DiscontinuedUpdate: Nike Zoom Fly 3
Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
Good to know
Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
WeightMen: 8.7ozWomen: 6.5oz
Heel to toe dropMen: 10mmWomen: 10mm
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
Heel heightMen: 33mmWomen: 33mm
Forefoot heightMen: 23mmWomen: 23mm
WidthMen: Narrow, StandardWomen: Standard, Wide
Release dateJun 2017
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88 / 100 based on 29 expert reviews
Nike Zoom Fly: I am faster when I wear these
We all heard of this shoe right? It has been the talk in the running community over the past year. There have been countless comments, articles, and reviews written about it. Some people love them, some people hate them, and some just don't believe the hype.
This review is unlike any you have read. I am not going into details and in-depth breakdown. This review is the highlights and my experience. I won't bore you with more than that. So, let's jump in.
Need to know
These shoes are different than what you are used to!
There is no other shoe like this. I have never worn one or heard talks of others out there. So when you put these things on for the first time, you will most certainly be a little confused about why people love these.
Push through it! Break them in, run in them and after 20-30 miles you will be pretty excited about them. I personally almost sent them back 3x. I'm glad I didn't.
They are fast and are made to be
Yup! When you wear these, you will just want to run fast. I personally cannot run slow in them, and when I do, they feel very sloppy. From my experience, anything less than 8:00/mile pace is too slow for this shoe.
So, if you are a slow, plodding runner or you're looking for a slow paced workout shoe, this is not it.
They are not daily trainers
Nope! I saw that some people use them this way, but I believe you are better served to use trainers for training and racing shoes for racing. Race in them. You can, however, cycle them in your shoe lineup for some fast pace training sessions.
They are for neutral & efficient runners
Sorry, they're not for everyone. Due to lack of arch support, the narrow width of the shoe and the height of midsole, this shoe is an injury waiting to happen for those of you who overpronate (fall inwards) with running.
Trust me. I work with runners often in my Physical Therapy clinic and have seen the result of improper footwear for an individual.
They need adjustment time
Don't make an immediate decision on these. Wear them around for a bit. Run in them about 20 miles. You have to get used to these and takes longer than other shoes. If no pain and just awkward, be patient. You will not regret it.
They are for roads
One of my issues. Anything other than pavement, you will regret them. I wore these for a half marathon with some gravel trail, and they were terrible.
The traction just is not made for anything but roads. You will feel an immediate loss of traction if on any other surface.
They are tight
I love a very snug shoe, but these are a bit too snug at times. I recommend going up a ½ size with these. I wore these for my last marathon, and by the end, my poor toes were a bloody mess.
They are awesome
I just have developed a love for these things. They are wonderful for half - full marathon distances that are road only.
I will never race in any other shoe for long distance races. They are fast, responsive, cushiony and most importantly get better with miles.
Notable shoe components
Collar - Great cushion
Tongue - As you can see, the tongue is offset (like it a lot), it helps hug the foot and stays in place
Lacing - Solid system that secures the foot
Material - Has wonderful breathability
Zoom Foam - Brings a lot of cushion, but not too much, it keeps comfort for long distance
Stack Height - Hmm very high. Good or bad? I'm not sure
Carbon Plate - The midsole has a carbon plate inside which leads to rigidity and helps with energy return and propelling feeling
The wear - Midsole started showing wear after only 10 miles
Sole - Just not good traction for anything but road, I wish could handle a bit more such as gravel and parts of the road that are not paved well
So these things helped me set PRs in the ½ marathon and marathon. Now, other factors helped me achieve these better times, but I really believe they added to it as well.
With these on, I ran the same marathon for the second consecutive year. I was able to take 20 minutes off my time and the race felt better. I did not have as much leg fatigue and stayed in rhythm a lot better.
Trust me. These shoes help your run. The energy return is awesome, and they bring forth less strain on the legs.
- Superb cushion
- Best energy return
- The answer for long races
- Price is good
- Tight and narrow
- No support
- One dimensional
- Tread is not great for multi-surface
- Midsole wears easily
So there you have it. I hope this helps you as you determine if these are appropriate for you. I do believe that these overall are the best long distance race shoes (haven’t tried the Vaporfly, but the price is absurd) as long as you are appropriate for them.
As with all shoes, these are a tool. Use them appropriately, and you will love them.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Nike Zoom Fly: Flying on the way to a new PB
So, this is THE shoe, the shoe that inspired Kipchoge and Nike in ‘Breaking2’. This is where Nike designed a shoe that was lightweight, durable with excellent energy return in an attempt to not only smash the marathon world record but to try to break the 2-hour barrier which, to this day, still hasn’t been done.
