Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% vs. Nike Zoom Fly
It’s no coincidence that you see Nike shoes on the feet of so many record-breaking runners—the company has been innovating the way running shoes are made for decades. While super-elite runners may have access to special Nike test models the rest of us can’t find, the brand makes plenty of shoes that will help amateur and professional racers alike hit new PRs in training and even on race day. But with all of the options, how is a runner supposed to choose? We’ve lined up training favorites for runners serious about speed, the Nike Zoom Fly and the Nike Air Zoom Next %. Read on for the facts you need to make an informed choice.
Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next%
Pros The Air Zoom Tempo Next% is designed for runners who value speed and want to maximize it in their training. Though a daily trainer, the shoe shares many features with its racing counterpart, the Nike Alphafly Next%, and is designed with the same speed-focused features.
This shoe is meant to balance springy propulsion with enough cushion for training miles. It comes with durable React foam in the rearfoot, with more responsive ZoomX foam in the forefoot. It also uses Nike’s Zoom Air pods system in the forefoot, which is designed to create an even better energy return. It also features a full-length composite midsole plate aimed at increasing propulsion. Though similar to the plates in Nike’s racing shoes, this shoe’s is more flexible for training. The toe box is fairly wide, and the comfortable Flyknit upper locks down the foot well. Overall, the shoe provides a fast, responsive ride, especially over shorter distances.
Cons While the Tempo Next% is designed as a daily trainer, is best suited to tempo runs and even speedwork—over longer distances, the firm ride may become tiring for some runners. And at 9.5 ounces, it’s on the heavy side for a speed-oriented shoe.
Lighter runners may not gain the same benefits from the Zoom air pods as their heavier counterparts, since it’s downward pressure on the pods that produces their characteristic spring.
The additional height from the air pods and thick stack may make some runners feel unstable.
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Nike Zoom Fly
Pros The Nike Zoom Fly is intended to be the daily trainer sibling to the hard-to-find racing shoe Vaporfly, though it is also well suited for longer races. This is not a shoe for a leisurely jog—it’s designed to help you run faster.
The shoe features firm React foam throughout the midsole, and significantly thicker at the heel for a more protected foot strike. That foam sits atop a stiff, propulsive carbon plate. An upturned toe is designed to keep you rolling quickly through each step, even with the stiffness of the plate. At 8.9 ounces in the men’s shoe, its weight won’t slow you down.
The Zoom Fly’s upper is made of Nike’s breathable Vaporweave over a thin mesh sleeve, providing a secure fit, with a tapered ankle collar to avoid chafing.
Cons The shoe’s profile is quite tall and narrow, especially in the heel, which makes it suitable only for road running and can make some runners feel unstable or lead to an unnatural-feeling stride.
While the React foam provides cushioning, it also makes the shoe feels less responsive than its counterparts that use ZoomX foam.
The carbon plate may feel overly stiff to some runners, especially during very long efforts.
Conclusion Both the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% and Nike Zoom Fly are designed as daily-training partners to elite running shoes (the Alphafly and Vaporfly respectively), but the two shoes do have significant differences. The Tempo Next% features a composite plate rather than full carbon, and uses a combination of React and ZoomX foam for a responsive yet flexible feel, while the Zoom Fly has a full carbon plate and React foam throughout for a stiffer spring. Another key difference is the uppers—the Tempo Next % features Nike Flyknit, while the Zoom Fly uses the newer, more breathable and water-resistant Vaporweave. Runners looking for a more stable design will likely do better with the Tempo Next%, while those prioritizing light weight and the speed of a carbon plate will do better with the Zoom Fly. Whichever you choose, both can be found at Shoekicker.