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Nike is the top sneaker brand in the world — are its shoes good for your feet? We asked an expert

A podiatrist shares the best pairs to pick from the brand.

Since its founding in 1964, Nike's shoes have been a top pick for athletes, fitness enthusiasts and everyday comfort seekers. The brand's signature swoosh can be seen everywhere from basketball courts and major marathons to elementary school playgrounds.

In fact, in a 2021 report of the top global sneaker brands from shoe news site Sole Supplier, Nike easily secured the No. 1 spot (and ranked at No. 2 as well, with its Jordan line). All that's to say, there's no denying that Nike is a global superpower, and its sneakers are known for being sleek, on-trend and high-quality.

But since our team is always on the lookout for shoes that will feel just as good on our feet as they look, we had to know: Are Nike shoes good for your feet? A podiatrist shares everything you need to know, below.

Are Nike shoes good for your feet?

One of the best things about Nike is that they offer a wide variety of shoes at different price points, especially when it comes to sports shoes. "They definitely do rule the market in basketball shoes and cleats," says Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, a podiatrist in Silver Spring, Maryland. "There's so much variety, especially for kids and basketball players, and at a better price point than their competitors."

While Nike isn't a brand that Parthasarathy recommends in her practice, as some of their shoes don't offer enough structure or support, that doesn't mean that they don't have some good options for people who are enticed by the brand. Generally, Nike's shoes tend to be pretty narrow — the sleek design is part of what adds to the appeal — so, she says "If you have a narrow foot, you would find them more comfortable."

Two specific styles that she calls out as being good options for those hoping to add a pair of Nike sneakers to their closet are the brand's Pegasus and Tempo sneakers. "Both of them have good shock absorption and responsiveness when running," Parthasarathy says. She adds that those can also be good options for anyone looking for a walking or everyday sneaker. Plus, because the upper is made of mesh as opposed to leather, "that makes it breathable," she adds. "And although the toe box is narrow at least it will give you a little bit more room."

To check to see if any given pair of sneakers are supportive enough, Parthasarathy recommends doing a fold test. "If the front of the shoe can touch the back of the shoe, then they are not supportive enough."

Here, some of the best shoes from the brand, according to experts.

The best Nike shoes for your feet

Pegasus 40

The latest version of Nike's Pegasus sneakers, these shoes are said to have medium cushioning and high responsiveness to provide a springy feel with each step. Compared to the previous versions, the brand says that this model features improved comfort in the sensitive areas of your foot, like your arch and toes. They also come in a wide version, for those who are concerned that the shoe might be too narrow.

Pegasus 39

If you don't necessarily need the latest and greatest model of a shoe, you can get the previous model of the sneaker, Nike's Pegasus 39 for a more affordable price. Available in a range of color options, they're said to be comfortable, supportive and breathable — making them perfect for your walks or runs.

Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT%

Nike says it used insight from the worlds fastest athletes to create its Tempo NEXT% running shoes. While the brand says that they're great for race day, they're also a solid choice for your training routine. They are designed with a foam footbed that's said to deliver "energy return" to make your strides easier and bouncier. Plus, Nike says that it strategically placed traction in the shoe, so that you'll have a solid grip where your foot needs it the most, on a range of surfaces.

Metcon 8

Two fitness experts previously shared with us that Nike's Metcon sneakers are their go-to for cross-training. Made to be worn during a range of activities, from cardio to weightlifting, they feature a lightweight foam material that the brand says won't weigh you down.

Why are Nike Air Jordans so popular?

In 1984, Nike gave up-and-coming basketball star Michael Jordan his own line of clothing and shoes, signing a $500,000-per-year contract with the athlete, a record-breaking number at the time. The first style under the Jordan brand, the Nike Air Jordan 1, debuted in 1985 and in just a few months Nike had sold $70 million worth of the shoes, ESPN reported. Through the years, the popularity of the Jordan brand has only grown, with iterations being named the most important and influential sneakers of all time by multiple publications while attracting a legion of celebrity fans.

The brand's long history in pop culture and status as a collector's item seems to help with its timeless popularity. Earlier this year, a pair of Michael Jordan's own Nike Air Jordan 13 sneakers became the most expensive sneakers ever sold, going for $2.2 million in an auction.

Air Jordan 1 Mid

While there is now a range of styles and options that the Jordan line offers, from an expert standpoint, the classic shoes are probably better suited for the court than for being an everyday sneaker. "They're really made for basketball players," Parthasarathy says. Though the one big benefit of the shoes off the court would be that they could be helpful for anyone with weak ankles, as the mid-height collar could provide extra support. "I think that they're absolutely fine for basketball, because they're a mid-height shoe which provides stability around the ankle. And I'm sure that those shoes would not fold in half and provide some good arch support and traction on the court. But, again, we want to watch out for the width because some people can have issues with their baby toes rubbing against the shoe, especially with the lateral movement of basketball. So you want to make sure that they fit well."

Nike sneaker accessories

Grandma's Secret Sneaker Cleaner

Nike sneakers are an investment, so you want to keep them looking their best for as long as possible. If you do notice some dirt or scuffing, you can tackle any problem areas with this popular sneaker cleaning solution. Designed to remove dirt, grass, stains and grime, the brand says that it can be used on rubber, canvas and leather sneakers.

Pink Miracle Shoe Cleaner Kit

For tougher stains, this bestselling cleaning kit comes with a brush so you can give your shoes a good scrub. The brand says that you only need a few drops of the cleaning concentrate to see results, and it's designed to work on all washable shoes (the company specifically calls out Nike and Jordans).

Xpand No Tie Shoelaces System

You never really think about how long it takes you to tie your shoes until you're in a rush to get out the door and have to stop to lace up your sneakers. These laces turn will turn your sneakers into slip-ons, so you can throw them on and head out without losing those precious few minutes. I put them on both my casual sneakers and running shoes and was surprised to find that they held firmly in place during runs, HIIT classes and walks.

Dr. Scholl's Float On Air Insoles

If you aren't completely comfortable in your sneakers, adding an insole could help. And these ones are an affordable pick with more than 2,700 five-star ratings. They're designed to fit all shoes comfortably, according to the brand, and feature cushioned foam and a contoured heel for arch support.

Meet our expert

  • Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, is a podiatrist and partner at Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is also a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.