Well, actually, that was a special shoe that we can’t actually buy. The Vaporfly 4% is the closest you can get which features a full-length carbon plate, Zoom X foam, and the Flyknit upper.
For us mere mortals, that don’t want to spend over £200 on a shoe, Nike released the Zoom Fly which benefits from the trickle-down technology. This shoe features a carbon infused nylon plate, Flymesh upper and Lunarlon foam?
Either way you look at it, for what I’ll be doing, this shoe is excellent and more than enough to propel me towards new PB’s across the board. I purchased these from Nike directly during one of their sales, which brought the shoe down to £72.38, which I think is quite reasonable.
Most of the running I’ve done in the trainers so far has been on canal paths, pavements, and road. I’m a massive Nike fanboy. I have 2 pairs of Lunaracer 4, Pegasus 33, 34 and now the Zoom Fly.
I love the fit, the weight, and the breathability. I always venture away from them but end up back where I started.
This is possibly the largest heel stack of any Nike, which means you feel like you’re on platforms to an extent but Nike manage to pull it off whilst HOKA shoes still look silly.
Total heel stack on these shoes is 33mm, and the heel drop is 10mm which you can really feel after each step you feel like you’re racing to take the next step. The sole is not the softest I’ve used but probably the best in terms of energy return.
I recently ran a marathon in a pair of HOKA Clifton 5, but never again. The Zoom Fly’s are my new go-to shoe. The only issue I noticed with the Zoom Fly is that with the high sole the shoe is still quite narrow.
Compared with HOKA trainers, on uneven ground, it’s quite easy to roll an ankle. I did also notice that with the pentagon pattern on the bottom of the shoe it’s quite easy for very small stones to get stuck in it’s not as bad as an ON shoe but a minor annoyance.
Nothing special here. The heel has good comfort and good stiffness. At the base of the heel, there is some padding but as you rise up the heel the padding increases to give you that snug feel.
There is clearly some kind of plate in the heel, low down, to give an extra level of support. The rest of the heel is reinforced with a denser foam which merges with the rest of the fly mesh on the shoe.
I’ve had no issues with heel lift/slip or any rubbing of any kind. The seam on the rear is covered with a ‘Racing’ sticker followed by the Nike tick, which is a nice addition.
The Flymesh upper offers little to no support and is very similar to what you find in the Pegasus range of shoes. However, it is very breathable and whilst I prefer support I suffered no ill effects of there not being any.
There is also a rather large Nike tick on the outside which I’m not a huge fan of – little ticks are still cool.
Tongue & laces
The Zoom Fly features the Nike Flywire laces which uses Flywire fed from the bottom of the Flymesh to offer a dynamic lacing experience. This is quite a common solution used on most of the Nike trainers.
I can’t tell you why it works, but it just does. It’s not mind-blowing, but laces haven’t caused me any issues with this trainer. The tongue is a thin tongue without any elastication or similar.
There is a nice cut out on the tongue to sit well on the foot. The tongue is asymmetric, so this hits the right spot on both shoes. Whilst the tongue is thin, I didn’t notice any pressure on my foot under the knot.
Standard, simple but effective Nike insole is used here. I suffered no blisters or any chafing with this insole. This may also be down to the forgiving Flymesh, but I have had no issues with this shoe whatsoever.
I can’t actually remember, but I’m pretty sure the break-in experience was pleasant too – no tightness of relaxing of materials necessary.
As with other shoes, there are varying friction surfaces on the bottom of the sole. The forefoot in completely covered in a high friction material and there are 5 main points on the heel with the same material.
Overall the grip is OK, I did notice on the colder nights on low friction surfaces that I had to slow down to avoid slipping, but they should come into a world of their own as we approach summer.
Other notable features
I bought the White, Gunsmoke and Atmosphere Grey version of the Zoom Fly. They do look cool. A subtle lime colour brings them together.
However, I chose to use them over winter, and they aren’t white anymore. It’s not a premium shoe with premium materials, but it survives everything I throw at it, and it gives me no issues so, so what?
From a weighted point of the shoe, these are lightweight considering their size. My shoes came in at 278g per shoe for a size 10.5.
I read plenty of reviews that suggested sizing up. I’ve experienced this in the past with Nike on the Lunaracer’s.
I purchased both to make up my mind. I actually found that the shoe was true to size. I have a 10.5 in all Pegasus shoes, and this was the same on sizing.
