Nike Zoom Span 2 Review
Many a time I have mentioned that light stability shoes are quite special to me. A little guidance goes a long way for many people, including myself. That being said, I have have struggled to find a light stability shoe from Nike. The Lunarglide series was always overly soft and unstable for me. The Lunarspeed Lite + ST was a shoe I missed but am currently searching ebay for. A few of the Structures have worked well, but recently they have become far too heavy and overly supportive. Even the recent Structure 21 is very much a trainer, although is far improved over previous versions. I had known about the Zoom Span and thought it was just a cheap running shoe until I saw Sole Review post an impressed review. Seeing that and a version two come out with improved upper, I decided to take the plunge, which being a cheaper shoe luckily was not hard on the wallet (and finding it on sale helps even more). I am fairly impressed at what is available for the price of this shoe and am surprised this shoe isn't available on Nike.com. Let's talk about why this shoe needs a bit more press.
Weight: 9.5 oz
Stack Height: 33mm Heel / 23 mm Forefoot
Classification: Light Stability Trainer
The Nike Zoom Span 2 fits fairly true to size. I normally wear a size 10 and it is a perfect fit for me length wise. There is a surprisingly decent amount of room in the forefoot without being baggy. I would still describe this as a performance fit, but my toes had enough room to breathe. This is thanks to the new updated open hole mesh that has plenty of give and breathability. The mesh does fit closer to the foot in the heel and midfoot. The snug fit in the first 2/3 of the shoe is from an internal arch band and a light heel counter. The internal arch band and midfoot fit particularly snug, so although the laces may look loose, they do not need to be tightened down that much. Due to the lower ride of the area around the heel, those that get their ankle bones (medial and lateral malleoli) irritated should look at this shoe.
Like many performance shoes, the Nike Zoom Span 2 has a firmer ride thanks to the Cushlon ST. There is a mild dynamic support wedge in the heel into the midfoot, which is similar in concept but done in a far smaller scale compared to the Structure. It functions similarly but is far less intrusive into the foot. Walking in them I do not feel the support and it is only until the run begins that I begin to feel the mild guidance. So know the ride is very smooth and the support is not intrusive. There is only a Zoom Air pad in the forefoot, so landing there feels most responsive. The slightly wider forefoot last also makes for a stable landing up front. There is a traditional 10mm drop that feels just slightly lower. This is likely due to the firmer ride and improved ground feel. Heel landings feel far firmer, however thanks to the subtle heel bevel, the heel toe transition is decent. Combined with some toe spring and decent forefoot flexibility, the shoe can handle a variety of paces and distances.
With the dynamic support wedge in the midsole, there is just enough stability in the heel and midfoot without being intrusive. With the first step in you will not notice this, but within a few steps running this becomes subtly apparent. The dynamic stability does not extend into the forefoot, however the slightly wider forefoot last lends to a stable toe-off. As with typical Nike shoes, the midfoot last is narrower, however this is offset by the dynamic support and wider forefoot.
The Nike Zoom Span 2 is a versatile shoe in that it can handle easy pace and workouts alike. The slightly lighter weight, Zoom Air in the forefoot and firmer ride gives this shoe some pop for fartleks, hill repeats and tempo runs. The cushlon midsole is firm but forgiving at slower paces, so for those wanting a lightweight ride for long runs and easy runs, the Span 2 checks that box as well.
After over 100 miles in this shoe, I am impressed by how little wear is present on the outsole. I expect the midsole to break down at a fairly similar rate to most trainers and expect to get at least 300-500 miles out of the Nike Zoom Span 2. Even after decent trail use, there have been no abnormal rock damage to the outsole or upper. The lugs have in the forefoot have remained fairly undamaged and continued to provide decent traction on a variety of surfaces.
THOUGHTS AS A DPT
As the footwear industry shifts how it describes support and stability, I am still a fan of giving everyone a little hint of it. Not because everyone is pronating like crazy or needs correction, but because a little guidance now and then doesn't hurt. When we get tired, naturally our mechanics start to suffer and we can use a little help to get us through the miles. Some would argue that you should not be running farther than what your body can handle, but the whole point of having shoes is to protect us and allow us to run farther. Yes you should still be focusing on your strength, stability, proprioception, balance, form and mobility, but having a little help is not bad. What is the point of having a shoe like the Vaporfly 4% then? We are constantly trying to improve every part of our performance and footwear is no different. Currently shoes are design to help us, but like all things, moderation is key. Since a little goes a long way, a little stability is usually harmless. There are a few exceptions, like those who supinate excessively (not land in a supinated or inverted position, but they actually supinate after initial contact and transition through the gait cycle) that may want to avoid this (and may actually want some lateral stability like that seen in the Brooks Asteria). So don't be afraid of posts, posted shoes, etc. Try the shoe on and see if it feels comfortable and fits well. Test it on the run and make an educated, self informed decision. You need to know your own body and what it needs or doesn't need.
WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)
For those looking for a light stability Nike shoe that can handle any pace yet want to be easy on their wallet, the Nike Zoom Span 2 is a great deal for the price. The light stability provides some guidance without being overbearing The upper fits almost like a racer, yet has some decent forefoot room. The forefoot Zoom Air lends for a fast ride when the pace picks up, but there is plenty of shoe for easy runs. I am surprised again that Nike does not offer this shoe on their website as it has great performance and potential.
Total Score: 80% - Worth a look!
Thanks for reading!
Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.
Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow
***Disclaimer: These shoes were a personal purchase. This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 106 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.
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