Wednesday, 15 November 2017

shoeporn: Nike - Zoom Fly

Nike's spectacular "Breaking2" event in early May 2017 around the Formula 1 racetrack Autodromo Nazionale Monza was the prominent and highly stagged kick-off for a new distinctive style of running shoes. After several years of development with their leading athletes, Nike used the paced PR-marathon stunt to launch their Zoom Fly and Zoom Fly 4% models to the hyped-up public. Along the way the aim was to run 42,195 kilometer under the magic 2 hour mark. I had the chance to give the "cheapest" and heaviest version of the product line a go - The Nike Zoom Fly.
While the 4% model was used by most of the elusive 30 pacemakers throughout the event in Monza, Italy, the actual shoe that was worn by the main runners Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese and Lelisa Desisa is a special version made for each indiviual foot. Until today this Zoom Fly Elite version is not available to the public but can be seen on several top road runners that are sponsored by the Oregon brand. 
Love it or hate it. The Swoosh is huge and grabs the attention. A signature style of the whole product line. You better judge yourself. I certainly like the unique and fresh approach.
The backside of the shoe has the classic design that is popular amongst many of Nikes racing shoes. Albeit the sole.  It is aerodynamically shaped to gain further advantage for each runners stride. Wired.com analyzed the recent NYC Marathon and found out that this shoe could be actually considered doping. You might check yourself - ARTICLE
This version of the Zoom Fly comes in four different colourways. I opted for the classic and simple Black, Anthracite and White. Some new color themes already got released and saw a wicked all-white version as well as a homage to the Chicago Marathon with a stylish Taupe Grey-style Zoom Fly. Knowing Nike, this won't be last special release. 
So what is the difference to the "bigger brother", the 4% version? It is the midsole, and that is the new kid on the block where Nike tries to set the standard. The shoe has a carbon infused nylon plate. This plate however is a little bit heavier then the one Nike uses in the 4% version. Nike claims that the pricier shoe is stiffer and lighter. While i can judge the lightness i don't feel that the Zoom Fly lacks stiffness.
The upper is feels great and has a comfortable and simple layout that i enjoyed a lot. The thin layer is engineered around a Flyknit like mesh material that helps to keep weight down. No overlays are used - i like!
Front End - Certainly the shoe is fun. I enjoyed the top speed range on the track and tempo runs and i also used it while running easy. The stiffness of the forefoot is there and makes this shoe a bit special until you get used to it. Once you "feel" the shoe you start to enjoy it and you can feel the spring-off that the sole delivers. 
Im a fan of thin tongues. The Zoom Fly does therefore know how to please me. 
Another shot that highlights the high, yes very high, back of the sole.

It is obvious that the new style of performance running shoe is an answer towards the cushioning trend that Hoka One One started a while ago. Nike intruded more cushioning and responded to the demand of their runners to have a more comfortable racing flat. The 10mm drop that the shoe offers is something that has only been witnessed with Hoka so far. 
Strategically placed rubber pads and a full forefeet piece of rubber are the characteristic of the Zoom Fly. This shoe clearly is made for road running. The sole has the traction you want and supports a fast stride.
After several miles in this new-style running shoe im pretty much sold. While Hoka introduced me to the cushion based side of running flats, the Zoom Fly takes it to another level. I enjoyed this shoe during a wide set of workouts and it is fun. The sensation is certainly unique but after you get used to it you will use it. After this test im looking forward top what is coming next and im eager to get my hands on the Elite version of that shoe. It seems that Nike managed to release yet another memorable shoe after years of unspectacular releases. 

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