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: normalWomen: normal
Release dateJun 2017
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87 / 100 based on 21 expert reviews
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.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
The cost friendly cousin to the Vaporfly
The Vaporfly 4% that is still not very affordable.
Being based on such a hyped up shoe, I expect the Zoom Fly to be better but by no means is it a bad shoe. From what I have experienced from running in this shoe, the shoe is not meant for everybody.
What I Like
The upper on the Zoom Fly is the same engineered mesh used on many of the other Nike running shoes. The material used is quite durable from past experience and yet does not compromise on weight, comfort, and breathability.
One other thing I enjoy about the upper is that it allows my foot to move naturally due to the lack of overlays.
Also, the holes in the upper make the shoe extremely breathable which is something that I feel many runners would appreciate especially those who run in hot and humid conditions. It helped my feet to feel fresh as I was running.
Overall Comfort & Fit
The Zoom Fly is a very comfortable shoe which is expected from Nike. The insole and upper does not rub against the skin which helps to reduce the occurrence of hotspots and abrasion.
The only time I had a hotspot was during the break-in period but after that, I have not experienced such an issue.
To help the shoe have a more secure fit, flywire is added. This helps to give it a good lockdown and help to stop my foot from moving too much inside the shoe.
I feel that the ride on the shoe has garnered mixed responses from runners. Some runners think that the ride feels amazing while others feel that the shoe is sloppy at slower paces.
From what I have experienced, I feel that the ride of the shoe is very similar to that of the Clifton. The heel to toe transition feels the same due to how similar the two shoes are shaped. Running in the shoe, I feel that the shoe just wants me to run fast.
During my time running in the shoe, I feel that the shoe just wants me to be on my toes as my feet constantly rolls forward. Also, the excessively thick lunaron midsole provides a very cushioned yet responsive ride.
Having ran in the Nike Lunartempo which is a shoe that also has a lunaron midsole, I feel that the ride is more forgiving on the Zoom fly and yet the Zoom Fly is still stiffer with the inclusion of a carbon fiber plate. The result of this is a shoe that feels very very quick.
As a runner, I put functionality over looks but I have to commend Nike for making a Hokaish looking shoe look good. One thing Nike has really excelled in is making very good looking products and the Zoom Fly is no exception.
Compared to shoes that have a similar look such as the Clifton, the Zoom Fly looks stunning. The many colorways the shoe comes in gives runners gives runners a choice.
Also, the amount of detail on the shoe is one of the other things I like about the shoe. From the prints on the tongue to the area where I can write the time of the race I used the shoe in at the heel section, the attention to detail on this shoe impresses me.
Strategic placement of vulcanized rubber added with the excellent material used on the shoe ensures that the shoe has a long lifespan.
The exposed areas of the sole did experience some wear. Due to the shape of the shoe, runners will be on the forefoot for the majority of the time they are running in the shoe, this is where most of the wear in the rubber is located.
After running on wet and dry surfaces in this shoe, I am happy to say that this shoe performs very well on them.
There hasn’t been an instance where I had to worry about running on a wet surface in this shoe.
What I do not Like
Although this shoe is a consumer-oriented version of the very pricey Vaporfly, it is still pushing the upper limit of what an average consumer would be willing to fork out for a racer.
For a runner who wishes to get this shoe, it is very good to note that there are many other shoes that are excellent racers and are much cheaper than the Zoom Fly. I feel that for all the hype this shoe has caused and the price tag, this shoe is still not very consumer friendly.
I am well aware of the fact that there are features in the shoe such as the carbon fiber plate embedded in the midsole material but I still feel that this shoe is not deserving of the $150 price tag it comes with.
Being marketed as a racer, I expected the shoe to be much lighter.
Coming in at 248g, it is much heavier than what I expect a racer to weigh. Other racers from Nike such as the Streak 6 comes in at 181g and I feel it performs as well as the Zoom Fly.
The laces on the zoom fly are very annoying. They always come undone if I do not double knot them and they are very hard to undo.
Debris getting stuck in the outsole
Being someone who does a lot of their training on grass and synthetic turf, I constantly find debris being trapped in the outsole material. It isn’t a big problem but it is one of my many pet peeves.
For people who are finding a shoe that can do everything, the Zoom Fly is not the shoe for you. With its unique geometry and thick midsole, this shoe is not able to do much else besides walking and running.
Doing any kind of sport besides running is quite sketchy in this shoe as the high stack height puts the user at risk of falling or twisting an ankle making this shoe very unversatile.
