- 90/100 by Running Shoes Guru
- 79/100 by WearTesters
- 80/100 by Shape
- 83/100 by On The Go Fitness Pro
- 84/100 by Healthy Life Remedies
- 84/100 by RUN Magazine
- 89/100 by The Run4It Journal
- 90/100 by Pacing with P
- 90/100 by JustRunLah!
- 85/100 by Runner's Tribe
- 91/100 by Buro 24/7
- 95/100 by THESOLELINE
- 90/100 by Running Northwest
- 86/100 by Sundried
- 87/100 by Road Runner Sports
- 90/100 by Runner's World
- 80/100 by The Straits Times
- 90/100 by Canadian Running Magazine
- 84/100 by Coach
- 85/100 by Road Trail Run
- 88/100 by Believe in the Run
- 76/100 by Head Jordan
The Zoom Fly Flyknit offers much of the technology of the Vapor Fly 4% without the hefty £250 price tag. It's sock-like upper provides an extremely comfortable fit, and the shoe encourages a fast, fluid pace.
The Zoom Fly Flyknit has cemented itself as my first choice for fast training and racing.
- Very responsive
- Provides cushioning and speed
- Incredibly comfortable sock-like upper
- Not as light as many racing shoes
- Question over durability of sole
Before beginning this review, I feel that I should confess that I’ve never run in a Nike shoe.
It’s not that I’ve had anything against Nike; I’ve read the hype, seen the die-hard Nike addicts swear allegiance to their manufacturer-of-choice and the despair of those trying desperately to secure a pair of Vaporfly 4% shoes each time Nike release another batch.
I’ve generally found however that a combination of New Balance and Brooks suit me well for road running, with Inov8 delivering everything I need off-road. Despite this, I really felt that I should try a pair of Nike running shoes, and then I saw the release of the Zoom Fly Flyknit.
This is the second version of Nike’s Zoom Fly – a kind of "affordable" version of the Vaporfly 4% which now incorporates the same full-length carbon-fiber plate that was instrumental in the 2017 sub-2 hour marathon attempt. I figured that it was time to give them a go.
I have to hand it to Nike the Zoom Fly FK looks like a fantastically fast shoe. One you also know you could happily combine with a pair of jeans or casual shorts should you wish.
Taking it out of the box, I couldn’t help admiring the streamlined look of the shoe right down to the way that the midsole is formed to a point at the back of the shoe. The upper looks and feels great, and even the "Nike Racing" branded insole and aglets are designed to inspire a "let’s go out and do this feeling."
Nike offers the Zoom Fly FK in a range colorways including an aptly named "Bright Crimson" which appears more like an orange, and a "Blue Orbit."
Each of which will help you make a visual statement that will see you stand out from the pack unless you happen to be at the front end of one of the marathon majors when most of the elite field are often sporting bright orange Vapor Fly shoes!
I chose the rather understated Black/White/Gunsmoke colorway and was immediately impressed with the shoe. In reality, I’m sure that it’ll come as no surprise that Nike has once again designed a great looking shoe.
Weight & drop
The Zoom Fly Flyknit is listed as 238g (8.7oz). This certainly isn’t as light as the premium end Vaporfly 4% which comes in at 184g, or similar racing shoes such as 1400v6 Racing Shoe at 204g.
The key, however, is that I don’t feel that this is a shoe that stays in its box until race day, but rather one that can be used for more regular tempo and fast training sessions. And so, it compares favorably to other light training shoes such as the Fresh Foam Zante v4 at 244g.
As expected, my UK 13.5 (US14) shoe weighed in heavier than the standard shoe, at 335g. I don’t have a picture of the shoe sitting on a pair of scales, so you’ll need to use your imagination.
In the case of the Zoom Fly Flyknit, in consideration of the weight of the shoe, one must take into account the overall way in which the shoe works. This will be considered further below.
But how the carbon fiber plate works to help propel you forward certainly outweighs the effect of a few extra grams of weight. The heel stack is 33mm with a forefoot height of 23mm, providing a heel to toe drop on this shoe of 10mm.
The Zoom Fly Flyknit fits true-to-size. In my case, that’s a UK 13 (US 14) which is the same size I’d wear in Brooks, Inov-8, and ASICS.
For reference, I’d tend towards a ½ UK size larger in New Balance shoes, as well as Hoka and Salomon. US readers, please note that despite the variation in sizing across manufacturers, I almost always require a US 14 / EU 49. It’s quite possible that the differences in sizes, therefore, are due to conversions from US to UK sizing.
Aside from the sizing, the Zoom Fly Flyknit fits uniquely, certainly with respect to any running shoes I’ve worn before. When I initially picked up the shoe, the Flyknit upper felt very thin and light, and I anticipated that the shoe would feel loose, and expected that I’d have to tie it tight.
Putting the shoe on, I found that tongue is formed from an elasticated mesh which serves to hold the upper snug around the foot, whilst an elasticated section at the top of the heel cup provides a similar role around the ankle.
Many manufacturers claim a "bootie-like construction," but this shoe is almost sock-like in its fit and the way it wraps around the foot seamlessly. I’d be inclined to think that the shoe could be worn without laces such is the manner in which the tongue works to hold the foot.
Indeed, the way the lace loops are formed from the Flyknit upper means that it is difficult to pull the laces through to tighten. As such, I didn’t worry about tying the laces too tight, and instead allowed the tongue and the mesh upper work together to hold the foot.
In summary, I’d agree with Nike’s claim that the "Flyknit upper delivers ultra-lightweight support that fits like a glove."
The Flyknit upper is essentially a single piece of knitted engineered mesh, in which the density of knit and elasticity of the mesh varies in different parts of the upper to provide breathability, flexibility and hold just where you need it.
More than any other running shoe I’ve worn, putting on the Zoom Fly Flyknit feels more like pulling on a sock that stepping into a shoe.
Nike themselves explain that "fusible yarns create zones of structure and support without adding weight." There’s certainly no overlays other than the Nike swoosh, and there are no seams within the upper: as described above, the tongue is seamlessly knitted into the rest of the shoe.
At front of the shoe, there’s no toe bumper to speak of except where the outsole rolls over the front of the upper. There is no rigid heel counter, though a felt-like liner is glued inside the Flyknit, which also incorporates a small section of padding where the cup wraps around the Achilles.
A pull tab at the back helps to pull the shoe on around the heel, and as mentioned above, the top of the heel cup is formed from an elasticated piece of Flyknit which extends from the tongue and provides a comfortable, snug fit to the ankle
The result is an extremely comfortable breathable sock-like upper which holds the foot naturally and which inside which I’d be more than happy to run without socks.
The midsole of the Zoom Fly Flyknit comprises of the same full-length carbon-fiber plate as the Vaporfly, sandwiched between Nike’s React foam. This React foam replaces the lighter, and somewhat more responsive, Zoom X foam used in the Vaporfly.
Other than that, the depth of midsole and drop are very similar across the two models of shoe.
Nike explains that their React foam was developed to provide the desired absorption and cushioning at the same time delivering energy return 13% greater than its forerunner Lunarlon foam which was incorporated into the original Zoom Fly shoe (with a plastic plate).
Without extensive testing facilities at my disposal, I can’t really confirm these claims except with the running equivalent of a car buyer "kicking the tyres" pressing in the midsole of the shoe it certainly feels firm, yet cushioned.
There’s no doubt that the foam very quickly and forcefully returns to its original shape once released.
The carbon-fiber plate means that the shoe doesn’t have the same flexibility as other shoes; there’s no point trying to bend the front of the shoe as the plate just won’t let you.
Amongst other things, the carbon-fiber plate prevents the toes from bending to begin the spring off and instead encourages the foot to rock forward. The effect of this is discussed within the "performance" section below.
The outsole of the Zoom Fly Flyknit has been tried-and-tested in the original Zoom Fly and the various iterations of the Vapor Fly shoe.
