomero 16 excels in most areas. It has a plush, comfortable upper, a versatile midsole capable of most types of runs and a very tough outsole which will go the distance.
Version 16 is heavier than version 15 but it's a lot more comfortable thanks to its thicker tongue and midfoot panels. The Vomero is supposed to be a supremely luxurious shoe and the 16 definitely nails it.
What makes the Vomero 16 unique is that its ZoomX core provides excellent energy return and makes the ride softer but is protected inside an SR-02 casing so it won't get chipped or scraped like other Nike shoes with exposed ZoomX.
In a shoe rotation, the Vomero 16 can fill a number of roles because of its high level of versatility. It can be used as an easy day shoe for logging daily miles, a steady day shoe for when you want to go slightly faster and it can also be used as a tempo trainer because it comes alive when you pick up the pace.
Reviewed By Brandon Law