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Our verdict

When you spend £260 on a running shoe you expect it to be amazing and the Alphafly is that, but we think it is a very specific shoe and should be purchased with that in mind. It's certainly not an everyday model, its built to alter the movement of the toe joints and in turn create a large lever under the foot to help propel it forward. It's this that contributes, along with the springy foam, to give it that super-responsive feel. With that in mind we think it's probably better suited to the half marathon and marathon distance. It feels bulkier (you don't really noticed the light increase in weight over the the Next%) and as a result at shorter distances, say 5k, when you are really wanting to push the pace that extra bulk is noticeable. As a long distance, efficient racing shoe, it's king.

  • Positive
  • Proven track record - 1:59 marathon says it all
  • Still light and super springy
  • PB, PR and course record killer
  • Negative
  • Hard to imaging it being an everyday running shoe
  • Try and get hold of a pair - rather popular
  • It's cheating isnt it - wink wink
  • What we thought
  • Technical info
  • Runner reviews (0)

First impressions

More ZoomX - a lot more, check out that stack height!

The carbon plate is still there and there is the addition of twin forefoot Air pods for increased cushioning/'energy return'

The shoe promises lots - but at a price.

The shoe really is truly awesome, but it comes at a price. If you really cant stretch to it (you won't be alone), nike have some brilliant alternatives. Have a look at the Zoom Fly 3, it still has a carbon plate but is much cheaper. Also do not discount the Air Zoom Streak 7, a shoe loved by racers for years. If you're going long, maybe a marathon, the Air Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 is certainly light enough for those of us not in the top 10!

 

Midsole

With 40mm of Zoom X cushioning combined with a Carbon Fibre plate and now twin Air pockets, the shoe is crammed full of technology. 

NOTE: That 40mm is the World Athletics limit for stack height, but our pair in a UK9.5 measure around 50mm - ok the foot 'sits down within' the cushioning a little but these shoes are HIGH! Yet remarkably stable.

The heel drop is also down to 4mm in this shoe, not massively noticeable and should be less so when the pace is whipping along nicely, but some should be aware of the lower heel and soft feel, especially if you have experienced Achilles issues perhaps in the past.

The carbon plate is very evident as are the forefoot AIR pods. These aim to make a larger lever by which to push of and offer a little 'encouragement' at the same time. We noticed that this model feels stiffer than the Next% and if anything a little bulkier. This shoe perhaps sitting more comfortably at longer races - that was the intention after all.

Upper

The VaporWeave upper is a lightweight and hiughly breathable material. The thin, open weave of the design means you can see almost straight through it. It has a good degree of stretch and accomodates the foot very well. It's a neat design and fits much better than the Next% - there is none of that 'bagging' around the toes and the overall shape is better, feeling close and totally 'locked-down'.

It can be a bit of a squeeze to get on, having to fully open the laces and almost stretch it to open up the collar but once it's great.

The shoe really is Nike's statement racing shoe and although awesome, comes at a price. If you really cant stretch to it (you won't be alone), nike have some brilliant alternatives. Have a look at the Zoom Fly 3, it still has a carbon plate but is much cheaper. Also do not discount the Air Zoom Streak 7, a shoe loved by racers for years. If you're going long, maybe a marathon, the Air Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 is certainly light enough for those of us not in the top 10!

Sole

We have a little more rubber on the sole of the shoe over the Next%, more noticeable in the forefoot. The heel still has just the two slim slithers of rubber for durability and the exposed section of the midsole will show signs of wear immediately.

Conclusion

Unless your an elite athlete looking for the tiny extras, there really isn't a need to wear this shoe. Do you honestly think we are all putting in enough effort in training to warrant wearing this in a race. Didn't think so! 

The other carbon shoes from Nike are ultra fast, easier to get hold of and offer more than enough benefit to the average athlete. Unless you are fully into all the gear, turn up in a Ferrari for race day and sit on the leaders shoulder, we will give you a funny look if you think this is the answer to your running questions and rock up to race day in them and your 9 inch shorts!! 

With 3 models from Nike now available (the original 4% is becoming harder to find) there are now options dependant on your race distance. 

For 5k the original 4% is perfect, responsive and light with that 'spring' its also closer to the ground so has a more aggresive toe off.

For 10k up to half marathon, then the Next% hits the spot, like the 4% but with extra cushioning you get the advantages of speed but also comfort - and that helps with efficiency and recovery

And for the Marathon, yes, go Alphafly, but for sub3 hours. You need to be relatviely efficent to start with before pulling a pair of these on. Yes, they'll be a story about a overweight guy running his second marathon in a pair and taking an hour of his time, but in the real world a shoe like this need plenty of miles under the belt of the wearer before you see great results.

A great shoe, but big money!

Technical info

ZoomX foam technology delivers Nike's greatest energy return, providing the brands ultimate responsiveness and cushioning for long distance racing.

Full-length carbon fiber plate is embedded in the foam to enhance propulsion.

Vapor Weave Engineered Woven Mesh is lightweight and breathable while providing a secure and comfortable fit.

 

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