7 Best Nike ZoomX Running Shoes in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Nike ZoomX Running Shoes in 2024
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Nike has nothing to prove. It’s already one of the strongest brands in the running scene. But as it enters the world of super foams, it’s made itself even stronger. 

The Nike ZoomX foam is the brand’s cutting-edge tech. It’s Nike’s lightest, bounciest, softest cushioning to date, and runners swear by it. 

We have tested all versions of the ZoomX shoes and we are here to help you trim down your choices by selecting the best of the best from various categories. We also made sure that you would get all the information you need in the reviews we produced through our extensive testing procedures.

How we test running shoes

We don’t just cherry-pick the shoes we put on this list. To really give you the best, we test them out ourselves and put them through the wringer. How? 

  • We purchase all the shoes we review with our own money to avoid bias. 
  • To make sure we’ve done sufficient testing, we log 30-50 miles in each shoe. 
  • Through our own RunRepeat testing lab, we do a series of tests (e.g. flexibility, durability, breathability tests, etc.). We exhaust our time measuring the different parameters of the shoes so we can completely form our conclusions about each feature. We also slice the shoes into pieces to get deeper into deets!

Best Nike ZoomX running shoes overall

Nike Vaporfly 3
87
Great!

What makes it the best?

The third time’s a charm as Vaporfly 3 established its dominance among all Nike ZoomX shoes we ran in. Its unmatched speed took us farther and faster than we ever imagined, smashing PBs more stably and comfortably. Rain or shine, it delivered excellent traction and sublime breathability in our runs.

The midsole cleverly combines the ZoomX and Flyplate, which are both designed for maximum speed and energy return. The foam has a velvet touch, giving a buttery smooth ride without feeling overly plush to enhance stability. Our legs felt fresh despite pushing our pace to the limit and we cornered with no second thoughts with its steady ride.

Taking comfort to the next level is the Flyknit upper that feels like it’s barely there. Its design is well thought of as the knit weave pattern changes drastically along the upper so a specific area can serve its purpose. The forefoot area has a denser pattern for support, while it’s less compact in the toe and midfoot areas for more airflow and flexibility.

The outsole offers excellent grip on both wet and dry pavements, yet its waffle-like pattern and midsole cutout collected small debris along the way. We recommend avoiding paths with small pebbles for a more seamless running experience.

Pros

  • Exceptionally breathable upper
  • Outstanding ZoomX cushioning
  • Superb choice from the mile to the marathon
  • Impressively low weight
  • Enhanced stability
  • Plush, cloud-like foam
  • Upgraded outsole for better grip

Cons

  • Uncomfortably large tongue
  • The heel is still too narrow
Full review of Nike Vaporfly 3

Best Nike ZoomX speed training shoe

Nike Zoom Fly 5
80
Good!

What makes it the best?

After combining the results from our lab with data from our actual runs, we found the 5th version of the Nike Zoom Fly to be buttery smooth, insanely cushioned, and superbly grippy. It blends speed, comfort, and traction—making it our choice for the best speed trainer among Nike ZoomX running shoes. 

The Nike Zoom Fly 5 has an uber-soft midsole but it gives a firm ride. The ZoomX is extremely soft—55% softer than the average for road running shoes, yet the carbon plate and the second layer of EVA foam give the shoes its energetic and propulsive feel. During our lab's stiffness test, the shoes were found to be 132.79% stiffer than average. Sure enough, we felt like the shoes effortlessly pushed us forward on our runs. 

The heel stack of 36.9 mm in the Zoom Fly 5 is 3.7 mm higher than the average of road running shoes. This massive stack height, along with the soft midsole provided us with much-needed cushioning and comfort during long training runs.

The grip on the Zoom Fly 5 is absolutely top-notch. We ran from the treadmill to the tarmac, on wet and dry roads but the Zoom Fly 5 grips onto them like no other. The outsole rubber was measured to be 11.9% softer in the lab, confirming its grippier nature. 

Unfortunately, the upper's breathability hinders the true potential of the shoes. It scored a mere 2/5 in the breathability test, confirming its limitations in the hotter climates.

