Nike Zoom Fly.
The Nike Zoom Fly is a shoe that looks and feels fast. With a light weight (248 Grams for Male’s) and full length carbon plate it feels springy as well as cushioned. With a full knit upper, with a big Nike swoosh on the side it also looks like it’s designed to go fast. The Nike Zoom Fly is an interesting shoe with unique design features that is reminiscent of the Nike Zoom 4% and Next% which are the shoes that are currently under the microscope due to their apparent performance advantage backed up by an array of distance world records being broken in the shoe over the past couple of years. The most famous of these World Records being the unnofficial 1 hour 59 minute 42.2km race that is the first time that the marathon distance was run in under 2 hours, even though it was outside of race conditions and is not considered a world record.
I first purchased the shoes for faster track work and worouts. Rather than longer runs in a look to translate the fast feeling footwear into some extra speed at lower distances while still utilising a more protective shoe for the longer and therefore naturally slower runs. As the shoes are significantly different to other shoes. I found the shoe did encourage a different running style early on. This meant waking up with sore calf muscles after a session of running in the shoe. This calf pain was because I was finding I was unintentionally striking closer to my forefoot rather than my heel. Finding I had more of a natural tendency to forefoot strike in the shoe was most likely cause by the lower stack height than I was used to. Stack height of shoes, refers to the height of the sole and is generally linked to the amount of cushioning found in a shoe. The other significant difference that usually encourages a forefoot strike rather than a heel strike is the heel drop, this is the difference between the height of the cushioning through the heel and the cushioning through the forefoot. The Nike Zoom Fly is based around a 10mm drop which is actually industry standard for a traditional running shoe.
After purchasing the shoes originally to run faster track sessions I started to find that I was actually more comfortable in some loger runs with the lighter weight footwear. Often during the longer KM’s my legs would feel less heavy and fatigued and the amount of cushioning combined with the carbon plate felt protective enough to feel confident in the injury prevention features of the shoe. Since purchasing these shoes early this year I have put around 500km of running into them, at this stage they are ready for replacement as the sole is getting worn and the foam is showing signficant signs of compression. In this time I have set a PB over the half marathon time with a run of 1 hour 24 minutes at Werribee Mansion Half Marathon run and also ran my first marathon in a time of 3 hours 30 minutes.
When thinking about the shoe you should choose, the first thing you should consider is injuries. Injuries and injury prevention are my biggest consideration when it comes to running shoes. Often in the clinic we use running shoes to assist in certain conditions. No matter if your aim is to run your first 10K race or to qualify for the Olympics, injuries will be one of the biggest considerations of whether you will be succesful at reaching your goal and ensure that you can enjoy the process! Running with foot pain is absolutely no fun! I believe all runners with a history of foot pain wuld benefit from seeing a sports Podiatrist to have a conversation around injury prevention and trying to manage injury risk factors.