The heel section incorporates five sections of high-abrasion rubber to protect the React foam, while the entire forefoot section of the outsole is made of foam rubber. While this will similarly protect the midsole, it also provides greater traction and adds a little more cushioning and spring to forefoot landings and take-off.
To date, I’ve run approximately 100 miles in these shoes, and there is very little wear to the shoe. I do have a tendency to brush the outside of my heel as I land, and on the photo, you will see a little wearing to the React foam where this occurs.
For me, this tends to occur in any shoe with an exposed foam sole, and I usually remedy this with the application of a little Shoe Goo. In any case, this is unlikely to affect the durability of the shoes.
What is difficult to determine is the durability of the carbon-fiber plate. I certainly haven’t experienced any degradation in its performance to date, though there is anecdotal evidence of the plate in the Zoom Fly shoe having a limited lifespan.
As a mid-pack runner, I would expect to run these shoes for at least 500km, though at this stage I can’t say how much more I’ll get from these shoes.
Running shoes are highly personal, and so my experience of shoe performance should always be balanced against my own characteristics. As mentioned above, I’m more of a mid-pack runner at 48, 6’2” and currently around 87kg (190lbs), running 50-60 miles pw.
My road running goals for this year are to achieve a sub 3:10 marathon and a sub 19’ 5k. My view of the performance of these shoes should, therefore, be balanced against my own level of performance.
As mentioned at the top of the review, I haven’t previously run in a Nike shoe. As such, I can’t compare these to the previous version of the Zoom Fly, nor the shoe’s older (and more expensive) brother, the Vapor Fly.
The first time laced them up and walked to where I’d begin to run; I immediately began to understand the difference that the carbon-fiber plate makes. Even as I walked, I found myself being rocked forward into the next step.
The stiffness of the sole/plate means that instead of waiting for the toes to bend and the calf to contract to begin the push off, the plate causes the foot to rock forward into the next step. And at this stage, I was just walking!
I’d initially planned an easy run to try out the shoes, but it soon became evident that these shoes are not designed for easy running. I tend to find myself running in a more upright position at slower paces, but in the Zoom Fly Flyknit, found myself being propelled forward.
As a result of this, I naturally increased my pace and whilst I can’t claim that a faster pace was any easier, I certainly felt encouraged to run more quickly!
It is difficult to explain the difference between these and more traditional shoes to anyone who has not worn a shoe with this type of plate. As the foot lands, it feels as if the carbon-fiber plate "rocks" the foot forward through a quick transition and a feeling of “spring off” into the next stride.
Since then, I’ve used these shoes primarily for faster training sessions, both tempo and interval, and for a recent half-marathon race. I’ve found that the shoe performs exceptionally well in these situations.
During fast sessions, the shoe delivers a stable, cushioned landing followed by a fast transition and a springy push off. It’s easy to get up to speed in the Zoom Fly Flyknit, and I have to agree with Nike’s marketing that the shoe provides a "smooth, responsive ride."
To date, I have only worn the shoe in one race which was the Chester half marathon (I only managed to find one photo where I hadn’t hidden behind other runners!)
During these longer races, the shoe seems to make it easier to maintain a fluid stride even as fatigue sets in towards the end of the race. I’m looking forward to wearing them for my next road marathon later this year.
It should be noted that these shoes offer no structural support, and so are designed purely for the neutral runner.
Nike is currently marketing these shoes under the tagline "Beyond your Fastest" and I’d love to be able to claim that the Zoom Fly Flyknit has helped me to achieve a handful of personal bests. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case in the short time I’ve been wearing these shoes, but I’m living in hope!
In terms of performance, I am really enjoying having the Zoom Fly Flyknit in my rotation, and it has become my go-to shoe for fast training sessions and races.
In that sense, it has replaced my previous choices, the New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon and Zante v4, although fortunately, the versatility of these shoes means that they will continue to find a use for other sessions.
For many, the Zoom Fly Flyknit will be seen as a lower cost alternative to the Vapor Fly. Whilst the shoes share some of the same technology, the Vapor Fly retails at £250 (when you can get one) whilst the Zoom Fly Flyknit is widely available at the time of writing for less than £100.
At that price, I’m sure that I won’t be the only one to decide that I’m more than happy with my Zoom Fly Flyknit! Furthermore, I’m confident that the lower price point and the differences in design make this a shoe for fast-paced training sessions as well as races.
On top of the performance aspect of the shoe, I’ll finish with the fact that this is a great looking shoe which fits like a glove and will find plenty of use casually once it’s been retired from running.
The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is the younger brother of the famed Vaporfly 4% that Eliud Kipchoge and 2 other of the best distance runners wore at Nike’s Breaking 2 Marathon challenge.
It looks the same, has the same carbon fiber plate, and it performs extremely well.
In terms of looks, it’s simple, nice, and looks fast. It also has little designs on the laces, and the fly knit weave looks nice.
The midsole of this shoe uses Nikes React foam. The foam is very responsive and very durable.
Unlike the Zoom X or the Cushlon foam, this foam takes a lot more miles and is much more durable, so that’s the one thing I think this shoe has over the other VaporFlys or older Zoom Fly shoes.
The midsole is very cushioned and very responsive, and although there is no midfoot outsole, I don’t think I’ll see much wear and tear for a couple of hundred miles due to how the Epic React surprisingly held up after 400 miles.
Another big feature of it is the use of a carbon fiber plate. That is used to act as a spring essentially and helps the foot spring off a little bit more on the toe-off.
The outsole of this shoe is very simple and pretty minimal. There is high abrasion rubber in the forefoot and the perimeter of the heel, but none covering the midfoot.
At first, that worried me, but due to the way the React foam is so durable, I believe these can go 300 miles no problem.
The ride of this shoe is very different from every other shoe I’ve run in. That is because of the carbon fiber plate.
Without the carbon fiber plate, I believe the shoe would feel like the Epic React Flyknit 2 because that’s exactly what it is, just with a plate. But the plate adds a completely different feel.
On foot walking and at slow paces, it’s stiff and unstable, but at faster paces it’s perfect and definitely makes the stride so much more efficient.
The first run I had in these was a 3-mile tempo, and it performed very well, it was also my first run in a carbon fiber plate, so it was different but a good different.
I also did an interval run, 11 x 2:00 minutes, then ending with 4 x 200m at around 5-minute pace, and it felt good except it was on a 160m indoor track, and with the amount of cushioning of the shoe the tight curves felt pretty unstable, but the straightaways felt great.
I had also done a couple of long runs in this shoe, and the plate does help the stride efficiency, especially in the later miles when the fatigue and tiredness sets in. In all, the shoe felt great for what it is made for, longer faster runs and even faster shorter runs, and that is what I rated this shoe on.
In terms of breathability, this shoe is very breathable. There's the Flyknit upper, which is basically a weave with holes and is as breathable as it looks. It’s very well-engineered and very breathable as well as light.
I’m going to straight-up say, this is THE STIFFEST, and I mean STIFFEST shoe I have ever run in.
But that is not a bad thing at all. In this shoe’s case, it is actually a very good thing and worked out 100%. Obviously, that is because of the carbon fiber plate.
I can’t even press my hardest and bend this shoe more than 3 inches at faster paces and race pace that is very good and acts as a spring.
At slower paces, this doesn’t necessarily feel bad but just feels a little unstable. So there isn’t really much flexibility in the shoe, but with the shoe being meant for faster paces that works out perfectly for the shoe.
The responsiveness of this shoe is the top tier. It has everything needed to be responsive, a carbon fiber plate, which, as I said, is basically a spring. It also has the React cushioning, which is naturally responsive as well.
The traction of this shoe is good as well. I’ve mainly run this on dry roads and on the track which it performed well on. I had run in this shoe during a rain shower, and the traction didn’t seem to be affected that much so I say it is pretty decent.
The retail price of these when they came out was $160, which I think is good but is probably the highest I would pay for these.
I had gotten mine at a local thrift store for $50, which was a phenomenal price for these.
In conclusion, I rated these shoes on how they performed for the runs. They were made for tempos, intervals, and longer faster runs.
