Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2

The original Nike Alphafly’s released a few years back weren’t just your average ultra-high efficiency, marathon-winning pair of racing shoes. The company crammed in a ridiculous amount of lightweight foam around a core of three energy-saving carbon plates — a technology that the company pioneered.

It produced such stunning results – including Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon wearing a prototype of the Alphafly Next%. The World Athletics  council quickly followed up with guidelines that essentially meant that iteration of the racing shoe was banned (modifications were quickly made and race-legal shoes soon followed, of course).

So it’s only natural that we get excited when Nike announces a follow-up for their kicks that are spoken for by some of the best in the long-distance running world. Not that the newly-launched Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 is a shoe for elite runners only – we’ve heard that this pair has been redesigned with the average joe in mind. 

(Related: Effective running guide: How to stay on top form while giving your body a brutal running workout)

More foam, more bounce and greater accessibility

(Photo: Nike)

The fundamental makeup of the Alphafly Next% 2 remains: the sole primarily comprises the brand’s proprietary energy-saving ZoomX foam with a full-length carbon plate hidden in its centre, along with bouncy pods on the forefoot. This is where runners are usually encouraged to land for preserving forward momentum for even greater propulsion.

Nike has also added more foam beneath said pods for better energy return – though still keeping within race-legal limits – and a smoother journey as you complete your stride moving from heel to forefoot. This is coupled with a wider heel and forefoot for added stability. According to reviews of the shoe, this is like a big improvement for novice runners taking tighter corners at speed.

Further adjustments include a doubling in heel drop – basically, how fat the heel feels, typically equating to cushier running for non-elite runners landing mid-to-rear foot – and extra padding in the tongue for better comfort when the shoes are laced up tight. The new upper also promises better breathability too.

In essence, they’re quality-of-life improvements for runners who don’t need to eke out another percentage point next race; they just want to be comfy on their feet while, hopefully, setting a personal best – which is where the new-and-improved Alphafly Next% 2’s would come in.

More info via Nike.

(Related: Sotheby’s targets $1 million for rare Nike Olympic shoe)