The Nike Alphafly NEXT% is the fastest shoe in the running world. Although the legalities of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly are still questionable, it’s a legal road shoe (but the track versions are not legal). Anyway, if you are thinking of investing in a pair, you’ve probably made up your mind. The shoe basically sells itself.
I am usually a nonresponder to the carbon plate shoes. Maybe I’m bitter; I don’t know. I’ve written about how the Nike Next% was a cause of an injury for me. The first version, the 4%, was fine, but I never felt “so fast” in it. That’s just my experience, but I think it’s important to note because it’s not a perfect shoe for everyone.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Quick Stats:
Weight: 8 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 4 mm
A Brief History and Shoe Bans:
Before diving into the Nike Alphafly NEXT%, I think it’s important to talk about shoe bans. Shoes for the road must be under 40 mm stack height. The more foam, the faster and more spring-like a shoe can be. It isn’t just the carbon plate that makes a shoe fast, but it’s pairing it with a lot of foam to make the carbon plate act as a spring. Theoretically, a 50 stack height shoe might be faster, but it also might lead to more injuries. World Athletics decided no shoes over 40 mm are eligible for races.
Nike is deeply tied into World Athletics, and it might be a case of who was paid off to allow these shoes. Never the less, the shoe is legal. The same type of shoe is not legal on the track. So if you run in the Nike Alphafly NEXT% on the track and PR, should it count? I guess not according to World Athletics, but most of us aren’t running to win or break world records.
Ok, now to the Nike Alphafly NEXT% shoe review.
Nike Alphafly NEXT% Fit:
The Nike Alphafly NEXT% has a new upper similar to the flyknit but now called the Atomknit. The Atomknit upper is breathable but less like a sock-like the flyknit. It has more synthetic pieces and is lighter and more breathable.
This matters because it performs better in inclement conditions. The Atomknit in the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly is less likely to feel heavy and sloppy if you are running in torrential downpours, but also it’s breathable if you are running on a hot day. In all, the Nike Alphafly NEXT% is the best version yet. The best of the best.
As far as fit goes, like any racing shoe, the Nike Alphafly NEXT% will feel tighter. It has a snug midfoot but a roomier toebox. With no seams, you’ll find less rubbing. The heel of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly is also wider. This is the first year Nike has also had both men’s and women’s versions of their carbon plated shoe.
In running shoes, I usually wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide, and the Nike Alphafly NEXT% women’s size 11 is ideal for me. Keep in mind, if you have a wider foot at all, you probably won’t have the best fit. Both the Saucony Endorphin Pro and New Balance TC Elite carbon plated shoes are wider.
Nike Alphafly NEXT% Ride:
Chances are if you’ve made it this far, nothing I say about the ride of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly will change your mind. To say the least, the Nike Alphafly NEXT% has a unique ride. With the higher stack height, there is still a lot of responsiveness, and it can feel like running on a pillow. The harder you land, the more the shoe will act as a spring. So the faster you run, the more advantage you get out of the shoe. You can still run slow, and it will feel slow, but when you add more force is when the “magic happens.”
Unlike many of the carbon plated shoes, the Nike Alphafly NEXT% has a pop sensation. It has a smooth heel to toe roll with the carbon plated spring helping you forward. You wouldn’t get the drop is “only” 4 mm. It is heavy for a racing shoe, and you’ll definitely feel that weight.
If your form isn’t perfect or use a stable shoe, it’s only going to feel more pronounced in the Nike Alphafly NEXT%. This is where many runners (maybe including me) find themself injured.
I’ve run several times in the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly, and I haven’t noticed any major issues as I had in the previous version. I run faster, but it doesn’t magically make me in PR shape (no shoe will). It’s meant for workouts and races, and that’s it. One of my more favorite parts of running workouts is that because of the extra foam and cushion, you just recover faster. I’ve written about this before but the carbon plated shoes aren’t designed to run more than 50-100 miles. The Nike Alphafly NEXT% seems to be the most durable carbon plated shoe by Nike yet. Sure, you can still run in the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly, but you won’t get the same carbon plate advantage because the soft foam breaks down in them.
Nike Alphafly NEXT% Conclusion:
I hate to say it, but I find the Nike Alphafly NEXT% much better (for me) than the previous version. I haven’t Achilles pain like I did with the Next% (but also, I haven’t raced in it either). It is surprising how heavy they feel on your feet, though. If you want to pay $275 for a pair of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly to PR, then go for it. Only you can decide if it’s worth it to you. If I were anywhere close to PRing shape (or if California had races), I would probably race in the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly, but workouts are fine for now.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.
Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried a carbon plated shoe?
Have you tried the Nike Alphafly NEXT%?