I think it would be wrong to review it on the cooldowns/warmup/easy runs because that's not what they were made for. That would be like reviewing a trail shoe and giving it a rating based on a road marathon, that's just simply not what it was made for.
Overall, the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit provided good cushioning for longer runs, the responsiveness for tempo and was fast enough for speed intervals. I think this would do good for any fast run, no matter the distance.
As a big fan of the Nike Zoom Fly, I was excited to try the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit. Although it was comfortable, I don’t think it beats the original Zoom Fly as a speed shoe.
With a carbon plate, it has a very similar feel to the Nike Zoom Fly. I was hoping that its knit upper (which my feet always love) would add some comfort and make it an even better shoe than the Zoom Fly.
Unfortunately, the lacing system is very different from the Zoom Fly and far inferior, as described below.
The knit upper helps it fit very nicely to the shape of your foot. You feel relaxed and ready to run without any adjustment for your toes.
It is a very comfortable shoe on your foot, from the moment you put it on. There is plenty of flexibility, allowing your toes to move freely, which is always a big plus with me.
The shoe is made with quality materials, including the carbon plate and React cushioning, which functions exactly as it should.
It’s the sweet spot between cushioned and responsive - your feet don’t feel like they are running on pillows, but you don’t feel like you are “ground-pounding” as the miles go on. I could definitely run a half marathon in these without worry.
I think this shoe was made for, and performs best, as a speed shoe for races or tempo runs. For recovery runs at slower speeds, I think it just has too much instability.
The biggest con for this shoe was heel slippage, which was noticeable from my first run. This was the most heel slippage I have ever felt in a shoe.
It felt too loose when I was lacing it up, so I tried tightening down the laces (which my feet quickly rejected). The knit upper is very low cut on the ankle.
I think the heel slippage could have been reduced if the upper had extended a little higher up the ankle (one caveat - with the Free RN Motion Flyknit 2017, Nike used a very high upper that made it look like a basketball shoe).
The biggest cause of the heel slippage is that the shoe only has four main lacing eyelets. I was very surprised to see this since the Zoom Fly has seven, and it does not have a knit upper.
I was very tempted to poke an additional hole, but I was worried that the upper would tear over time. This shoe needs at least two more eyelets to work well.
As with other shoes with knit uppers, the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit does not have as much midfoot lockdown as I would like, which can aggravate my calf. In terms of lockdown, it is better than the Altra Escalante.
The good news is that if you lace up the Zoom Fly Flyknit normally, you will eventually adjust your stride, and after a few minutes, you hardly notice any heel slippage. The downside is that you don’t have quite the same confidence when running fast as in the Zoom Fly.
A small con is breathability. This was a surprise since the knit upper appears at first glance to be very breathable. With white socks, I could see some large white holes on the top side of the shoe.
I think instead of lots of small holes, Nike used a few larger holes for breathability. When I took it out for a run in temperatures around 60 degrees, I was surprised to find that it ran warm (much warmer than a Kinvara would feel at that temperature).
Not a big issue, but something to think about if you live in warmer climates.
Another potential con is durability. I was surprised to see the outer heel wearing down after only a few runs.
This also occurred in the Zoom Fly, but I don’t think it occurred as quickly. The exposed foam in the outer edge seems to take a beating, even though I am not a heavy heel striker.
I think having the outsole rubber extend all the way to the edge of the shoe would be a big improvement.
Overall, it is a well-made shoe, but not a big improvement over the Zoom Fly.
Nike Running has had a crazy couple of years. That way 2016, the flop of the Nike Streak 6 prototype that failed while being used by Eliud Kipchoge during his performance on the Berlin Marathon. After that, it seems, Nike focused so hard on running that they completely changed the formula for the shoes to come.
May 6th, 2017 was the day the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% took the running world by storm while being worn by three of the top runners in the Nike arsenal, Delila Desisa, Zersenay Tadese and Eliud Kipchoge, like an Apollo Space program crew, launched to attempt to break the two hours on the marathon distance in a very controversial event held at the Formula 1 Monza Motorway in Italy under ideal and controlled conditions.
Kipchoge came first with 2:00:25, making it the fastest unofficial marathon distance time ever recorded. Since then, runners in the likes of Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, and Shalane Flanagan and the famed shoe has been worn to reach a 19 top finishes in 6 majors marathons, as Nike claims.
So what does it have to do with the Zoom Fly Flynit? Well, the experience gained in the development of the Vaporfly 4% (that can set you back US$250) has been inherited directly to the more reasonably priced Zoom Fly family.
The Zoom Fly Flynit is launched alongside the Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flynit (boy, those names are getting longer). And it takes the dimensions and shapes used in the VP4% with lesser materials.
- Full-length carbon-fiber plate
- Flynit upper and heel counter
- Nike React foam midsole
- Flynit lacing system
- 6mm offset
- "The Edge," promotes reducing heel strike to improve general posture
- Design and dimensions are borrowed from the Vaporfly 4%, but on a more affordable price
The Zoom Fly Flynit (ZFFK for short), as the name suggests sports a Nike Flynit upper. One major difference from its predecessor, the Nike Zoom Fly is the absence of Flywire technology to secure the midfoot lock.
This is supposed to save weight. In comparison, the lock is not as tight as the previous model, but it is not something to be concerned about, as the Flynit itself does the job quite well.
I’d even venture to say it is better because the grip on the midfoot of the Nike Zoom Fly might be too much should your feet swallow during a long race.
The midsole is where the magic happens; the Lunarlon midsole has been replaced with React foam, now present in most Nike shoes in one way or another.
This makes the bounce back of the shoe be more prominent, but somehow makes the carbon fiber plate present within the midsole to be less noticeable than the carbon-infused nylon plate present in the O.G. Zoom Fly. Maybe it has to do with the former being more stable and firm than the ZFFK.
The midsole is increasingly more comfortable and responsive, to a point where I found it to be reminiscent of the Nike Pegasus 35, an EVA foam with full-length Zoom Air pocket. It is, of course, no match for the ZoomX unicorn foam on the VP4%, but is a step in the right direction.
Simple lines and an interrupted gigantic Swoosh makes for the more predominant design aspect of the shoe. Flynit is definitely the star here, as the upper showcases it with no artifacts to conceal it.
The bright accents on this colorway make them pop moderately. The laces also are a little more attractive than in previous models.
Flynit throws a curve when it comes to sizing. In my case, they felt a little bigger on the same size I wear for Nike, but with a little lacing, they stay true to size. If you are familiar with the Fly line, you’ll notice there is not much difference in terms of fit.
The midfoot is rather narrow and the toe box is very wide in contrast. This may be so because the shoe promotes forefoot striking, so the toes get cramped in the toe box as your strike, so they have a little more room to expand. This is a feature also present on Racing Nike shoes since the Streak 6.
As one would expect, the Flyknit is a sock-like upper, very comfortable and breathable. The tongue is very plush but not protruding, and the heel counter is soft but has no additional rigidity or cushioning, much in the fashion of its older sibling.
Fly on a diet
The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit also lost a little weight, at 238 grams (8.4 ounces) it loses ten grams vs. 248 grams (8.7 ounces) for the Zoom Fly (men's weights). This is really very unnoticeable, but it should have an effect down the road.
Well, it is a Zoom Fly, so if you have tried them before you’ll know what to expect. This platform of shoes educates you into running their way, so steer away heel-strikers!
The so-called "Launchpad" is there in the forefoot strike. This attack is necessary to engage the carbon-fiber plate and make it propel you forward. This feature is very noticeable, especially on sprints, and it really sets this Nike line aside from other competing shoes.
The magic here is comfort at high speeds. I think The Nike Zoom Flyknit get it right.
In terms of raw performance, I did notice (or not notice) my speed as I went on free running, so I did feel less of an effort to achieve and maintain some speeds with these. I have not yet run a half marathon distance in them, but I will definitely do that soon, and I believe the shoes will carry me well.
The outsole is really exactly the same as with the Zoom Fly, the pattern is the same but exposes the React foam instead of the Lunarlon, maybe soon to tell, but the durability of the outsole must be around the same as the OG Fly, around 600 km tops (370 miles).
