Nike Zoom Fly review: The Breaking2 hype is completely worth it
It was in December 2016 when shoe maker Nike announced the Breaking2 project. What Nike wanted to achieve was to break the 2-hour barrier for marathon runs, which meant beating the current men’s world record time of 2:02:57 by as much as 3%. For this, Nike looked at a variety of aspects, including design aspects, how a shoe is engineered, what materials are used, with an attempt to improve even the smallest of elements. In May this year, the Breaking2 project came close to what it wanted to achieve—Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge finished an event at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza race track in Italy, in 2:00:25 on the clock, though this is not the official time International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has recorded.
And that brings us to the Nike Zoom Fly shoe. This is a shoe inspired by the technology that was developed at that time, particularly used in the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite footwear which was used at the event. Before the Zoom Fly came along, the Air Zoom Pegasus also took advantage of all the learning that Nike imbibed from the Breaking2 project thus far. The Zoom Fly is priced at Rs14,495 in India.
The Zoom Fly has a classy upper, which has a rather smooth texture finish, and the look isn’t entirely dissimilar from what we have seen in the Air Zoom Pegasus 34. You can take your pick from three colour options. There is the conventional Black/Anthracite/White option which is great for those who like darker shades on their running shoes. Then you have the Ice Blue/Bright Crimson/University Red/Blue Fox option which looks tremendous, thanks to the rather interesting sky blue-esque shade with a red insert. The final option, and this is for those who want to make an undeniable statement of style, is the Bright Crimson/Blue Fox/White/Black variant—you can simply say bright red too.
There are Flywire cables integrated with the lacing mechanism to give the foot a stable fit. The materials, though soft and completely non-abrasive, still feel very resilient. Slip your foot in, and it doesn’t take long to realize that the Zoom Fly is meant for maximum cushioning around the foot. There is good padding around the collar and the tongue too, the latter proving effective to keep your feet shielded from the lacing.
This isn’t the lightest shoe around, tipping the scales at 248 grams, but that is because of the full-length carbon-infused nylon plate—this runs the entire length of the shoe, beneath the foot. This is designed to generate a stiff springboard effect, which should provide that extra fillip for runners during the heel-to-toe transition movement. It also reduces the foot sink-in feeling. Initially, it takes a while to get to grips with the feedback the shoe is providing urging you to move forward. It does not, at any point, interfere in how your foot lifts off or lands, but has just that different feeling from under the foot which you’ll learn to like eventually. What this does provide is additional robustness, which would be useful if the running surface is less than perfect.
The Lunarlon mid-sole cushioning does well to absorb feedback from uneven surfaces but, critically, doesn’t completely muffle the sensation and you’ll know exactly how your foot is landing and gripping.
The Nike Zoom Fly has a 10mm heel-to-toe drop. There is a 33mm stack under the heel and a 23mm stack under the toe to provide additional protection against strain in the Achilles area, particularly on hard running surfaces. This means that once you wear these, you stand slightly higher from the ground than while wearing most other shoes. But this does pose a significant learning curve for some people, depending on what running shoe you have been using thus far. There will be a slight variation of the angle at which your foot is positioned, which leads to a sense that the angle at which your foot is landing is also changing slightly—this is something that you’ll eventually get used to after some running. The Zoom Fly has a medium-soft ride quality, because of the generous cushioning.
For a shoe that looks very much like some of its contemporaries, at least on the outside, there is a significant difference in how your foot gets treated on the inside. While there is nothing to say that you will not get used to the tweaks that Nike has made in the Zoom Fly, the high stack below the heel and the metal plate providing a stiffer feedback will take some time to get used to. That aside, this is a fantastic running shoe that has used the newest technology that Nike has. And there are no apprehensions about its ability to last long.
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