Sunday, June 18, 2017

In Depth Nike Zoom Fly Four Tester Review: Supa Fly, Supa Dupa Fly

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li, and Dave Ames with Sam Winebaum 

Update: See our detailed first impressions review of  the Vapor Fly 4% Here

Editor's Note: We are thrilled to present this 4 way review of the Nike Zoom Fly. Our testers include Peter Stuart from Los Angeles, a "late" forties sub 3 hour marathoner, Derek Li from Singapore a 2:41 marathoner (PR just recently in the Zoom Fly, see below), Dave Ames a well known distance running coaching coach and sub 3 hour marathoner from Boston, and Sam Winebaum, Road Trail Run editor whose annual goal is a sub 1:40 half.

The Nike Zoom Fly ($150) is an 8.4 oz marathon racer/lightweight trainer with a 33mm. heeland a 23mm forefoot. Nike describes being "designed to meet the demands of your toughest tempo runs, long runs and race day with a responsive construction that turns the pressure of each stride into energy return for the next". It's got a full length carbon infused nylon plate and a Lunarlon mid sole. 
The hype is that it's a stiff shoe that provides both speedy propulsion and cushioning. So how does it roll? Is it bouncy? Yes. Is it stiff? Hell Yes. Do we like it? Read on to see. Warning, don't judge this shoe on the first half mile of running in it. It may take a while to break in. 

Not hype for Derek! Our reviewer Derek Li just set a marathon PR of 2:41.20 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 2nd.  
Derek Li finishes the 2017 Gold Coast Marathon with a PR in the Zoom Fly
Here is his report followed by our full review.

Derek: I just ran the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia in the Zoom Fly. This is a fairly flat race but with quite a lot of cambered stretches of tarmac along the way. After putting ~60 training miles (~30 at sub 6:30/mile pace) in the zoom fly, I decided to go with the zoom fly instead of my usual Lunaracer for the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia. I had previously done this race in 2013 in the Lunaracer3 and remembered the cambered roads causing some hots spots for me around the met-heads so this was something I was wary of going into this race. 

I actually did some marathon-pace efforts alternating between the Lunaracer4 and the Zoom Fly a week out from the race and eventually decided that I liked the transitioning of the Zoom Fly more and was willing to gamble with the 2oz weight penalty for a little more cushioning in the late miles.
I think the forward dip and roll of the Zoom Fly really came to the fore in the last 3 miles when I was starting to tire and was landing a bit more towards the heel. The high stack of this shoe really did a great job dampening the ground feel in the late stages whereas the lunaracer would start to feel like too little shoe at this point. 

I didn't really notice the weight penalty of the shoe even in the early stages when I was running 6:00 miles because the shoe is just so smooth once you get going. On the cambered sections, I did feel a little bit on pressure on the insides of my feet, but no more so than in the Lunaracer, and the high stack of the shoe did not cause any issues of instability either. I did run a wider line a few times to get to less cambered sections at times just so the gait felt smoother. 

Post-race, my feet really ached and I had to undo the laces in both feet to let them breathe a little, but my thighs and glutes were less sore than usual which is always a promising sign. (It would take 24 hours for my feet to stop aching, and I've since done a 6 miler at 7:15/mile pace 72hrs post race so recovery has been quick and good) Overall, I came away with a 41s PB at this race so I can't complain. If anything, I'm even more excited to use the Vaporfly 4% at my next race.  Read Derek's full race report at his Running Commentary blog here

Upper and Fit:
Dave: I generally wear a size 9 in everything I log my mileage in.  I like a snug, locked in fit no matter if it's a trainer or a racer.  The Nike Zoom Fly is just that.  From immediate step in feel, the Zoom Fly wraps my narrow foot like a glove.  I instantly fell in love with the fit.  The upper molds like any good running shoe in my mind, should, wrapping perfectly around my arch, while leaving enough room in the toe box for my toes to splay.  Heels were perfect.  No issues with the heel counter being too firm, which with me can cause some bruising and calcium buildups.  Being a former Skechers Performance sales guy, I can compare the upper and fit to the Go Run 5.

