Nike Air Shox R4 £119.99


Posted: 16 June 2000

This model may still be available on clearance. But we've reviewed a newer version since we published this.

Weight 391g
Evaluation One of Nike’s main men didn’t want us to see the R4. “They’ll only criticise it because it’s different,” he told his colleagues. Fortunately a number of our testers have run in them, and we can prove him wrong. In any case, we’re not here to tell you whether or not you should like a shoe’s looks – what you want to know is how it works as a running shoe.
Shox is Nike’s first main alternative to Air since it appeared in 1979, and it uses four elastomer pillars to absorb rearfoot impact. It’s the same material that’s used in car engine supports, and its extreme durability makes it a great option for runners who land heavily on their heels.
The surprise is that, unlike other good shoes for heel-strikers, the R4 also rides softly and smoothly for lighter runners – and it’s a world apart from Nike’s recent Tuned Air, which was over-firm. In addition to its smooth cushioning, the R4’s rearfoot is stable thanks to the medial arrangement of the pillars; and the forefoot is well cushioned too, using a conventional combination of Phylon (EVA) and a Max Air cushioning unit. (You can’t see the forefoot midsole because the upper wraps down over it.)
Who liked the R4 and who didn’t? Heel-strikers and normal-gaited runners and mild to moderate overpronators did. Broad-footed runners didn’t. And midfoot- and forefoot-strikers didn’t: because they didn’t compress the pillars in the rearfoot they felt as though they were running in high heels.
In short Rearfoot durability is the key to Shox shoes – but unlike many other shoes with long-lasting cushioning it’s far from being a rigid ride. Sure, the shoe isn’t especially light, and its life will end when the outsole (or forefoot or upper) wears out, but the rearfoot cushioning should stay as good as new indefinitely.
Try it on if you liked Nike Air Exeter (£80); Nike Air Max (£110); New Balance 1220 (£100)

Previous article
Adidas A3 £99.99
Next article
Asics Gel Preleus £75

Nike Air Shox, R4
TwitterStumbleUponFacebookDiggRedditGoogle

Discuss this article

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.