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Nike Zoom Fly 3 Review

My go to speed shoes

Review Scores

Comfort - 91%
Cost - 90%
Sizing - 93%
Support - 90%
Style - 86%

90%

My Score

A great introduction to the carbon plate era of running, a much more durable shoe compared to the high end models. Great for racing and speed sessions.

User Rating: 4.3 ( 1 votes)

I commented in my 4x4x48 Challenge report how I loved the Nike Zoom Fly 3 trainers, hand on my heart I think the design of these trainers helped me maintain my speed and protect my legs from tiredness, thus allowing me to complete my challenge. i am now on my second pair of the Fly3. I had a green pair that I wore that much I had worn then down to the carbon plate. My second pair I raced the podium 5K and Santa Dash in last year and now starting to wear the sole of the shoe down again. Will be getting a new pair soon, although rumors are there is a Zoom Fly 4 coming.

Product Description

Nike Zoom Fly 3 Running Shoes

Inspired by the Vaporfly, the Nike Zoom Fly 3 gives distance runners race-day comfort and durability. The propulsive power of a carbon fiber plate keeps you in the running mile after mile.

Vaporweave Upper

Vaporweave uppers will encase each foot in streamlined comfort. The engineered woven mesh is light and breathable to ensure a secure, comfortable fit at all times. The minimalist mesh sits close to the foot to ensure a dynamic, lightweight fit that’s ideal for racing whilst perforations within the fabric increase airflow, creating a better, healthier environment for your feet to thrive in. A bootie construction is designed for easy entry and exceptional comfort; removing the need for a tongue, it swathes your foot in lightweight support and a seamless, sock-like fit – shrinking the risk of rubbing and blisters, because we know how those can ruin your day. Additionally, an inner sleeve and low collar construction conform to the shape of your foot for a fit ideal for racing. An arch band has been attached to the lacing system to help take the pressure off your instep whilst still providing a locked-down supportive fit. The lacing system ensures midfoot support so you can enjoy distraction-free strides

React Midsole

A full-length platform of React cushioning resides underfoot to deliver feathery durability plus smooth responsiveness. To produce this startlingly lightweight and springy midsole, crafted from synthetic rubber, Nike listened to the voice of the athlete. Their in-house sports research lab plugged footstrike data into a proprietary algorithm that determined how much cushioning was needed where. They simulated testing on approximately one hundred possible shoe geometries to quickly determine the handful they knew would work best for most runners and then merged the science with an elegant design, intended to feel like a slipper on a mattress. The reactive nature of this clever midsole material means it absorbs impact and then expels it back out for a bounce-like effect. This energy-return technology reduces the use of superfluous muscle power, diminishing fatigue and enhancing performance, keeping you going for longer. Soft, generous and substantial, React will spare your joints as you strike down onto hard, unforgiving concrete and infuse every stride with the kind of zealous power that is often elusive in the running world. In addition, a distinctive, aerodynamic heel is designed to delay air separation and reduce drag, tapering to banish every barrier between you and your top speed. Embedded within the generous React platform, and complimenting its responsive nature, is a full-length carbon fibre plate. This plate is the same plate used in the Vaporfly 4% and is intended to minimise energy loss during toe bend without increasing demand on the calf. It springs up under your heel as you stride forward, yielding the snappy, propulsive sensation that converts into extra-energised strides. The plate is curved at the front, helping give the runner back some of the energy they put in at toe-off. It’s this fusion of two contrasting technologies – the React foam and the carbon plate – that results in the dynamic, power-infused Zoom Fly 3, one of the most efficient marathon and training shoes that Nike has ever sold.

Durable Rubber Outsole

Developed using a lightweight rubber outsole, the Zoom Fly 3 ensures extraordinary traction in varied conditions. The durable rubber provides a strong grip and works to protect itself from damage, and protect users from losing control and slipping. The rubber is placed on high wear areas such as the forefoot and heel to increase durability and resist the traumas of heel-strikes. Supplying you with a reliable and long-lasting running buddy. Flex grooves also feature on the outsole to enhance multi-surface traction ensuring confident footing whether you’re training or out for 10k. The Zoom Fly 3 is for athletes who crave a shoe that’s hard to run slow in, a shoe that allows you to maintain any given pace while using less energy, a shoe that delivers world-class performance. Lightweight and low-in profile Zoom Fly 3 ticks mile off with ease.

