Shoe Review: Nike Zoom Fly

Nike Zoom Fly review MasteringRunning.com

Purchased by me

At the beginning of summer, I decided to end my 2-year relationship with my old long-run bae, the Brooks Launch. After going through 3 pairs, which got me through both the NYC and Boston Marathons, it was a tough decision but as much as I love Brooks shoes, we were no longer in synch. Although I like a light shoe, the Launch was proving to be too minimal for me, especially for marathon training. The metatarsal pads on my right foot had been aching during and after long runs, so I knew I needed a change. I trekked over to Philadelphia Runner (my team's sponsor) to see Breandan my teammate who works there. I only trust him with my feet and he hasn't steered me wrong yet. 

Breandan listened to my explanation of running niggles. After hearing my shoe wish list, he recommended the Nike Zoom Fly which they had just received. It's the mortal's version of the Nike Vapor Fly Elite – the sneaker that was specifically designed for the "Breaking2" project – the Nike-led endeavor to break a two-hour marathon, which Kenyan running god Eliud Kipchoge missed by a mere 24 seconds. (Incidentally, running a sub-2-hour marathon involves running twenty-six-point-two 4:34 miles. Wrap your head around that. I'd be happy to run one 6-minute mile!)

Now that I've run 165 miles in the Nike Zoom Fly, it's time to post a review.

Loads of cushion yet lightweight

Loads of cushion yet lightweight

When I first tried on the shoe, it felt like a slipper – love at first step. That's how a running sneaker should feel.  It's super comfy. There are no annoying seams across the front of the foot, so it's roomy enough to accommodate my wide feet plus bonus bunions.

The shoe is a featherweight. It is billed to be cushioned enough for training but light enough for racing, and I wholeheartedly concur. Next to my track spikes, these are the lightest shoes I own. Men's weigh 8.75 ounces & women's weigh just 6.5 ounces. But they feel so cushiony that you would guess they weigh more. The 10mm heel-toe drop is reasonable. I personally don't do as well in lower heel-to-toe drop shoes.

i was most impressed by the soft forefront cushion. It's like running on pillows. Add a custom insole if you need one (I've been hooked on Superfeet Berry's, another Braendan reco), and it's *that* much better.

A carbon infused plate is nestled in the midsole. It's is designed to propel you forward. And I must say I was skeptical, but it really works. When you are running in these, your body naturally wants to roll forward and take off. You just feel faster in them. It's a wild sensation that you get used to quickly and that you miss when running in other shoes.

But I was buying new long-run shoes, not new speedwork shoes. The Nike Zoom Elites are and were working fine for faster runs and races. I was worried that the light weight of the Zoom Fly would not hold up during long runs. I tested them out during a 16-miler and for the first time in literally years, I was able to finish a long run without stopping because of bottom of foot pain. They felt comfortable and fast.  

Not much traction, so stick to paved or smooth surfaces when running in the Zoom Fly

Not much traction, so stick to paved or smooth surfaces when running in the Zoom Fly

Good-looking shoe, no?

Good-looking shoe, no?

There's not a lot of traction on the sole as you can see. I wore these running up a technical trail and that was a huge mistake. I almost fell because the sole had no grip. These babies are strictly for road & track running/racing and flat smooth paths and trails. 

As a special added bonus, these are attractive shoes. I buy running shoes for fit and function, not aesthetics.  So when the shoe also happens to be pretty I'm really a happy camper.  I love the ice blue color juxtaposed against the pop of bright orange on the sole. But they did get dirty pretty quickly. 

I am wearing the Nike Zoom Fly in the upcoming St. George marathon. I've already put a lot of miles on this pair, so I'm going to buy a fresh pair this weekend and break them in before I run 26.2 in a few weeks.  

Have you tried the Nike Zoom Fly?