Summary

We spent 7.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  •  Several testers claim that the Zoom Fly 3 has a sizing scheme that follows their expectations.
  • Some consumers feel that the underfoot experience of this Nike running shoe is reactive enough to permit speedier toe-offs.
  • The generous height of the midsole unit allow for extended running sessions, according to most runners.
  • The aesthetics of this neutral running shoe are praised for being highly appreciable and street-ready.
  • A couple of purchasers welcome the traction capacity of the outsole, likening it to a car tire that can handle the wet and dry ground.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several consumers have complained about the too-soft underfoot experience of the Nike Zoom Fly 3, comparing it to a recovery shoe.
  • A handful of testers have observed the outsole rubber wearing off after only a few months of use.
  • The weight e is subjected to criticism for being a bit heavy for a racing shoe.

Bottom line

The Nike Zoom Fly 3 enjoys its fair share of positive reviews from consumers. Its quality is mostly held in high regard, save for the outsole which is apparently quick to wear off. Furthermore, the performance of the midsole has its critics, with some stating that the underfoot experience is a bit too soft for extended runs. But the same part also savors praise from those who like its push-off power. The design is also noticed by admiring eyes.

Fans of road running shoes who are neutral pronators are the target market of the Nike Zoom Fly 3.

Facts

Terrain: Road, Treadmill
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 8.9oz | Women: 8.9oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 8mm | Women: 8mm
Fit: Medium heel, Medium toe box, Medium forefoot
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: All-day wear | Jogging
Material: Rubber sole
Features: Breathable | Comfortable
Strike Pattern: Midfoot strike
Distance: Daily running | Long distance | Marathon
Technology: Nike React
Heel height: Men: 40mm | Women: 40mm
Forefoot height: Men: 32mm | Women: 32mm
Release date: Jul 2019
Brand: Nike
Type: Low drop | Maximalist
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $160
Colorways: Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Purple, Red, White
Special editions: 1 special editions
Size
Small True to size Large
Forefoot fit
Narrow Wide
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Toebox
Tight Roomy
Flexibility
Stiff Flexible
Breathability
Warm Breathable
Cushioning
Firm Plush
Stability 8/10
Durability 7/10
Comfort 8/10
Traction 8/10
See more facts

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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84 / 100 based on 17 expert reviews

  • 67 / 100 | Brandon Law

    Nike Zoom Fly 3: Poor man’s Next%

    The Nike Zoom Fly 3 feels and looks more like a lifestyle sneaker than a performance running shoe. The chunky midsole does not cradle the foot.

    There is also a stark contrast or disconnect between the super light minimal upper and the midsole. It is one of the best looking shoes of the year. 

     

     

    The purple fade from light to dark is very eye-catching. I even caught a few people staring. The narrow heel point looks modern and fast.

    Upper

    The upper is my favourite part of the shoe. It feels light and breathable. The new Vaporweave looks and feels like the same as the Next% upper, but thicker.

    It is a welcome improvement over the OG Zoom Fly and the Flyknit uppers. The heel flares away so as to not cause any heel chafing problems, which occurred with the Flyknit upper.

     

     

    One can even wear the shoe with hidden or no socks without any problems. The Vaporweave upper has a roomy and relaxed fit.

    Outsole

    The outsole rubber placement is an improvement and leads to an extended outsole life span. Most of the wear on the previous versions of the shoe could be seen on the outer heel edge.

    This year’s update has long strips of rubber on both lateral and medial sides of the heel. It is a durable rubber.

     

     

    It may not be as durable as Adidas’ Continental, but it's still one of the more durable outsole rubbers out there.

    Midsole

    The shoe is bottom heavy. It feels like you have two tanks on your feet. It feels even heavier than the Glycerin from Brooks.

    Also, you'll get the sensation that you are running on top of a shoe rather than inside a shoe.

    The react foam is too firm for me compared to the Epic React foam, which feels bouncy and light. Nike probably had to make the midsole firmer to assist the carbon plate and the stack height.

    Still, I wish there was some sink-in feel as I don’t feel comfortable running in these for longer than 10km distances.

    The midsole is VERY narrow, causing the medial side to poke uncomfortably into the feet. Even someone with super narrow feet would feel the discomfort.

    It isn’t painful. But, you'll definitely feel it poking into your foot with every foot strike, even if you are a rearfoot striker. It’s a weird feeling that I have not felt in any other shoe before.