Now to the boring part
As I claimed before, Nike might be getting a bit boring. Maybe it is because the increments in improvements are so minimal model to model that makes you wonder if there is more innovation coming.
Zoom Fly has been around for two years, and the models keep building and improving on the VP4% platform. Let’s hope this does not go on, and we stagnate in the same way as Adidas did with their Boost technology, that seems repetitive after almost 4 years.
- Comfort is paramount here, that’s where they excel.
- Nike React foam really does make a difference in bounce back and cushion compared to the previous Lunarlon.
- They make a great everyday speedwork shoe to use alongside a Vaporfly 4% for racing.
- The "launchpad" or what I call "edge" is there, when forefoot striking, the feeling of pushing forward is there.
- I did not see a major improvement on the carbon-fiber vs. carbon-infused nylon plate.
- The usual wrinkles that are standard in all Nike shoes are visually displeasing.
- The stack-height might be too high for some people.
- Steer away heel strikers, this shoe might take a long time to break in.
- I hope the Fly family does not get boring as the Adidas Boost.
The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is the long-awaited update of the Nike Zoom Fly. Both shoes are the cheaper variants of the Nike Vaporfly 4% (Flyknit) edition.
The update includes a full-length carbon plate, also used in the Vaporfly, in the midsole instead of a nylon fiber plate in the former version of the shoe. As the name already tells you, the Flyknit system is used for the upper material which shall provide an improved fitting on the foot.
As foam, the Nike React is used which is quite soft and doesn't provide as much energy return as the ZoomX (used in the Vaporfly 4%) but provides longer durability claimed by Nike.
The weight of the shoe is mid-range at 290 grams for size US 11,5. Nike recommends to wear this shoe in competitions and speed training session. I also really like the colorways and decent style of the shoes which Nike offers here.
My main usage
In the beginning, I used them for my speed workouts such as 400m & 1000m interval training or steady state tempo runs at around 3:40 min/km. Nowadays, I take them for easy runs or long runs with moderate pacing.
From my point of view, they are a bit too soft at high speeds, and I'm missing the direct ground contact or furthermore, the last kick off the ground due to the cushioning of the Nike React foam.
Nevertheless, as mentioned for easy workouts, they are just perfect for me. My pace during this training is at 4:30 min/km up to 5:30 min/km.
Due to the Flyknit upper, the shoe really feels like a sock on your feet, very comfortable. Till now, I never had blisters or skin irritation, and I often choose just normal socks for running.
The Flyknit is quite thin which feels good when running at hot conditions. When running at cold weather conditions at around 0°C, the material is too thin, and the feet get cold. The toe box provides enough space for normal feet size.
As mentioned at the beginning of the review, the Nike React foam is used. This results in a very soft feeling when running. From energy return point of view, the foam is the second best provided by Nike.
The best one is the ZoomX foam which is only used at the Vaporfly 4% and Pegasus Turbo model today. Additionally, the built-in carbon plate provides a nice touch off the ground.
After using them for 450km, the cushioning still feels like new, and there is also no significant wear out of the outsole. I often used them during this winter, and even under wet conditions, I had enough grip when running around corners on the street.
The Flyknit upper also seems to be fine without any damage so far. Typically I use running shoes up to 800-1000km before I sort them out and I guess this one will also land in this category of durability.
Overall, I'm quite satisfied with the durability performance today.
- Great for easy and moderate pacing (4:00 - 5:30 min/km)
- Carbon plate provides a nice move-forward feeling
- Good durability
- Too soft for fast running 3:45 min/km
- Too less ground contact feeling
In contrast to what Nike suggest, using them in races and speed training, I use them in easy workouts.
For races, I use shoes like the Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 3 or the Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3. Both shoes are a little bit lighter and providing more ground contact feeling from my point of view.
Overall the shoe is quite comfortable, and I can recommend them as an everyday trainer when pacing at around 4:00 min/km up to 5:30 min/km.
In my first 50 miles in this road shoe, I was very impressed even after just two sample runs. I did a casual 7 miler and a training run, which was a half marathon distance.
When I ran 13.1 miles, the weather conditions were very hot. Maybe I shouldn’t have been pushing it due to the conditions. Nonetheless, the feel and transition of the shoe make it effortless running.
I decided to run 13.1 miles as I wanted to test myself for a race: the Garstang Half Marathon 2019.
This is down to the shoe with the full-length carbon fiber plate in the midsole that helps propel you forward as efficiently as possible.
The shoe has a great push off feel to it. Currently, it is the most impressive running shoe that I have trained and raced in.
The react foam in the shoe works well with the transition whilst you are running at a slow or fast pace.
I opted for the blue colourway, and I wasn’t disappointed upon arrival of the shoe. The flyknit material has superb breathability and keeps your feet cool even during racing.
The shoe has a sock-like fit with the tongue built into the actual shoe itself as illustrated below.
The laces of the shoe are thin, and the lacing style used is a “Ghillie" style. This looks unique, and it is as comfortable as you would require.
On the rear, there is a pull tab for ease when stepping into or out of the shoe. This also helps when you want to secure that comfortable lockdown before your run commences.
The sizing of the shoe was true to size as I always order half a size up to allow enough space for movement when running. The toe box of the shoe is spacious and is great during your running transition.
- It is an excellent value for money.
- The flyknit material of the upper is breathable.
- It has a super smooth transition from heel to toe at a fast or slow pace.
- It has a full-length carbon fibre plate
After two runs, there are visible signs of wear on the outsole. I agree with other runners who have bought this shoe when they claim that at first, the support around the ankle seems a little weak and unprotected.
I can attest to this claim when the shoes failed me when rolled my ankle in February during a cross country race for my running club.
Having raced in this shoe up steep slopes out in the countryside, I don’t think that the carbon fibre plate is of any use, especially trying to tackle really steep incline.
I admit if I had known that the incline was so severe, then I may have chosen an alternative option.
There is very little flexibility in the shoe on a very steep slope. This is especially as you are on your front foot, racing against your fellow competitors, and you are pushing everything to the maximum.
Thankfully, in most races, the incline is for just a short period. Once you are over that hill, you can then step on it once again, totally utilising the shoe and tracking at a fast pace!
I'm giving this a 95/100—my best score to date for an awesomely manufactured product.
Having second thoughts on whether or not to purchase this shoe? If you want to improve your race results or just train more efficiently, then the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit will 100% tick both boxes.
The shoes' design and performance are all about running fast and reaping the rewards of a PB.
Order the product and enjoy the experience!
At first glance, the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit looks fast. Plot twist: it is! Within the first two steps of even walking and trying on the shoe, the response from the outsole and heel are noticeable immediately.
That combined with its slightly lighter weight and very present cushion support make for a great 10k to marathon shoe for those who want to still have functional legs at the end of a long road race.
Why I chose this shoe
From 2013 to 2018, I LOVED the Asics Gel Noosa Fast; so much to the point that I still have them in the corner collecting dust just in case (for what I don’t know). To describe them in three words would be light, cushioned, and versatile.
So, when I went looking for a shoe to run my first marathon in, I had similar qualities in mind but with slightly more cushioning and support that I didn’t feel the Noosa Fast could give me after 13 miles.
In come the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit. After putting them on, I practically bounced out the door on a test run and knew immediately this was the shoe I’d be wearing for my longest run to date.
With 10mm of heel to toe drop full of Nike React foam, this has been one of the few shoes I feel comfortable with saying the cliché “it feels like running on a cloud.”
With the thickest cushioning on the heel to midfoot areas, this shoe is also a crowd-pleaser for the approximately 80% of distance runners that are heel strikers.
The overall cushion also performs nicely to hold up well past 13 miles on the road, which can be difficult to find.
Contrary to other reviews, I found that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the upper Flyknit pattern on these. I have no problem with the material itself as I’ve gone through many pairs of Pegasus.
