Grady Anderson is relatively new to the Missoula running scene, but is quickly making his mark. As a former standout runner at North Dakota State (don’t hold that against him), he can be easily spotted at the front of most races in town and just finished 5th overall in the Treasure State Trail Series. With the number of miles Grady runs we figured he would be a good guy to test out the Nike Structure 21….

This month was spent getting some much-needed fitness back. Runner’s Edge was so kind to speed things up with a pair of sleek-looking Nike Structures that not only look fast, they feel fast too! I’ve gone through a love/hate relationship with Nike Shoes over my running career. I absolutely love their racing spikes and flats, but have never found a training shoe that stole my heart quite as much. That being said, this was a great chance to put my trainer quest to the test, and the Nike Structure did not disappoint!

First off, I need to compliment Nike on making such an aesthetically appealing shoe. I honestly have never run in such a stylish trainer. I’ve worn Mizuno’s forever, but something about that iconic swoosh is just so dang cool! I had to start separating them on the shoe rack so my other trainers wouldn’t become self-conscious of their looks. That being said, looks aren’t everything for most serious runners, so after many hours I decided to stop wearing them in front of the mirror and actually bring them out for a jog.

My first run in the Nike Structures was a total journey. They’re more cushioned than most pronation shoes, so that first run was literally like running on clouds (Just really small, stylish clouds with a Nike Swoosh on the side). The first thing I noticed about the Structures is that you HAVE to double tie them. The laces just aren’t going to hold unless you do it. As someone who has enough trouble with a single knot, this was a disappointment to me, but after some finagling and google-searching I finally was able to have a tight-fitting shoe with a double-tied knot beautiful enough to be deemed commercial-worthy. Honestly, I did feel like I was in a commercial those first few days of running in the Structures. That whole mindset of “look good, feel good, run good” is real. I can honestly say, I felt great wearing my shiny new Nike shoes, and cruising the streets (The trails would’ve dirtied them up) at a pace that would’ve made Prefontaine say, “Huh, nice shoes.”

For as fast as I was going those first few days, I paid dearly a week later when my feet starting acting up after being jolted into this new shoe that didn’t’ seem to have pacing as a mindset. I had to learn to split my time with my shiny new Nikes and my tried and true Mizunos. I think Nike’s have always been a bit narrow for my Midwestern foot, and after relentless pounding things always seem to take a funny turn. I still rock my Nike Structures every few days, but if I’ve learned anything from these shoes it’s that sometimes looks aren’t everything…sometimes.

Overall the Nike Structures are a great shoe for a pronator looking to get after it on any terrain. The tread is solid, the ride is smooth, the cushioning is fabulous, and the looks are almost unbeatable. The shoe runs about $120 and can definitely take on any mileage range for any type of runner. The Structure has my stamp of approval and will be a constant tool in my upcoming buildup. Just remember that each pair of shoes and each pair of feet are different so what works for me might not work for you. I would recommend anyone in the market for a new pair of shoes go to Runner’s Edge and get their feet looked at by the employees there. They’ll be able to narrow down what type of shoe you need, and from there you can really start gaining those style points. Until then, keep cranking (even when it’s snowing) and Happy Trails!