Derek: I sized up a half size based on Sam’s initial impressions (see RTR article here)  to a US10. For reference, I wear a US10 for the Lunaracer/Streak 6, and US9.5 for the Pegasus 33. With thin socks, the US10 gives me just a little over one thumb’s breadth spacing in this shoe, which is fine for a trainer but I think I would probably go true to size if I were to use it as a long distance racer. At 248g for a US10, it’s a little over the upper limit of what I would consider for a marathon flat, but the ride is just so unique that I am sure many would not hesitate to use it as such, if they could not find it in themselves to pony up for the Vaporfly 4%. 

The Flymesh upper is composed of two very thin mesh layers sliding over each other, with the flywires embedded between the two layers on either side of the midfoot. It is actually thinner and more ventilated than it looks in photos. In terms of thickness, it seems closest to the Zoom Elite 9. Similarly, the heel cup is not as rigid as I expected based on the pics, and does not extend as high up towards the heel collar as it suggests from photos; this was a nice surprise as I do not enjoy having very rigid heel support in uptempo shoes. 

The tongue seems to have the asymmetrical appearance seen previously in the Zoom Streak LT3, and which I really liked because the bifurcation of the flap sat nicely on foot’s tibialis anterior tendon and that helped to “seat” the tongue and prevent it from being displaced during a run. 

In terms of overall fit, I find it to be just the right width and volume in the arch and toebox, but with perhaps just a little too much volume for me at the heel. With the laces fully snug, I still feel a bit of heel slippage at faster paces. This is likely just a matter of personal preference, but I felt the heel volume in the Streak 6 to be perfect for my feet, though I know some people find it quite narrow. This is first flywire upper that I can lace up fairly snugly, without causing any hot spots or arch discomfort, so no major complaints there.

Sam: I was sized a half size up and fit is just right for me with cushion socks. With thinner socks, or if I used them as race focused shoe, I would go true to size. Overall fit is excellent, well held for such a thin upper over such a high stack shoe.
The toe box is wide open with no overlays beyond the Swoosh. The only toe bumper stiffener is the black rubber tab up front.
Peter: True to size for me. The upper wraps the foot really well, has room in the toe-box and I agree with Derek that the flywire works really well in this shoe. There's no slippage and the shoe feels like part of my foot. The only issue I have, depending on what socks I wear, is the height of the arch collar at the achilles. Wearing a no-show sock led to some pretty bad irritation on the achilles. It's a firm collar and rises up kind of high. That said, with socks that go a little higher there's no problem. The tongue, while super thin, does a good job of staying in place and I didn't encounter any pressure spots on top of the foot.

Midsole and Outsole:
Derek: On first wearing the shoe, I noticed a subtle bump just around the level of the met-heads and a quick dip and roll forward, as I lean forward from my heels towards my toes. I have previously experience this with shoes that sported a more pronounced forefoot rocker, e.g. MBT Speed, and less so with shoes like the Zante, which sports a graduated softness gradient from heel to forefoot. 
Derek: The outsole rubber appears to be fairly thin and flexible, and I have already generated a little bit of wear at the forefoot after only ~25 miles, so I don’t expect this shoe to be a mileage hog, which is a shame given its price point, but I accept that there are trade-offs to be made in these instances. The rubber is quite tacky, and seems to offer sufficient grip for road use, but given the wear rate, I would be wary of taking it off-road.

Sam: The midsole is Nike's Lunarlon foam with of course that embedded full length carbon infused nylon plate. The cushioning is outstanding, particularly in the forefoot where they truly have that "maximalist" cushioning comfort feeling sitting somewhere between a Hoka Clayton and Hoka Clifton but with less mush and more stability than the Clifton from the full coverage outsole rubber up front and a touch softer than the Clayton. I really full coverage forefoot rubber and the Zoom Fly's is for sure full coverage.

