Nike Zoom Fly 5 (Review 2023): The Best Carbon Daily Trainer?
Published on: 11/08/2022
A good carbon-plate running shoe that offers a good compromise between speed and comfort for daily training.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 features a carbon-fiber plate (FlyPlate) and ZoomX foam to offer the best of both worlds in running: comfort and performance. The big evolution of the Zoom Fly 5 comes from its much softer cushioning, which makes it much more comfortable than the previous models with better shock absorption.
The price is identical to previous models, making it one of the most affordable carbon plate shoes on the market. Also, it’s a good pick for runners who want to try this type of shoe without jumping right in with elite models that can be unstable and fragile.
However, those used to the brand’s higher-end models like the Nike Vaporfly or Alphafly will regret a lower bounce, with comfort taking precedence over responsiveness. The sole comes with extra stability and better foot lockdown, making the shoe accessible to a wider audience.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 still requires good running technique and form, but it’s a bit more forgiving than carbon-plated super shoes. There’s an unmistakable feeling of forward propulsion. And it’s true even (and especially) many miles into one of your long runs. Indeed, at its core, the Zoom Fly 5 are more daily trainers for regular sessions than racers for competition and speed workouts.
Please read our full review of the Nike Zoom Fly 5 for more information.
- Much better cushioning with the addition of ZoomX
- One of the most affordable carbon shoes
- More versatile than previous versions
- A good compromise between comfort and performance
- Good durability
- Less responsive and powerful than carbon racers
- The toe box remains narrow
- Grip is not optimal
Nike Zoom Fly 5 Complete Review Analysis
Only eight months after the release of the Nike Zoom Fly 4, Nike has brought a new version of this well-known model with more comfort and cushioning.
If the only difference between the Zoom Fly 3 and 4 was the introduction of a new component, the Flyknit, for its upper, the Zoom Fly 5 brings a real revolution on the cushioning side. The ZoomX foam, previously reserved for high-end models, replaces the Rect foam for the first time in this model.
It offers unexpected softness and comfort for a speed shoe. However, hardcore carbon runners may find it lacks responsiveness and traction compared to other, more premium models.
Nevertheless, it remains a good alternative for all runners who want to experience the bouncy ride of carbon plates for the first time. All this in a running shoe that is less technically demanding than the very popular Vaporfly Next. And more affordable too.
Although the Zoom Fly 5 has the characteristics of a fast shoe, we will see that it’s more suitable for distance running.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 is visually massive. Not least because of the 41 mm heel height. However, the heel-to-toe drop of the shoe remains at 10 mm. A classic Nike feature.
The midsole is the big difference between the Nike Zoom Fly 5 and the previous version. Indeed, Nike has chosen to integrate its famous ZoomX foam in replacement of the older React foam technology.
ZoomX is lighter and offers more cushioning as well as better protection and shock absorption. The midsole also features the new SR02 foam, which gives extra cushioning and durability.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 offers much softer cushioning than previous versions of the shoe. This makes it an ideal shoe for long distances. However, owners of the Nike Zoom Fly 4 may be surprised or even disappointed by its lower responsiveness. ZoomX increases comfort, but surprisingly, it decreases energy return on this model.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 is still a “responsive” shoe, but on a smaller scale compared to last year’s model or the Vaporfly. However, there’s a silver lining: this version is more forgiving for beginners and first-time carbon runners than the Alphafly Next.
Foot lockdown (upper)
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 features an engineered mesh upper with Flyknit, the same technology that made the 2021 model so successful.
Flyknit offers good breathability. But above all, it provides good foot lockdown. The shoe’s lacing is also extremely precise to fit the foot without compressing it uncomfortably.
In addition, the reinforced sidewalls make the shoe more stable and keep the foot centered even though it’s not a shoe for overpronation.
Although the Zoom Fly 5 seems wider visually than the previous version (both in the heel and forefoot), the instep remains relatively narrow. As a result, you may need to go up a half or even a full size from your regular size.
