Nike Alphafly: Has the World of Competitive Running Changed Forever?

Nike Alphafly: Has the World of Competitive Running Changed Forever?

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% is built to break records. This shoe supplies the ultimate competitive advantage in the ultra-competitive world of professional running.

By combining innovative, state-of-the-art running technology with a unique design, Nike has created a shoe that helps athletes reach extraordinary achievements.

On the feet of top athletes, the Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT can potentially change the landscape of competitive world athletics forever. In typical Nike fashion, the Alphafly NEXT was designed with the cream of the crop in mind—a racing shoe whose sole purpose is to smash world records and help every runner reach a personal record.

How Nike Alphafly Came to Be

The Air Zoom Alphafly put the world on notice in October of 2019. Partnering with the greatest marathon runner of all time, Kenyon runner Eliud Kipchoge, Nike put the Air Zoom Alphafly to the test.

The result: Kipchoge ran the first and only sub-two-hour marathon.

It was something that nobody thought could happen. It was the perfect storm—a marvel of a physical feat that defied preconceived notions of what the human body could accomplish. All it took was the world’s best runner working in unison with the world’s most energy-efficient running shoe to make the impossible possible.

To put this feat into perspective, Kipchonge’s accomplishment was so extraordinary that Time named the Alphafly NEXT to their list of the best inventions of 2020.

The next generation of running shoes had finally arrived. The world of competitive running was in awe, so much so that the Alphafly NEXT almost got banned from the 2020 Toyko Olympics. People were brimming with questions about how this feat was possible.

These questions primarily focused on one major topic: What technology makes the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT so great?

Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%: Unsurpassed Innovation and Speed

Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet—the first, primary, and principle. Alpha represents dominance. Considering that Alphafly is the Alpha of all running shoes, Nike could not have chosen a more fitting name.

And it all starts with technology.

The incredible improvements Air Zoom Alphafly users see in their running ability are made possible by unrivaled technology:

  • ZoomX foam midsole
  • Full-length carbon fiber plate
  • Textured rubber outsole for improved grip
  • New Flyknit upper called AtomKnit for enhanced breathability
  • Two Zoom Air pods that return up to 90% of the energy an athlete exerts.

ZoomX helps you Zoom Towards Greatness

ZoomX technology is the lightest, softest, and most responsive foam Nike’s ever created. It was derived from a foam used in aerospace innovation and applied to Nike shoes to make runners feel like they’re moving without gravity.

The midsole’s generous foam stack and width allow comfort on every run, regardless of distance or terrain.

Designed to maximize speed and efficiency, ZoomX is engineered to give runners the highest possible energy return. The impact of your gait gets used to gain momentum so that you glide from one step right into the next.

Runners everywhere swear by ZoomX because it creates an efficient running experience while providing maximum comfort. Thanks to ZoomX, the Alphafly feels like running on a cloud. The responsive bounce makes it seem like you have trampolines in your feet, and the rebound effect makes you feel like you’re moving faster than ever!

Carbon Fiber Stability

The secret weapon of every pair of the Air Zoom Alphafly is the full-length carbon fiber plate in the midsole, which Nike is calling “Flyplate.” The Flyplate delivers a spring-like propulsion sensation with each stride.

The carbon fiber plate helps stabilize the runner’s foot and stiffens the forefoot to let runners snap off their next step. The carbon plate is encased within the ZoomX. Working in conjunction, the two technologies provide the most responsive running experience of any running shoe.

Furthermore, there’s a hole on the bottom of every shoe, giving you a direct look at the carbon plate and its location. The hole serves as a nice aesthetic feature and makes landings feel softer because foam compresses through the hole, making the shoe lighter.

Superb Grip on Every Street

The Alphafly features a unique ribbed outsole allowing for maximum grip on most surfaces.

The Alphafly functions best on pavement. After collecting data and feedback from hundreds of runners, Nike designed the outsole to provide them traction where they need it most.

This shoe functions at a high level in any road condition; and users never have to worry about slipping, even in wet conditions.

AtomKnit Upper

To counteract the added weight from the heightened ZoomX foam and carbon fiber plate, Nike’s world-class innovation team developed a brand new Flyknit: The AtomKnit.

AtomKnit helps the Alphafly achieve the lightweight requirements that runners seek to boost their performance.

The difference between AtomKnit and Nike’s generic Flyknit is that AtomKnit was explicitly designed with racing in mind. It’s a lightweight, durable material, and it offers a contoured fit with less stretch for substantial support and stability.

