The fastest running shoe in the world has just received an update. Meet Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2. Its predecessor, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next%, was first seen on the feet of Eliud Kipchoge, when he became the first man to run a marathon in 1:59. It caught the attention of runners around the world, as we wondered if the shoe had two carbon fiber plates, or a mini trampoline in the midsole to drive Kipchoge to its historic finish. The shoe had none of the parts. Instead, it had the single record we’ve seen in most best running shoes in carbon fiberas well as two Nike Zoom Air units, and Nike’s responsive Zoom X foam in midsole.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 specifications
Weight: 8.8 oz
Fall: 8 mm
Neutral / Stability: Neutral
Widths: A width
While the first shoe was undeniably spectacular, it felt a little unstable for those of us who are not blessed with an athlete’s lower leg strength, especially when we ran around corners. With the second repetition of the shoe, Nike took up these issues, and tried to make it more stable under the feet of the everyday runner, not just the elite. But how is it compared to any of them best nike running shoes on the market? Read my full Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 review to find out.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 review: Price and availability
Like the original Alphafly, the Alphafly Next% 2 does not come cheap. Sure it’s designed for the everyday runner, but the everyday runner with an extra $ 275 / £ 274.95 in his pocket for a racing shoe. There are definitely less expensive options on the market, for example Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2or Saucony Endorphin Pro 3.
The shoe is available in limited numbers in the UK from June 15, 2022 and in the US from July 2022. At launch, the shoe is only available in an all-white colorway, which Nike calls the “prototype colorway”. The company has confirmed that the shoe will be released in several colors in the future. At the time of writing, it is extremely difficult to get a pair of these super shoes, but as we saw with the first iteration of the shoe, they will probably be more widely available when we get to the autumn marathon season.
The shoe comes in unisex (men’s) sizes, from a UK 3.5 to a UK 14 (a US 4 to a US 15).
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 review: Design and fit
Out of the box, Alphafly Next% 2 looks very similar to the original Alphafly, with a few small adjustments. The most noticeable change is in the midsole – there is still a large stack of Nike’s Zoom X foam in the midsole and two Zoom Air units, which sit under the football, but in the other version of the shoe there is also foam under these units. . Nike says this is to give more energy back and “ensure a smooth transition from heel to forefoot as runners walk through the crotch.” I will go into the other adjustments below.
In terms of fit, the shoe comes as mentioned in “unisex”, or men’s size. This may be because it is a small release, and Nike may release women-specific sizes in the future, but right now it is not. In the original Alphafly I wore a UK 5, in Alphafly Next% 2 I used a UK 5.5 to get the same fit, although this is probably due to the unisex size – none of the male runners I know went up one half size in the newer shoe.
Nike has refined the upper of the super shoe, which now has an Atomknit 2.0 upper, designed to wrap around the foot. Nike says the upper is “designed to hold the forefoot, breathability over the toes and comfortable padding under the laces.”
The shoe definitely feels breathable, and during testing I appreciated the knit padding under the laces, which definitely gave extra comfort over the top of the foot. There is still a nice amount of padding around the collar of the shoe as well – during testing I had no hotspots or problems with blisters. It is a comfortable upper that fits well.
That said, wearing shoes is not easy. I had to use the pull pins to wiggle my foot into the shoe.
As mentioned above, Nike has refined the midsole of the barely legal running shoe. The drop on the Alphafly Next% 2 is 8 mm, compared to the 4 mm drop in the original Alphafly. But what does this mean?
The heel (the goal from the ground to the top of the shoe’s insole) is already 40 mm on the Alphafly, which is the World Athletics border. In fact, Alphafly is the reason why World Athletics introduced the new rules on stack heights in racing surfaces. To increase the drop (the difference between the midsole height of the shoe in the heel and the midsole height of the shoe during football), Nike needed to eliminate 4 mm of foam. This is probably why Nike played with the foam around the Zoom Air device.
The second iteration of the shoe is also slightly wider at the heel, in an attempt to increase the stability of the shoe. That said, a shoe with such a high stack height and a bouncing midsole will never be as stable as any of the other popular sneakers on the market.
The outsole of Alphafly Next% 2 has also undergone a small redesign. Nike has changed the pattern of the rubber and used a thinner material in an attempt to reduce the weight of the shoe (the second iteration is heavier than the first). There is also a more dramatic midsole cut, which shows more of the carbon fiber plate. This is still very much a road racing shoe.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 Review: Performance
So how does all that technology feel on the run? Fans of the original Alphafly will be happy to hear that the essence of the shoe is still the same – it still makes you feel like you’re flying, and it’s still super responsive. I tested this shoe on a faster pace run and a long run. I ran in the original Alphafly a number of times, clocked half marathon and 10K PR in the super shoe.
Like its predecessor, the Alphafly Next% 2 is not designed for easy or slower running. It is almost bulky at lower speeds, as the carbon fiber plate naturally rocks you forward while you run, which makes it a challenge to run slowly. But this is not necessarily a bad thing – you do not buy this shoe to jog around the park.
While I loved the original Alphafly, I had two issues with it – firstly how unstable it felt around corners. During a fast half marathon that involved rounds of lockdown, I felt like I was going to tip over when I turned the shoe over, and that instability made me choose Vaporfly Next% 2 over the marathon distance. Secondly, the shoe put a lot of strain on my legs, which were broken the day after the race. I put this to the fact that the shoe was designed for an athlete, not a pure mortal like me, who tends to overpronate in the final miles of a race.
During testing, I found that the second version of the shoe solved these problems. It definitely feels much more stable underfoot, but it still struggles around super twisted corners. I would not use it for a track race, for example. That said, most road marathons don’t ask you to twist all the time, and this is an excellent shoe choice for a quick finish over 26.2.
Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 Review: Rating
For the masses, this is an improvement over the original Alphafly. It’s a joy to run in, and if you could tap and sell the feeling of flying under perfect conditions in this shoe, everyone would want to run a marathon in it. That said, it is super expensive, and for many people too expensive to justify.
If you are into the latter, now is a good time to invest in the original version of the shoe, which will probably be on sale after the launch of Alphafly Next% 2. If you are looking for a cheaper racing shoe, take a look at Nike Vaporfly Next% 2Asics Metaspeed Sky + or Saucony Endorphin Pro 2, all of which are bouncy and responsive racing shoes.
Lastly, if you are looking for an everyday sneaker, this is definitely not one that is worth your money on. Instead, choose something more durable, for example Nike ZoomX Invincible Run 2, which has the same midsole foam as Alphafly, but is built for simple, comfortable training miles. But if you want one of the fastest shoes available, definitely check out Alphafly Next% 2