Nike is universally praised throughout the industry for their racing flats and spikes. Across the board, Nike enters each new season with an exciting blend of updated features, stunning graphics and a few cool twists that cause people who use these type of products to salivate. 2011 will be no exception. In the past the top end spikes were the focus and caused the greatest stir. This year, it’s quite the opposite with the entry level product leaving the greatest impression.
One of the nicest introductions is the entry level Rival D V. The upper mimics the minimal, hyper breathable upper seen on current models such as the Steak XC 2 and Streak 3. The 2011 Zoom Rival D V brings real, functioning welded overlays to keep the foot secure. Add to this a super flexible spike plate on top of the lightweight EVA midsole and you have a spike that can compete with $100 models from other brands. At a $60 MSRP, this is an absolute steal. The Nike Zoom Rival D V will be available in sizes 4-13, 14, 15 in men’s and women’s colors so a very large cross section of athletes will have options available to them in this model.
The Nike Zoom W3 is a sweet update made specifically for the competitive female distance runner who competes in anything from the 800-5k. This spike receives an updated minimal upper with welded overlays, plus the plate from the Zoom Shift and a lightweight Phylon midsole. The price stays at $75 which for a spike this nice is a great value.
The other introduction is a new throwing shoe from the Swoosh called the Rival SD. What’s unique about this model is its slightly rounded outsole that lacks any sort of stiffening plate. The result is very slipper-like shoe. The upper is made of extra flexible materials and features a midfoot lockdown strap to keep the shoe secured to the foot. Many throwers who use a rotational technique have been waiting for a shoe that has a rounded, slightly textured outsole without a stiffening plate since the days of the adidas and Puma hammer shoes. The Rival SD delivers all this for $65. With these features, not to mention a super low selling price, the Zoom Rival SD should be one of best selling throwing shoes in 2011 and one that is likely to be a cult classic in throwing circles.
Two additional models we were able to look at were the Zoom MaxCat 3 and the Zoom LJ 4. Both feature the same plates, outsoles and midsoles as the previous versions, the only updates are to the uppers. Both feature a new synthetic criss-cross treatment that is visually interesting, strong and super lightweight.
Nike manages to crank out some of the best spikes and flats every season and the 2011 line is further evidence supporting this opinion. From what we saw so far, the spikes (particularly at the entry level price points) are super. We’ll blog more about their upcoming models when we’re able to see them up close and personal.