Finally whittled down my backlog to this last shoe review! This time we are looking at the Nike Zoom Fly. This shoe has been with me for quite some time, since I received it at the end of November but only got around to using it throughout December and January during my self-proclaimed Nike Run Club holiday challenge.
Here are a few photos. Click through for full size:
Based on the website description of the Nike Zoom Fly, it’s designed to meet the demands of tempo runs, long runs, and race
day with responsive construction that turns the pressure of each stride into energy return for the next. It’s got a full-length carbon-infused nylon plate within the midsole, which helps with that energy return, enclosed in the Lunarlon cushioning that absorbs shock, provides stability, and keeps the shoe responsive without sacrificing comfort. The upper is a one-piece Fly mesh that keeps the shoe breathable as well as provides lightweight support. Flywire cables around the laces provide even more support when you tighten them.
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The Nike Zoom Fly is based off the concept shoe called the Zoom Vapor Fly Elite which was used in the Breaking 2 record effort (attempt to run 42 kilometers under two hours). Since the concept shoe isn’t available for retail, Nike spun it off into two models: the Zoom Vapor Fly 4% and the Zoom Fly.
The first time I took this shoe out, it was during a Nike Run Club session. We were challenged to set a goal and try to beat it. The goal I set was to run a 3K at six minutes per kilometer pace. When I used this shoe, it was so light and springy that I actually hit that pace and kept it throughout the run. Granted, the Nike Run Club pacers do a good job of motivating you to stay at the group’s pace, but the shoe helped.
I was actually supposed to try to get that 3K goal at the end of a four-week progression, but first session off the blocks I already checked the goal off, which led me to figure out a new goal: to follow the Nike Run Club app’s coaching program.
I used the Zoom Fly during each of those sessions and I so loved it because it was light and springy and obviously also stylish. However, that Nike Run Club session was the last one I did out on the road, because I was stuck on treadmills throughout Christmas and January.
I really found the Zoom Fly nice and soft but I could still feel the ground under my feet, helping me keep the efficiency of my stride. Personally, I don’t benefit beyond a certain amount of cushioning; I start landing heavier on the ground because I can’t feel the feedback.
This shoe is supposed to be Nike’s answer to the maximalist trend in running footwear, which is why the sole is thick from heel to toe. It’s got a heel-to-toe drop of 10mm, which is the average and I think helps with leg turnover because as your weight moves forward from heel to toe, the drop creates a rocking motion that kind of helps you on your way to pick your foot up. However, if you rotate these shoes with ones with a smaller drop (say, 8mm), you’ll definitely feel like you’re wearing elevators in the Zoom Fly.
With regard to whether or not I was heel striking more in these shoes because of the cushioning under the heel, I do tend to heel-strike at slower paces or when I’m tired and can’t keep up a high leg turnover, but heel-striking is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the foot lands under center of mass.
A lot of people I know feel it it’s a really great race day shoe and a really good shoe for tempo or speed runs. It is a very light shoe so I understand how this shoe would be ideal for those instances. During the time I tested the Zoom Fly, I wasn’t doing a lot of speed work or sprinting, but I was able to move around in it quite freely and the shoe never got in the way if I wanted to pick up the pace from 7 minutes per kilometer all the way up to 5 minutes per kilometer.
The Nike Zoom Fly is good to run in especially if you have a neutral foot, and you’re not a heavyset person who needs a lot of stability through the ankle and arches.
My main issue with the Zoom Fly is really how much it showed signs of use. Probably the one thing I was dismayed at on my first run with the Zoom Fly was how the outsole wrinkled from just that one 3K run. And it kept wrinkling the more I used the shoe — and this wasn’t just something that was a fluke from this particular pair because I’ve seen other people’s Zoom Fly shoes and they all have the same sole-wrinkling issue in the same areas.
I ran with this shoe on treadmills and there’s still a lot of wear on the tread, even on the inner part of the heel. I only ran in these shoes three times a week for two months at an average distance of five kilometers per session, but the creases on the soles make it look like I used them for marathon training. Mukhang laspag!
I like the ride of the Nike Zoom Fly, how it cushioned my feet but also didn’t deaden it to all sensation. I just didn’t like the way that it ended up creasing on the sole. But then again, I’m a little OC when it comes to cosmetic defects. The way the shoe performs on runs may outweigh that.
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Background Music: “Freedom” by Twisterium