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Nike Alphafly 3 - Women's Review

This speed-oriented racing shoe is designed for those with a need for speed who are looking to enhance their shoe collections with a high-performance addition
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Nike Alphafly 3 - Women's Review (For epic speed, this is our top choice.)
For epic speed, this is our top choice.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $285 List
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Manufacturer:   Nike
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 12, 2024
77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 24
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 8.5
  • Responsiveness - 25% 10.0
  • Stability - 20% 4.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 6.0
  • Weight - 15% 9.4

Our Verdict

The new and improved Nike Alphafly 3 is a powerhouse running shoe built for athletes who want to up the ante. This is a shoe to be driven, not worn - the speeds you can reach will speak for themselves. With a whopping 42mm heel stack, an 8mm drop, and a full underfoot rocker for speed, this shoe is a piece of gear unlike most others on the market today. It weighs 5.72 ounces (women's size 6.5), making it one of the highest in our lineup. Runners motivated by performance and seeking a true speed shoe will find the price point of the Alphafly to be worth it. Weekend warriors and rookie runners need not apply, as the prohibitive price tag of this shoe deems it a superfluous item to add to your closet.
REASONS TO BUY
Built for speed
Powerfully responsive
Ultra-lightweight
Surprising landing comfort
REASONS TO AVOID
Prohibitively priced
Lacks versatility
High arch won't suit all runners
Lacks stability

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Bottom Line This racing shoe is built for speed demons who want to add a high-functioning piece of gear to their existing shoe collectionsThis running shoe offers the performance technology and comfort needed to be your go-to shoe, no matter your running goalsFor epic versatility in a single shoe, we recommend this lightweight superstarWith strong responsive bounce and enough comfort for long runs, this shoe will suit marathon hopefuls and speed demons alikeWhile not a race-focused shoe, this affordable and bouncy option will keep your legs turning over quickly and easily
Rating Categories Nike Alphafly 3 - W... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Puma Deviate Nitro... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
8.5
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.5
Responsiveness (25%)
10.0
7.5
7.0
8.5
7.5
Stability (20%)
4.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.5
Upper Comfort (15%)
6.0
8.0
7.5
7.0
6.5
Weight (15%)
9.4
7.4
8.5
7.7
9.5
Specs Nike Alphafly 3 - W... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Puma Deviate Nitro... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Sizes Available 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 11 US, regular & wide 5.5 - 11 US, regular 5 - 12 US, regular & wide
Style Racing Neutral Daily Neutral/race Neutral
Measured Heel Stack Height 42 mm 40 mm 34 mm 34 mm 30 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm 9 mm 2 mm 8 mm 5 mm
Plate Type Carbon None None Carbon None
Rocker Angle 26.0 deg 22.0 deg 24.5 deg 12.5 deg 26.0 deg
Rocker Apex Location 72.28% 69.48% 65.38% 68.82% 68.15%
Measured Weight 5.71 oz 7.36 oz 6.27 oz 7.02 oz 5.55 oz
Upper Atomknit Engineered knit mesh Creel jaqquard Mesh Mesh
Midsole ZoomX FF Blast Plus Eco Supercritical EVA Nitro/Nitro-Elite PWRRUN, PWRRUN+
Outsole Rubber AHAR outsole Rubber PumaGrip ATR Rubber XT-900 rubber
Heel Tab Type Finger loop Finger loop Extended heel pull None Finger loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

Weighing in at just under 7 ounces per women's size 6.5 shoe, the Nike Alphafly 3 rides like a smooth machine. It offers a bit of arch support, secure, notched laces, and a breathable, bootie-style upper. If speed is your game and it fits into your budget, the Alphafly 3 is a fun shoe to take for a spin.

Performance Comparison



Every inch of the Alphafly is built for encouraging runners to hit their fastest paces.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Landing Comfort/Cushioning


The snappiness of the full-length carbon fiber plate does not inhibit the landing comfort of the Alphafly 3. With a massive 42mm heel stack and an 8mm drop, even the lowest point of the forefoot holds you securely above the ground.


The landing platform is rigid since this is a shoe designed for racing, but the ZoomX midsole and rubber outsole provide a comfortable crash pad to soften your footfalls. The AirZoom pods add an extra dose of bounce and resilience underfoot, creating a prime launch pad for your speedy endeavors.

nike alphafly 3 for women - we love pushing our pace in these made-for-racing kicks, and we...
We love pushing our pace in these made-for-racing kicks, and we think you will, too—provided that they align with your needs.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Nike built the Alphafly as a long-distance racing shoe, and it 100% delivers on this promise. Its slight softness and natural arch curvature create a more natural fit than Nike's other supercharged shoe, the Vaporfly 3. The previous version of the Alphafly has an aggressive arch and narrow midfoot taper. This iteration has toned down the slope of the arch and provided a bit more real estate, which corrected the major arch blister epidemic caused by the Alphafly 2.

nike alphafly 3 for women - this shoe is stuffed with propulsive features and near-weightless...
This shoe is stuffed with propulsive features and near-weightless foam, providing the underfoot cushion you need to lay down your best PRs.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


Well… The Nike Alphafly is one of the most responsive racing shoes on the market today, but you likely won't feel that way on your first run or two in it. Once you get used to the stride length and style that this shoe requires, you'd better be ready to blow your existing PRs out of the water.


