Verdict from 13 experts and +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Cushioning: All wearers of the AlphaFly swear by its “unmatched”, “off the charts” cushioning that makes you feel like you can run forever. They say it maintains softness and bounce the entire marathon distance and leaves the foot feeling fresh.
  • Speed: All runners experienced an increase in speed, attributing it to the shoe’s explosive responsiveness and propulsive push-off. It urges you to go faster.
  • Weight: For the level of cushion and stack height, the AlphaFly feels incredibly lightweight, many users agree.
  • Fit: A lot of testers note how secure and structured the upper feels. Some find it better than the Flyknit in terms of lockdown. 
  • Breathability: The see-through Atomknit is highly breathable, according to all reviewers. It also absorbs zero water.
  • Laces: The serrated laces maintain the fit and never get untied, as stated by multiple experts.
  • Traction: The wavy pattern on the outsole grips well on both dry and wet roads, many users note.
  • Stability: Quite a few runners feel that the widened forefoot and heel areas of the sole eliminate the wobble.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Stability on turns: Despite the overall stable sensation, the AlphaFly Next% can be an ankle rolling hazard at turns and uneven rods.
  • Outsole durability: Those who have run over 50 miles in the shoe warn that the wavy rubber streaks wear out too quickly.
  • Limited access: Only one pair is available per customer.

Bottom line

The Nike AlphaFly Next% is the most hyped shoe of 2020 that actually lives up to the puffery. You can’t remain indifferent to a race shoe that helped Eliud Kipchoge break the 2-hour marathon record (and that was nearly banned from competitions).

Part of Nike's famous carbon-plated collection, the AlphaFly helps you go a full marathon distance at the top speed while taking good care of your feet.

It is surely a big-ticket investment, but how much would you pay for “the first weapon of choice” among the world’s elite runners?

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Video reviews

Alphafly Next%: A shoe that sends you flying

Worn by the first marathoner to finish in under 2 hours, Eliud Kipchoge, the Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is an addition to Nike’s carbon-plate lineup. Here is what helps it generate maximum speed: 

Double the Air. Two Zoom Air pods are situated at the forefoot of the shoe, promoting responsiveness for enhanced forward motion.

More foam. Banking on the design of the Vaporfly Next%, the Alphafly Next% has more ZoomX foam, amplifying underfoot comfort and protection. 

Better than Flyknit. Balancing out the bulk generated by the platform’s midsole is the novel Atomknit upper from Nike. It is a stretched and steamed version of the Flyknit that has less water absorption with boosted ventilation and lockdown.

Revamped carbon-fiber plate. Featuring a full-length carbon plate, the Alphafly Next% supplies optimal spring in each stride, heightening propulsion. 

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% in a nutshell

Who is it for? The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% is ideal for runners wanting to experience heightened pace with reliable support, grippy traction, and breathability. 

What is it for? Designed to last long in competitions, the Alphafly Next% is ideal for marathons and other longer-distanced races.

AlphaFly Next% vs. Vaporfly Next%

The AlphaFly Next% is not exactly the next generation of the Vaporfly as the latter was made for both short and long-distance races while the Alpha is specialized in marathons. This dictates some of the construction updates in the AlphaFly Next%:

  • A bit heavier: 8 oz (227g) over 6.6 oz (187g)
  • Lower drop: 4 mm over 8 mm
  • Added forefoot cushioning: two large Zoom Air pods maintain a springy ride on long distances
  • More side-to-side support: The platform is more flared out in the heel and forefoot, creating a larger base for a more stable ride
  • More breathability: Atomknit has a barely-there feel and absorbs no moisture.

How Air Zoom Alphafly Next% compares

This shoe: 91
All shoes average: 81
54 94
This shoe: £260
All shoes average: £120
£40 £330
This shoe: 227g
All shoes average: 270g
100g 437g
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.