Since we got into Y2K designs last week today we’ll review the Nike Initiator, a favorite entry level runner for many. Released in 2012, this model is a budget Nike trainer with retro vibes that gained over the past decade quite a fan base, despite no hype around it. Its design is inspired from the 2000 era, much like the P-6000 , the V2K and Vomero 5 but at a much lower price. We got a pair in stock in 2024, the silver, red and black colorway which is one of the original ones. 

First Impressions 

Out of the box the Nike Initiator looks stylish, solid, and built to last. It is a bit rigid at first so you’ll have to break them in a bit. The midsole is a bit hard compared with similar models from the brand that feature Phylon foam or similar softer EVA compounds. This, however translates in better support and stability, something that many look for as a main feature. They are a bit heavy compared with more expensive models, with size 11.5 weighing just over 13oz. 

How they fit 

Nike Initiator fits true to size, with ample room for those in need for extra room in the toe box. Those with wide feet may want to go a half size up given that the shoes become more narrow in the front. For a comprehensive size chart for Nike shoes click here.

Nike Initiator Review

Nike Initiator Silver 4

Nike Initiator Silver 2

Upper Design & Materials 

The upper of the Nike Initiator is made of a base mesh with synthetic overlays, a classic setup for Y2K models. The mesh is quite thick which makes it very durable but it also makes it so it’s not too breathable, which will not bother you unless you’ll run with them on a hot summer day. They feature a synthetic mudguard similar to what the Torch 4 has made from the same material the stitched overlays are made of. This is synthetic leather that does not look too cheap and it seems to hold on pretty well. With the padding around the heel and tongue and the EVA insert the Nike Initiator provides moderate cushioning, not bad for a $75 shoe.

Sole Unit 

The sole unit of the Nike Initiator is made of a basic re-engineered EVA which is not too flexible or soft on touch. As with most of the other budget runners Nike makes up for the lack of any cushioning technology with a shape that not only is stylish but one that adds stability and support. The sole widens the most in the front which makes it not only roomy but also supportive for underpronators, given that the midsole is also not too soft. The outsole features a durable rubber that provides decent traction , leaving an opening in the heel area for the upper EVA foam to expand as you take every step.

Nike Initiator Silver 1

Nike Initiator Silver 5

Are Nike Initiator running shoes?

The Nike Initiator was designed as an entry level running shoe back in 2012, they can be used as such for slow paced, short runs. They are not very lightweight and the cushioning is quite basic, without much energy return that would be needed for long runs. For this review I took the Initiator around the city and in the gym. They felt a bit rigid at first but after a few days they felt better and better on my feet. In the gym they offer a great mix of stability and support so you can use them for slow runs, weightlifting or cross training. 

Are Nike Initiator comfortable?

Many have made the Initiator the go to shoe for everyday activities and that is because of the comfort offered and durability. However, it also depends on your expectations; if you are used to plushy, lightweight running shoes these may not work for you. If you carry some weight and are looking for some balanced mix of comfort, stability and support these may become your favorite sneakers. They are in between the comfort offered by a retro shoe and a modern running shoe. 

Bottom Line 

The Nike Initiator has been around for more than a decade for a good reason and I certainly better understood why as I did this review. If you are into modern classics designs from around the 2000’s and looking for a dependable, comfortable shoe these are surely worth trying. With the $75 price tag they offer excellent value. It is a great “beater” shoe that will take you places.