Nike Zoom Fly 5 Review
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Nike Zoom Fly 5
|Price||$160 List||$170 List|
$170.00 at REI
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|$119.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Responsive, excellent lightweight upper, cool colorways||Responsive cushioning, breathable upper, lightweight||Lightweight, great cushioning, comfortable upper||Responsive, fast, lightweight, affordable||Stable, supportive, comfortable upper|
|Cons||Stiff, bubble feel underneath forefoot, narrow, higher stack height||Minimal support and stability||Less responsive, lacks rubber outsole||Minimal support, lacks outsole rubber||Stiff, heavier, less breathable|
|Bottom Line||This shoe has excellent responsiveness with great landing comfort and is great for a long run but requires a stricter running form||Excellent cushioning that provides great energy transfer with an extremely comfortable, performance fit upper||These lightweight shoes have top landing comfort and maximum cushion with a great upper||This affordable ultralight model allows for maximum turnover which provides a snappy and quick feeling||If you're looking for a supportive and stable shoe with a comfortable upper, this is the model for you|
|Rating Categories||Nike Zoom Fly 5||Saucony Endorphin S...||Hoka One One Mach 5||Saucony Kinvara 13||Brooks Adrenaline G...|
|Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)|
|Upper Comfort (20%)|
|Lateral Stability and Support (15%)|
|Specs||Nike Zoom Fly 5||Saucony Endorphin S...||Hoka One One Mach 5||Saucony Kinvara 13||Brooks Adrenaline G...|
|Weight (per shoe, size 9.5)||10.3 oz||8.3 oz||8.0 oz||7.3 oz||10.4 oz|
|Heel to Toe Drop||8 mm||8 mm||5 mm||4 mm||12 mm|
|Midsole Material||ZoomX Foam||PWRRUN||PROFLY+||EVA||EVA|
|Sole Rubber||Rubber||XT-900||Rubberized EVA||Rubber||Rubber|
|Upper Material||Mesh||Engineered mesh||Engineered mesh||Engineered Mesh||Mesh|
|Width Options||Normal||Normal||Normal||Normal||Normal, Wide|
|Sizes Available||6 - 15||7 - 15||7 - 14||7 - 15||7 - 15|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The previous Nike Zoom Fly 4 version that we tested impressed us with its excellent firm, lightweight responsiveness, making it ideal for fast training or racing. However, the latest Nike Zoom Fly 5 version has been softened up and become more of an all-around trainer in our eyes. Now with ZoomX foam, this model is significantly softer and has a much more springy feel underfoot.
In our opinion, this shoe is best for experienced runners who have excellent form throughout their entire run. This shoe wants you to be aggressive and awards such running. Due to the bubble feeling underneath the forefoot, flat-footed landings and takeoffs feel a bit uneven. If you aren't focused on maintaining good form, this shoe tends to feel off and really only feels precise and agile if you are toeing off and landing on your forefoot. We also prefer the seamless knitted upper of the previous version compared to the updated more traditional tongue design.
Cushioning and Landing Comfort
The midsole foam and carbon fiber plate in this model are on the stiffer side and therefore the landing comfort suffers a bit compared to other cushier models. Luckily, if you run with good form and maintain a more progressive foot strike pattern, the carbon plate and midsole foam can absorb most of the energy and return it when taking off. Less experienced runners may find this shoe to feel a bit uneven, and therefore uncomfortable, especially if you land flat-footed or on your heels.
Experienced runners will appreciate the responsive cushioning, but we found we didn't experience the same comfort or responsiveness if we relaxed our form and landed more flat-footed. The responsive foam underneath the forefoot can make the shoe feel uneven at times, which is already compounded by the higher stack height.
We love this shoe for its snappy, responsive feeling. The carbon plate returns maximum energy and each landing and takeoff feels firm, precise, and fully maximized. Minimal energy is lost to foam compression, making this one of our favorite responsive models for long-distance running at a fast pace. While not as stiff as the previous version, we still think this is one of the fastest shoes in our lineup.
This shoe is not the lightest in our running shoe test lineup. In our perfect world, we'd suggest the lightest weight shoe possible for shorter distance events and training, as this will generally allow for maximum turnover and will keep your legs as fresh as possible. However, once the distance becomes longer, the shorter heel drop is more fatiguing in our experience, and we prefer the 8-millimeter drop found on the Zoom Fly 5 which is a great middle-ground for comfort and engagement.
The Zoom Fly 5 transitions back to a standard tongue design, which was a surprise given how much we loved the fully knit upper found on the previous version 4. This new upper still securely holds your foot with ample compression to feel locked in and stable, and there are minimal seams, reducing friction points and creating comfort even on extended runs. This is a platform many of the top runners in the world use even for distances above the marathon. The heel cup feels snug and we experienced no slipping.
Some runners could find this model a bit narrow, which is a common complaint about Nike products. Personally, it fits our feet extremely well. If you have above-average width or volume, you may want to find a different model. While the long-term durability is debatable for these types of uppers given the minimal fabric, we didn't experience wear and tear that isn't normal for a running shoe. Plus, this version has additional material in the high wear areas on the inside and outside of the toes which we anticipate will increase upper durability.
Lateral Stability and Support
This platform is narrower than most other models we tested and it does have a larger stack height, leading to less stability, especially on uneven terrain. For those prioritizing stability and support, there are shoes in our lineup we tested that are far more stable and offer much more rigidity if that's something you desire.
Your muscles and running form will have to do most of the work for you with this model. The carbon fiber plate does offer a stable platform once you start to lose balance or get off-center, but there is little to help support you outside of your own body. While this shoe scores lower for its supportive features, we think it is intended for more advanced runners prioritizing speed and responsiveness. Once you start to relax your form, the stack height makes this shoe feel more vague and loose, which we weren't fans of.
The Zoom Fly 5 comes around the middle of our lineup in regards to the weight. We find this weight class is a great spot for a daily trainer, and anything heavier can start to feel noticeable.
At 10.3 ounces in a men's size 9.5, this shoe saves some weight by having a fairly thin upper with little structure. The Zoom Fly 5 is a few ounces heavier than the previous version 4 due to a slightly thicker upper and some added outsole rubber. We appreciate this extra outsole rubber, as it provides confidence in a wide range of conditions and also increases durability. If you are looking for a lightweight trainer that can also be ready for race day, this could be the perfect weight class for you.
Should You Buy the Nike Zoom Fly 5?
If you are looking for an all-around trainer to fill the void between your race shoes then this could be the model for you. We still prefer the previous version 4 due to its awesome responsiveness, but we think there is a spot for this newer model, especially for runners with excellent form who are experiences running long distances. If you often find yourself cresting 10 miles and want a good blend of cushion and responsiveness, this is a great option.
What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?
For those seeking maximum support and stability, we suggest looking into the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22, which provides excellent support and balances it with great cushioning and all-around comfort. If you are looking for a super-light model that's better for shorter distance racing and speed work we'd suggest the Saucony Kinvara 13. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is our top award winner and we love it for its blend of cushioning and responsiveness. Other recommendations can be found in our main best running shoes review.
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