Silke has taken the Zoom Fly 5 through its paces and here she gives a rundown of how it fares against the competitors.
Zoom Fly 5 – What’s it all about?
The Zoom Fly 5 is Nike’s training companion to their race options the Vaporfly and Alphafly. It comes with their super responsive ZoomX foam and a carbon fibre plate. Created to close the gap between your weekend training and race day, the Zoom Fly 5 is meant to offer comfort and stability with a propulsive sensation to make you feel fast and fresh after your run.
After a year and a half of being on the market, it’s time to see how the Zoom Fly 5 compares to its newer competition. These come equipped with squishier foam and even more propulsive rides. Who will come out on top?
Weight in Nike’s sample size: 314g (11.07 oz)
10 mm drop from heel to forefoot.
Soft, padded and holds firm
The step in feeling is soft and comfortable with enough room and padding where it is needed. Whilst, the tongue is not gusseted it stays where it belongs.
Furthermore, the upper is made with lightweight mesh for a softer, more breathable feel. However, it is not so breathable that it becomes unpleasantly cold as a winter training companion.
Does a super-foam always lead to a super feel?
Firstly, the biggest change from the Zoom Fly 4 is the implementation of Nike’s top foam, ZoomX, in the midsole.Furthermore, the fifth iteration of Nike’s Zoom Fly has become more stable with a much wider platform. Underfoot, the Carbon fibre plate delivers a propulsive sensation and a smooth transition The plate provides a sort of roll-forward feel that makes you want to take on the next step.
The increase of midsole and the ZoomX material leads to the expectation of a super squish and soft ride. On the other hand, we must note that the midsole foam does not completely consist of Zoom X , it is recycled, glued together parts of it and the Zoom X puck is encased in an EVA carrier foam named SAR2.
Overwhelmingly, this shoe does not want to be run at slow paces. If you do, the plate feels stiff and there is no benefit of the ZoomX here. In fact the Zoom Fly 5 feels heavy and not as propulsive as some daily training options or even the max cushioned trainers that flooded the running shoe market in 2023!
Not one for the rain
The outsole looks very grippy and there is really a lot of it underneath. However, looks can be deceiving. Once the weather gets wetter and the floor is slippery, the grip doesn’t live up to its looks. Running over wet manhole covers and drain grates can be quite the terrifying experience!
How does it fare against the competition?
Nike Zoom Fly 5 vs New Balance SC TRainer V2
Compared to New Balance’s plated, super-foamed goliath, the step in of the Zoom Fly is firmer. The New Balance has a much greater step in squish. In fact, when walking around in the shoe, I feel like Prof. Brainard discovering Flubber!
To my mind, the Zoom Fly 5 has a stronger forward propulsion at high paces. The more power you put through the shoe, the more you get back. Would I pick the Zoom Fly 5 over the SC Trainer v2 for long runs with changing paces up to 10k tempo? I guess not, the light under foot feeling makes your faster tempo efforts feel easier. The Zoom Fly 5 loses this battle in my opinion.
Nike Zoom Fly 5 vs New Balance Rebel V3
At the beginning of this year I used the Rebel V2 as a daily trainer, for tempo runs and even for longer runs (up to 20km). The Rebel V3 is a bit more stable but still a fun shoe to run with. Having run with Nike free models over a decade ago I love a nimble ride. But with weekly mileage rising I searched and found other tempo trainers that make my legs feel much better the day after a hard, long run.
Would I pick the Zoom Fly 5 over the Rebel V3 for shorter tempo sessions? I guess not, the lower weight and the flexibility wins over the stiff and heavy Nike model.
Nike Zoom Fly 5 vs Puma Deviate Nitro Elite 2
I haven’t used the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 for a while and in my mind they felt not only too low-stacked but also overly firm. In direct comparison to the Zoom Fly 5, they are lower to the ground but while in the shoe, the midsole is by far more pleasant under foot.
The fit of the Puma is a more narrow, racier fit. The tongue is thinner, not gusseted and the whole package is race oriented and less training-like. But if you state this as a drawback you are wrong. The Nitro Elite 2 is an enrichment to your shoe rotation. Would I pick the Zoom Fly 5 for sprint sessions on the track or for hill repeats? No I guess not, the Deviate Nitro Elite 2 does this so much better for me.
As seen during TRE for 2024 running companies promise softer, lighter, faster tempo running shoes. I will be looking forward to what Nike will do with their Zoom Fly series, because the latest iteration, the Zoom Fly 5, is not what most of the runners want for their tempo training. Take a much lighter or an even higher stacked rival, they all do it better.