Our verdict


The fifth version of the Nike Zoom Fly series shifts its focus from fast to far. It's stable and it can now handle easier runs far better than before. Although it's a miss on weight, the grip and protection are supreme in the Zoom Fly 5 from Nike.


  • 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


  • Chunky and clunky
  • Slower than other Zoom Flies
  • Stiff ride

Who should buy the Nike Zoom Fly 5

According to one video reviewer, as long as you're running with "no real concerns about the pace," the Nike Zoom Fly 5 is a great pick. This said, it's best use is for steady efforts, and medium to long-distance runs. This is all thanks to its smooth and rockered ride. 


Who should NOT buy it

The Zoom Fly 5 also has its downsides, and one thing that sticks out is its "bleeding heavy" weight as an expert would describe it. On top of this, it's not the tempo trainer Nike says it is. This said, you're better off with its older sibling, the Nike Zoom Fly 3.

If you want comfort and speed combined, the Nike Vaporfly 4% or the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2 might suit you better than the Zoom Fly 5.

Nike Zoom Fly 5 vs. 4

  • It has a more flared-out heel and forefoot for better stability. 
  • It integrates a ZoomX foam for, in the words of one runner, a "mellower ride." 
  • It's gone from clunkier to clunkiest! The Nike Zoom Fly 4 was 249 grams/8.8 ounces in US men's 9, which was already too much for some runners, while the Zoom Fly 5 now weighs in at 286g/10 ounces.


The upper kills it when it comes to comfort

"Step-in feel is excellent" is how one expert describes the shoe's upper. This is because it's well-padded. Even its tongue is padded, which prevents lace pressure.nike-zoom-fly-5-tongue-thickness.JPG

Fact check

At 7.9 mm, the Nike Fly 5 has a noticeably thick tongue. For reference, the average of shoes that we tested is 5.6 mm.


Breathability can be improved

To our surprise, none of the reviewers have complained about the shoe’s lack of ventilation. In our breathability test, it scored only 2 out of 5 (5 is the most breathable). It is clearly not the airiest shoe. 

Nike Zoom Fly 5 (left): some smoke is coming out from the shoe; Adidas Runfalcon (right): its toe box is not breathable at all. 

To carry out this test, we use a smoke-pumping machine and cover up the shoe mouth entirely. This way, the smoke is only able to escape through the upper of the shoe.

As a further check on breathability, we also test how transparent the upper material is. As you can see in the video above, the Nike Fly 5's upper material lets light through, confirming that the shoe, while not the best, has some degree of breathability.


A close-up photo of the mesh on the Nike Zoom Fly 5


A close-up photo of a more breathable shoe, the Adidas Adizero Adios 7

Solid as a rock

"The brick is back" is a statement from one running shoe reviewer. Many were excited to finally have a ZoomX foam in a Zoom Fly after years of it having a Nike React foam. However, they have been left disappointed because the ZoomX doesn't run full length. 


How does this translate on the run? It doesn't feel soft, and spongy, making it a firm ride. 


Disclaimer: We take an average of 4 measurements and exclude any outliers. This image shows just one of our measurements.

Fact check

In our lab, we tested the midsole with the help of a durometer. At 11.0, the foam is extremely soft (79% softer than average).

Despite its softness, the feel underfoot is firm. Most likely, this happens for three reasons: firstly, as you can see in the picture below, in the forefoot the plate gets much closer to the outsole, changing the feel in this area; secondly, the recycled ZoomX foam used in this shoe is firmer than the regular ZoomX; lastly, there's also a thinner layer of EVA foam (SR-02 type) just above the outsole, which is much firmer than the ZoomX. 


Fact check

What's more, when the shoe is in cold temperatures, the foam gets 31.8% firmer. This is quite common in running shoes, but the average percentage of change is usually a bit lower, around 26.9%.


A stiff Nike shoe

Most plated running shoes are stiff, and the Zoom Fly 5 is no exception. It's 70% stiffer than the average of shoes that we tested.

Even when we tested the shoe in our hands, we could feel how stiff it was. On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the most rigid, we rated it as 5 for the longitudinal flexibility, and 4 for the torsional flexibility. 