The 8mm heel-to-toe drop is perhaps the only average component when it comes to the Alphafly. This slight heel lift pairs beautifully with the Air Zoom units as you start to pound the pace. With an aggressive and loud snap underfoot, each footfall rolls into the next. Many shoes feel like they are recycling energy as one footfall parlays into the next. The bounce of the Alphafly feels more like it is creating energy as you run, providing more energetic feedback the harder you push - almost like a reward for your own self-challenge.

nike alphafly 3 for women - from its airzoom units to its full-length plate, every bit of this...
From its AirZoom units to its full-length plate, every bit of this shoe was built for responsive speed.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

To us, the Alphafly rides like a double black diamond run in that it is not exactly a suitable shoe for beginner runners. Other plated and propulsive shoes require less dramatic learning curves with far less of an investment and would likely suit newer speed seekers better. We felt like we needed to be fully tuned into what your body was doing with each step to proficiently handle the sheer amount of tech that these shoes offer. Most runners will be able to find a responsive shoe that is a bit more user-friendly, but if you are interested in truly upping your game, this responsive race shoe is worth shelling out the cash for.

nike alphafly 3 for women - the unique shape of the alphafly's rear adds to its speed-focused...
The unique shape of the Alphafly's rear adds to its speed-focused efforts.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


Stability and speed don't always coexist in harmony, and we found that to mostly be the case with the Nike Alphafly.


However, from a comparative perspective, we found the Alphafly to be more stable than the Vaporfly due to its slightly more anatomical footbed. Neither shoe offers anything in the way of lateral stability, so if that is what you are looking for, count these speedy kicks out. We often harp on the benefit of lateral stability for newer runners chasing their marathon dreams, but true stability has its time and place.

What Did Our Mens' Testing Team Think?


Our male testers enjoyed the speed that the Nike Alphafly 3 offers but prefer the Vaporfly for its ability to maintain speed around sharply-curved race courses. Our female testers felt that the natural footbed shape of the Alphafly adds an element of comfort and security that makes it more comfortable for racing overall. Our men's team had a bit more trouble dialing back their speed in the Alphafly, citing the learning curve as a hindrance to controlled performance.

For speed workouts and races, the Alphafly takes the cake, especially if you are comfortable with your stride and gait patterns. The anatomical footbed shape and updated arch support help all of the energy built while running in these shoes move forward. Once you start to create zigzag patterns or take turns, the Alphaflys have the tendency to feel incredibly unstable. This is to be expected with such a powerhouse shoe, but it is worth noting if you are considering trying out a pair of racing shoes.

nike alphafly 3 for women - the updated arch support allows this shoe to fit the natural shapes...
The updated arch support allows this shoe to fit the natural shapes of feet better than other speed shoes and previous versions of this one.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Upper Comfort


There really isn't much to the upper comfort of the Alphafly. It isn't designed to be comfortable; it is designed to be functional. The Atom Knit upper is profoundly breathable, even when worn with thicker socks, and the notched laces lay flat and stay tied during brutal efforts.


The lower half of the heel cup is incredibly rigid, but the upper counter has a slight bit of cushion to secure the heel and prevent blisters from forming. The bootie style fit is contoured enough to lay flat and snug against your ankle, but the upper does not have an extra eyelet for runners who like to really tamp their lace beds down.

nike alphafly 3 for women - the bootie-style upper and notched laces help secure this shoe so it...
The bootie-style upper and notched laces help secure this shoe so it moves like an extension of your body.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Weight


The stack of the Alphafly is huge, so it's incredibly impressive that each women's size 6.5 shoe weighs only 5.72 ounces.


The bulk, if you could even call it that, of the Alphafly's weight rides beneath the midfoot, where the AirZoom units are. This weight distribution takes a bit of getting used to, but it hardly impacts the shoe's overall function.

nike alphafly 3 for women - we think anything under 6 ounces per shoe feels weightless as you run.
We think anything under 6 ounces per shoe feels weightless as you run.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Should You Buy the Nike Alphafly 3?


With some caveats, we definitely think the Nike Alphafly is worth buying. If you are on a budget and looking for a single, versatile shoe, then we do not recommend the Alphafly. Its high price point and race-specific application make it a lesser value than some of the more versatile options on the market. If you have a few pairs of running shoes that you already love and want to diversify your collection with a speed-focused shoe, the Alphafly might make a good addition. It is tempting to believe that shoes like these can bolster your performance, and while they can, other daily trainers can, too, without the elitist price tag.

nike alphafly 3 for women - this shoe is full of temptation. it is tempting to want to run in it...
This shoe is full of temptation. It is tempting to want to run in it every day, and it is tempting to want to push your paces every time it is on your feet. This is our top racing shoe recommendation for a fun, fast, and challenging ride.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Road Running Shoes Should You Consider?


The most notable comparison is the Nike Vaporfly 3. The Vaporfly offers a bit less upper comfort and a flatter landing pad, which suits some runners better than others. Our female testers prefer the underfoot curvature of the Alphafly, but our male testers ranked the Vaporfly slightly higher because of its impossibly low weight. For a bit more stability and cushion, we recommend the Puma Deviate Nitro 2. The Deviate Nitro is more wearable across a range of conditions and costs significantly less. If you want a smoother, more versatile shoe, the Asics Novabast 4 is a prime contender thanks to its supreme comfort. Finally, if you are set on buying the Alphafly but understand that it shouldn't be your everyday running shoe, we recommend also purchasing the Reebok Floatride Energy 5. The Floatride Energy is an incredibly versatile and affordable wear-everywhere shoe that would round out a road-running shoe collection.

Ally Arcuri