When the Nike Zoom Fly was first launched, it was a very exciting shoe. Touted as a Vaporfly for the masses at a time when a Vaporfly was impossible to get hold of, this means that many runners chose the Zoom Fly as a high-quality, fast-paced training and racing option. However, this one-time innovative option has failed to keep pace with developments in the field, and the Zoom Fly 4 feels outdated.
The Zoom Fly 4 retains the same midsole setup as the Zoom Fly 3, with a huge stack of React foam and a carbon plate. This type of foam is reasonably durable and low-profile, and works well in shoes designed for easy training like the Pegasus 38 and Infinity Run.
However, when paired with a carbon plate as on the Zoom Fly 4, the ride gets a little stiffer, and the foam isn’t as dynamic as many others, like Nike’s ZoomX soft-and-spring, New Balance’s bouncy FuelCell or the PWRRUN PB foam Saucony uses in Endorphin Speed and Pro shoes.
The reaction foams are also fairly heavy. The Zoom Fly 4 weighs 289 grams in the UK 9, and while some of the heavier shoes feel lighter when running, that’s not the case here. You feel heavy when you run faster and the slightly dull ride on the midsole doesn’t help. It all adds up to a shoe that I didn’t really enjoy using for speed sessions, despite it being described as a quick training or even a racing shoe.
It didn’t shine on easy runs either, being a bit assertive. There’s also no real need to spend big on a painted shoe for easy running in my opinion, unless it’s a really versatile option that’s great for quick work.
The only time I really enjoyed running the Zoom Fly 4 was on long runs, when I wasn’t pushing the speed or slowing down completely either. Only then was I finally able to sync with the shoe and felt like I was getting some benefit from the board, as it helped me move at a good pace without feeling too much effort. There would probably be a case to say she would do well for longer races, particularly marathons, but there are plenty of shoes I’d rather be in – for any event.
Several brands offer speed training shoes with a platen in the midsole (Nike also has Tempo NEXT% in their range) and the Zoom Fly 4 really struggles to keep up.
Among these alternative options, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is the best. It offers a faster and more efficient ride than the Zoom Fly 4 and is more fun to use for easy running. The New Balance FuelCell TC is smoother and bouncier than the Zoom Fly, and faster, too. I’ve also found the Puma Deviate Nitro to be more enjoyable for quick work, although this shoe has a heel design problem: Like many runners, I’ve found that it rubs off rough leather in the long run.
For its part, Nike’s Tempo NEXT% is a lot more exciting and fast than the Zoom Fly 4, even if its high profile and combination of foam in the midsole feels a bit weird during your runs. Tempo NEXT% uses Nike’s ZoomX foam along with React in its midsole, and combining foams in the next Zoom Fly will be one of the things Nike can do to improve the shoe.
On a more positive note, I liked the new upper in the Zoom Fly 4. There’s a lot going on here with the mesh outer upper over the inner part of the shoe that fits the foot like a sock, but the result is a very comfortable and secure fit.
Despite this excellent upper design, the Zoom Fly 4 isn’t a shoe I’d recommend, unless you really like the Zoom Fly 3, in which case it’s pretty much the same with a better upper. If you’re looking for a fast-paced training and racing shoe, none of the above options outperform the Zoom Fly 4, and it doesn’t have the ability to work as well as a multi-jumper.
buy of sports shoes | £144.95