However, without the Flywire that’s typically also present in the Pegasus supporting the upper area, I found the Zoom Fly to be difficult to tighten comfortably.
Thus, it leaves my foot not quite as secure as I usually prefer. Regardless, the Flyknit material does a great job of breathing while on a run.
Heel counter and tongue
Maybe I just have boney ankles, but I also found the straight-up Flyknit material around the ankles to be a little uncomfortable at times. For the marathon, they worked fine with ankle socks that had higher front and back tabs (wearing in pictures).
But, I experienced slight rubbing when wearing straight ankle socks with no tabs. While I agree that this shoe feels like putting on a sock with the fitting Flyknit material, this certainly made an interesting situation when paired with wearing actual socks.
I was not willing to risk skin to try them without socks. With such thin material, if ankle support is on your running shoe criteria list, don’t even consider the Zoom Fly Flyknit.
With almost 100 miles logged on my pair, I’ve been extremely happy with how these shoes have held up all around.
While I don’t think I’ll ever experience the same fresh, cushioned bounce that I did when trying on, they still give a good pep-in-the-step that other trainers or racers seem to lack.
That being said, I do plan on getting a new or different pair for my next marathon and keeping these for other road races and speed workouts.
I’ve also been impressed with the Flyknit material holding up after quite a few long runs through a typical late spring New England run with wet salt, dirt, and slushy roads.
One thing I found interesting and unique for a Nike shoe with the Zoom Fly Flyknits was the shape of the outsole on the toe area. Typically, Nike sneakers are known to be a bit more narrow than other brands, which still rings true with this model.
However, instead of coming to a point around the upper toe box, the Zoom Fly Flyknits have a noticeably more rounded shape making more room for toe flexibility and natural comfort.
It was love at first stride for the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit and my marathon training plans. From there, they passed the test of their first long run and road race.
These shoes further proved their loyalty in bringing me through the finish line of my first marathon to a BQ for 2020. The lightweight cushion dressed up in a sleek, form-fitting Flyknit material makes a shoe that’s born to run fast.
As much as I may disagree with Nike ethically at times, it’s shoes like these that are the reason that I just can’t switch brands as the overall result is truly unparalleled.
- Phenomenal response whether you’re a heel, midfoot, or forefoot striker
- Ample amount of cushioning gives it the durability for long road mileage
- Would buy again at the same original price
- Points off for uncomfortable laces/lace eyelets
- Points off for short tongue/shoe collar
Ah, the Nike Zoom Fly 2, except it was never officially called that! I’m not sure why as they have released a Zoom Fly 3.
I intend to chart my running relationship with the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit (NZFF from now on) and document my experience with them chronologically.
Let us start with the facts:
- 10mm drop
- Carbon fiber plate (CFP for future ref)
- Knit upper
- Full length react foam midsole
My first observations of the shoe (admittedly, I’m a Nike fanboy here)
I like the look of the shoe. I opted for the blue and white colorway. It’s simple but striking at the same time. The contrast of the white swoosh against the blue mesh to white foam is nice to my eyes.
Upon putting the shoe on, the laces feel insufficient, like there should be extra eyelets. I am a keen loop lacer, and this is not an option with this shoe.
The feel of the NZFF is sock-like, very sock-like and the foam is just cushion, unlike the original Zoom Fly. The CFP is there, but my feet feel the foam more.
The NZFF is definitely more cushioned. The toe box is, thankfully, wide, and the sizing is true. I have bought these trainers with a 10k (6-mile) race in mind.
I entered a 10k (6-mile) local race, and the first thing I noticed when trying to take a corner was the shoe not turning as I’d have liked.
It felt pretty poor with what felt like my heel hanging out the back of the shoe. But, this could be me being a bit of a control freak.
I noticed my foot slipping into the front (toe) end of the shoe. My feet didn't feel solid in the shoe, but this is probably because the upper mesh gives so much.
After the race (a PB I might add), I notice there is already deterioration to the foam on the outside of the shoes, towards the heel area, maybe where I was struggling to corner early on?
It was a contrasting start. A fast shoe is great, but one that has no sole left is not so good.
I take my NZFF’s on a weekly social group run. Today, this involved a run to and from the local park and exercises inside the said park.
I’m really feeling these shoes more. The cornering has now improved as if the shoe is adapting to the shape of my foot. They are winning me over now.
I decided to use the shoes for some long runs as part of my Berlin marathon prep. Unfortunately, a mile into my run, the Dublin skies opened, and for the next three hours, I was running in a downpour.
The thing that impressed me, again, was the grip. The downside was it was a while before I could feel my toes again.
After 100 miles, the shoe feels like it has shaped around my foot. This sock-like feel is excellent, and the mesh-like flyknit upper is fantastic on sunny days.
I have used the shoe for two long runs (16 and 20miles), and two tempo runs as part of my Berlin marathon training. It is fast but so, so comfy.
The combination of the plate and the React foam is incredibly responsive. It’s almost a hard shoe to run a long run in because the CFP propels you forward wanting to run faster!
There has been no further deterioration of the sole after my initial concerns following on from my first race in them.
The upper continues to be snug, and I’m getting used to the lacing though I do believe this could be improved (I am a loop lacer).
The balance between the combination of firm sole/CFP and the completely flexible upper is initially odd but works after a run or two.
At the time of writing, I have 120 miles in the shoes. I find the NZFF to be a great shoe. I have grown to like it more each run.
The NZFF is a perfect looking shoe. I’ve bought a second pair as their price tumbles since the release of the Zoom Fly 3.
I’d suggest that they would be best used for speed work, tempo runs and race days.
The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is the shoe for faster days, and it is built for speed. I have about 100 miles in this shoe, running 5k, 10k, speed workouts, and long runs.
The shoe holds a 4% look to it but has a few differences. Let's get into the aspects of this running shoe.
The midsole consists of the React foam and a carbon fiber plate. When putting on the shoe, you feel highly elevated from the high stack height. It feels quite stiff.
When running in this shoe, though, it's hard to go slow quite honestly. You feel the carbon plate pushing you forward, and I love the feeling. This great feeling only happens on the road, but it totally goes away on grassy/dirt trail terrain.
I think that the durability of the midsole is excellent and shows minimal wearing. The bouncy React foam gives great energy return too.
The downside of the midsole is that it carries most of the weight. You can feel that this shoe is way heavier than the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, but it's not overly heavy.
The outsole consists of a strange pentagon pattern that seems to work. There is some rubber on the forefoot and heel. This shoe sticks great to the road/track.
I wouldn't recommend running in this shoe on dirt trails, but the outsole does okay. I see some wearing on the outsole, but overall, it's holding up pretty well.
The flyknit upper is so comfortable, in my opinion. The breathability of the upper feels amazing. It's perfectly snug and feels really soft. It almost shapes around your foot.
There is a slight heel counter, but it doesn't do much. Regardless, I haven't experienced any heel slippage.
I want to add that you should wear high socks because the flyknit material can chafe your heel/ankle. The laces are good, have the perfect thickness, and keep you locked in. The flyknit upper is one of my favorites.
I've run a 5k and a 10k in this shoe. Since this shoe likes to go fast, it's great for these distances. You may feel a little bottleneck from the weight, but I didn't. I actually PR'd in the 5k for this shoe.
I think the optimal pace for the Zoom Fly Flyknit is 5-minute to 7-minute mile pace. With the comfortable fit and nice foam feel, the shoe eats miles in long runs.
Where this shoe really lacks is versatility. Easy days are hard to do because it feels awkward to run slow in these shoes, and they work against you.
If you run above 8-minute pace, they feel like unbalanced and heavy bricks on your feet. But, for the other runs, it's great.
The shoe is currently at an amazing price, and it's more than worth it with the responsive midsole and incredible upper. I wouldn't call this the "poor man's" 4 %'s because they both have a totally different feeling.
- Carbon plate
- High durability
- Amazing upper
- Not versatile
- Heel chafing
I think this shoe is aimed at faster runs, and you should have a decent midfoot strike to get the full benefit of the plate. I don't think new runners should buy this shoe.
