Fall is the season when all the major stability shoes are released.
For Nike, this means an update to the Zoom Odyssey and to the Zoom Structure. The LunarGlide was updated earlier during the year.
The Structure is a well cushioned high mileage running shoe that offers moderate to high support for over-pronation. It retails for $120 and it’s a direct competitor of shoes such as the Brooks Adrenaline GTS, the Saucony Guide, the Mizuno Wave Inspire, Asics GT-2000 series.
This 20th version has been completely rebuilt from the ground-up – but its feel hasn’t changed too much from the previous versions.
Nike Zoom Structure 20 First Impressions
The Structure 20 looks very familiar with the distinctive, understated look of the new breed of Nike running shoes. At first sight it’s quite similar to last year’s version.
Things you can notice immediately are the disappearing of the medial “cage” present in the previous version, the more closed mesh used in the upper and the reduction of Flywire (Nike’s lightweight strings that connect the eyelets to the sole of the shoe) – now present only in the last two eyelets.
The shoe looks remarkably good. I bought the Black/Grey/White version and works very well as a lifestyle shoe either with jeans, tracksuits..
How does it ride ? Let’s check the details
Nike Zoom Structure 20 Sole Unit
The sole unit is a dual-density mix of Phylon and Cushlon foams. No surprise for a stability shoe – the foam is softer on the lateral (external) side of the shoe and thanks to Nike’s Dynamic Support it gets harder in the medial (internal) side.
Gone is the cage from the previous version. I didn’t feel like it change much to how the shoe rides.
The shoe is higher. While maintaining a 9mm drop (difference between heel and toe height), it has gained in average 3mm version the Structure 19.
Something that changed dramatically (in my opinion) is the outsole pattern, including where and how the flex grooves are cut.
I have taken these two images from the runningwarehouse website as I didn’t have a good shot of the outsole of the 19 anymore.
The hexagonal studs remain and actually gain surface. They provide a very good grip so it’s an improvement in my book. What has really changed is how the heel is split and how the line of flexibility that runs across the shoe from heel to toe has changed as a consequence.
You can see in the 19th the heel’s crashpad (the block where you land) is separated from the external side of the shoe and “connected” to the internal side. While in the 20 it’s the opposite.
I felt the shoe land differently and I couldn’t pin down what could it be until I did compare the outsoles side by side.
What I feel is that when you land on your heel in the 19th, the shoe makes you start pronating earlier and blocks you with the harder density foam on the same side.
In the 20th, you are guided towards the external side of your foot and then rolled back in. I feel that made it less stable on landing in my opinion and it’s something I noticed because I easily bruise my peroneal tendon and I don’t enjoy that initial external movement.
Some feedback I heard is that people like this change as there’s a less marked difference in cushioning between the two different density parts of the shoe, but it doesn’t work well for me because of my issue with the tendon.
Personal preferences aside, the base is wide and overall very stable.
The forefoot sports the same Zoom Air unit that subtly cushions the toe-off (while providing a small but noticeable responsiveness to the toe-off) and while it does not have the deep flex grooves of the previous version it still flex egregiously.
Nike Zoom Structure 20 Upper
The Stucture 20 has an engineered mesh upper and a bootie construction resulting in a seamless inside of the shoe. It runs well even without socks (something I have started doing more and more often and that I generally enjoy).
If your foot is particularly wide at the toes – you might find this restrictive.This mesh is definitely tighter than the previous version and it’s noticeable in the forefoot.
If you know me at all – you know I have a completely flat foot. The Structure 20 fits very comfortably with a semi-flat arch insole and it adapts to wide feet well.
One thing that really bothered me is the heel. My heel keeps slipping out of the Structure 20. I have size 11 as I have bought always and while the forefoot feels a bit small, the heel feels a bit big.
It might be down to the reduction of the Flywire cables to only the last two eyelets – fact is, if I tie my shoe laces enough to secure the heel, the mid of the foot is too tight and feels really constrictive.
Nike Zoom Structure 20 Conclusions
The Structure 20 is a good stability shoe.I have run in them exclusively for the past 3 weeks and it doesn’t show any sign of degrading. I believe it can last for a very long time. It offers enough stability and enough cushioning to be a daily trainer for high-mileage runs.
It fits the bed of my flat foot very well.
It weights slightly more than 10 ounces and it’s a very acceptable weight for a stability shoe with this much cushion.
This said – I prefer the previous version. The toebox was more free, the heel fit better and my foot rolled less during landing.
I will still probably log the majority of my miles in the next couple of months in this shoe. I like it. It’s just – in my opinion – a small step back from the previous version therefore I have to rate it 4 stars.
I am curious to hear the feedback of other runners who have run in both.