Pros

  • Planted strides when cornering
  • Protects foot from impact
  • Smooth, seamless ride
  • Upper oozes with comfort
  • Fit is A-OK!
  • Lockdown is awesome
  • Tongue stays in place
  • Clingy even on wet areas
  • Quite the bruiser

Cons

  • Chunky and clunky
  • Slower than other Zoom Flies
  • Stiff ride
Full review of Nike Zoom Fly 5

Best Nike ZoomX running shoes for 5K/10K

What makes it the best?

The ZoomX Streakfly is a non-plated shoe that is extremely lightweight, incredibly fast, and supremely comfortable. For these reasons which we verified on outdoor runs and lab tests, the Nike Streakfly is the best ZoomX running shoe for 5K and 10K distances.

If "lightness" had a photo, it would be the Streakfly. Weighing in at an airy 171g (6.03 oz), it is a stunning 97g (3.42 oz) lighter than the average road running shoe. In shorter races where every ounce (or lack thereof) matters, the Streakfly definitely has the advantage. We're talking about demolishing old PBs.

As it is the renowned ZoomX foam, it is indeed soft, bouncy, and comfortable. It’s super plush and soft—50.6% softer than the average of road running shoes. It also feels extremely bouncy which elevated our speed sessions.

The shoe’s engineered mesh upper is completely ventilated—garnering a brilliant 5/5 on our breathability test. Its fully gusseted tongue and heel area are also amply padded so blisters and hotspots are on the zero count thanks to this magical upper.

Sadly, the fact that it doesn't have a full-length carbon plate nor a rockered geometry limits the shoe to be an all-out racing shoe. Runners should skip these if looking for hyper-propulsive super shoes.

Pros

  • Screams fast and speed-ready
  • Nike’s lightest racing shoe yet
  • Stable and good at cornering
  • Incredible lockdown
  • Splendid track workhorse
  • Roomy toe box
  • Grippy outsole
  • Eye-catching design
  • Not so expensive!

Cons

  • Narrow-footed runners may experience poor lockdown
  • Insanely thin laces
  • Falls short for racing
  • Heavy runners can “bottom out”
Full review of Nike ZoomX Streakfly

Best Nike ZoomX running shoes for marathon

What makes it the best?

Our runs reveal Alphafly 3 exhibits unwavering resilience, top-of-the-line speed, and much-needed comfort for many miles. Among Nike’s ZoomX line, our lab proves it’s the ultimate racer for breaking marathon PRs because it maintains high performance and groundbreaking stability for long hours.

This shoe shines in lengthy distances—giving boundless energy that maintains our pace with less effort. The Air Pods and rigid FlyPlate work together to propel us forward. Our flex test validates it's 144.7% stiffer than average, transforming to insane responsiveness.

The midsole eases the pain of long miles with its seamless blend of energy, comfort, and stability. Its dual-density and stacked ZoomX foam has a plush feel on the 18.1 HA bottom layer—crucial for dampening the impact of endurance runs. Meanwhile, the foam closer to our foot is a firm 29.3 HA—providing much-needed support for tired legs in the final stages of a marathon.

Our legs feel fresh with the shoe’s airy build of 7.1 oz (201g). Even with its mega stack, it’s 6.1% lighter than the average race shoe. Its well-ventilated Atomknit upper keeps us sweat and blister-free even during heated ultras. Our breathability test validates this with the highest rating of 5/5.

This high-quality shoe comes at a hefty price of $285. We recommend checking other options if budget is a priority.

Pros

  • Remarkably lightweight despite its broad size
  • Best-in-class breathability
  • Excels in the marathon distance
  • Repositioned Air Pods offer a better ride than the v2
  • ZoomX foam delivers massive energy return
  • Aids in forward momentum, especially when legs begin to fatigue
  • Better than ever for 5K/10K racing
  • Finally smooth transitions!

Cons

  • Heel strikers might wear down the outsole quickly
  • The arch could still be a challenge for some
  • The sock-like tongue might not suit everyone
Full review of Nike Alphafly 3

Best Nike ZoomX running shoes for all-day wear

What makes it the best?

The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 boasts a humongous amount of midsole foam that provides steadfast comfort. It also has a bouncy midsole and a stable platform making it simply the best for all-day wear among Nike ZoomX running shoes—our runs, walks, and lab tests all corroborated to choose it.

The enormous slab of soft midsole foam feels incredibly comfortable. From our durometer test, we found that it is a whopping 40.3% softer than the average road running shoe. Meanwhile, its 35.2 mm heel stack height is 2 mm more than the average (33.2 mm), explaining the lovely cushion we felt with every step during long runs or even walking around a new city all day.

