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In the past, I always turned my nose up at people wasting their money on the flagship Nike running shoes when it was obvious they were not competitive runners.

Being the hypocrite I am, I ended up buying a pair of Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% during the sales. I think I paid £160 from Nike. I was hoping they could help me set some PBs, and they did, and I became a convert. I now own two pairs of Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%.

I developed some tendon issues when running with the Alphafly NEXT%, so when a sale came up for the ZoomX Vaporfly 2, I bought these. The justification was that they might not agitate my tendon as much, and I prefer a bigger heel drop, but the truth is I just wanted to try them.

Features / Specification

  • Terrain: Road
  • Pronation type: Neutral
  • Drop: 8 mm
  • Heel stack height: 40 mm
  • Forefoot stack height: 32 mm
  • Weight (men): 186 g
  • Weight (women): 168 g
  • Features: Carbon plate, Rocker

Background & Injuries

I am not a competitive runner, and reviewing running shoes is highly subjective. I’m prone to injuries, and my performance is all over the place.

I am an OK runner, though. With the Tempo NEXT%, I managed a 3:23:50 marathon. With the Alphafly NEXT% I set a 5K PB of 19:30 and 10K of 40:49.

Since getting the ZoomX Vaporfly 2, I have been working around injuries. My ankles don’t seem to like me anymore. It was my knee last year. However, I hope to use these to set up a Marathon PB in Manchester in April.

Nike Vaporfly 2 vs Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

It is worth noting that there is a Nike Air Zoom Alphafly 2, but I have the older modal, so that’s what I am comparing them against.

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% are like they took the Vaporfly and made them as ridiculous as possible.

The Nike Alphafly’s stack height is 35mm in the forefoot and 39mm in the heel, which gives it that enjoyable 4mm drop. The newer Alphafly 2 has a stack height of 40mm in the heel and 32mm in the forefoot, giving 8mm.

The Vaporfly Next% 2 has the same 8mm drop, with a stack height of 40mm in the heel and 32mm in the forefoot.

They both have ZoomX foam, which is bouncy and responsive underfoot, and both have a full-length carbon fibre plate.

The Alphafly then utilizes two Zoom Air units, which sit under the ball of the foot to deliver more bounce as you toe-off.

Beyond that, they are both very similar, they have a similar knitted-style upper with an asymmetrical lacing system, and they both have that taper heel.

Nike Vaporfly 2 Performance

I haven’t managed to set any PBs with these, yet. But that’s more due to the fact I have been working around ankle issues, and I am training for a marathon, whereas I set PBs with the Alphafly NEXT% for 5K and 10K and did one HM.

The closest comparable I have of the two shoes is the London Royal Parks Half Marathon, when I used the Alphafly NEXT%, and the Great North Western Half Marathon, where I used the Vaporfly Next% 2.

I did the Royal Parks at 7:03 mins per mile (01:32:28) and the GNW at 7:08 mins per mile (01:33:28). However, I wouldn’t really say they are comparable. London was flat with nice weather, GNW was very windy with an undulating return loop. I was better trained for GNW. If it was a flat route with nice weather, I would have probably got a PB.

Subjectively, these feel a bit slower than the Alphafly NEXT%. The Alphafly NEXT% are bouncier, and I think this gives the impression of them being faster, it is hard to objectively say if that is true.

These are much faster than my general training shoe. I have been wearing a pair of Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit3 for my training runs, and they seem to cause fewer issues with my ankle. However, they are reasonably slow, I have been running 13+ miles in them at 7:55 to 8 minutes per mile.

In the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, for similar runs, I run at about 7:35 to 7:40 minutes per mile. It is not a massive difference, only 4% or 5%, but it is significant if that translates over to my marathon times. My training runs on these are faster than my marathon pace, so I am on track for a PB.

With both the ZoomX Vaporfly 2 and Zoom Alphafly NEXT%, I find the fit isn’t perfect for me. The unstructured design seems to allow my foot to push forward and my toes to press against the front. My left foot is slightly larger, and I’m often left with a black toenail. I feel like the next size up would be too big.

Nike Return and Warranty Policy

One of the main reasons why I am a convert to these expensive running shoes is the fact that Nike has a superb return and warranty policy.

You can return Nike online orders, including custom Nike By You sneakers, for any reason within 30 days of purchase.

You can then return defective or faulty products with valid proof of purchase within two years of the online or in-store purchase date.

I am not sure how easy or likely you’d need the warranty of the Vaporfly Next%. But my running shoes all fall apart after a year of regular use. I was able to get a refund when the air bubble of the Zoom Tempo NEXT% popped, and I imagine that will happen with the Alphafly NEXT%.

Price and Alternative Options

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly 2 are currently available from Nike for around £230. I paid £135 for them back in November 2023. You can buy them from Keller Sports for around £145.

The Nike Alphafly 2 (they seem to have ditched the NEXT% bit) is £279.95. Keller Sports has them for £178.

  • Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 – £220 – Well reviewed with a 10mm drop.
  • Brooks Hyperion Elite 3 – £190 – 8mm drop advertised as a half/full marathon race day shoe

Overall

It is hard to say if I prefer the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 or the Alphafly NEXT%. They are both incredibly fast shoes, and I have been completely won over by using them in events.

I feel like the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% is faster, for me, at least. But they are very bouncy and feel a bit weird to walk around in, but I find them good to run in.

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 feels a bit more natural. Certainly more bouncy than my training shoes.

For me, I wouldn’t pay full price for either of these shoes, but I am happy to pay around £150 in the sales. For competitive athletes, I am sure the cost of the shoe is much easier to justify.

Originally posted on Mighty Gadget

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly 2 Review Rating

Summary

It is hard to say if I prefer the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly 2 or the Alphafly, but they are both superb running shoes, and from my experience, they do make a significant difference with pace.

Overall
85%
85%
  • Overall - 85%
    85%

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