Nike AlphaFly; 50 Miles in.
In October 2019, History was made as Kipchoge ran a sub 2 hour marathon. Cue all the drama that then unfolded, calling his feat "not worthy" because of "mechanical doping".
There were many things the critics are calling out about the event, rotating pacesetters, a car travelling at the correct speed beaming lasers down on where's best to run. The biggest of all? The Shoes on his feet.
At the time of writing this, the AlphaFly is over a year old, has been out for a while, and tailored to meet all requirements set by World Running Federations. Nike have a lot of power to get what they wanted done...
What's important is... I've got a pair (two actually, we won't go into it), and I've run 50 miles in them. Welcome to my initial review of the Nike AlphaFly (AF) Next%.
This is not my first experience with a carbon plated running shoe. I've had a run in with the Nike VaporFly (VF) Next%, AF's "little brother", but there's nothing "little brother" about it. This post won't be a comparison, that comes later, it's in the works - and I've got a lot to say about it.
The fit is good, wider at the forefoot, atom knit upper wraps around really securely... and if you've never run in Nike's ZoomX Foam, honestly... what are you doing. During warm ups there's one thing to easily notice. It's hard to run slow in this shoe. That's not a gimmick, the carbon plate does some decent propulsion at slower paces so it's quite difficult to hold anything sub 9;00 mile.
No Complaints. Again it's very hard for me not to talk about VF here, I couldn't walk in the VF. The AF? Solid shoe, wider sole, decent stack height, and good grip - I've used it in a varied terrain too actually, not just pavement pounding, and it's performed really well across the first 50 miles of use.
ZoomX foam is my new favourite thing ever. I thought React was good from Nike but ZoomX is something else. Apart from the carbon plate and ZoomPods, you do feel good feedback from ZoomX. That being said, this shoe is all about the plate and the unapologetic ZoomPods. This comes down to luck... Some zoompods will squeak. A Lot. Mine do. Music Helps.
The upper is made of this aforementioned atomknit. It's a very thin, stretched material that actual doesn't sound very supportive but holds your foot in super tight and secure. On a warm day, I see AtomKnit as a god send... I run in North Wales. It's not warm very often, and my feet get very cold... that being said, warm ups were designed for this.
This is Nike's most expensive and packed full of innovation running shoe to date. Anyone will tell you the shoes that Nike have created in the past few years labelled under the Next% "franchise" have revolutionised shoes and left competitors chasing them in the innovation department.
I've tested this shoe across shorter faster efforts, middle distances, and taken it up to around 10 miles. I'm hesitant with carbon plate shoes when it comes to 10+ miles because I'd experienced some pain with the VF - however, I can confidently say there's no pain with the AF in my experience.
Also... Personal Bests all over the shop. Carbon plates make no secret of it, they're there to get you records, and they do.
Well, 50 miles in and I'm not seeing much wear at all. This is huge for me and a big win for the AF. That being said, you will see that over time there's less "pop" coming from the plate and that's natural. I've seen some clock up over 400 miles on mixed terrain and note really good durability, so that's something to check in on the full review for!
As far a first impression goes, I'm quite chuffed. They're hugely beneficial on the faster paces, you feel the push they give you and you fully accept the claims of mechanical doping... and bask in the glow.