Today’s runners wear a different pair of shoes for different distances, tempo runs, recovery sessions, speed work and more. Fortunately, the versatile Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 can replace multiple pairs, saving runners money (not to mention space on their overflowing shoe racks).
It’s a neutral shoe with a cushioned yet responsive midsole that’s comfortable on medium to long distance runs – an attribute that cemented their place in our roundup of the best running shoes for supination. (If you’re wondering what that means, find out everything you need to know about supination vs. pronation (opens in a new tab) with our handy guide.)
Plush lining around the ankle and tongue (an improvement over their popular predecessor, the Structure 23) meant they felt great from the very first run, and their molded heel hugged our feet so they remain locked in position – eliminating any possibility of blistering.
This extra padding means the shoe is heavier, with a men’s size 10 tipping the scales at 11oz or 312g. We found that they felt heavy for fast work or shorter, faster runs, and the extra padding around the tongue and heel meant our feet were warm enough when running in hot weather.
But, beyond that, complaints about the Nike Air Zoom 24s were rare. It’s a great running shoe for regular wear, recovery runs, and mid-to-long distance sessions, with comfort, durability, and versatility that will meet the needs of any recreational runner.
How we tested
To test these shoes, we took them on a series of runs, seeing how they performed over different distances, at a selection of speeds, on a range of terrains. These included a longer route around the trails of a nature reserve, a fast 5K on pavements and roads, grueling 400m intervals and a series of active recovery sessions.
Construction and cushioning
The Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 is a great shoe for medium to long distances and will be ideal for endurance-focused runners looking for a durable shoe that will last as long as they will.
This is a neutral running shoe with ample cushioning thanks to a thick foam sole, giving it an 8mm heel-to-toe height that will accommodate heel strikers well – a subject we have explored in our article on proper running foot placement (opens in a new tab).
There’s also a carefully located crash pad (an area of softer material with more flexibility than the surrounding foam) built into the heel, designed to create a smooth heel-to-toe transition, and a Zoom Air unit (a ” explosive cushioning system designed for speed and agility”, made from pressurized air and tightly stretched fibers) in the forefoot to provide a responsive yet protected feel. say the impact this had on our performance, we could definitely feel the difference between the firm forefoot and the forgiving heel.
However, despite being a neutral shoe, with a name like “Structure”, perhaps we should have seen Nike’s inclusion of a small stability shoe element in the future. There’s nothing quite as blatant as a medial post, but the foam sole is built around the medial arch to provide extra support.
So whether you’re putting them on for everyday wear, easy mid-distance runs, or longer runs, the Nike Air Zoom Structure 24s can deliver a smooth, comfortable, and lightly supportive ride.
The thick foam midsole offers what Nike describes as “cushioned responsiveness” – two features that usually work at loggerheads with each other. Yet, after putting these shoes through their paces, we found that this seemingly oxymoronic description turned out to be accurate.
Our knees benefited from the generous layer of cushioning, but we found the sole unit still offered a decent level of responsiveness in the forefoot where Nike placed a Zoom Air unit.
Our tester said he could feel this unit when running on firmer ground, creating a princess-and-pea scenario in which he was vaguely aware of a slight bump under the ball of his foot. But they described the impact as minimal, and that was their only criticism among the otherwise flawless comments on the shoe’s comfort benchmarks.
Design and upper
We like the no-frills approach Nike took when designing the Air Zoom Structure 24. With two simple colorways (Thunder Blue or Black) available, they won’t stand out in a crowd like the frighteningly yellow Saucony Ride 15s. brilliants that we tried, making it a top option for anyone who prefers to let their racing do the talking.
Still, the instantly recognizable tick, sleek upper, and white padding wedge have an understated style that we soon found ourselves incorporating into everyday outfits (see, we told you they were versatile).
The mesh upper is sturdy and offers more cushioning in the lining around the heel and tongue than the Nike Air Zoom Structure 23, giving them impressive comfort right off the bat. This, coupled with a well-designed heel counter, meant they effectively locked our feet in position without ever feeling uncomfortably tight, minimizing the risk of chafing or blisters.
This extra cushioning has its drawbacks, adding weight to the trainers so that they feel a bit heavy over shorter distances or during speed work. It also meant that our feet could heat up quite quickly in hot weather, although that shouldn’t be a problem if you usually run in milder conditions.
But, for longer runs, we really appreciated the extra padding provided, which allowed us to walk without soreness or rough feet interfering with our training.
It is also important to consider how the running shoes should fit. The Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 fits wider than previous Nike running shoes with an accommodating upper that will adapt to most foot shapes. For example, our narrow-footed tester found that the Dynamic Fit lacing system was able to tighten the shoe evenly and effectively so they could find a good fit.
Unlike many running shoes, they also fit true to size, so there’s no need to go through the usual rigamarole of ordering half a size up.
Overall, we were very impressed with the performance of the Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 in our testing. It balances comfortable cushioning with a responsive ride, making it a great choice for mid-speed sessions and longer recovery runs, and can be had for under £100/$130 from many retailers. .
The crash pad (a softer section built into the heel) noticeably promotes a smooth heel-to-toe transition, and the durable outsole provides fantastic grip on everything from wet grass to gravel to loamy trails. The wide base gives them a stable feel and a section of the midsole is built around the medial arch to provide additional support.
They lost points because, at 11 oz (312 g), they’re heavier and the thick foam midsole means they don’t feel nimble enough for faster runs or quick jobs. But, if you take things slower or prefer longer routes, the ample padding is fantastic – something our knees certainly thanked us for.
The Zoom Air unit located in the midsole, under the ball of the foot, can be slightly felt when running on harder surfaces or tarmac. Nike says this is designed to provide a more responsive feel when transitioning power through the forefoot, providing a firm, soft and stable feel when your foot hits the ground. Yet the result may divide opinion. While some people will appreciate the added stiffness, we personally weren’t a fan as we found the unit to be slightly lumpy.
However, this is a minor gripe among an otherwise brilliant performance for this impressive addition to Nike’s Structure series. So, recreational runners with a penchant for longer runs, this might be the shoe for you.
The Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 is a well-cushioned neutral running shoe with innovative design features incorporated to deliver a more responsive ride and encourage an efficient heel-to-toe transition. We found their heavier construction and softer sole weren’t suited to speed work, but the plush upper and comfortable fit make this a versatile mid-to-long distance shoe that won’t let you down when you’re on the go. rack up miles.
If you’re looking for a lighter neutral shoe that still offers great support, the Hoka Mach 4 ticks all the boxes. This shoe features a rocker sole to promote a smooth heel-to-toe transition, so you can stay comfortable and maintain your technique throughout longer runs.
Or, if you’re looking for a more responsive sole (without sacrificing cushioning), the Saucony Ride 15s (above) might be your go-to. They also come in an eye-catching bright yellow colourway, which can help your family find you in the middle of a packed crowd on race day.