When I did the Brighton Marathon, I chose to use my HOKA Clifton 5 for a number of reasons. Sadly, I ended up wishing I’d used the Nike’s!
There is a reason why so many people are using them for all distance racing. For the comfort and weight, they are unchallenged (assuming your budget doesn’t stretch to the Vaporfly's). When I complete the Ironman in September this will be the shoe I use!
If you’re looking for a lightweight running shoe with lots of cushioning, huge energy return and capable of smashing both 5k and marathon times, then this is the trainer for you!
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
The Nike Zoom Fly
Okay, we all have heard the hype of these shoes after the Breaking 2 marathon project by Nike. All of a sudden, it seemed like everyone was lacing up with some of these shoes (or the Vapor Fly).
I’m not one to buy ‘racing’ shoes, but I couldn’t resist an amazing deal, so I came home with an honest question: can the different type running shoes make you actually faster? The short answer is YES. I never thought I’d say it, but man, it’s hard not to go fast with these.
Out of the box, these shoes are hot. I love the large sweeping Swoosh across the foot. The materials (for the most part) are lighter, more flexible, and minimal—all wonderful things that make up a great racing shoe.
That being said, I was surprised by how stiff the carbon-infused nylon plate that runs through the length of the shoe makes it all feel. Even as I took my first steps walking around the store, I could feel a different sensation to the movement of the shoe.
After reading other reviews, some warned that if you didn’t run ‘fast enough’ (8-minute miles or faster), then the shoe’s design may become more of a literal pain than anything else.
As I am not quite that fast for most of my runs, I was a bit anxious about this. However, this has not been an issue for my runs—all good!
Overall, I’ve been super impressed with how simple and clean the entire design of the upper is for the Fly Zoom. The tongue is clean and easy to adjust with some neat angles to the shape.
The laces are responsive, especially with the Flywire cables. The Flymesh is super breathable, comfortable, and durable.
My one concern recently was noticing some blistering along the Achilles/heel of both feet following a run, but that was a one-time experience, and I’ll be sure to wear better socks next time. Otherwise, I love the snug fit, the breathability during the longer runs, and the super light feel.
As I mentioned earlier, the midsole’s main attraction is the carbon-infused nylon plate that is inspired by the VaporFly 4% (different price point), which feels like you are being propelled forward.
This is definitely noticeable on the first few runs! I’ll be honest, I’ve been running faster than targeted paces for every single run I’ve been on with these shoes!
While the stiffness may be an issue for some, it has not been an issue for me to this point. I do notice my feet have a bit harder of a workload compared to ‘everyday’ training shoes, but again, that’s part of the ‘racing’ genre.
The Lunarlon cushioning is comfortable, while also allowing for plenty of agility and responsiveness.
The outsole of the Zoom Fly is not the most impressive but certainly gets the job done. The heel drop is 10mm with a pretty high stack height; all lending itself to that feeling of almost being pushed forward with each step.
I have had wonderful traction and control on all of my outdoor runs; no reservations with the outsole or the wear whatsoever.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have been running FAST in these shoes simply by putting them on! I was never really into the hype around the racing shoe genre, but now I understand why people get excited.
These shoes are great for racing, but have also shown durability to serve as a great training shoe for my longer tempo runs as well. In my runs outdoors on a variety of surfaces from rocks and gravel, to grass, to woodchips, and pavement, the shoes have done wonderfully.
I love the light construction and breathable upper, and most importantly, my feet are extremely happy and healthy after running. I would recommend these shoes for anyone that wants to take their runs and paces to the next step, especially on race day.
Do the Nike Zoom Fly deserve the hype? YES.
As one very average runner to perhaps another, I’m now a believer in these shoes. I won’t be wearing them for everyday training, especially on slower days, but consider these the ‘sports car’ you keep in the garage for the really fun days of running. Enjoy the ride!
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
The Zoom Fly, great marketing but clearly overhyped
The race-trainer “designed to meet the demands of your toughest tempo runs, long runs and race day with a responsive construction that turns the pressure of each stride into energy return for the next.”
It has an offset of 10mm (33mm heel, 23mm forefoot) with a weight of 248grams (US Size 9).
The Zoom Fly uses an engineered mesh with a few cut-outs to allow for breathability. It features a thin and soft fabric layer attached to the mesh for a sock-like fit that conforms to the feet of the individual. I found that breathability was not an issue for me.
No rubbing or hot spots were found during the use of the shoe. The upper is certainly not the best (check out the under armour hovr) but performs decently.
The Dynamic Flywire technology is utilized to allow a more custom and snug fit.
