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Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit Review

A versatile training and racing shoe gets a noteworthy update.

The original Nike Zoom Fly was one of the original "inspired by" models of the Nike VaporFly 4%. Instead of ZoomX and a carbon plate combination, it used lesser performing Phylon foam and a nylon plate. I ran well in that shoe but I did not enjoy that shoe at all due to its weight and overly firm ride.

What Is It?

The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is technically the Zoom Fly 2 because, aside from the similar silhouette, just about everything was upgraded making it a completely different feeling shoe. It's a narrow neutral training and racing shoe designed to go fast.

First, the upper is now an entire Flyknit mesh with different knitting pattern zones across the front half of the foot. Flyknit tends to be quite snug so you either love it or hate depending on your foot type. It does loosen a little over time once the shoe breaks in. The change to Flyknit also makes the shoe more breathable. However, the upper does absorb water and will feel heavier when wet. There is no separate tongue as it's simply part of the upper. The heel cup is very minimal as well as the lacing. The lacing system does lack holes to alternate lacing to get a better heel lockdown.

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The midsole is now entirely Nike React foam which provides a nice combination of cushioning, responsiveness, and durability. It's not the lightest foam but the energy return from this foam is a lot better than than previous Cushlon and Phylon midsole foams. The React foam sandwiches the newly upgraded carbon fiber plate to provide a much more propulsive feeling.

The outsole remains the piece that's largely unchanged with solid forefoot rubber, and exposed middle and smaller pieces of strategically placed rubber for heel traction. The traction was pretty good for the life of the shoe and wore evenly.

The shoe has a stack height of 23mm in the forefoot and 10mm in the heel for a 10mm drop. In my US men's size 10, it weighed 9.1oz (258g).

Why Did I Get It?

I recently had a great experience with the Nike Epic React Flyknit. I found that my feet and legs enjoyed the feel of both React foam and the snug Flyknit upper so I figured the new Zoom Fly Flyknit might be a more compatible shoe for me. I did have some hesitations about the shoe weighing more than the previous model and my beloved Epic Reacts but I decided to take the plunge based on the upgrades.

I was also curious to see if these shoes might be a sort of VaporFly 2-2.5% since it now more closely resembled its inspiration.

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How Have They Worked Out?

My initial impression was that the shoes had much nicer step in feel than the previous model. The cushioning was more forgiving and there was a more noticeable pop on toe-off. The launch colors of black, orange, and grey were also quite nice.

My primary use for the shoes was for faster paced work like tempo runs, track workouts, fartleks, and structured interval runs. They felt great on those days; however, they were a lot less enjoyable for easy days or recovery runs.

It definitely took a while to get used to the feel of the shoes as the responsiveness and propulsion was a new feeling. I had great track workouts in these shoes.

The shoes seemed to hit their sweet spot once I got into the 150-230 mile range. It was during that time that workouts felt great and I was able to get in an unexpectedly good half-marathon race in them.

The Good

  • These shoes like to go fast
  • These are versatile shoes for all your hard workouts
  • The midsole is very durable
  • The plate is noticeable and springy
  • A good racing shoe for longer distances like half and full marathons

The Less Good

  • These are not an everyday or easy day shoe
  • It's runs narrow
  • The Flyknit holds onto moisture
  • The shoe can feel unstable and bottom heavy
  • It might feel a little heavy for a racing shoe

The Best Run

  • I raced the 2019 Napa Half-Marathon with these shoes shaving a 5 minutes off my lifetime PR for a time of 1:35:34. I even negative split the back half of the race due to having relatively fresh legs deep into the race.
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Is It Worth It?

At $160 USD, the shoes are definitely at the higher end of training/racing shoes. I wish they were priced in the $140-150 range but the reality is that it's supposed to be a step up from the Nike Epic React Flyknit which commands an already high MSRP of $150. Still, the price isn't outrageous considering that what the shoe can be used for.

If you're looking for a good tempo day type shoe that you could use for racing then you might enjoy this shoe.

If you are looking for a racing shoe that will be more comfortable deeper into a race and you're ok with the extra weight then you might enjoy this shoe.

If you're looking for an everyday training shoe then this is likely not the shoe for you...unless you train fast.

If you have wide feet then you will not like this shoe.

Cautiously recommended if it fits you.

Product Info
Does it just work?
Is it well-made?
Does it deliver?
Is it worth it?
Final Score
7.75/10

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