Here it is, probably one of the most talked about shoes in most running circles right now and literally a version on the feet of every Nike performance runner, it’s the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit. Now first off, let’s remember that the shoe performance athletes are wearing are not the same shoes that you’re buying. Just because this looks like a spin on the 4% and uses the same mid, doesn’t mean it’s the same exact model. Most of them are getting custom fit upper that has been designed for their feet specifically to custom midsole shaping and even custom offsets. That being said, this shoe does live up to the hype and is a game changer for the intermediate to experienced runners who are looking to drop time. It may sound a little like magic, but Nike has done a great job with this midsole design and it really works. Fair warning though, your legs are going to hurt afterwards. We did dig the original Zoom Fly and this progression feels very natural.
The upper on the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is even in its name, its using Nike’s lightweight Flyknit tech that is designed for breathability, movement, and flexbility. Various zones across the upper have been identified to have reinforced zones for some level of support. The toebox is narrower than most shows which aligns better to its performance goals, but honestly the shoe overall is only going to work for people with narrow to regular feet. It is finished with a simple heel pull, but dead simple up top.
The midsole design on this shoe is everything. It uses the same full length carbon plate that is in the super high performance VaporFly 4%. This carbon plate sites right atop the React midsole and its goal is to propel you forward. The carbon also never breaks down over time so that spring never goes away. The React midsole delivers a comfortable smooth ride, while also maintaining its responsiveness. Another example of this is in Nike’s Epic React.
The outsole on the Zoom Fly Flyknit has a traction pattern composed of various shapes and sizes. These are designed to promote stability and propulsion. They do track very well and after a few hundred miles on them, it is clear they hold up. Durability over time might be the big question.
Style & Aesthetics
The shoe definitely looks like a Nike, there is really no question. It is modern in its lines and it’s hard to miss the giant swoosh. Additionally, the shoe comes in a ton of colorways yet you’ll be struggling to find the one you like because they sell out fairly quickly so be ready. When we say modern we mean it doesn’t look like any shoe you’ve used before. The stack height makes it look more like a Hoka One One than a Nike, you’ve never seen a Nike midsole like this. With its over 30 mm stack height, this shoe is beefier than anything Nike has really ever put out into the mass market before.
It all comes down performance though and that brings us to the run test. My first experience out of the box was a crazy sensation. I literally felt like I was gonna fall on my face and I actually watched a person try these on and do just that. To be clear, it’s not like the rocker is not so major that it makes you fall over, but that it’s so different from any shoe you’ve worn before. It propels you forward even while standing still and can cause you to feel off-balance. The upper on the shoes so solid, the knit fabric is very soft on the foot with zero spots of friction. As mentioned above, the shoe is incredibly narrow and even with a regular foot shape it can feel snug. If you are wider, then I can’t imagine you will like these.
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The Zoom Fly Flyknit is definitely a game changer and there are only a few shoes out right now that fit into this category. After now putting well over 200 miles on the shoes and watching my pace drop with every run, it is clear to me that these shoes can truly make you faster. However, your body needs to physically be ready for it or your legs will suffer and it will not be enjoyable. The energy response on the shoe is phenomenal. Once you get running, the energy build up just maintains, it feels like you’ve pre-loaded a rubber band and then just shot it off and the legs just keep turning over. That can wreak have it on your legs though, so your body needs to be prepared for that effect. After the first hundred miles or so, I actually got to use them in a real half marathon to test them out with some friends and really go for speed. I ended up pacing in the high sixes, about twenty seconds faster than my best times. The big caveat here is that my legs were dead afterwards, but I made my times..
It is hard not to be impressed by the shoes and the Zoom Fly Flyknit definitely shapes Nike for years to come. I challenge people now when it comes to these shoes, even those that are die-hard fans of other brands, to just try them. Performance runners especially can see incredible gains, but even for recreational runners who are looking to speed up you will see improvements on your splits. I do also have to stress that you need to be careful. We’ve heard too many stories of people getting injured now in performance shoes like these because they are going faster than their legs are prepared to go. So make training a key part of the transition journey and work your way up to it. Once you’re there though, the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit will deliver.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 9.65oz (size 9)
- Drop: 10mm heel/toe
- Type: Neutral Road (Lightweight)
- Stack Height: 33/23mm (heel/toe)
- MSRP: $160.00
- Available: Buy Now