  • Vaporweave – Light and breathable construction.
  • Bootie Construction – Removes the need for a tongue to create a seamless, sock-like fit and easy entry.
  • Low Collar – Conforms to the shape of your foot.
  • Arch Band – Takes pressure off the instep.
  • Lacing System – Locks down the midfoot for a distraction-free fit.
  • React Midsole – Delivers lightweight, durable and responsive cushioning.
  • Aerodynamic Heel – Tapers to reduce drag, enabling you to go faster.
  • Carbon Fibre Plate – Creates a stiff platform of propulsion.
  • Rubber Forefoot and Heel – Increases traction and durability in high-wear areas.
  • Lengthwise Flex Grooves – Enhance multi-surface traction in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Weight – 250g (UK9).

Introduction

The Zoom Fly is the level below the Nike super shoes (aka the VaporFly and Next %). Just like the top-end models the Fly has evolved over the last few versions. The original Fly includes a plastic plate and Lunarlon foam. Then the next version the Flyknit changed to a carbon fibre plate and changed foam to React foam.

The 3rd version is one I’m now reviewing have seen a few changes but they are look very similar to the Nike Next%,  compared to the previous version Nike have made minor changes to the mindsole but they completely changed the outsole of the shoe, plus wrapped the foot into the new VaoprWeave material. The Fly 3 still has the carbon fiber player and react form

Impressions

In past I have run in race flats for my speed sessions or trainers with zero drop so when I unboxed thw Zoom Fly 3 I noticed  immediately drawn to how the shoe felt heavier in my hand than expected.  What I liked about these is I could comfortably get into a size 12 compared to other brands where I had to go to up to either a 12.5 or 13. I found there was a ton of room in the toe box which was vital for me.

As this was such a change from previous shoes I had worn at first they felt very different and heavy to run in. First, there is more React foam with a higher stack height of the shoe. This additional foam and stack of the Zoom Fly accounts for the added weight given that the upper seems to be lighter. Additionally the heel-toe offset was  8mm, In past I’ve had 4mm down to no drop. This was my first introduction into carbon plate shoes and I found the run responsive.

At first I found the carbon fiber plate made for a very rigid sole, especially in your hands. The outsole went from a similar model and build to the VaporFly 4% to that of the VaporFly Next%. A groove runs down the center of the foot from the middle of the foot to the heel which increases some, read very little, lateral flexibility.

There is a large built up rubber area in the mid and forefoot, as well as two small built up areas of rubber around the back of the heel. These rubber areas increase durability of the outsole and traction, especially when wet, compared to the previous models. The upper unit uses VaporWeave  which is an upper material made of plastics, specifically TPU and TPE. TPU is the material used in many running shoe companies premier foams.
The material is weaved in a breathable manner, incredibly lightweight, and does not absorb water or sweat.  I found out that VaporWeave is currently used in two running shoes for Nike, the Zoom Fly 3 and the Vaporfly Next% and it is used in two drastically different ways.

While the Next% uses the VaporWeave directly as a light upper, the Zoom Fly 3 includes the VaporWeave as a layer outside of an internal bootie made up of breathable mesh in the forefoot and a thick nylon in the midfoot. While this nylon area is actually comfortable on the foot it can feel very warm over the top of the foot, I found on my longer sessions that sometimes this cause rubbing on tops of my toes, which has resulted in a blister in the past.

Conclusion

If you are on a budget but wanting some of the performance of the super shoes then this ticks that box. While at first I could not justify paying £240 for a shoe I learnt if you can beat them join them and purchased a pair this past January, I have so far resisted in doing training runs in them and stuck to the Zoom Fly 3’s. I cant fault them as a shoe

Looking for performance on a budget? As a carbon plated racing option, the Zoom Fly 3 is a fantastic choice. It will feel firmer than other Nike models and lighter than the Hoka One One Carbon X. There is definitely a great POP that comes with running in the Zoom Fly 3. One of the major concerns with buying a Vaporfly 4% or Next% is the durability factor. The Zoom Fly 3 is by far the most durable of the options.

You can race in them, you can train in them. You can put some serious miles on the Zoom Fly 3 in a way that specifically the Vaporfly 4% could not.

Personally, I believe the Zoom Fly 3 is a great shoe for a couple of different scenarios, the Zoom Fly 3 can be a great racing shoe for anyone who either wants that firmer feeling.

From a performance standpoint the Zoom Fly 3 worked very well at a faster pace over a long distance. Long runs with some faster miles included and distance tempo runs all felt great. Slower easier miles don’t really work with the plate and caused some ‘hot-spots’ feelings as to be expected. And track workouts or short and fast distance can actually felt unstable due to the stack height (especially on a turn).

For record I purchased both my pairs of Zoom Fly 3’s from sportsshoes.com, you can purchased a pair for around £140

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