The Nike Zoom All Out Flyknit ($170), 10 oz/283 g in my US 8.5 size, is the most unusual and intriguing shoe I have run this year, and for that matter in a long time. It is stiff with a hard to bend single flex point but one that has an extremely dynamic, snappy almost violent spring back. It is on the heavier side at approximately 10.4 oz at US size 9 for what is clearly a performance trainer. It is quite firm but largely shock free with pace for perceived effort always faster than expected and heart rate lower, translating for me to good running economy. It is expensive at $170 and I suspect a concept shoe for more to come in this approachA low height version appears to be on the way.
The details according to Nike
Per Running Warehouse the stack is 31mm heel/21 mm forefoot
Air Zoom Unit Midsole
The Bottom Line to all the Benefits and Product Details is the 3/4 visible Zoom Air unit. It provides a consistent underfoot feel from heel to toe. The ride is definitely on the firm side but strangely shock and vibration free. The stability is impeccable from heel to toe on the road. I am a heel striker. I personally would not take them on trails as the disconnect between soft relatively unstructured upper and firm stiff under carriage could lead to ankle and especially front of the foot twisting as the upper foot rotates with no give below.
At first I thought no way a shoe this stiff will be possible to comfortably run. Out I went and no issues at all with the stiffness beyond a bit of toe soreness in the first miles. Then I discovered something...The All Out has a single flex point near the last lace hole. I only discovered it after flexing the shoe hard, very hard and low and behold there was a distinct spring like snap to the flex. I assume under load it is flexing and then returning energy at toe off but in a way that is not disconnected from an overall sense of a continuous smooth transition so it must happen fast very fast in the gait cycle. Over about 40 miles the flex has gotten easier so patience and some miles is advised.
The upper is Nike's Flyknit with Flywire cables integrated to the laces. They fit true to size with decent width but have relatively low volume over the toes requiring a lighter sock. The "mid cut collar" is aesthetically interesting but I could do with out it.
|LEFT Nike Zoom All Out Flyknit RIGHT: Nike Lunar Epic|
Getting rid of the high collar and using a conventional heel collar and achilles hold would improve the heel hold which, if adequate for me, is a bit to voluminous and wide towards the sock liner and a bit loose higher up where a normal heel collar would be. Rumor has it such a version is on the way soon as happened with the Lunar Epic.
The All Out is an unusual ride that is for sure. There is plenty of firm road feel with minimal shock transmitted. Pace is always faster than expected and heart rate lower for the perceived effort. Part of this perception may come from the efficiency of the platform: its firm effective cushion and rapid snappy energy return and part from the fact the Zoom Air dampens vibration and shock so completely without creating a pillow effect. The All Out ride is a big contrast to the Lunar Epic Flyknit's soft pillowy feel and easier flex. The stiffness upfront with the exception of some occasional mild toe sorenessreally isn't noticeable at any pace and likely under load they do flex with a resounding if not sensed due to muting of the Zoom unit gas and structure with a "snap" of energy. I am curious to race them at some point despite the weight. Most of my runs in them having been moderate tempo or slow, both equally handled. I am always surprised as the pace feels slower than actual in the All Out.
Conclusion and Recommendations
I have been very pleasantly surprised by the All Out,very. Of all the incredible midsole tech innovations of the last few years, including Boost, the Zoom Air unit here is right up there, maybe the best in terms of actual run economy results for me despite its weight and stiffness. They run faster than their weight and for me I believe with greater economy. A bit ponderous, a bit heavy, a bit stiff they none the less move right along very well indeed with fantastic unique energy return that is not of the flashy Boost kind but more the high pressure mountain bike piston shock kind, tuned to firm. I just plow along, happy as can be when I glance at my pace and heart rate. So, they are an acquired taste you have to believe in, and I believe.
Those requiring a stiff shoe due to toe and foot problems might find them a good solution. Durability should be excellent and should be for the price. I could take or leave the Flyknit upper preferring in general engineered mesh but for sure would keep the Flywire mid foot hold. It is effective and also importantly not noticeable as a mid foot saddle.
I am using them as a daily trainer for all paces and despite the weight intend to race them, starting with a 10K or a half. If only they were an ounce or two lighter, and a touch more flexible, they would be an incredible all around performance trainer and racer.
Lunar Epic Flyknit
The Lunar EpicFlyknit is 2 ounces lighter and has soft easy ride. While they share a mid height upper, Flyknit and Flywire they couldn't be more different. I distinctly prefer the firm, more stable shock free high energy return All Out to the mighty fine pillowy light as can be Epic's, and this despite its big weight penalty.
Both share technologies that through the structure of the midsole beyond the usual solid foam provide cushion and some energy return. Both are stiff but the Cloudsurfer and its Speedboard is stiff and in the way for me. The All Out is stiff and gives me something back with every stride. Prefer the All Out.
Score 9.65 to of 10
-0.1 for stiffness
-0.1 for weight
-0.05 for mid height upper not holding heel area as well as a normal heel counter could
-0.05 for fairly shallow toe box
-0.05 for price..
The Nike Zoom All Out is available from Running Warehouse.
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