Sam: The heel has a narrow pointed footprint on the ground at the very rear from of course that now famous "aerodynamic" pointed shape which I reckon is really more about reducing weight...

It's not a particularly narrow heel over all, certainly wider than the Zoom Streak 6, but it tapers at the far rear sides. While the cushioning is fantastic at the heel, as a heel striker I wish for some more width back there, a more rounded less pointy far back of the outsole for landing stability. Elites and mid foot strikers will have less of an issue but for me the stack is high and the landing ends up narrow and a touch unstable at slower paces. I did find that expect for a touch of calf and achilles soreness my legs were remarkably fresh after shorter up tempo runs.

Peter: The midsole, made of Lunarlon, is not as soft as other lunar Nikes shoes. I'm guessing the plastic carbon infused plate takes the softness out of the shoe. The stack heights are high, but the ride is pretty firm. There's cushioning under the forefoot, but it's not in the least bit mushy. The outsole rubber has a surprising amount of traction (on all surfaces wet and dry) considering it's pretty smooth. The forefoot does tend to pick up some tiny little rocks, but nothing like the Lunar Epic.

Dave: The Lunarlon foam in the midsole is totally on point!  I used this shoe for a variety of work over the past week, including a 2 mile warm up, 5 miles Progression (6:10, 6:00, 5:45. 5:35, 5:30) and 2 mile cooldown, in which this shoe really began to show its true colors.  Plain and simple, it's freaking fast. Very Fast.  The forefoot cush, through the help of the carbon infused plate keeps mile after mile smooth.  I am coming off some down months from my past marathon (injured going into it) and even at cranked up pace, my stride was never out of control.  I did not have to search for the perfect landing.  At higher speeds in the Fly, if you get lazy, the shoe will remind you where your foot strike should be.  The Lunarlon foam kept my legs, fresh....never feeling beat up.
I do not see any signs of wear and tear on the Zoom Fly after a solid week of training.  I ran in all conditions including, high heat, humidity, road, gravel and some finely mowed grass.  The full coverage of rubber on the forefoot did not slip, even on the most humid mornings.

Derek: Running in them took a few minutes to get used to; the ride is unlike anything else on the market, and it is what I imagined an Altra Torin with a traditional drop would feel like. I do not notice the forefoot dip as much once I start running, but it is very obvious that the forefoot feels softer and bouncier than the heel and midfoot in this shoe (because of the proximity of the plate). Even though the shoe itself is fairly rigid, the relative softness in the forefoot allows my toes to bend a bit at the metatarsophalangeal joints and that gives the shoe a fairly natural feeling toe off. Landing on the heel or square on the midfoot feels more like a traditional shoe, but overall the road feel is significantly dampened, compared to pretty every other shoe in this weight category. It actually feels like a Pegasus 33 on heel and midfoot strike to me.

Dave: This is where the shoe gets a tad tricky.  The Zoom Fly is meant to go fast.  My only issues with the shoe are that I found a hard time on recovery days and easy long runs, staying smooth.  Even as a natural running teacher, I consistently had to continue to check my gait at slower paces of 7:30/7:45 per mile, making sure I was landing correctly and transitioning nicely from heel strike to toe off.  Note: I am a slight heel striker and supinator and have many years of low drop shoes in me, including Skechers M Strike Technology.  The 10mm drop in the Fly could have played a bit in this for me, when training slower.  After a few runs, I began to figure the Fly out a bit more.

When going fast, this shoe is smooth like buttah!  Even at higher stacks, which I am totally not used to, it provides plenty of cush, serious snap, and a quick transition rate from heel to toe.