When it comes to colorways, they look awesome. Just go with your preference. I like the green (the one in the photo above), but the blue looks impressive, too. I have to say: this is definitely a stylish shoe.
All in all, the Zoom Fly Flyknit is a great speed shoe.
Having used Asics support shoes for five years, these could not be a bigger change, and I was quite nervous. I’ve been weaning myself off support shoes for shorter runs as my pronation tendencies decreased, and this was the final—and scary—step.
I bought the Zoom Fly Flyknits for a few main reasons:
- I wanted to try out a neutral shoe.
- I wanted to try out Nike as a brand.
- I wanted to try out a shoe with a carbon plate.
- (Plus they were on sale)
In this review, I’m going to cover my initial thoughts on my first couple of runs in this shoe, followed by the main pros and cons, and then give the shoes a rating in the key factors that all running shoes need.
I was surprised at the sizing. In Asics, I’m a 7.5-8, Salomon a 7.5, and Saucony a 7-7.5. These came up bigger than I’d thought by looking at other reviews, and while I tried on a 7.5, I decided a 7 was a better fit.
So, if you run in Salomons or Asics, I’d recommend going half a size down in these, but the same size as any Sauconys.
One test run later and I was happy I’d made the right choice, and revelling in the cushiness of the shoe. I really felt like I was getting more energy return as well as soft ride.
The flyknit upper doesn’t have traditional eyelets, but small holes weaved into the upper and an integrated tongue.
I found I actually liked it more than I thought; the heel counter with a soft pad of foam kept my heel in place and the flat laces were easy to do up and stayed put over the run.
There is also a pull tab on the heel, which helps to get the shoes on and off. The design of the upper is certainly minimal but still manages to keep your foot in place.
If you don’t like the laces, normal laces do fit through the holes in the upper too so that they can be replaced.
I set a 10km PB in these what was supposed to be an easy run, but the shoes felt so fun I sped up. On the right day with fresh legs, these are great.
They’re super comfy, the energy return is great, and if you heelstrike, you’ll barely notice due to the heel compression. I also didn’t feel the lack of support was impacting my running on distances up to 10km.
The best part is definitely how responsive the shoe feels when pushing hard; the shoe feels like it’s working with me and propelling me forward. It’s great for speedy parkruns or long tempo runs.
They also look good, so if you want a shoe you can take on holiday as your day-to-day trainer and still go on runs, it’s a top contender.
It’s not very clear in the photo above, but the majority of my weight is on my right heel, which feels like it’s compressing a lot. Looking closely, you can see the heel bulges out sideways as well as flattening with the weight.
Most running shoes I’ve had don’t have any noticeable “squish” in the heel.
I was also impressed with their performance in the rain. The sole is grippy, and while the upper certainly doesn’t keep the water out, nor does it keep it in.
Due to the mesh upper, they dried quickly. And while it hasn’t been particularly hot on any of my runs, I would imagine the mesh would stop your feet from overheating more than other more built-up shoes.
For a highly cushioned shoe, they are really light, weighing 230g for the size 7s. This was lighter than my Saucony Libertys at 258g, which were in turn noticeably lighter than my Asics Gel-Kayanos at 295g.
The shoe definitely has flaws. I’ve injured myself during the run twice in these, which is more than any other shoe. The first injury was a twisted ankle when I ran on some slightly squidgy mud/gravel instead of tarmac.
The second was a pulled hip muscle on a run where my legs were tired and couldn’t keep good running form.
Both of the above can be construed as my fault, but I feel neither of them would have happened if I’d been wearing more stable shoes with a lower stack height.
The stability is really the main issue. I overpronate slightly with one foot and a little on the other, so if you’re someone who runs perfectly neutral, you may not have as many issues.
But as you can see in the photo below, the heel stack height is significantly higher than the other neutral shoes I own (Saucony Kinvara).
And while it’s very similar to the heel height on my GT-1000 (red in the picture), the sole is considerably narrower, making the run more unstable and increasing the risk of twisting your ankle.
Officially, the Nikes have a heel height of 33 mm, the Asics 28 mm, and the Sauconys a mere 23mm.
Stack height comparison: Kinvara on the left, Zoom Fly Flyknits in the middle, GT 1000 on the right. The blue line shows the top of the Zoom Fly Flyknit’s heel height, and the red line the height of most of the heel (as the foam sweeps up to curl over the back of the heel, but does not in the Sauconys or Asics).
Saucony Liberty ISO 2s next to the Zoom Fly Flyknits, with the blue line equal to the maximum width of the Zoom Flys
I wore them for a 7.5-mile easy run and had a slightly sore ankle afterwards. I think this was less to do with the stability of the midsole unit and more to do with the minimalistic upper, as my ankle had almost no support during the run compared with most shoes.
So if you have weak ankles, these may not be the shoes for you.
The drop is a standard 10mm. Drop is, of course, a personal preference, but here it felt more noticeable than the same drop in Asics or my trail Salomon Speedcross.
That could be my personal biomechanics, but I think the heel cushion is too soft; I think the shoe heel stack height could be reduced by 2mm with little loss in cushioning and the decrease to 8mm drop may improve how the shoe feels.
But, that’s just my personal preference; if you like high-drops, then you’ll probably like this shoe.
I could have probably forgiven these shoes for the above, as they still work well as a tempo or race day shoe. And, really, the lack of stability simply reflects Nike’s intent for this shoe to be a carbon-plate racer for a competitive runner who can’t afford Vaporflys.
However, the other big issue is durability. After only 70 miles, wear can be seen on the outsoles of both heels (see photos below).
The forefoot, which is covered by the harder, black-coloured rubber, fares significantly better, but given the rate of wear on the heel, I can’t see these lasting more than 200-250 miles—far short of the 500 miles I get out of my Asics.
Incidentally, my Asics Gel-Kayanos which have done 380 miles over the past year have almost no visible wear on the sole.
And, I had a pair of Asics Gel-Zone 4s, which had no visible wear at all anywhere on the sole after 500 miles, even though the cushioning was shot.
If Nike had covered the outside edges of the shoe with more durable rubber, the overall durability of the shoe would I think be much improved, and this could be something easily fixed in future designs.
Do I regret buying them? No, and not just because I ran one PB in them. The shoes are an experience in running and do feel great most of the time, but the lack of stability reduces the suitability for those who over-pronate or have weak ankles.
I don’t think they’re worth the full price of £150 simply because of the durability issues; if I paid that much for a pair of shoes that are marketed as daily trainers as well as racers, then I want to get my money’s worth.
However, I paid less than £70 for them, which I feel is a reasonable value for a carbon-plate Nike shoe.
I do not think they would work as someone’s only pair of shoes for 99% of runners; I found the drop promoted heel striking more when compared with either similar-drop Asics or low-drop Sauconys.
So, if you’re a neutral (or near-neutral) runner with some spare cash and you want to try these out, go for it. They might even push you to a PB!
But, I think for the price there are better shoes with similar cushioning and even a carbon plate available (Hoka One One Carbon X, for example).
In Nike’s own words “The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is built for record-breaking speed”. And this isn’t quite true. It’s not quite record-breaking, but the shoe is fast, really fast.
The fit is snug and comfortable, and the shoe looks amazing, both on the track and worn daily. After 200+ miles, I can honestly say these are the fastest shoes I’ve ever owned. But, they are not perfect!
Appearance and design
Nike has made what can only be described as a beautiful shoe. It’s a simple design with simple details, a single ‘swoosh’ either side is as adventurous as it gets, but less is more with this shoe.
When I took them out of the box, I was taken back by how fast and streamlined they looked, and even the insole is sporting ‘racing’, another reminder that this shoe is designed to go fast.
The blue and white colourway I opted for was striking (in a good way), a sign that Nike has nailed it again with another gorgeous looking shoe.
To save weight, Nike has opted for the Flyknit technology, an extremely breathable and lightweight material. It’s not the softest but is able to offer a ‘sock-like’ fit. This fit holds on to your foot firmly, and at no point did I feel that my foot would slip out of the shoe.