The good news is that in cold temperatures it doesn't get much stiffer, only by 5.1%. On average, running shoes get 44% less flexible.

Time to change its category

Almost all experts agree that the fifth iteration of the Nike ZF line is no longer a tempo running shoe. With its maxed-out cushion, it feels "heavy and cruisy," reports one long-time runner. Another adds that when it comes to energy, the shoe is "not giving anything back either." 

Even the rockered geometry doesn't do much to make the shoe more propulsive.

And because of all this, a Nike fan says that he's "not looking forward for a tempo run" in it, which he adds is "a bit of shame" for the Zoom Fly collection. 

Nike Zoom Fly 5 (top) vs. New Balance Fuelcell SuperComp Trainer (bottom)

So where does it fit better? As runners recommend, it's better off as a daily trainer for long distances. 


The Nike Zoom Fly 5 gives you stability

On the bright side, the shoe's firmness delivers a well-supported underfoot experience. 

On top of this, the shoe's heel and forefoot are also more flared-out than before, inspiring a confident ride even when cornering.

Among the features that provide stability, there's also the width of the platform. Usually, the wider, the more stable.

With the help of a caliper, we measured the sole at the forefoot and found that it is 111.5 mm wide, very close to the average of 112.5 mm. It's also wider and more flared out than the previous version, which was 106.7 mm.


At the heel, the shoe is 3.5% narrower than the average, yet it can still be considered mid-range.


Given that the sole is not very wide in the Zoom Fly 5, we can assume that the stability is provided mainly by its firmness and stiffness.

Cushion that eats up impact

This is also the reason why road runners prefer the Zoom Fly 5 for "relaxed, easy plodding," as one of them would say. According to another one of these commenters, the shoe is among "the best vibration-dampening trainers on the market at present."

According to another one of these commenters, the shoe is among "the best vibration-dampening trainers on the market at present."


Disclaimer: Our stack measurements are taken with the insole included.

The Zoom Fly 5 is a high-stacked shoe. We measured the height at the forefoot and found that it is 29.4 mm, 4.9 mm higher than average (24.5 mm).


The heel height measures 36.9 mm, while the average is 33.2 mm.


The shoe's insole has a thickness of 3 mm. It is actually thinner than most shoes we tested (4.5 mm on average).

The weight is discouraging

As you've already read, the Zoom Fly 5's weight is a downer—quite literally. And because of this, the shoe didn't get the nicest comments from testers: 

  • "The biggest Achilles heel of this shoe is its weight" 
  • "You don't need all that weight" 
  • "very heavy for a fast shoe."

The rubber-covered outsole plus the very padded upper are "not really shaving weight," expresses one critic. Some even advise runners to opt for the Saucony Speed 3 if they want a speedster that's fast and definitely lighter. 


Won't let your foot slip

"There is something about no-gimmicks conventional uppers that are brilliant in their simplicity." This statement comes from a veteran runner who also finds the Nike Zoom Fly 5's upper conventional. "A real workhorse type of upper" is a comment from another runner who also lauds the shoe's form-fitting wrap. According to him, the shoe gives a solid foothold once you lace things up.

The heel counter plays an important role in this part. We tested its stiffness, and it scored 3 out of 5 (5 being the stiffest). Stiffer heel counters are typically associated with a better foothold and a lower risk of heel slippage.

Fits medium-to-narrow feet only

We measured the shoe at the widest part and the result was 95 mm, which is just a little bit narrower than the average (97.7 mm).

What's more, the toebox narrows towards the toes a bit more than other running shoes' toe boxes we measured. Overall, this is in line with Nike tends to have narrower toe boxes in general.


Outsole: Grippy and solid

The outsole's rubber coverage is generous, which makes it grippy on wet, dry, and gravelly surfaces. What's more, it's insanely durable. After 100km of wear testing, a shoe reviewer says that the Zoom Fly 5 from Nike shows "near-zero outsole wear." 


Fact check

Using a durometer to check the softness of the outsole, we found that the rubber is 12.5% softer than the average.

Softer outsoles tend to wear out quicker than hard ones. Yet, it doesn't seem the case with the Zoom Fly 5.


The thickness of the outsole is another parameter that can tell whether it's durable or not. Being 3.6 mm, this outsole can be considered mid-range.