Sam: The ride is cushioned, vibration absorbing yet at the same time firm. Stability is fantastic up front less so for me at the heel when run slow. That heel midsole outsole taper is not as friendly to slower paces. The ride is smooth and very fluid at moderately fast tempos, i.e. marathon paces but I found it harder at faster tempos, half or 10K paces, between 7 and 8 minute miles for me. I struggled to roll off the front of the shoe, up and away at those paces. This is likely due to my poor knee drive and lack of strength. This is not a shoe for shuffling along!

Peter: Firm, snappy and just enough cushioning. Over long miles I'm finding a bit of forefoot fatigue--perhaps due the stiff plasti-carbon plate.  The Zoom Fly does roll through to toe-off really easily and is a really enjoyable ride overall. I find them to be best at Marathon Pace +/- 30 seconds. They want to run at tempo and feel really good doing so. I don't find them to be terrific when I push to HMP or faster. 


Dave: I had some seriously epic runs in this shoe.  I'm also extremely critical with the way a shoe works with my foot.  It's very, very nice.  After finally figuring out the higher stacks and running some slower miles in it, I think I have it nailed down.  It's important to understand that the Zoom Fly can be for any type of runner.  Do not let the Fly fool you that it is for elites, only (I'm so washed up!) It will help you get the forward lean you are looking for in your stride.  Heel strikers will especially notice that even with all of the forward propulsion, the protection in the heel is there, but maybe Nike could add a tad more?  I know Sam was looking for a bit more back there and he may be right.  All in all, I'd add this to my rotation, any day.  (Saucony Ride 10, Go Meb Razor, Go Meb Speed 4, Zoom Elite 9)

Derek: The ride is extremely smooth with a wickedly fast transition once you figure out the sweet spot for landing and rolling through the shoe. For me, it’s almost Clifton-like with a Zante transition. The forefoot cushioning and bounce is right up there with the Altra Torin and Hoka Huaka for me. The shoe feels best at slightly uptempo paces. At slower paces, I find myself instinctively landing more forefoot to take advantage of the softer cushioning. 

Sam: Nike is, pardoning the pun, breaking new ground with the Zoom Fly and its cousins. Taking a cue from Hoka, it is combining light weight with outstanding cushion.  It has a unique ride and a promising one.  By using the stiff plate, Nike not only stabilizes all that light foam and superb light upper but they are pioneering a new and radical underfoot geometry for what one might call "gait management", to maximize running economy,  a key part of the strategy for Nike's Breaking 2 project.
Dynamic, generally well mannered, light, and protective it deserves a close look as a race shoe by those whose race goals are in my view  sub 1:37 for a half marathon, have some strength and drive or as a faster days trainer for most all runners.  It does not seem to be as effective as a slower paces trainer for heel strikers such as me due to the pointed heel geometry and some difficulty rolling off the heel and also not as of yet for me at my sub marathon race paces rolling up and way off the front. It comfortably fits in at about my marathon pace which is kind of neat given the goal for the shoe.
As a slower older runner (about 1:40 half) the Zoom Fly has worked well for me as a faster trainer but given its weight, combined with difficulty getting it up to race paces I think I need to run them so more to find the groove, work on my core strength and speed or go all in for the Vaporfly 4% which my sense after my Boston Marathon hotel lobby jog is clearly much lighter and seemed to have a more pronounced fall forward effect which I think would help me at those race paces.

Peter: I'm not sure I'd classify the Zoom Fly as a race shoe. For me it's an uptempo daily trainer. I know that might be splitting hairs, but it doesn't have the same speedy snap of the Zoom Streak 6. It will be interesting to see how the Vapor Fly fits in to the equation. I do like the Zoom Fly. I just got back from 15 miles in them and they were a delight for most of the run. They flow through toe-off nicely, fit well and provide a pretty excellent balance of firmness and cushion. 

