When it comes to reputations of quality and style, Nike and Reebok couldn’t be further apart from each other.
These two iconic running shoe brands have always been side-by-side on most shelves, but there’s definitely a huge degree of difference in how they’re perceived, with Nike often being seen as a stylish popular brand while Reebok is seen as an athletic neutral party.
When assessing the brands and products, however, it’s clear there’s more to these running shoe brands than just reputation.
Comparing Nike and Reebok is a complex task, as their products can be surprisingly similar to each other, but some especially unique traits can make a huge amount of difference for both casual and competitive runners.
If you’re looking for a good running shoe, it helps to know a little bit more about them, including the prime traits of each company and the differences between products before investing in an athletic shoe from either of these popular brands.
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A Short History of the Brand
Nike began quite simply as a retailer in 1966, selling shoes from other brands (Onitsuka Tiger) before discovering the option to build its own.
The proper Nike shoe production started much later in the 1970s, and over the years the brand has created both functional and fashionable shoes for nearly every indoor and outdoor sport you can imagine. They have also worked and owned brands such as Converse and Hurley.
This might make it seem overly broad thanks to its low list of specialty sports, but this helped it establish much versatility.
(a pair of Nike women’s running shoes)
Getting a Nike shoe for any sport will give you a similar feeling to any other running shoe, with just enough unique features like the cleats on soccer shoes and cushioning of basketball shoes to give yourself an edge in your product’s intended activity.
It may be known for its cultural impact through TV advertising, and partnerships with athletes like Michael Jordan, but at its core is a footwear and athletic equipment brand that’s remarkably consistent in terms of quality as well.
Materials and Manufacture
Broadly speaking, most Nike running shoes are built with synthetic materials, with the two primary products being polyester and rubber.
This can result in them being relatively fragile compared to shoes with more natural materials, but by most running shoe standards, Nike isn’t doing anything too unusual with its production in terms of what its shoes are made of.
Other materials and technologies we can mention are EVA foam, Flyknit fabrics, ZoomX, etc. Along with these, you’ll also find recycled materials in some of their shoes.
Read also: Are Trail Running Shoes Good for Hiking?
Now let’s take a look at two shoe designs by Nike as we usually do in these brand comparisons.
Nike Men’s Flex Experience RN 8 Shoe
The Flex Experience RN 8 is made with lightweight synthetic materials with a fairly thick mesh to provide breathability and comfort. They’re flexible thanks to a smooth outsole, and they are sturdy and durable thanks to a no-sew design at the toe tip and laces.
More than anything else, these shoes are light. It’s not going to be as free to run in as a barefoot or minimalist shoe, but it’s going to lead to some easy outdoor running and likely last you a pleasant amount of time.
Nike Women’s Renew Run Shoe
One of the important things to consider when it comes to running shoes is the competitive edge they can give you, particularly if you practice track sports or engage in running events like marathons. In these situations, you’re going to want a shoe that lasts you for that full event, and a huge strain on footwear can make some models crumble over time.
This isn’t the case with products like the Nike Women’s Renew Run Running Shoe, which is a flexible shoe with a convenient degree of support thanks to a well-padded outsole. This makes them somewhat similar to basketball shoes, but with the flexibility and shape of a running shoe to help your high-effort races and endurance runs much easier.
Nike shoes are extremely difficult to gauge due to their popularity in the world of sneaker and premium running shoe collections, but most of their standard running shoes do tend to be on the low side.
This is much because of the synthetic materials and manufacturing standards, and while this is generally a detriment, it can lead many products to be quite inexpensive.
However, the brand has also premium and professional designs that can cost more than $150.
Are Nike Running Shoes Worth the Price?
Generally speaking, yes, Nike shoes are worth the price they can often be found at.
You might get an affordable shoe from them that you’ll have to replace more often, or you might get a professional one with premium materials and technologies. In either case, if you know exactly what to expect, this brand it’s hardly going to disappoint you along the way.