How does it Perform
Honestly, the hype surrounding the shoe does not live up to the way it performs but still, this shoe is a good shoe. Taking a new approach to the way they make their racers, the Zoom Fly is a decent racer that can be better.
After using it for long runs and workouts, one thing I noticed is how much the shoe wants me to run fast. The carbon fiber plate in the midsole added with the responsive lunaron midsole material makes the shoe very fast. Running in it during faster workouts, I can really feel how the shoe wants me to fall forward.
One issue that the shoe has is that it feels a little sloppy at slower paces which is kind of a bummer as the Zoom Fly is seriously amazing at a quicker pace.
Compared to other racers such as the Nike Streak 6 and Hoka One One Tracer, the addition of the extra midsole material along with the carbon fiber plate makes this shoe one of the most efficient racers I have run in.
Another benefit the extra cushioning brings is that I feel little to no feet fatigue when running in the shoe.
The Zoom Fly is a good attempt by Nike to bring a shoe meant for good runners to consumers. However, it is important to note that this shoe is not meant for everyone.
The hype surrounding the shoe is simply too much for the Zoom Fly to live up to so one should not feel short-changed when the shoe does not live up to their expectations; perhaps only the Vaporfly will be able to live up to the hype.
By no means it is a bad shoe but due to its steep pricing and lack of versatility, the Zoom Fly has failed to live up to its hype.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
Does the Zoom Fly by Nike really fly?
I was looking for a shoe to replace my Nike Zoom Elite 8 for my faster workouts. A friend sent me a link with these shoes on sale, so this is how they ended up in my rotation.
I was looking forward to trying them at some fast paces and took them on a 5x1k interval workout. From there, they accompany me for those interval runs and fast tempo runs, and here are my thoughts.
Right off the bat, I can say that the feel of the ride is something new to me. I have run in rigid running flats for short 5k races, but none of them felt quite like this pair.
The combination of Lunarlon cushioning system together with the tough plate embedded within gives a unique feel, which I will discuss further.
The upper is made of a two-layer engineered mesh. The internal one is made of a denser thin, soft sock-like material, while the external is made of a more ventilated and a bit rougher material.
Along both, lateral and medial sides run five pairs of “flywire” cables that compensate for the give of the thin mesh to get a solid foot lock-down. Around the lace-holes, there seems to be a welded material to get a solid lacing and ensure the durability of the upper.
Two seams can be found on the upper. One connecting the upper to the tongue at the toe box part, and one along the heel, which is mostly covered by a welded 8:88:88 sticker (where you are supposed to write down your race PR)
A sandwich midsole consists of a tough plate, made from a combination of nylon and carbon fiber in between two layers of the Lunarlon. Nothing minimalistic about this midsole, not the engineering nor the stack height.
The outsole is made of about 50% blown rubber around the heel area and under the toe box area, and another 50% of Lunarlon under the midfoot area. The rubber is great for traction and durability over areas that tend to get a lot of ground contact.
Not covering the whole outsole with rubber helps keep weight down especially when the Lunarlon has shown in the past that it has no problem handling a lot of beating even when used bare on road (like the LunarEpic that has no durability issues at all while having no rubber outsole).
The Feel & The Ride
The shoe is very well ventilated, and the “flywire” together with the mesh makes a great team on keeping a secure hold and not chocking the foot.
The foot roll along the gait cycle is unique not only because of how rigid the embedded plate is, but I think mainly because of it’s the spoon-like shape.
The plate is placed diagonally, from the upper part of the midsole in the rear foot to the lower portion of the midsole in the forefoot.
This gives the feeling that the second you land on your mid\forefoot, it forces you to roll forward, acting as a catapult and not allowing your heel to contact the ground.
The outstanding thing is that all this happens in the shoe effortlessly, making running slow in these a hard task.
Things to take in mind
Zero ground feel happens because of the carbon infused nylon plate. This might not be good nor bad, just something you should know.
I tried heel striking in the Zoom Fly, and I have to say it made the ride not as smooth and flowing. As a heel striker, I would take that in mind and take them for a short run if possible before buying.
Because it takes over the handling foot stiffness, small intrinsic foot muscles no longer have to work which will probably a cause to weaken performance.
This is why I will not substitute all my softer and more flexible running shoes to plate embedded shoes.
I recommend these shoes to anyone looking to upgrade their speed work game. Also, I would definitely wouldn’t use these as my main volume running shoes, but have the best time running fast in them.
This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.
