The world’s fastest running shoe just got an update. Check out the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%2. Its predecessor, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, was first seen at the feet of Eliud Kipchoge, as he became the first man to run a marathon in 1:59. It caught the attention of runners around the world, as we wondered if the shoe had two carbon fiber plates or a mini-trampoline in the midsole to propel Kipchoge to his historic finish. The shoe had neither. Instead it had the single plate we’ve seen in most best carbon fiber running shoesas well as two Nike Zoom Air units and Nike’s responsive Zoom X midsole foam.
Specifications of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2
Widths: One width
While the first shoe was undeniably spectacular, for those of us not blessed with the lower leg strength of an athlete, it was a bit unstable, especially when running around corners. . With the second iteration of the shoe, Nike addressed these issues, trying to make it more stable underfoot for the everyday runner, not just the elite. But how does it compare to some of the best nike running shoes on the market? Read my full Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%2 review to find out.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 review: price and availability
Like the original Alphafly, the Alphafly Next%2 doesn’t come cheap. Sure, it’s designed for the everyday runner, but the everyday runner with a $275/£274.95 stash in their pocket for a running shoe. There are certainly more affordable options on the market, such as the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2or the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3.
The shoe is available in limited quantities in the UK from June 15, 2022 and in the US from July 2022. At launch, the shoe is only available in an all-white colourway, which Nike is calling the “colourway prototype”. The company has confirmed that the shoe will be released in other colors in the future. As of this writing, it’s extremely hard to get your hands on a pair of these great shoes, but as we saw with the first iteration of the shoe, they’ll likely be more widely available by the time we get there. in the fall marathon season. .
The shoe is available in unisex (men’s) sizes, from a UK 3.5 to a UK 14 (a US 4 to a US 15).
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 review: Design and fit
Out of the box, the Alphafly Next %2 looks a lot like the original Alphafly, with a few minor tweaks. The most noticeable change is to the midsole – there’s still a massive stack of Nike’s Zoom X midsole foam and two Zoom Air units, which sit under the ball of the foot, but in the second version of the shoe, there is also foam under these units. Nike says this is to provide more energy return and “provide a smooth transition from heel to forefoot as runners traverse through their stride.” I’ll cover the other settings below.
As for the fit, as mentioned, the shoe is available in “unisex” or men’s sizes. This could be because it’s a small release, and Nike may release women’s specific sizing in the future, but at the moment that’s not the case. In the original Alphafly I wore a UK 5, in the Alphafly Next %2 I wore a UK 5.5 to get the same fit, although this is probably due to the unisex sizing – none of the male runners I know of went up half a size in the new shoe.
Nike has slightly modified the super shoe’s upper, which now features an Atomknit 2.0 upper, designed to wrap around the foot. Nike claims the upper is “designed for forefoot containment, breathability above the toes, and comfortable cushioning under the laces.”
The shoe is really breathable and in testing I liked the knit padding under the laces which definitely added extra comfort on top of the foot. There’s also a good amount of padding around the collar of the shoe – in testing I didn’t have any hot spots or blistering issues. It is a comfortable and snug upper.
That said, it’s not an easy shoe to put on. I had to use the pull tabs to press my foot into the shoe.
As mentioned above, Nike has tweaked the midsole of the barely legal running shoe. The drop on the Alphafly Next %2 is 8mm, compared to the 4mm drop in the original Alphafly. What does that mean though?
The heel stack (the measurement from the floor to the top of the shoe’s insole) is already 40mm on the Alphafly, which is World Athletics’ limit. In fact, the Alphafly is the reason World Athletics introduced the new rules for stack height in race flats. In order to increase drop (the difference between the height of the shoe’s midsole in the heel and the height of the shoe’s midsole under the ball of the foot), Nike needed to eliminate 4mm of foam. This is probably why Nike played with the foam around the Zoom Air unit.
The second iteration of the shoe is also slightly wider at the heel, in an effort to increase the stability of the shoe. That said, a shoe with such a high stack height and bouncy midsole will never be as stable as some of the other popular running shoes on the market.
The outsole of the Alphafly Next%2 has also received a slight overhaul. Nike changed the pattern of the rubber and used a thinner material in an attempt to reduce the weight of the shoe (the second iteration is heavier than the first). There’s also a more dramatic midsole cutout, which shows more of the carbon fiber plate. It is still a road running shoe.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 review: performance
So how does all this leaky tech feel? Fans of the original Alphafly will be pleased to hear that the essence of the shoe is still the same – it still makes you feel like you’re flying and it’s still super responsive. I tested this shoe on a faster tempo run and a long run. I ran in the original Alphafly several times, timing my half marathon and my 10K PR in the super shoe.
Like its predecessor, the Alphafly Next%2 is not designed for easy or slower running. It’s almost clunky at slower speeds, as the carbon fiber plate naturally rocks you forward as you run, making it difficult to run slowly. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – you’re not buying this shoe for jogging in the park.
While I loved the original Alphafly, I had two issues with it – first, how unstable it was in corners. During a fast half marathon that involved locked out laps, I felt like I was going to tip over while turning in the shoe and this instability made me opt for the Vaporfly Next %2 over the distance of the marathon. Second, the shoe put a strain on my calves, which were in tatters the day after my run. I attribute this to the fact that the shoe was designed for an athlete, not a mere mortal like me, who tends to overpronate in the last few miles of a run.
In testing, I found the second version of the shoe solved these issues. It definitely feels a lot more stable underfoot, but it still struggles in super twisty corners. I wouldn’t wear it for a track race, for example. That said, most road marathons don’t require you to constantly twist, making this a great shoe choice for a quick 26.2 finish.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 Review: Verdict
For the masses, this is an improvement over the original Alphafly. It’s a joy to run, and if you could bottle and sell the feeling of flying in perfect conditions in this shoe, everyone would want to run a marathon in it. That said, it’s super expensive, and for many people, way too expensive to justify.
If you’re the latter, now’s a good time to invest in the original version of the shoe, which will likely go on sale after the Alphafly Next%2 launches. If you’re looking for a more affordable running shoe, take a look at the Nike Vaporfly Next%2the Asics Metaspeed Sky+ or the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2, all of which are bouncy and responsive running shoes.
Finally, if you are looking for an everyday running shoe, this one is definitely not worth spending your money on. Instead, opt for something more durable, like the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run 2, which has the same midsole foam as the Alphafly, but is designed for easy and comfortable training miles. But if you want one of the fastest shoes on the market, check out the Alphafly Next%2