Providing enhanced breathability and non-sweat absorbing materials, AtomKnit keeps your feet cool and comfortable regardless of the weather conditions. It’s unsurprising then that many athletes chose the Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to combat the high temperatures and humidity.

Nike is also producing a new version of the Alphafly NEXT called the Alphafly Nature. The Alphafly Nature comes with an AtomKnit upper made from 50% recycled materials, making it the most sustainable running shoe ever created. It’s not just great for runners but also great for the environment.

A Boost of Air

The Alphafly NEXT comes loaded with two sets of ultra-responsive Zoom Air pods in the forefoot. Not only does this help create a more comfortable experience, but the two Air pods work in unison with the ZoomX to deliver up to 90% energy return—more than any other running shoe on the market.

According to Nike senior footwear innovator Carrie Dimoff, the Zoom Air pods are what separate the Alphafly from the rest of the pack: “We think of the airbag almost as a ­battery—when your foot lands and pushes down on it, it stores that energy and then it returns more of it to you than we could do with foam.”

The faster a runner runs and the more impact they make on the ground, the more the Zoom Air pods compress and the higher level of rebound they achieve.

Alphafly technology improves a runner’s speed while increasing longevity and durability. The responsiveness, cushioning, and overall comfort help alleviate and avoid common running problems such as leg fatigue, knee pain, shin splints, joint inflammation, calf aches, and ankle injuries.

Making the Impossible Possible

On October 12th, 2019, at a special time trial in Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner ever, ran 26.2 miles in 1 hour, 59 minutes, and 40 seconds, becoming the first person to ever complete a marathon in under two hours.

Kipchoge had finally obtained a long sought-after milestone in the sport of distance running, and he accomplished this monumental feat while wearing a prototype of Nike’s Alphafly NEXT shoes. The last barrier of modern athletics was finally broken, and it was partly thanks to the shoes on Kipchoge’s feet.

The accomplishment proved that anything is possible as long as you have the right equipment, training, and determination at your disposal. Kipchoge compared the run to visiting the moon and returning to Earth. If that’s the case, then Nike is his NASA.

Kipchoge averaged a pace of 4:34.5 per mile for each of his 26 miles. Each of Kipchoge’s kilometers were between 2:48min/km and 2:52min/km, which means he never fell behind the target 1:59:59 pace.

Kipchoge awards a fair amount of credit to Nike’s Alphafly shoes, claiming, “I think these shoes will be part of my legacy.”

High-performance distance runners like Kipchoge love the Alphafly not just because of how much faster it makes them, but because of the recovery benefits as well.

During an interview, Kipchoge said, “The beauty of the Alphafly is the recovery during training. Your muscles aren’t actually tearing or wearing so easily. So you can recover a lot faster.”

If you want to get the most efficient running experience, improve your speed, and enhance recovery, then the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly is the shoe for you.


The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%: The Very First Super Shoe

Though the success of the Alphafly has been remarkable, it is important to note that the Alphafly was not created instantly. It took Nike years of trial and development to reach this point, and the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT was an earlier incarnation in the process.

In 2017, Nike and Eliud Kipchoge first attempted to surpass the last barrier of modern athletics: a sub-2-hour marathon. He came just 26 seconds shy of this goal.

The shoes Eliud Kipchoge wore during this attempt were the first version of the ZoomX Vaporfly, a shoe that many people thought should be illegal from running competitions because of its curved plate, which helps the runner not have to bend their toes and lose energy.

Eliud then went on to set the men’s marathon world record at the Berlin Marathon in 2018; and, again, he was wearing a pair of original Vaporfly on his feet.

Though he didn’t succeed at running a sub-two-hour marathon in the original Vaporfly, a lot of the technology that Nike used to build the Vaporfly made its way into the Alphafly. And they didn’t stop there: Nike have since revamped the Vaporfly to improve its design, incorporating some of the technology they innovated when creating the Alphafly.

Nike now claims that the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is the fastest shoe they’ve ever made. They achieved this result by combining two of their most innovative shoe technologies, the Nike ZoomX and VaporWeave technology. The Vaporfly NEXT is the future of racing shoes, according to Nike.

It’s a shoe designed to help you run fast, reach personal records, and break world records. The key features include:

  • A full-length carbon fiber plate underfoot
  • The all-new VaporWeave upper material
  • A full-length FoamX midsole.

Introducing VaporWeave

The new VaporWeave technology is as strong as the Incredible Hulk and as light as a feather. It’s light, breathable, and water resistant. No matter the weather conditions, these shoes will not absorb any water.