The Nike Zoom Fly
When I first go out with Zoom Fly, it’s slightly disconcerting how much it throws you forward. But I found that after a couple of runs, I either got used to the feeling or the shoe settled down.
After a couple of runs, it no longer felt like I was off-balance, but the transition was still quick and smooth. You can feel the benefit of runs of any length and on any hard terrain.
It has a full-length carbon-infused nylon plate within the midsole which helps with that energy return enclosed in the Lunarlon cushioning that absorbs shock, provides stability, and keeps the shoe responsive without sacrificing comfort.
Currently, TPU type foam is leading the edge, where Adidas has Boost Foam and Saucony has Everun foam. But those TPU foams are a tad heavier than what Nike was looking for, so they stuck with their Lunarlon foam on this shoe.
Lunarlon is 30% lighter than standard Phylon foam and the thick stack heights of this Lunarlon foam do an impressive job of reducing impact forces.
Nike has a great abrasion resistant outsole. The large Lunarlon foam block for the majority of the insole, and then a full-length carbon-infused nylon plate to keep the shape of the sole and to “deliver a propulsive sensation”.
Finishing the sole is the simple and sweet outsole design. Nike filled out the forefoot with a continuous patch of rippling pentagons that presumably came out of lots of modeling and design work since it shares the same design as the Zoom VaporFly Elites.
This gives a little more traction and life to the shoe which is more of an important feature if you plan on using these shoes for more than just race day.
The midfoot of the shoe is all foam, and the foam extends a bit in the heel. It’s not just plain foam though, Nike continued the pentagons throughout the outsole for improved flexibility and traction.
Overall, the sole feels amazing on the road or treadmill and has enough durability to be considered as a light-duty daily trainer.
Partnered with the great sole on the Zoom Fly shoes is a great upper. As mentioned earlier, Nike made the upper nearly seamless which reduces the chances of causing chafing on a runner’s feet.
This is incredibly important when making shoes for marathons. The Flymesh material is very breathable and features extra ventilation holes near the toebox.
Through the sides of the Flymesh are Nike’s Flywire cables that provide a very snug fit, these Flywire cables loop directly into the laces that sit on top of a very minimal eyelet system. This reduces pressure points on the top of your foot right beneath all the laces is tongue with a novel design.
Nike kept the thin tongue as seen on other models, but did something new at the top. They put a “v” notch near the inside edge of the tongue to let the tongue better wrap around your ankle’s front tendons. A pretty brilliant design choice that I’m surprised took this long for Nike to include in shoes.
By using the stiff plate, Nike not only stabilizes all that light foam and superb light upper a key part of the strategy for Nike's Breaking 2 project.
Dynamic, generally well mannered, light, and protective look like a race shoe by those race goals are in my view sub 1:37 for a half marathon, has some strength and drive or as a faster days trainer for most all runners.
It does not seem to be as effective as a slower paces trainer for heel strikers such as me, due to the pointed heel geometry and some difficulty rolling off the heel and also not as of yet for me at my sub-marathon race paces rolling up and way off the front.
Updates to 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 High Abrasion rubber placed in the heel region provides the flexibility needed for shifting between various running positions. Being durable in nature, it potentially prolongs the lifespan of the shoe.
The Foam rubber is a very lightweight material added for a good balance of excellent traction and a high energy return. The rubber is also durable.
The shoe is further improved by a system of patterns at specific locations on the outsole for optimal performance and stronger grip on wet and tricky surfaces.
The Nike Zoom Fly utilizes the LunarIon cushioning layer. The material is soft, durable and highly responsive. While it maintains a well-cushioned environment inside the shoe, it motivates the runner to keep on running by providing a fairly good energy return, especially during the propulsion phase.
The shoe houses the full-length Carbon Infused Nylon Plate, which further enhances the responsiveness of the Nike Zoom Fly. The technology helps the runner in the propulsion phase and also ensures a smooth heel to toe transition while running.
The shoe uses the Engineered Mesh on its upper for maximum breathability and a softer feel against the skin. The mesh has specific zones for inflow and outflow of air positioned at strategic locations on the shoe for maximum efficiency and support. The material ensures instant drying and cooling of the runner’s feet while running, thereby keeping the experience healthy and full of fun.
The Dynamic Flywire technology maintains the snug fit of the shoe for the user and also offers lightweight support during longer runs.
The Nike Zoom Fly uses the Internal Heel Counter for locking down the heel in place while out on the roads, thereby preventing any wobbling of the foot inside the shoe.