I often like to run in minimal socks—something that I learnt very quickly cannot be done in these shoes. The flyknit upper was like sandpaper on my ankle bone and after only two miles began to rub extremely painfully.
Since then, longer socks have been a must—not the biggest problem to overcome, but a problem nonetheless.
In the midsole, Nike has stolen some technology from its bigger brother, the Vapourfly 4%. The Zoom Fly has a full-length carbon plate, a noticeable addition from the moment you wear the shoes.
This softness has caused some discomfort (more about that later). In really cold weather, the React foam goes the other way and becomes noticeably firmer.
Nike has chosen what can only be described as the least grippy material they could find to use for a shoe’s sole. The Zoom Fly’s sole is fantastic in perfect conditions.
But, I live in England, so 80% of the time conditions are far from perfect. I have found, on several occasions, having to steady myself and slipping too many times than I would have liked.
Putting on the Zoom Fly’s for the first time feels great. The flyknit upper is light, airy and almost cuddles your foot. Just simply walking in these shoes feels faster—the shoe begs you to get out running.
I have run just over 200 miles in these shoes, and they feel just as responsive now as they did on my first run. Credits to Nike, the React foam is extremely durable, with wear down to a minimum.
Out running, the React foam offers very even cushioning, with very little energy loss through the foot strike, which is very beneficial on longer runs.
The full-length carbon plate is a fantastic addition, with a literal spring in your step you’ll be crushing PB’s left right and centre. The downside to this is recovery and easy paced runs seem to creep up in pace.
It’s not all PB’s and super speed though. The shoe isn’t perfect. As with any Nike shoes, they are narrow, and these are narrow even by Nike’s standard.
This narrowness, combined with the soft React foam, is a rolled ankle waiting to happen. It is something that has happened on a few occasions with me.
It has also has contributed to various blisters on the outside of my foot that I had never suffered from previously.
- Stunning aesthetics
- Flyknit is light and breathable
- Carbon plate begs you to go faster
- Durability of react foam
- Far too narrow when combined with react foam
- Flyknit can cause irritation if not worn with longer socks
- Sole is slippery in the wrong conditions
I really want to love this shoe—I really do. But there are small elements that stop the shoe being great.
It looks amazing, pushes you to run faster than before. I have run numerous PB’s in this shoe, but still, I can’t love it like other shoes I’ve used.
The narrow nature of the shoe makes it perfect for blisters and that combined with anything other than dry weather, and you’ll have trouble.
If you want a fast-paced shoe to use when racing or short, fast-paced efforts, this is for you. If you’re looking for a shoe to do the grinding miles of marathon training, look elsewhere.
The Zoom Fly Flyknit is, without a doubt, one of the best training and racing shoes out there. The Zoom Fly FK is a shoe that I wear all the time whether it is for training or a race.
Even in 2019, I think this shoe holds out and can compete with other racing shoes on the market toe to toe.
First of all, the shoe has a Flyknit upper made out of a plastic material. The upper has been holding up very well for the last year that I have frequently been using it and running in it.
For my fitting, I did find that the shoe is true to size, and the upper helps a lot with the fit. The Flyknit upper will mold to the shape of your foot and hug it snuggly. The fit ensures that the shoe will not fly out when having a run and gives a sense of security.
The shoelace is only mediocre, though. They are flat and have little use in holding my feet in place. The shoelace also does a bad job at tightening the shoe itself and more relies on the Flyknit upper to do most of the tightening and snug fit.
The midsole of the shoe is equipped with the React cushioning that Nike says to be plush and responsive. From all the runs that I have used it on, I think what Nike has delivered is a really well-rounded shoe that can be worn daily.
The React cushion is soft and does give me a lot of feedback after each stride. The feedback I feel after each stride is also due to the full-length carbon-fiber plate that Nike has inserted into the midsole.
The carbon-fiber plate gives the shoe rigidness and returns to the original shape after each stride. The rigidness of the carbon-fiber plate will then transfer the energy into the React foam.
This gives the shoe very distinct responsiveness and makes the shoe really well balanced, both soft and responsive. I found that the midsole is a bit too narrow for my liking and preferred it to be roomier in the middle of the shoe.
The outsole is comprised of a rubber material that is very durable and has good traction. The outsole is located on most of the forefoot and does a really good job at protecting the React cushion from wear and tear.
Though being said, the five pieces of rubber located at the back of the shoe really is not enough to protect the midsole from being damaged.
The outsole has many pentagonal shapes inscribed into the rubber. I found these too shallow to actually help with anything and are mostly to make the shoe more interesting.
The durability of the shoe is good. After a year of constant use, the shoe is still in good shape and can last for quite a while. The upper has little to no damage at all, and the shoelace has no visible damage.
However, the React cushion has suffered a lot during the time I have used the shoe. The sides of the midsole look like elephant skin, showing deep grooves and wear.
The React cushioning under the shoe has also been scraped off. This is due to the outsole unable to protect the back of the shoe from being scratched and contacting the ground. The swoosh has also shown a few tears.
The performance of this shoe is nothing short of amazing. The shoe can go fast and keep my feet secure during the run. The shoe has amazing feedback and energy return.
I found this the case because running in the Pegasus 36 does not give me the same responsiveness and speed that I am looking for on the days that I want to run fast. This shoe is soft and plush enough for a full day of use, making it a good shoe to train in.
The shoe can also fit the need of me going fast like during races. It is nothing short of an amazing performance from this shoe overall.
The Zoom Fly FK is the perfect shoe for everything. The shoe is comfortable enough for a long day on use and is responsive enough for fast-paced action. The shoe is really well-built and holds up for at least 150 km of usage.
The shoe has a good fit and upper for maximum breathability and a really nice snug fit. The shoe does have some downfalls such as the React cushioning getting scraped off easily by the ground and showing deep grooves on the side of the midsole.
I would say this is a perfect shoe for intermediate to professional runners looking for a shoe that has a full-length carbon-fiber plate for a really affordable price while giving outstanding performance.
So, after three years of running and eight months training with a club, I’ve gone and bought a pair of shoes just for races. Why? Well, why not?
Having learnt more about my running style and seeing vast improvements over the last year, I want to make sure I get the best out of myself. So, the next step was to have a dedicated pair of race shoes.
Nike recently held a sale and the Zoom Fly Flyknit represented good value. Priced at just £69, it was a no brainer.
The shoes arrived were blue, which looks amazing and would even work well with jeans if you’d want to. The first thing I noticed was how narrow the heel appears compared to my previous shoes.
Out of the box, they feel lighter than my On Cloudswift’s and certainly look the part. The tapered heel isn’t as pronounced as the Next %, Vaporfly 4%, or Zoom Fly but still looks streamlined and sleek.
The insoles push the speed theme with “Racing” written on them as well as on the tips of the laces.
Trying the shoe on, you can feel the upper wraps nicely around the foot. The integrated tongue feels comfortable and secure, and it really feels like a sock.
The only issue I found was that the collar in the new shoes is a little stiff so could rub a little. Running socks are a must for me with these shoes.
I sized up half a size to a 9, which was a good idea as it would be a bit too tight if I hadn’t. All my previous shoes have been 8 ½, so I’d say it is beneficial to size up.
You can feel the stiffness from the carbon fibre plate producing a rocking effect towards the toe and softness across the centre of the foot towards the rear from the foam.
So, on to the performance on a run. My first one was a nice 11-mile group run at a slower pace to break the shoes in. Apart from a little rubbing on the left ankle, all was good.
It was a responsive shoe that wants to go fast, a nod to the racing pedigree of the shoe. So, with me trying to slow the pace, this was hard.
There is plenty of cushioning on the sole to protect the feet and a fast, responsive toe-off propelling you forwards.
The Flyknit upper allowed a lot of the rain in, and my socks were soaked by the end of the run. However, no blisters or rubbing was experienced.
Two days later was a threshold training session. With only a few days before the Manchester half-marathon, I intended to do half the session at race pace and half steady.