Derek's Score 9.3/10
-0.2 for durability (considering the price point)
-0.5 for weight 
Dave's Score 9.5/10 
-.5 for Ride at slower speeds
Sam's Score: 9.4/10
-.3 for narrow, unstable landing at slower paces from the pointed rear heel geometry
-.3 for difficulty to roll past the plate at faster paces
Peter's Score 9/10
-.5 for high ankle collar, causes some irritation
-.25 for forefoot fatigue perhaps caused by plate
-.25 for some early signs of compression in the cushioning, perhaps indicating durability issues.


Nike Vaporfly 4% (available July)
The Zoom Fly is part of Nike's Breaking2 project line. It differs from the upcoming July release Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250), see our try on preview at the Boston Marathon here, in the following ways:
  • weighs significantly more but a still svelte 8.35 oz vs the 4% at an amazing 6.5 oz
  • substitutes a carbon injected nylon inner plate for a pure carbon one,
  • uses Lunarlon foam instead of the 4%'s  Zoom X Pebax foam which is claimed to have 13% better energy return than standard EVA and weighs 2/3 less,
  • has 2-3 mm more front and heel midsole stack, 
  • has a similar upper but one with Flywire instead of the more conventional lace up of the 4% and with a substantial heel counter where the 4% has none but does have a medial overlay (see below),

LEFT to RIGHT: Pegasus 34, Zoom Fly, Zoom Streak 6, Zoom Elite 9
Nike Zoom Elite 9 (RTR review)

Dave: They are both fast.  However, after a while in the Elite 9, I began to feel a bit beat up.  The Fly allows me to have a bit more underfoot.  I like that.  I also felt much more snap in the Fly and a far better transition rate from heel to toe.  I realize I can take the Fly up to the Marathon Distance, whereas the Elite 9, I would keep in the Half Marathon range.  

Peter: Just reading Dave's reaction. I have the opposite take. I did a long run in the Elite 9 last week and felt totally refreshed afterwards, did a long run today in the Fly and felt a bit beat up in the forefoot. I think it's nice to have the zoom air pod in the forefoot of the Elite 9. I also feel like I can push the Elite 9 a little faster. That said, side-by-side (one on each foot) it does feel like the Fly rolls more easily through the gait cycle. 

Nike Zoom Streak 6 (RTR review)
Dave: I am a huge fan of the Streak 6.  A solid tempo shoe, track work shoe and as we all know, race day shoe.  I rotate the Streak 6 with my Go Meb Speed 4.  The only thing I can gain by using the Fly is more everyday mileage (now that I have it figured out) and the ability to run longer in it.
LEFT to RIGHT: Pegasus 34, Zoom Fly, Zoom Streak 6, Zoom Elite 9
Sam: The Streak is a 10K race max shoe for me while I certainly can go longer but slower in the Zoom Fly. They both share a firm narrow heel landing but the Zoom Fly attenuates the shock far better at the heel and overall. Ironic that the Streak 6, with its firm somewhat harsh but responsive ride, was Nike's 2016 flagship race shoe and this year the super cushioned Zoom Fly and Vaporfly is likely to be the goto race shoe for many faster racers including the 2017 winners of the Boston Marathon.

Peter: LOVE the Streak 6. Definitely still my choice for everything up to a half. Would definitely take the Zoom Fly over the Streak for a marathon. More cushion, fast transition. They're both great shoes, but the Streak 6 feels more like a race shoe to me.

Hoka Huaka/Clayton (RTR review Clayton 2)
Derek: The Zoom Fly feels most like a Huaka in the forefoot, very bouncy but with a little more give in the foam, whereas the heel feels more stable like a Clayton. Overall in terms of vibration dampening, it beats both of these Hokas hands down though. If you ever wondered how the Huaka would fare if it weren’t a zero drop shoe, then the Zoom Fly would come pretty close. The only difference is the Zoom Fly is overall a stiffer shoe than both Hokas, courtesy of its carbon-infused plate.

