Nike Zoom Rival Review

8.7 score
[Editors rating (8.7)] = (WalkJogRun) score (8.7)/10

Editor rating: 8.7 / 10
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The origin of the Zoom series comes from the necessity of one long-distance runner from Kenya.  Back in 2017, the Olympic Gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge ran the Breaking2 event organized in 2017 by Nike. In fact, he won the race in 2:00:25 time, but what happened after the race is the fun part.

The dBreaking2 event in Monza, Italy consisted out of three elite runners, who all run a full marathon while wearing the Nike Zoom VaporFly sneakers. The goal of this event was to see if it would be possible to break the 2-hour barrier in marathon style running, and although the finished time was several minutes faster than the world record, sadly it did not count as a new world record under IAAF standards.

But according to Nike, Kipchoge approached the company and told the designers that he wanted the Nike ZoomX foam to be put in a training shoe. And with that initiative, the Nike Zoom series was born. Nike on the official website, states that ZoomX was derived from a foam traditionally used in aerospace innovation, and was applied for the first time in mentioned footwear Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite. But what about the Nike Zoom Rival?

The Nike Zoom Rival is the subject of this review, and you can read more about the details below in the posts.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Internal arch band

3/4-length bootie

Updated plate design

Nike ZoomX foam


Runs half a size smaller


Made out of the good old fashioned rubber, the outsole is made even prettier and more effective by the accessories that are attached to it. Accessories like removable spike receptacle that allows you to turn the performance shoe from a track and field shoe to a regular running type of a shoe. There are eight removable 1/4" pyramid spikes in total, and each of them can be removed in order to give you a different type of a shoe.

However, all of them are fitted in a special Pebax plate secured tightly to the front of the outsole. Put what is Pebax plate? Well, it’s a very stiff polymer plate designed for excellent transfer of power and forward propulsion in the shoe. A solid strip made out of rubber is inserted in the heel of the sneaker, and precisely that rubber strip is responsible for the better grip and durability of the sneaker. The shoes come with a special wrench that can remove the spikes and later add them when you think its best suited for them to be added once again.


The Nike ZoomX foam in the midsole is the real star here. It delivers 85% energy return, the greatest of any Nike foam so far, and it’s designed specifically to give you a propulsive feeling as you move forward. However, don’t knock the power of the good old-fashioned EVA sock liner that conforms to the shape of your foot in order to provide you with the best comfort and underfoot support. Both the ZoomX foam in the midsole and the EVA sock liner are there to be the best support for your feet, and your feet with love the midsole combo with every step that you take.


The upper of the Nike Zoom Rival is a thing of beauty. Designed with a 3/4-length bootie, the upper is sleek and highly comfortable that allows for the entire foot to be comfortable and supported when it’s inserted in the sneaker.

Because there’s plenty of room in the toe area, the toes have plenty of room to move without feeling restricted or crammed in the shoe. Throughout the upper there’s a nice dose of lightweight mesh delivers breathability and comfort. The mesh is speckled in the upper with a nice and beautiful (strip-like) design, and the retro classical feel of the shoes is reinforced with the presence of the classic lacing system. The laces that grace the upper are made with the classic design that ties the laces in a knot at the beginning of the tongue.

Oh, and last but not least, the famous swoosh sits on the side of the upper, just to remind you that it’s Nike that you’re actually wearing on your feet. The Nike swoosh is large and often comes with a color that’s very different than the one used in the upper.


For a performance type of a sneaker, these are the best of the best. If you take a good look at the customer review section of the sneakers, the majority of the comments that were left of Nike’s official website, addressed the comfort that these sneakers give to the person that’s wearing them. In fact, the comfort got the higher marks of all the noticeable features, and plenty of the customers praised the comfort that these shoes provided to the entire foot, not just to specific parts of it. And according to the many satisfied customers, the comfort can be felt even in the tiniest details like the soft sock liner. But there’s no denying that pretty much every single part of the sneaker adds to the comfort and extends the overall quality of the shoe.


The Internal arch band in the sneaker is a marvelous addition and a great improvement of the support section of the sneaker. It provides a locked-down feel to the leg, and with that feel, the banc actually prevents injuries to occur. How you’d ask? Well, think about it. When your foot is extremely secured, fixated with a lock-down feel within the shoe, there’s a very slim possibility of the foot to move in an unnatural way, to be dislocated or to be sprained.

