Which is Better: The Nike Alphafly Next% or the Nike Vaporfly Next%?

Since Nike came out with both, a question I’ve gotten a lot is Which is Better: The Nike Alphafly Next% or the Nike Vaporfly Next%?

Both are extremely good racing shoes. Both are probably at the top of the running shoe world. Why would Nike come out with two? Was the Next% not good enough?

It’s Nike’s most famous marathon racing shoe. But is the Alphafly Next% better?

Which is Better: The Nike Alphafly Next% or the Nike Vaporfly Next%?

As I wrote in the Vaporfly Next% 2 shoe review, Vaporfly Next% 2 is on the 3rd version. It’s lightweight, cushioned with a single carbon plate and a full-length ZoomX outsole. It’s a mere $250.

The Alphafly Next% also has a full-length carbon plate and a full-length ZoomX midsole. The difference is that it has large Zoom Air Pods in the forefoot, making it more responsive and heavier. These air pods top the shoe at $275.

Quick Facts:

  Nike Vaporfly Nike Alphafly
Weight: 6.6 oz 7.4 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 4 mm 8mm
Cost: $250 $275

So, Which is Better: The Nike Alphafly Next% or the Nike Vaporfly Next%?

As we know by now, it’s not a question of “which is better,” it’s “which is better for you.”

The Fit of the Nike Alphafly Next% or the Nike Vaporfly Next%:

Vaporfly Next% 2: The upper of the Vaporfly Next% 2 has Vaporfly Next% 2 a long way too. It’s now made of a breathable mesh that doesn’t absorb water. The midfoot is narrow, but it does fit fairly true to size. While the midfoot is more narrow, the Vaporfly does fit fairly true to size.

Alphafly Next%: What the Vaporfly does, the Alphafly does better. The upper of the Alphafly is made from “Atomknit,” which is more breathable. It fits more like a sock and is more accommodating for those with wider feet.

Nike Alphafly NEXT% Shoe Review

The Carbon Plate of the Nike Alphafly Next% and the Nike Vaporfly Next%:

Vaporfly Next% 2: The carbon plate of the Vaporfly is angled upwards but is not rounded. This means it gives you a forward tipping motion. It’s the only carbon-plated shoe designed in this way. The rest “roll you forward.”

The Alphafly Next% 2: The carbon plate in the Alphafly also uses a stiff carbon plate in its midsole. The difference is, the Alphafly is more rounded and instead feels like a rocker. Like many carbon-plated shoes, it feels like it’s rocking you forward, not tipping you.

The Sole of the Nike Alphafly Next% and the Nike Vaporfly Next%:

The midsole of the Vaporfly Next% 2: Features ZoomX, which is lighter and more bouncy. It makes it one of the highest carbon plated shoes out that still has cushion.

The midsole of the Alphafly Next%: Features ZoomX foam but also has the two Zoom Air pods in the forefoot. These pods add extra weight but also extra cushioning. It will feel heavier and bulkier.

Nike Alphafly NEXT% Shoe Review

Outsole of the Nike Alphafly Next% and the Nike Vaporfly Next%:

Vaporfly Next% 2: The outsole of the Vaporfly has come a long way. It’s thick and much more durable. However, it doesn’t have as much traction and slides around in inclement conditions.

Alphafly Next%: While the outsole of the Alphafly also uses thick rubber on the forefoot, it’s much softer and more flexible. This means it has better traction in inclement conditions but is less durable.

Bottom line: If you are looking for more durability, choose the Vaporfly. If you are looking for better in inclement conditions, choose the Alphafly.

Stability of the Nike Alphafly Next% and the Nike Vaporfly Next%:

The Nike Alphafly Next% has a wider forefoot and base. The wider base means it has more stability than the Vaporfly Next% 2. It is much easier to take sharp turns in the Vaporfly. The Vaprofly has no stability. If you are someone who definitely needs stability, the Vaporfly might not work for you.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 shoe review

Transitions from Heel to Toe of the Nike Alphafly Next% and the Nike Vaporfly Next%:

The Vaporfly roles more smoothly from heel to toe. This is because the Vaporfly has full ground contact, whereas the Alphafly ride sits above the ground. This means during the transition in the Alphafly, from heel to the toe skips the midfoot, and you go heel right to the toe. It might feel more choppy.

Which one is best for distance?

The Vaporfly Next% 2 is lighter and has less cushioning. This would make it better for most people in shorter distances from the 5k-full marathon. The Alphafly has more cushioning and would feel better for most in the marathon and even ultra marathon. You can see they both cross over around the marathon distance, and it would all come down to preference there.

So Which One is Best: ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 vs. Air Zoom Alphafly Next%?

There is no best shoe for anyone. The Vaporfly is better in shorter distances, whereas the Alphafly is slightly better in longer and ultra distances. The Vaporfly does have a smoother transition from heel to toe with a more durable outsole. The outsole of the Alphafly might feel clunkier, but it’s an overall flatter shoe better in inclement conditions.

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Questions for you:

Have you tried the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 vs. Air Zoom Alphafly Next%?

What is your favorite racing shoe?