Dave: Anyone who knows me knows I am not a Hoka fan, by any means.  However, as in anything, like in my profession of coaching, in order to understand your topic of interest you need to study what you agree with and what you don't.  I've logged some Clayton miles.  It's not a bad shoe at all.  However, the Fly just fits my foot better.  The uppers are not even in the same league, as the Fly is just beautifully constructed.  As far as the ride, the Fly is just built to be smoother for my stride.  I never got much out of the rocker system in the Clayton, a lot due to the fact that my foot was always swimming in it.  The snug race like fit of the Fly helped me find level landing much better.

Sam: The Clayton is a more versatile shoe for me. It has an outstanding wide heel landing, some forefoot flexibility and a nice responsive bounce from RMAT outsole under firmer EVA. It's upper just doesn't compare to the Zoom Fly and overall the ride is not as elegantly smooth or even as well cushioned. The Clayton I would take for all daily training and longer races at all paces the Zoom Fly has a narrower utility for me.

Zoom Fly vs Skechers Performance Go Meb Speed 4 
Dave: If we want to talk fast, then the Meb Speed 4 needs to be in that convo.  The snap in the Fly and Speed 4 are very similar (even at completely different stacks) In fact, I almost had to double check on my Progression run the other day and see which shoes were on my feet.  They both boast a big time quickness in heel to toe transition rate.  Toe box on the Meb Speed 4 is much wider.

Zoom Fly vs. ASICS Noosa FF
Derek: The Noosa FF isn’t a shoe that pure runners would think of to try, but ASICS did a very good job with this shoe, and the forefoot softness and bounce of this shoe at uptempo paces comes pretty close to the Zoom Fly. The main difference is the heel which is on the firmer side compared to the Fly. The Fly transitions faster and smoother, with a rockered feel at the front, but the Noosa is the lighter shoe. Both have very good vibration dampening properties, although the Zoom Fly is just a bit better in this regard. Both are pretty close in terms of price-point. I think for people who find the Fly a little too soft up front, the Noosa would be a very viable alternative. The Noosa also seems to be the more durable shoe, as after nearly 250 miles, I have seen hardly any outsole wear.

Zoom Fly vs. adidas adizero Boost 3
Sam: This is the world marathon record comparison. The adios Boost currently holds the official world record while the elite version of the Zoom Fly, the Vaporfly Elite, holds the fastest un official marathon time. The adios retails for about the same price as the Zoom Fly and weighs a bit less. While the Zoom Fly has more cushioning for sure its unusual and stiff geometry is not as easy for me to run as the adios is at all paces and is, at least for me so far, also not the speedster for sub marathon races the adios is. Zoom Fly seems to be most appropriate for me as an uptempo shoe something the adios also excels at but with easier in the legs cushion in the Fly. 

Zoom Fly vs. Skechers GO Meb Razor (RTR Review)
Peter: Surprisingly when you run in these two shoes side-by-side they are VERY similar feeling. The Razor has a slightly softer ride and, lacking a plate, is a little more flexible. For long miles I might choose the Razor over the Zoom Fly. They're both terrific shoes.

Reviewer Bios
Dave Ames is the Founder and Head Coach of Ame For It Run Coaching, a nationwide run coaching business, training athletes of all ability levels from 5K to Marathon.  A formally competitive runner in High School and College, Dave focuses the majority of his time now on his athletes, but maintains the love for running and racing by keeping sub 3 Marathon, fit.  His previous work in the run specialty industry consisted of managing multiple run shops across the US, then switching over to the Corporate wholesale side, most recently via Newton Running and Skechers Performance.  Dave can be found on Instagram @ameforitruncoaching and his website

Derek Li is a family physician by profession, and has been running marathons for the past four years. He started running for triathlon training in 2003, and now focuses purely on running in a bid to run all the Marathon Majors. In his free time, he likes to review running shoes and related products at his blog Running Commentary.