(a pair of Nike women’s running shoes)
A Short History of the Brand
It was first founded in England in 1958, named after the Grey Rhebok antelope to express their focus on speed and effectiveness in running.
This specialization led them to have much greater focus than many other exercise gear brands, with others like Nike stretching between various indoor and outdoor sports alongside running shoes.
Nonetheless, it also was greatly helped by a similar marketing push to have it compete with the dominant Nike brand in the 1980s, with its product placement deal in the film Aliens helping it exceed Nike’s sales by 1988.
Reebok quickly disappeared over time in the world of culture due to a weaker advertising push across the 1990s, but that didn’t stop them from continuing to improve their technology with products like the DMX line with improved weight distribution.
They haven’t had a large marketing push since they were absorbed into the Adidas group, but they still are a recognizable name with a much greater seal of quality than many other popular shoe brands.
Materials And Manufacture
Reebok uses a fairly large amount of synthetic materials like rubber and polyester, as is standard with most running shoes.
The brand does have a fairly strong push towards using recycled materials in all products and features some products like the REE lines made from higher percentages of recycled materials, at a similar level compared to Nike in this regard.
(Reebok logo on an old running shoe)
Also in a similar vein to Nike is its manufacturing, which is mostly done through factories across the world. Nonetheless, there isn’t much to set Reebok apart from Nike in terms of how their shoes are physically made, and it can be a consequence of their quality and longevity as well.
As for technologies, what really caught our attention was their zigzag midsoles and ZigTech outsoles which provide improved cushioning and can be found in Reebok’s Zig collections.
By Reebok, we have picked:
Reebok Men’s Floatride Energy 3.0 Running Shoe
The Floatride Energy line is a strong example of a standard running shoe with just enough variation to give it a unique flair. This shoe is made of synthetic materials with a rubber sole and a square knit upper, making it a breathable running shoe.
It also features a good amount of support, and the Floatride Energy Foam midsole provides lightness and comfort while going on longer runs.
Reebok Women’s Driftium Ride Running Shoe
On the surface, the Driftium Ride running shoe might seem like a worse running shoe on account of its appearance. It’s much thicker material with both textile and synthetic materials, and its flat sole makes it look more like a casual shoe than a proper running shoe.
However, this ends up providing more support in a way that thinner women’s running shoes don’t often accomplish, as the textiles involved add to a fairly lightweight feeling with a great amount of insulation and padding.
They’re still plenty breathable, but they’re a comfortable shoe for those running in colder weather as well, giving them more range than other limited-weather running shoes.
For the most part, Reebok isn’t too much less expensive than Nike. If anything, Reebok may be less expensive due to the lighter brand recognition, since they aren’t so much a fashion statement as much as they are a running utility, but more technological and recycled products will hit higher points above $100.
Are Reebok Running Shoes Worth the Price?
Whether you’re getting an experimental design or a traditional running shoe from Reebok, you’re going to be fairly pleased with your purchase.
Also, their affordable shoes, much like Nike, are fairly easy to replace thanks to the lower price points.
(An old Reebok men’s running shoe)
3. Which Brand is Better?
If it isn’t clear by now, these companies don’t generally differ much in terms of quality. Their production lines are fairly similar and their materials are almost identical, and while Reebok has more innovation and experimentation under their belt, their popular products aren’t massive variations on typical running shoes most of the time.
As for designs, both have beautiful, modern designs so it would be a personal choice.
Is one brand better than the other? Which one to choose?
Despite their similarities, Reebok would be our first focus if we were looking for high-quality, good-cushion, comfortable, and durable running shoes, simply because the company was founded with running products in mind and builds its shoes entirely around jogging, walking, and running.
Nike shoes are fairly identical in terms of structure and cost, but we’d choose their shoes as more lightweight options and maybe a little less durable.
So, to conclude, we’d start our research by looking at some Reebok designs first, and then maybe move to Nike’s shoes depending on the model and what particular features we’re looking for.
That’s all for today’s comparison! What do you think about these two brands’ running shoes? Let us know in the comments.