At 9.62 oz/273 grams (8.4 oz/238g for the women’s model), the Nike Zoom Fly 5 is heavier than most other carbon-plated shoes, which are often under 7.8 oz/220 g. This is partly due to the higher stack and the use of a recycled ZoomX, which is more sustainable but heavier than the original material. Also, there can be a weight difference between two shoes of the same pair for the same reason. This is always due to the use of a recycled version of ZoomX.
Grip and durability
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 has a smooth outsole with durable rubber but relatively little grip. It’s best to stay clear of wet pavement or slippery dirt tracks. The Nike Zoom Fly 5 is exclusively a road shoe, and it’s best to use it in dry conditions.
The use of ZoomX has a double advantage. Besides being more comfortable, it’s also sturdier. This means you can run for miles without getting tired or wearing out the sole.
Finally, the full-length carbon plate makes the sole rigid to optimize transitions for a smooth and easy ride.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 is a Jack of two trades: comfort and performance. This explains why testers’ feedback is mixed. While they appreciate its comfort and cushioning, they regret its lack of responsiveness compared to the previous versions in the series. In fact, the Nike Zoom Fly 5 appears less responsive than the Vaporfly or the Invincible Run.
Testers used to running with other carbon-plated shoes were left wanting more with the Nike Zoom Fly 5 and complained about the lack of bounce. However, those who had never run in such shoes were less disappointed with the energy return. On the contrary, they found it quite satisfactory.
Like all carbon shoes, the Nike Zoom Fly 5 takes some getting used to. The testers appreciated the shoe’s characteristics once they started using it on longer runs rather than on intensity training such as splits or tempo runs. They felt that they could “easily” run for miles at a slightly higher speed than their usual endurance pace. And this without getting overly tired.
A smooth and stable ride
The presence of the carbon-fiber plate, the FlyPlate, already present on the Nike Zoom Fly 4, offers fluid movement. The testers enjoyed the feeling of being propelled forward, the signature rockered ride of carbon-plate shoes.
Reviewers also appreciated the increased stability of the Nike Zoom Fly 5. They felt safe between the lateral reinforcements, a snug fit, and a wider midsole base. Indeed, the somewhat wobbly ride of the Zoom Fly 4’s was among its main drawbacks.
Although it takes some getting used to, the Nike Zoom Fly 5 is much less demanding and elitist than its predecessors. Good running technique is still essential, however. However, runners who are used to running with low-drop shoes may be put off by the Zoom Fly 5.
This Zoom Fly 5 strikes an interesting balance between comfort and speed. However, runners looking for “super shoes” may be disappointed by the low bounce that you would expect from such shoes.
However, it’s a great pick to get acquainted with a carbon-plated ride in preparation for a half marathon or even a marathon with many long runs. Indeed, the Zoom Fly 5 is a long-distance daily trainer and leaves race day to its older siblings, the Vaporfly and Alphafly (similar to the Saucony Endorphin Speed or the Adidas Boston).
Nonetheless, it does require some getting used to, good running technique, and a moderate to fast pace for optimal comfort.
|Heel height||41 mm|
|Forefoot height||31 mm|
|Weight (men)||273 g/9.6 oz|
|Weight (women)||238 g/8.4 oz|
|Features||Carbon-fiber plate, Recycled materials|
|Distance||Mid, 10K, Half marathon, Long, Marathon|
|Workout||Daily running, Racing|
Reference: Nike's official site
Comparisons – Nike Zoom Fly 5 vs.:
Nike Zoom Fly 4
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 and the Nike Zoom Fly 4 have very little in common, although only 8 months separate the two models. The big change is in the composition of the midsole. Combining ZoomX and SR02 foams provides more comfort and durability. At the expense of responsiveness.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 retains the same Flyknit mesh that made the revolution on the Zoom Fly 4. The padded upper is more breathable and comfortable than previous models, but still not suitable for wide feet, as the toe box is particularly narrow.
The Nike Zoom Fly 5 compensates for the lack of stability of the previous iteration with lateral reinforcements in the upper and a wider sole in the heel and forefoot. This makes it a more versatile shoe, although a little less responsive.
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