Peter Stuart. My running career got off to a slow start…in high school I was told I ran like a race walker and was thus relegated to race walking on the track team. I got back into running about 15 years ago and then into triathlon. Triathlon really rekindled my love for running, so about two years ago I hired a coach and really focused on the half and full marathons.  I broke a bad habit of putting in tons of moderately hard miles (and no easy or hard ones) and after plateauing at 3:25 (with some disastrous marathons in there), this past year I brought my marathon under 3:00 and my half under 1:25. Along the way I’ve developed a bit of a shoe problem.

For a superb initial review of the Zoom Fly from the perspective of a Dr. of Physical Therapy and also a fast runner see Matt Klein's initial review of the Zoom Fly here

2 pairs of the Zoom Fly were provided at no cost, one was purchased. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Photo Credits: Derek Li, Peter Stuart, Sam Winebaum
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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Jamie R said...

Where did you find those colors of the Adios Boost 3's? I have a lighter teal version, but that color you have is awesome!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Jamie it is a great color way the #AktivAgainstCancer color way. adidas sent them to me and I too am having problems finding them in stores. Will inquire.

Anonymous said...

Derek, congrats on a new PR. Do you have a sense of whether the Zoom Fly has helped you run more efficiently? You mentioned that your thighs and glutes were less sore than normal. Did you feel like you fresher at the end of the run? Was your heart rate lower than it was when you set your last PR? I noticed that my HR was a little lower running in the Zoom Fly than the Zoom Streak 6 or Adios Boost, while running a little faster.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
I am posting Derek's reply to your comment below:
I felt that zoom fly transitions better at pace than any other shoe I own, and this combined with the high stack, was why I chose it as a marathon flat over my usual Lunaracer. I did NOT however, notice that my heart rate was lower with this shoe than with other racers, so it could be that whatever efficiency gains were not big enough to be seen from a heart rate point of view.
As for feeling fresher, it's hard to say if it's due to the shoes. Generally as long as I don't blow up too badly I tend to feel quite good after a cool weather marathon. My thighs felt fresher than in previous cool weather marathons, but my feet ached quite badly, to the point I had to undo the laces and remove all the tension before exiting the finish area. However my feet did not hurt at all during the run. This was unusual for me as they never ached post run in my tempo or speed sessions leading up to the race.
I did not use HR until Nov 2016 so I can't speak for my HR at my last PR but here's a data point for comparison:
Jan 2017 Dubai Marathon 70degF 2:45-high aveHR 168, maxHR188 (Lunaracer 4)
July 2017 Gold Coast Marathon 60-65degF 2:41 aveHR 169, maxHR180
I think at the end when I was sprinting as hard as I could my HR was significantly lower than with the Lunaracer. Could be a combination of weather and the shoes but the average HR was similar enough.

Josh said...

Thanks for your response. I had a chance to run in the Vaporfly 4% this morning and it was very different feeling than the Zoom Fly. The Zoom Fly has a firm but cushioned feel. The Vaporfly has a softer and very bouncy feel compared to the Zoom Fly. It feels like a big, fat slab of Boost foam like in the Supernova except that the Vaporfly is super light compared to Boost. I don't feel the plate as much in the Vaporfly compared to the Zoom Fly, probably because you just feel the bouncy foam.

I ran significantly faster in the Vaporfly than the Zoom Fly. I was 15 seconds faster per mile with the Vaporfly. My heart rate was about the same 154. My stride length was 6% longer, my steps per minute decreased by 1.25% and my ground contact time increased by 5%, which is attributable to the foam compressing before returning a lot of energy. You really feel the foam compress a lot compared to the Zoom Fly. It doesn't have the firm feel of most racing shoes but it seems to work.

The only negative is that I could feel something pressing against my arch - kind of like the strap in the Zoom Streak 6. Except that I don't notice it in the Zoom Streak when I start running and I noticed it in the Vaporfly throughout the run. Hopefully, it goes away after it breaks in.