Testing the Zoom Fly Flyknits at race pace for the first time felt good. They felt comfortable, and the rubbing experienced a few days earlier had stopped.
Immediately, they felt faster than my old shoes. I could tell that the carbon fibre plate was pushing me forward.
The pace felt easier than previously, and that I didn’t need to put as much effort in to get the same result as before. It’s a shoe that just wants to go fast.
Onwards then to the first race: Manchester half-marathon. Looking around the starting line, there was a plethora of Nike’s present and a good number of Zoom Fly Flyknit’s.
I was aiming for a 1 hour 25 minute time going at around 6.30-minute miles. From the start of the race, it was clear I was going to be ahead of this.
For the entire 13.1 miles, the shoes didn’t miss a beat, comfortable, responsive, quick is all I can say. I finished in 1 hour 23 minutes and 50 seconds a huge PB for me.
Within this, there was a 10-mile PB of over a minute from a 10-mile race two weeks earlier in On Cloudswift’s.
A blurred finishing straight photo, at least the shoes are in focus.
Following the race, there was less muscle soreness than in the past. Is it all down to the shoes? Maybe not, but I certainly believe they had a part to play in it. All this for a bargain price of £69.
If you are looking for a quality racing shoe but not willing to shell out for the Next %, then I would seriously recommend this shoe.
I have owned the first two editions of the range and have had a blissful, blister-less, bouncy experience while enjoying these running shoes.
I have put these shoes through a gruelling test and the results are mostly positive. I also trained and raced with the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit in 3 Full Marathons, racking up about 650km on them.
These Nikes helped me achieve my Personal Best time for the ultimate distance, and for that reason, they are now my personal best friend.
Nike has upgraded the technology significantly in the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit by adding a carbon fibre plate in the inner sole. This helps increase the energy output of the shoe.
There is a definite "spring in your step" sort of feeling when hitting the tarmac. The other noticeable difference is the Flyknit upper, which gives a comfy sock-like feel to the ride.
It also feels very well ventilated on hot days. In fact, I’ve never had that “I have to take my shoes off” feeling.
The shape is fairly similar to the Zoom Fly and the racy looks are maintained. If you enjoyed the Zoom Fly, then buying the upgrade is almost compulsory.
The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is a thing of beauty. The chunky base is sculpted into an aerodynamic spearhead shape, which comes to a point at the rear.
It looks ready to glide through the air. The Flyknit upper brings an athletic exterior to the slick sole.
The Flyknit material maintains a good solid shape instead of a droopy caved in look (which was the case with the Zoom Fly after extensive wear).
I would have liked for the digital number print found on the back of Zoom Fly to be retained in the upgrade.
Sadly, it is replaced by a stripy detail that doesn't scream speed as much as the numbers did. I still maintain, however, that this shoe is very easy on the eyes.
Much like its predecessor, the Zoom Fly Flyknit has a roll forward feel when pressure is placed on the forefront of the shoe. It's almost as if the shoe is urging you to move forward.
However, I did find this feature as less exaggerated on this edition in comparison to the Zoom Fly. Despite the chunky sole, the shoe feels light.
And, the large amount of cushioning coupled with the carbon fibre plate allows for a bouncy, luxurious feel while clocking up the kilometres.
The energy gained from the carbon fibre plate is apparent, especially towards the latter end of a long run. The toe box is roomy so my often-blue toenails were very pleased.
The Flyknit upper fits snug on the midfoot and the foot as a whole feels generally stable.
Wear and tear
After 650kms, the Flyknit upper remains in very good condition. It may have helped that I have a darker colourway, which hides dirt and scuffs.
The foam sole of the Zoom Fly Flyknit has many creases. However, it is not as much when compared to the Zoom Fly.
It seems like Nikes claim of increased durability in the Zoom Fly Flyknit has lived up to the bill.
The outer sole has wear, however, I expected this to be worse than it is. It definitely seems to have a longer depreciation period to its predecessor.
Disclaimer: The pictures below show a comparison of wear of the Zoom Fly vs the Zoom Fly Flyknit.
But, I believe I ran approximately 850km in the Zoom Fly so it's not exactly an even contest but just an illustration of what the wear can eventually be.
I still think the upgrade is much more durable, both on the sole and the upper.
I have only two things to note here. I felt less stable in the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit when running on an uneven surface. I put this down to the height of the sole coupled with the sock-like covering.
This combo has led to my ankle, ever so slightly, turning over. During the 650km test, my ankle turned over slightly (I must stress slightly) about 4 times.
It was nothing too serious, and no injury occurred, but definitely worth noting. The Zoom Fly feels a lot more secure in this regard due to a hard shell on the heel and lower Achilles area.
The other minor issue that needs change involves the laces. The lace holes are a part of the Flyknit upper, which makes the lace a bit tricky to thread, but with some concentration, I managed to lace them up.
The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is a superb upgrade. It has achieved the trifactor: style, comfort and speed. The research and development efforts of the Nike brand comes to life in these running shoes.
The Carbon Fibre plate is a game-changer, which has the potential to get you to be your personal best.
I would highly recommend this running shoe. If you’re sitting on the fence of whether or not to get the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit, I’d say, JUST DO IT.
Good to know
- The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is a running shoe that’s designed to accommodate neutral pronation. It is considered by many to be the little brother of the highly regarded Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit running shoe from 2018. The difference between the Zoom Fly Flyknit and its older brother lies in the midsole, as this new product features the widely popular React foam, with its responsive and shock-attenuating nature aiming to make each step as reactive as possible.
- The upper unit of the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit is made up of the Flyknit Cleatie, a one-piece wrapping system that evokes the feeling of being wrapped by a cloth. It is flexible and breathable, and it conforms to the shape of the foot as it bends and swells throughout the running session.
The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit was designed to be true to size. Runners can choose a pair using their usual sizing expectations. When it comes to width, the available options are D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women. The semi-curved shape of this shoe mimics the natural outline of the human foot.
The heel portion of the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit’s outsole is made up of a high-abrasion rubber. This compound’s purpose is to protect the midsole from the abrasive nature of the surfaces. It also provides traction as it is an inherent quality of rubber.
Foam rubber is used in the forefoot section. This layer is as traction-ready as its heel counterpart, but it’s also spongy and flexible. It could potentially add a bit more cushioning and spring, making each foot landing and liftoff as agreeable as can be.
The entire surface of the external pad features a polygonal traction pattern to heighten the shoe’s grip on the asphalt. The shallow grooves that trace these shapes serve as flex-points to encourage the natural bending of the foot.
The React is Nike’s top-tier proprietary foam technology. It is meant to be an answer to other companies’ cushioning technologies. This full-length foam has a responsive build that aims to strengthen each toe off and mitigate the landings. It has a somewhat substantial thickness that may agree with those who like to have intense running sessions.
A carbon plate is placed in the main React unit, reinforcing its entire surface. Its job is to help in gearing the foot towards an energized toe-off. It bends with the motion of the foot, then springs back into place when pressure is removed, thus giving the invigorated experience.
An insole is added to put some cushioning for the underfoot. This add-on can be removed or replaced with a new insert of the wearer’s choosing.
Flyknit is the material that’s used for the upper unit of the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit. This material is likened to woven cloth, with a stretchy and airy build that’s reminiscent of socks. Runners can wear this running shoe without actual socks and still feel supported throughout the activity.
A one-piece opening allows runners to experience a consistent and all-encompassing wrap. The absence of the tongue unit lessens the risk of hot spots or material bunching.
A ghillie lacing system with flat laces and discreet eyelets helps to adjust the in-shoe fit without causing any strain on the instep.
Nike Swoosh logos are printed on the sides of the Zoom Fly Flyknit. These thin prints are meant to heighten brand recognition and help the rest of the upper when it comes to keeping the foot in place.
A pull tab on the heel part opens up the one-piece upper, allowing the foot to enter or exit the foot-chamber with ease. It also doubles as a hanging loop for when there’s a need to store the shoe on a hook or hanger.
How Zoom Fly Flyknit compares
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