And when you’re jumping and running those are one of the most likely things to occur. So, a great way to avoid that is to add an internal arch band to secure and support the foot. But that’s not it. The EVA sock liner really conforms to the shape of your foot and helps with the support and safety, but really it would be hard not to mention the Nike ZoomX foam in the midsole. It delivers 85% energy return to your feet and helps you not to feel excused and extremely tired after a good run in these sneakers. The three awesome features provide great of the support in the Nike Zoom Rival, and you really should feel grateful for all three of them.


Just like with any other great shoe, the durability is down to the materials used in the making, and of course how the shoe was made. Because this is a performance type of a shoe, the durability is in high demand, and Nike knew all about it. So, the delivered in an almost spectacular way, because these are probably one of the most durable performance sneakers in existence. First thing first, the rubber horizontal traction pattern enhances the grip and durability, and there’s no way of forgetting the 3/4-length bootie made out of synthetic and mesh. The Synthetic overlays throughout the midfoot and heel also increase the durability, and the fact that you can physically remove the spikes on the outsole with a special wrench means that you can transform this sneaker from a performance type to a more leisure type of a sneaker.


Sadly, the flexibility isn’t one of the Nike Zoom Rival’s strong attributes. Why is that? Because this is a performance type of a shoe. Running and walking type of shoes have a lot more flexibility to them because they’re on your feet for lengthy periods of time or because the activity that you have in them is very different. These are shoes designed for sprinters and short distance runners and these are very different athletic performances than let’s say basketball players.

Hence the ¾ length booty in the Nike Zoom Rival. If these were lifestyle sneakers, the upper and the collar in the upper would have been very different. The lack of flexibility is also down to the sturdy materials used in the making of the sneakers, and if you are looking for a flexible shoe this is not it.


However, stability is high, and it comes mainly from the internal arch band. The arch band hugs the foot and not only it secures the fit of the sneaker it also takes good care of the stability of the foot when it’s inside of the sneaker. The stability of the sneaker is high because, for a performance style of a shoe, your safety depends on the stability of the sneaker. If the sneaker is not stable, then the balance is off and this could mean a lot of potential injuries to the body. And nobody wants that.


Don’t you worry. The airflow in the Nike Zoom Rival is present and it’s all thanks to the mesh that is spattered in a strip-like pattern all through the upper. The mesh delivers breathability and comfort to the foot, and if you take a closer look, it’s not solely restricted to the striped pattern on the sides of the upper. The mesh is present in the collar as well and in the tongue of the sneaker.


Those spikes mentioned earlier, really come in handy here in the traction part of the sneaker. Why? Because they’re an awesome addition to the traction of the shoe, and the best thing about them is the fact that they’re optional. The 8 spikes in total, can be inserted and removed from the outsole thanks to the special wrench that comes with the sneakers, and they’ll be your best friend when you find yourself on a slippery of very unstable terrain. The traction is high thanks to the spikes, but don’t you worry. The traction is also high even without them.


The Zoom Rival by Nike offers a whole variety of color options that you can choose when purchasing the sneaker. The shoe has over 20 color variations, each more interesting and colorful than the previous one. But the sneaker comes in monochromatic one tone upper, and in color blocking version of the upper as well. And when you choose a slightly more colorful shoe, three separate colors or shades of color grace the upper, and all you have to do is chose the one that suits you best.


The price tag of the Zoom Rival sneaker by Nike ranges from 53 dollars and goes all the way up to 179 dollars. It’s a slightly more expensive type of a sneaker, but it’s worth it. If you’re looking for an excuse to splurge on high-quality performance shoe than, this is the excuse you need.


Besides being a very good looking and highly commutable performance style of a sneaker, another great thing about the style is the fact that it’s unisex. That’s right. Nike in the Zoom Rival model promotes a unisex performance shoe that not only will fit any type of foot, it will also won’t separate the male from the female customers in anything else. The color palette that’s been used in the design of the upper don’t generalize if the sneaker is best suited for a male or a female athlete, and frankly, nothing else on the sneaker does that as well. That was one of the positive things that were singled out by the customers on Nike’s official website. Plenty of the customers praised the company for making a unisex sneaker that can be worn by pretty much anyone.

Bottom line

For a performance style sneaker, the Zoom Rival model by Nike is probably one of the best on the market. The 3/4-length bootie is equipped with Nike ZoomX foam sock liner that conforms to the shape of your foot and gives you 85% return of your energy. Of course, there’s no way of forgetting the 8 removable spike pins made of stainless steel, that not only are optional, they also deliver optimal grip to the entire shoe. This is a multi-colored, unisex performance sneaker that is also comfortable and highly durable at the same time. It’s a great sneaker.