Aside from the superior midsole, the Invincible 3 also has a wide platform, a snug fit, and a heel clip that brings the shoe some stability. It measured 121.8 mm on the forefoot (9 mm wider than average) and 102.1 mm in the heel (12.2 mm wider).

Although marketed as an easy day shoe, we were still able to pick up the pace when we wanted to. It is 4.9% less flexible than the average road running shoe, which also contributes to a bouncier feel.

However, the Invincible 3 lacks the grip needed to tackle wet terrain. If traction on wet ground is a priority, there are other options with better grip.

Pros

  • Way more stable than previous versions
  • Tall stack of impact-absorbing cushioning
  • Good energy return
  • Comfort for the entire foot
  • Thicker, more durable outsole
  • A solid ride that works for more runners
  • Breathable
  • Great for recovery days and long easy runs

Cons

  • Poor grip on wet roads
  • Heel slippage
  • Heel clip can be irritating when cornering
Full review of Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3

Best sustainable Nike ZoomX running shoes

What makes it the best?

The Nike Pegasus Turbo Next Nature is an extremely reliable and smooth-riding running shoe with a magnificent outsole. Given its pedigree and that it’s made with recycled materials, it is definitely our pick for the best sustainable Nike ZoomX running shoe.

The Next Nature moniker means that the Pegasus Turbo is made from 50% recycled materials from post-manufactured waste. This is definitely the shoe to go with for making an impact on the environment.

However, even if this shoe helps reduce carbon footprint, it doesn't skimp out on performance. The Pegasus Turbo Next Nature, with its 10 mm drop, gave us a smooth ride that felt like we were being propelled forward. 

The outsole of the Pegasus Turbo Next Nature is both grippy and durable. At 2.76% softer than the average road running shoe outsoles, this balance in the softness produces an outsole that gives both adequate traction and durability.

The recycled flyknit upper is padded for comfort and protection. However, it makes the shoe lack ventilation and is not recommended for running under the sweltering sun.

Pros

  • Excellent grip
  • Smooth ride
  • Great lockdown
  • Stable
  • Padded and supportive heel
  • Durable outsole
  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • 50% recycled materials

Cons

  • Lacks responsiveness
  • Stiff and warm upper
  • Laces are just too long
  • Not the fast and nimble shoe that we expected
Full review of Nike Pegasus Turbo

Best Nike ZoomX running shoes for trail

Nike Ultrafly
90
Superb!

What makes it the best?

Among Nike’s ZoomX models we tested in the lab and on our runs, Ultrafly is the best for trail. It’s a performance-driven shoe that offers unmatched speed, grip, cloud-like comfort, and impressive stability for long distances and races. It deviates from the traditional trail shoe with its world-class energy return and bouncy ZoomX foam.

Ultrafly feels ultra-stiff with its full-length carbon plate embedded in the midsole — driving the shoe’s power with every stride. Our bend test shows it's 31.5% stiffer than average. We can tackle easy to moderate trails with finesse as the Vibram outsole features 3.0 mm lugs that ensure traction.

Unlike other trail shoes' brick-feeling we’re accustomed to, Ultrafly offers a plush and bouncy ride. It holds a superior combination of an above-average stack and a soft Pebax foam, ultimately leading to comfort. Our durometer shows one of the softest readings at 9.8 HA — 63.7% plusher than average! The platform makes long miles roll by and protects our legs from impact.

Ultrafly feels exceptionally stable in our runs — driven by the carbon plate’s rigidity and the vast platform that enhances steady strides. Our caliper shows there’s an extra 10.6 mm space in the forefoot and 3.9 mm room in the heel, catering to all foot strikers.

Unfortunately, the Vaporweave upper felt stuffy during our warmer runs. The mesh has a comfort-focused fabric that limits airflow.

Pros

  • Optimized for trail races
  • Accommodates wide feet with ease
  • Full-length, responsive Pebax midsole
  • Equipped with a Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Ideal for long-distance training
  • Offers outstanding comfort
  • Remarkably stable
  • Suitable for 100-mile races

Cons

  • The Vaporweave upper could be more durable and breathable
  • Heavier than expected even for a trail racing shoe
  • The $260 price tag might be steep for some
Full review of Nike Ultrafly

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Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.