This locked down my feet considerably well and provided minimal support, though I could feel the flywire ever so slightly when I wore thin or no socks. Fortunately, the flywire did not dig into my skin.
Ankle Collar/Heel Counter
The ankle collar is padded quite thickly. Frankly, the padding could be cut down to save weight while retaining comfort.
The heel counter is located internally to provided support and heel movement. This worked fairly well for me but adds weight to the shoe.
The tongue is a very thin layer of an asymmetrical shape. I initially thought that the tongue would pose a problem and cause some rubbing due to the fact that it wraps the foot more than a traditional tongue.
I found that none of these problems occurred. The tongue pleasantly surprised me; It provided a more secure fit while being decently protective. However, I started to feel a bit of lacing pressure when I tightened my shoes.
The Zoom Fly uses thin and flat laces that provide a better lockdown than rounded ones. The laces are not stretchy.
This depends on the distance and thickness of socks you wear.
If you run 10km and below/ your feet does not swell as much/wear thin socks, then go true to size. If you are running half to full marathons/ your feet swell quite a lot/wearing thick socks, then go up half a size.
Midsole Technology & Ride Quality
As the Vaporfly 4%, the midsole uses Lunarlon instead of ZoomX.
Lunarlon has been a standard material used in many Nike shoes. Lunarlon does not last for very long. After a 10km run in the Zoom Fly, creases are starting to appear in the midsole.
In the Zoom Fly, Lunarlon just felt lackluster. Perhaps it could be due to the carbon-infused nylon plate that runs the entire length of the shoe.
This brings me to the point of the plate. Yes, the plate allows for a smooth transition from heel- to- toe. However, the stiffness of the plate makes it such that the effects will only be felt when landing on the midfoot or further back.
Landing on the forefoot creates a slappy and unpleasant sensation unless running at very high speeds. Take for example the pebax plate used in the Streak 6. The plate is too very responsive but allows for some flex to create a very snappy ride that feels like it returns energy back with every stride.
In the case of the Zoom Fly, the plate is completely unbendable that unless you are running fast, the plate makes it feel like the shoe is working against the user, which defeats the purpose of the shoe. At faster speeds of below 4:00min/km, the plate then allows a smooth gait cycle when landing on the forefoot.
This brings up another problem: weight. The shoes' weight is in the range of 240+ grams.
For a race shoe, that is just too heavy for me to use, especially in shorter races such as 5-10km. The Zoom fly is marketed to be a versatile shoe for any speeds but feels to me like it fails at all levels. All in all, the ride is smooth and cushioned when certain conditions are met.
The sock liner is thin with no support.
This is pretty much a standard piece with thin layers of foam to provide the initial comfort when wearing the shoe. This provides little to change the feel of the shoe.
Outsole & Durability
The Outsole consists of a carbon rubber patch that covers the entire forefoot and several areas of the heel.
The midfoot region is completely exposed. The outsole patterns provide an outstanding grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
I ran in this shoe on the track and roads after a thunderstorm and hardly slipped. The Carbon rubber patches look durable, roughly 100km in and there’s hardly any wear.
The exposed regions of the outsole, however, are showing signs of minor tearing, especially on the lateral edge of the heel.
I expect the outsole to hold up longer than the lunarlon midsole.
Types of Workouts
The Zoom Fly is best used for faster paced training such as tempo workouts or races up to full marathons.
- Smooth transition when running a certain way
- Decently cushioned
- Grippy on wet and dry conditions
- Lunarlon feels dead
- Nylon plate does not feel snappy
- Forefoot fatigue at slower paces
- Thin tongue
Recommended Runner's Profile for Optimum Usage
- Heel-Midfoot Strikers
- Pose method of running (Pulling instead of pushing)
- Pace of 4:30min/km or faster
Potential Areas for Improvement
- A slight increase in tongue padding
- Slightly thinner materials around the ankle collar
- Rubber covering the entire heel (akin to the forefoot rubber placement)
- A small increase in flexibility of the nylon plate
- A livelier midsole material (since this is the consumer version, ZoomX foam is out of the picture but something like ‘react’ foam should be used)
- A decrease in weight
Zoom Fly vs Saucony Freedom ISO
This depends on your running style. Both are cushioned, with the freedom being bouncier and livelier.
The smoothness of transition from heel to toe really depends on your running style. If you land more towards your forefoot in the zoom fly, it can feel slappy to run in.
The freedom, on the other hand, has a smooth transition no matter how you land in it. The zoom fly’s 10mm drop is easier on the Achilles compared to 4mm of the freedom.