Keeping the Vaporfly as light as possible was one of Nike’s primary goals. Every drop of water a shoe absorbs adds to its overall weight and increases the metabolic rate of running, causing more energy to get exerted in a shorter amount of time.

The inspiration for the VaporWeave material came from sails used for racing. Nike wanted to create a material that could withstand wind and water while still being malleable enough to twist and turn as needed.

VaporWeave is designed to hug the runner’s feet to add support while maintaining flexibility. The upper is comfortable enough to wear every day and durable across a wide range of feet, allowing VaporWeave to meet the needs and lifestyles of all runners.


Carbon Fiber Secret Weapon

Like the Alphafly, the Vaporfly has a built-in full-length carbon fiber plate to give it a competitive edge.

The plate propels the runner forward with each step, helping them run faster. The carbon-fiber plate also increases the responsiveness of the shoe. It’s so effective that runners who use the Vaporfly describe the experience as similar to running on a trampoline.

The carbon-fiber plate is the secret ingredient that makes the Vaporfly effective. In fact, the Nike Vaporfly Next is so effective that using these shoes in competitions has been called “technology doping” by some critics who claim the shoes provide an unfair advantage.

ZoomX Delivers Unrivaled Speed

Nike’s patented ZoomX foam runs from heel to toe for a smooth, enjoyable experience.

This lightweight and incredibly responsive material has a high rate of energy return, allowing for longer runs and an extra spring-like sensation with every step.

The excess foam and cushioning delivers an exceptionally comfortable running experience, adds support and stability, and helps runners recover faster while avoiding common running injuries.

Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT%: The Ultimate Training Shoe

Nike created the Air Zoom Tempo NEXT as a training companion for the Alphafly and Vaporfly models. This is not a shoe meant for race day but rather for the preparation leading up to race day.

According to Nike Product Manager Elliot Heath, the Tempo NEXT was designed, “To help your body get ready for racing, this is a shoe to help you train for speed. The idea behind NEXT% is the idea of continuously getting better.”

It’s a daily training shoe made for fast runners who need a reliable tempo shoe to help push them towards their top performance.

The shoe is made for tempo runs and interval training. A tempo run is a type of speed workout with the runner giving a sustained effort over a set period of time with the goal of building the body’s ability to run faster for longer.

Runners who train using tempo runs or threshold training, as it’s often called, try to keep the same pace for up to 60 minutes. The idea is to run fast but not at a full sprint.

Tempo runs help runners build their lactate threshold or the maximum speed, pace, and effort they can achieve without lactic acid building up in muscles and causing fatigue.

Tempo runs also help runners improve their efficiency. Over time, a runner’s body becomes accustomed to the pace, meaning they sustain the same tempo and time while exerting less effort.

The Tempo NEXT includes many of the same features as the Alphalfy and Vaporfly.

Two Zoom Air pods placed beneath the forefoot provide the runner with energy return and responsiveness while they train.

A full-length plate sits in the midsole for a propulsive feeling with each stride—the main difference in the Tempo NEXT is the plate isn’t as rigid so that the runner builds foot strength over time.

The midsole is made from ZoomX in the forefront and React foam in the heel for comfort, cushioning, responsiveness, and energy return.

The Tempo NEXT’s upper is made from an incredibly lightweight FlyKnit fabric and provides a secure fit with good breathability. The shoe is also available in a FlyEase model, featuring a lace-free design and a collapsible heel for a seamless hands-free entry.


How to Buy

The Nike NEXT series are available at every major running shoe retailer in a variety of unique colorways:

  • The Alphafly NEXT retails for $275.
  • The Vaporfly NEXT retails for $250.
  • The Tempo NEXT retails for $200.

To buy a pair, check out Nike, Dicks Sporting Goods, StockX, Amazon, or GOAT.

Achieve your Running Goals with Nike

With the NEXT% series, Nike gives runners of all skill levels the shoes they need to smash personal and world records. The state-of-the-art technology separates Nike’s running shoes from the rest of the pack, providing runners with an experience of increased speed, comfort, responsiveness, and energy return.

Nike Alphafly and Vaporfly have already had a massive impact on the athletic world and the world of competitive running.

The current men’s marathon world record was set while wearing a pair of Vaporfly.

Furthermore, the sub-two-hour marathon that everyone thought impossible was made possible, and the Nike Alphafly Next played a major role in this massive achievement.

Providing the ultimate competitive advantage, Nike helps runners everywhere boost their performance and accomplish amazing feats they never thought possible.

The landscape of competitive running has changed forever, and the Nike NEXT series is the reason why. As they continue developing and improving their running shoe technologies, who knows what else they’ll help athletes accomplish?


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