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks for writing Josh! I ran mine yesterday and concur 100% with your analysis. I too found my cadence slightly reduced for the pace I was running at. While likely a placebo effect I ran significantly faster for my loop for perceived effort. About the same 15 seconds per mile at 8:17 pace for 4 miles at 6800 foot altitude and temp 87F I also found that I seemed to turn over faster maybe the effect of depressing the foam then hitting the plate. I will be publishing a first impressions article this weekend. Would you mind contacting me via the Contact Form down a ways on the right side of each page? Liked your analysis a lot.
Sam. Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated.

Michael said...

I am looking for a new road show, and have been debating between the upcoming Salomon offerings, the Nike Zoom Fly, and the VaporFly 4%.

I am looking for a do everything shoe, training and racing.

Would you suggest the Zoom Fly as the VaporFly is pure racer? And then when I save my money invest in the VaporFly.

I'm welcome to all thoughts and suggestions.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Michael, what kind of mileage per week, pace, and races do you do? What kind of shoes work for you now? Yes, Salomon RA Sonic or RA Sonic Pro would be good choices. Also look at Zealot ISO 3 as well. You might also consider upcoming Skechers Meb Razor 2 or Ride 7 as well as Boston 6 While Vapor Fly is a pure racer it is also more forgiving on the legs far smoother than Zoom Fly but save it for races. See articles on all of the above and many others below
Sam. Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run!
See our page with links to all reviews here: and Spring 2018 Previews here:
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Michael said...

Hi Sam,

I'm putting in around 65 miles per week. I'm running ~18:20 5Ks. Daily easy runs around 7:30. Races from 5k to half marathon.

Road Shoe I'm using: Sonic Pro 2, but find them a little slappy and slippery.
Trail: Sense Ultra

You don't seem very high on the Zoom Fly?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Michael, Thanks for your reply with more info and thanks for more info on your running. Given your paces and mileage I think the Zoom Fly is definitely worth a try for you. My only concern might in their use as a daily trainer if your push off doesn't take to the stiff plate. Also you will likely need Shoe Goo as the outsole is not super thick. They will have plenty of cushion. Another to consider given your pace and mileage is the Hoka Clayton 2 very light, stable and cushioned although some have had arch blisters or irritation (me when new as they are stiff and insole is thin and needs swapping out) or better yet its successor in early 2018 the Mach or the Cavu, a little firmer and more agile for me Review soon on Mach and Cavu but here are some first impressions of both here
Finally given your pace and preference for firmer faster shoes the Mizuno Wave Shadow and Asics Roadhawk FF, both firm and with plenty of outsole rubber with reviews at the index page.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...


I just wanted to let you know I was able to try the Zoom Fly and Vapor Fly over the weekend. The Vapor Fly was like running on pixie wings. I still need to select a new daily trainer, but I definitely want to get some Vapor Flys in my size, if I can ever find them. They were bonkers.


Anonymous said...

Hi guys!
Your site and reviews are simply fantastic. Two years later, when price drops, I'm running in the Zoom Fly and my feelings about the use of the shoe differs a little bit from you: for sure that is a running shoe to go fast but it also allow to run at slower paces (5:00 min/km) I'm beating all my PR's in this shoes without lot of effort and with less sore than with any other running shoe.
Sadly, I can't run faster but is proved that the shoe can go faster than me, definitely, but it also adapts to lower pace runs... the problem is that I can't run at recovery paces due the shoe 'invites' me always to run faster and I finish doing it.
More stable than expected in the rear thanks to the plastic plate that stabilize the foot internally and very good transition.

If you said that Nike's with carbon plate are other different movie... definitely better, can't wait to wait another price drop to test them


Sam Winebaum said...

HI Alberto,
Thanks for kind words about our site. Much appreciated!
Glad you like Zoom Fly. I bet you will like Zoom Fly 2 even better. A bit softer from React and faster and lighter from carbon plate. Zoom Fly 3 is not far away (not sure when but Nike is showing it off to some journalists) so Zoom Fly 2 should come on sale, likely mid to later this year.
Sam, Editor