Ever since I was a little kid I loved Nike shoes. From soccer cleats to everyday shoes Nike was the first choice. When it came time for me to get my first pair of throwing shoes, naturally I went with Nike throwing shoes. Nike throwing shoes are probably the most popular throwing shoes on the market with the widest selection to choose from. You have the Nike SD, Nike SD 3, Nike Zoom Rotational 4, and the Nike Zoom Rotational 5.
Now the question most beginner throwers have is “What’s the difference?”
If you go by the description Nike writes, one can conclude that the Nike SD is for beginner throwers, the SD 3 is for intermediate throwers, and the Nike Zoom Rotational 4 and 5 is for advanced throwers. This is true to an extent. It all depends on how often one throws, what events one is using them for, and how much experience one has.
The Nike SD is definitely for beginners. However, experts use this shoe as well. Olympic silver medalist David Storl uses them in his Youtube video “David Storl prepares for world championships moscow 2013”. This may confuse new throwers who think that this shoe is a beginner shoe. The Nike SD has the flattest bottom of all the Nike SD throwing shoes. This is perfect for the glide shot put as the glider needs to be balanced in the back of the circle with a flat foot. Beginner shot putters who are looking for throwing shoes are typically gliders.
What about the discus and rotational shot? SD stands for Shot, Disc. So this shoe is meant to be used for both the shot put and discus. The Nike SD has rounded sides which allow the discus thrower to rotate. The sides are not as rounded as the other Nike shoes so it is great for beginner discus throwers as well.
As the athlete improves their technique and is able rotate in the discus and shot they are ready to use the Nike SD 3. The Nike SD 3 is rounder on the sides which will allow the athlete to rotate easier and faster. It also has a flat enough bottom to use in the glide and still has texture. This makes it great for the thrower who glides in the shot put and throws the discus as well. It is also a pretty decent hammer shoe as the edges are round enough to turn without difficulty.
The Nike Zoom Rotational 4 and 5 both have the exact same description by Nike. They are both very smooth on the bottom which makes them excellent shoes for hammer throwers as well as rotational shot/disc throwers. The athlete whose main event is the shot put and who uses the glide will not benefit from upgrading to these shoes. Since these shoes are so smooth they should only be used by advanced rotational shot, disc, and hammer throwers who have at least 2-3 years of experience as a dedicated hard working thrower.
The latest model of Nike throwing shoes does not include the Zoom Rotational 4 possibly because most throwers just jump to the 5. This means that one can find the older version on the Zoom Rotational 4 a lot cheaper. Throwing shoes have not changed significantly with in the last 5 years, maybe even longer. So if you can find an older model at a cheaper price go for it, the only difference between newer and older models is the color of the shoe.
There is the issue that Nike throwing shoes do not last very long (but no shorter than other brands). If the athlete trains as they are supposed to, then none of the Nike throwing shoes will last more than 2 years. The shot and discus thrower using the SD and the SD 3 can expect 1.5 – 2 years out of the shoe. A shot and discus rotary thrower using the Zoom Rotational 4 and 5 can expect 1 – 1.5 years. The dedicated hammer thrower however, gets the short stick as they will last no more than 1 year. I only had my 4’s for about half a year before I had to buy the rotational 5’s. Despite this issue, Nike throwing shoes are great! They are also the cheapest shoes on the market and there are great deals on various websites if you shop at the right time.
What do you all think Throwholics?