    The heel is also narrow compared to the forefoot, and it may be a problem for heel strikers. I found it slightly unstable in the heel, almost like you’re walking on a pole.

    The shoe is definitely more suited to forefoot strikers.

    You can feel the carbon fibre plate in the forefoot. It creates a feeling like you are walking off a step and your forefoot tips forward.

    It feels like a contradiction because the carbon plate wants to propel you forward and make you faster. However, the clunky midsole foam is slow and cumbersome.

    Conclusion

    Running in the Zoom Fly 3’s feels more like a chore and is not an enjoyable experience. The react midsole feels outdated: heavy and dense, without the bounce.

    I would make the outsole softer and lighter because the propelling of the carbon plate is cancelled out by the weight of the shoe.

    I can see what they were trying to do in replicating the Vaporfly Next% at a cheaper price. But this shoe is a miss for me.

    It is a very expensive shoe compared to other 2019 releases. I would rather choose the Go Run Ride 7 or NB Beacon over this shoe any day of the week.

    I will continue to wear the ZF3 but only for casual use.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 94 / 100 | Nick Alexander

    Nike Zoom Fly 3 - After a 100 miles

    More photos

    The Nike Zoom Fly 3 is a shoe that Nike says inspired by the Vaporfly, giving distance runners race-day comfort and durability. The power of a carbon-fibre plate keeps you in the running mile after mile.

    Will they keep me running mile after mile in the marathon I have planned?

     

     

    This is a shoe I looked forward to running in since I got late into the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit party. I have previously lamented the sole of the original Zoom Fly, the pentagons falling out of mine on several pairs, so the final tick in the (NZF3) box was a new sole, coming from the VaporFly Next%.

    Retailing at €160, it is less than the VaporFly 4% (€250) and VaporFly Next % (€275), but I shall be mainly using it as a race day shoe.

    My initial concern was the colorway. Living in Ireland, my option at the time was restricted to only one colorway (white). This was a concern, how long will it stay white?

    Let us start with the facts:

    8mm drop
    Carbon fiber plate (CFP for future ref)
    VaporWeave upper
    Full length react foam midsole

     

    My first observation of the shoe (as I have previously admitted, I’m a Nike fanboy here), is that it is a gorgeous shoe. The option I had (99% white) is perhaps the cleanest, though how long they would stay that way was anyone’s guess?

    The Zoom Fly 3 made minor changes to the midsole, firstly more react foam with a higher stack height. They changed the outsole from that of the VaporFly 4% to that of the VaporFly Next% and overhauled the upper to new VaporWeave material.

    My hopes on the weatherproofing of this shoe, relying on this new technique. The shoe still features a full-length carbon plate and react foam for a responsive, forward-moving feel.

     

     

    The fit is true to size, though I noticed a bit more room in the toe box. The design/appearance of the shoe is superb yet another futuristic-looking shoe. The breathability of the shoe is good.

    I bought this shoe with Berlin 2019 in mind having run in the Nike ZoomFly Flyknit (NZFF) a lot throughout the summer. I struggled with cornering in the Flyknit initially, and I was delighted to see that this has been corrected with the Fly 3.

    My guess would be the new sole design, which runs the length of the shoe rather than the pentagons of the first two generations of Zoom Fly. There is also extra rubber on the sole, which protects the foam from my experience.

     

     

    Berlin 2019 was wet. It was really, really wet the second half of the race. The shoe gave me zero problems in terms of grip through the 26.2 miles, which is impressive. 

    Towards the end of the race, it became impossible to judge the breathability of the shoe as other runners splashing through puddles meant my feet were soaked through, but it sure tested their durability. 

    The shoe held firm throughout! I loved the responsiveness of the shoe from the first wear and was delighted to record a marathon personal best.

     Lastly, durability is one of the most impressive things about this shoe. This image at the time of writing is 99.94 miles on them.

     

     

    I find the wear of the shoe incredible for the number of miles on them. Since Berlin, I have been able to test the VaporWeave upper more thoroughly too. 

    This is made of plastics (as amazing as it sounds). Specifically, TPU and TPE are used. TPU is used in many running shoe companies premier foams whilst TPE is a material that makes up most yoga mats.

    The upper is weaved in a breathable manner that is really lightweight. Unlike Flyknit, it does not absorb sweat or water.