Zoom Fly vs Asics Dynaflyte 2
Both absorb shock quite effectively. The Zoom Fly is geared more towards faster running while the Dynaflyte is more versatile.
Anything slower than a 4:30min/km on the zoom fly and my forefoot starts to fatigue due to the toes trying to flex. The absence of the extremely stiff plate on the Dynaflyte allows for running at easier paces.
Zoom Fly vs New Balance Zante V3
The Zante is firmer yet more versatile. Again, this depends on your needs.
Both provide smooth transitions. Forefoot strikers would not enjoy the zoom fly as much and would be better off with the Zante.
The lightweight race-trainer with decent cushioning and fast transitions (with the right running gait). However, it fails to live up to the hype.
The Zoom fly and the Vaporfly 4% are worlds apart. If the shoe came out on separate dates with the Vaporfly, the shoe may still be worth a shot.
Overall, the Zoom fly is an overly hyped and cleverly marketed shoe that disappoints.
Notable elements of the Nike Zoom Fly
- The High Abrasion rubber and the Foam rubber along with the specifically shaped lugs placed at strategic locations on the outsole give an optimal combination of excellent traction, high resistance to abrasion and enhanced flexibility. These technologies, also being very durable, make sure the shoe keeps on performing very well for much longer durations of time.
- In the midsole, the LunarIon foam and the full-length Carbon Infused Nylon plate maintain an environment of optimal cushioning and efficient responsiveness for the runner. The material is soft and it provides the needed support underfoot.
- The Engineered Mesh with perforations at strategic locations ensures a fully ventilated environment inside the shoe for the runner. It also provides a snug and secure fit with the help of Dynamic Flywire technology.
- The Nike Zoom Fly boasts the feature of Internal Heel Counter for keeping the user’s heel in its proper position while running. This saves the runner from uncomfortable sliding or rubbing of feet against the shoe.
Nike Zoom Fly size and fit
The Nike Zoom Fly is most suitable for neutral runners with feet that are neither too wide nor too narrow since the shoe comes in the standard medium width of D for men and B for women, respectively. The shoe has a standard running length and for most individuals, it fits true to size.
The heel part of the Nike Zoom Fly’s outsole uses a rubber compound that is highly resistant to abrasion. Its goal is to protect the foam midsole from the damaging nature of the roads. It also doles out surface traction, which is an essential aspect of running shoes.
Foam rubber is placed in the forefoot section of the external pad. This material has a spongy construction which allows it to provide an extra spring to each step. It is flexible and traction-ready, as well.
The shoe is further improved by a system of patterns at specific locations on the outsole for optimal performance and a firm grip on dry and wet surfaces.
Lunarlon is the primary technology that’s used in the Nike Zoom Fly. This full-length cushioning system is comprised of a carrier foam that cradles a soft material in its center. The purpose of the former is to provide long-lasting structure and volume to the underfoot experience while the latter is tasked with ensuring a responsive and highly energized performance.
A carbon-infused nylon plate is implanted into the entire length of the foam. This add-on has the purpose of acting as a propelling component that energizes the foot as it lifts off the ground. It bends with the foot then springs back into place during the end of the motion, ensuring a burst of propulsion that benefits the action.
An insole is placed on top of the primary cushioning unit. This extra layer is made to provide additional support to the underside of the foot. It can be removed or replaced with a new one.
A one-piece engineered mesh is used for the upper unit of the Nike Zoom Fly. This technology resembles traditional cloth, and it has the same qualities, as well. It is lightweight and flexible, so it is able to provide a hug that is akin to wearing a sock. Also, it is form-accommodating and breathable, so it allows the foot to stay relaxed and dry during the running session.
An internal heel counter graces the back portion of this running shoe. This feature is meant to hold the foot in place, saving it from quivering at any point of the performance. It also makes sure to prevent the foot from exiting the interior chamber unexpectedly, thereby improving confidence and a well-realized heel-to-toe transition.
A traditional lacing system with semi-flat laces and discreet eyelets permits the wearer to manipulate the level of security for the foot, thereby acquiring a customized in-shoe wrap.
The Dynamic Flywire technology is comprised of cables that poke out of the façade’s midfoot section. These wires connect to the shoelaces, adjusting in tandem with the tightening or loosening of the fit. Their coverage of the midfoot section ensures a snug embrace that is supportive of the delicate arch.
The lightly padded tongue and collar are elements that cushion the instep, the ankles, and the Achilles tendon. Having an upper that offers comfort may enhance the performance, especially when tackling extended runs and contests.