    Under normal Irish conditions (away from Berlin, Germany), I have encountered zero problems with the upper in the rain, and again, coupled with the superb grip, I am loving this shoe.

    It is a great shoe for tempo runs, and I used the past few weeks in both a 5 and 10k race recording PB's in both.

    Conclusion

    Overall, I feel the Nike Zoom Fly 3 is an improvement on the NZFF, particularly in terms of grip. At 100 miles, it feels like it will last a lot longer (something that was labeled against the Vaporfly 4%). 

    It will do all the training runs if you own the 4% (or Next%) for race day, or if those shoes are out of your price range, it will do the races too.  

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 80 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 5 expert

    Great-fitting upper. Enjoyed the way the shoe fit and went through the stride.

  • 94 / 100 | kofuzi | Level 4 expert

    I think that this is the best Zoom Fly that Nike has made to date.

Become an expert

  • The Nike Zoom Fly 3 is advertised as a racing shoe which means that it is for those who like to participate in contests or extended running sessions. The midsole unit is updated from the Zoom Fly 2 as it is now made of React, one of the brand’s premier cushioning technologies. The stack height is also thicker than almost all Nike performance shoes, boasting a touted 40-millimeter heel height. A carbon plate is embedded in the React to help with steadiness and push-off power.
  • On the upper of this product is a material called Vaporweave. This feature is made of a transparent mesh exterior and an inner sheet that is stretchy and seamless. Arch bands on the left and right sides replace the Flywire cables. The heel collar has a leaf shape to responsibly maintain steadiness without causing pressure on the Achilles tendon.

When it comes to size, Nike has used the standard measurements to accommodate the expectations of consumers. Half and full sizes are available from the get-go, so people can make adjustments if they feel that they need to do so. It is recommended to personally test the shoe or check online reactions from testers to achieve an in-shoe feel that is agreeable.

When it comes to width, the available options are D - Medium and B - Medium for men and women, respectively. It is worth noting that the lasting board of this product is optimized for racing which means that it has an arrowhead-like shape to emphasize speed and forward momentum. Arrowheads have tout tips, so the forefoot may be a bit snug near the forefoot.

The outsole unit of the Nike Zoom Fly 3 is made of rubber. This material covers the majority of the forefoot section and the contact points of the heel part. It has a waffle design to heighten the traction capacity of the shoe, especially since the bumps or nodes that make up this waffle are naturally grippy.

The waffle design of the rubber exterior also has shallow flex grooves to help the foot with its capacity to bend as it goes through the gait cycle. The toe-off phase of the step is the part that benefits the most from such inclusion because it is where the foot flexes the most.

Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of the Nike React foam. This full-length cushioning unit is designed to be lightweight, flexible and capable of lasting longer. The brand especially touts its role as an all-around cushioning unit that responsibly handles impact shock during the landing process and gives back energy during the toe-off. The React foam started in the realm of basketball but is now slowly taking over running shoes, with rosters like the Nike Epic React Flyknit taking the lead as examples of its full utilization.

A carbon fiber plate is placed inside the React foam. This layer is flexible enough to blend with the motion of the foot, yet it is also able to spring back into its original shape when there is no force bending it. The push-off part of the step is the act that benefits from this feature because it bends the plate during the preparation phase then allows it to whip itself into its relaxed state when the foot lifts off.

The upper unit of the Zoom Fly 3 is made of Vaporweave. This material is an innovation from Nike. It is comprised of a see-through exterior that has a close-weave construction to maintain its durability, as well as a seamless inner layer that serves as the thing that wraps the foot. It is breathable, form-accommodating and relatively lightweight.

Arch bands are placed on the sides of the shoe. These stretchy panels replace the Flywire cables that have graced many older Nike shoes. The purpose of these accoutrements is to help the lacing system in providing a snug and secure fit by having their tips as the lace-holes that cause the rest of the upper unit to adapt to the adjustment of the fit.

A one-piece opening is used for this shoe. Such a design makes sure to evoke the feeling of being wrapped by a sock instead of a collar and a separate tongue unit. The stretchy material used for the cleatie also accommodates the shape and movement ability of the foot.

The tapered heel construction holds the heel without irritating it or causing hot spots to develop. This leaf-like shape also aims to relieve any pressure on the ankles, especially when running for extended periods. Heel security is, after all, important during every run.

Comparison