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Nike Zoom Fly v1 – 30 Mile Review

The Nike Zoom Fly v1 – Another older shoe that is finally coming down into the price range where I am willing to experiment with them, i.e. checking them out to see how they actually work with my weird running style and a body with too many hard miles on it.

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I have tried on a few pair of the Zoom Fly at the Nike Outlets a couple of times and looked longingly at them at various online shopping places I frequent for cheap running shoes.

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Unfortunately, the price point or else the size never seemed quite where it needed to be for me to justify the experiment.

Until Now!!!

Luckily things finally worked out and I managed to get a pair of Zoom Flys for a song and have been using them on a variety of runs.

Sizing

The size 9.0 Zoom Fly v1 I currently have are about a full size too big but are still working great. I had tried on a pair of 9.5 Zoom Fly SPs a few weeks ago and based my sizing on the SP version, which was a mistake.

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I think if I were to get another pair of v1s that I would go with a pair of 8.0s (true to size) and if I get pair of SPs I will go with a pair of size 8.5. Sometimes you gotta go with the size you get, when it is a great price and deal with the fit as best you can.

Why 30 Miles?

What is going on Harold you usually do 50 or 100-mile reviews, what is up with the 30-mile jobbie?

Supposedly the Zoom Fly line is a racing shoe and that means that I typically do not run a lot of miles in my racing shoes, so to get a review of them out before I forget about all the stuff I meant to write about them and 30 miles is a good mileage to review racing shoes.

By then I have a pretty good idea of how they work for me when I attempt to run faster in them.

What Kind of Runs?

Zoom Fly Runs 5-9-19

Treadmill, Track, Longer run, Test Course, Dirt Road, Hills – just about everything that I do with a pair of go-fast shoes – well except for a race. I am still zero for 2019 when it comes to racing. My average pace is usually somewhere between 8:45 and 9:00, so the paces in the Zoom Fly are faster than I normally run.

Short Version

I like them – a lot.

No, they are not really a poor man’s Vapor Fly, they are too heavy. However, they are a damn nice running shoe that is (in my opinion) being unfairly placed and marketed in the wrong category.

Yes, I could race in the Zoom Fly and most likely will soon, but are the Zoom Fly actually a race day shoe, especially for the 5K to 10K distances for faster runners?

In my opinion – not really.

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From where I sit as an average middle of the pack old fart with delusions of grandeur still running through the feeble bonnet on top, the Zoom Fly line-up fit quite nicely as a pair of light-weight trainers that I can run faster in. When my last two pairs of daily trainers were almost a full ounce less than the Zoom Fly, calling them race day shoes is a tough pill to swallow.

However, I will use them as my go faster shoes. 🙂

Long Version

The big question that I and a lot of runners seem to have is/are the Zoom Fly line actually a racing shoe or something else?

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Now that I have been running in them a bit, I really believe that the Zoom Flys are a great light-weight maximal trainer that I can run well in at any speed, but they really shine when it comes to picking up the pace for this old duffer.

In other words pretty much what I have been looking for.

When I first got them and wore the Zoom Fly around the house, they feel like crap to walk in, but when I started to run in them that feeling quickly went away. I felt that I ran “differently” and the watch was telling me I was running faster than I expected for that effort level. The more I have run in them the more comfortable they have become, so there is a certain amount of break-in with the Zoom Fly.

Milestone Pod Results

I wasn’t sure of how or what was different, so I also put my Milestone Pod on them and noticed a change in the results of the last 30 runs that was very, very interesting to say the least. Remember I have only had 6 runs in the Zoom Fly.

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Milestone Definition of Leg Swing is:

Leg swing is how high you get your foot off the ground and towards your butt following push-off. Higher is better. A higher leg swing means you are keeping your body movement closer to your center of gravity. The result is less work/less energy loss. …

The other metrics stayed pretty much the same, but the leg swing metric is very different and the only variable is the change to the Zoom Fly.

I have been using the Milestone App for almost a year, with several different shoes and it has consistently shown my leg swing as mostly Leg Swing on most runs. Now I am suddenly in the High range a LOT more than I had been in my: Reebok RunFasts, adidas Adios 3, adidas Tempo 9, New Balance Beacons or Nike Epic React v1.

So according to the Milestone App, I am doing something different with my Leg Swing in the Zoom Fly v1 than I have in any other shoe I have used with the Milestone Pod.

Which is food for thought when it comes to the Zoom Fly.

What I like

I run well in the Zoom Fly v1. I believe that this is the most important thing, while I will complain about the weight and some other stuff, the bottom line is that I enjoy running in them. Plus it does help that I do seem to be running some fast for me times in them.

I love the cush feeling that there is underfoot, yet it is not marshmallowly. The best part is that I do not feel as beat up after I run in them, as I do some other go fast shoes that I have in my rotation.

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Even though they are heavy for a shorter distance racing shoe (I prefer something in the 6 oz range), they are right in the ballpark for a light-weight trainer. Their weight is what I would prefer to run in for a daily trainer for me. The design seems to propel me forward more easily and the plate gives the shoe a little more umph/pop than the usual light-weight trainer.

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The outsole has provided surprising grip on the roads out where I live and have done well in wet weather outside. Although I don’t see them being super durable, I imagine that I will be able to get around 300 miles or so out of the outsole. Which is about when I seem to retire most of my running shoes that make it that far in any case.

The Zoom Flys are comfortable for my feet and that has been an issue for many years, because of the wonderful Tailor’s Bunionette that talks to me if the shoe isn’t right for my foot.

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I did undo the flywire that crossed directly over that wonderful spot on my foot and that seemed to make a huge difference in the comfort. This is where I think the FlyKnit version might be a better fit for me – once the price comes down a lot more.

They are very quiet, which means that the heel-to-toe transition is good and with the forefoot design (rocker), along with the internal plate, seems to help with my ankle/foot lack of mobility. As my old physical therapist claimed – two 2×4 nailed together had more flexibility than my feet and ankles. 🙂

Cons

On the sides of the midsole, there are compression lines already there, but my experience with this type of midsole is that they don’t mean much beyond making the shoe look older than it actually is.

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The grooves and pockets in the outsole do collect rocks more than some of my other shoes, especially on the dirt road down-back and the leftover salt/sand from last winter.

The Zoom Fly v1 are softer, err more cushioned than most of what I consider true racing shoes – something that I found out the other day when I went to the track. It was as though they were too cushioned and in combination with the track, made it more noticeable than other shoes I have run in. While I was still running decent times for me, it did feel as though I could have been going faster in a firmer shoe?

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I am noticing some discomfort in the bottoms of my feet that some other reviewers have noted – it seems as though my feet need to toughen up a little to go longer in the Zoom Flys than some other shoes in my rotation or break in the shoes a little more.

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The tongue is just a piece of fabric with no padding, so I need to be careful of much I cinch down on the laces, otherwise, it does bother the top of my feet.

Speaking of laces, the stock blue laces were too damn long – they would wack against the other leg and became an unnecessary distraction later in a run when I was getting fatigued. I changed them out to shorter white flat laces and they are working like a charm.

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The reality is that

I see the Zoom Fly as more a light-weight/go fast trainer than I do a racing “flat” or shoe for shorter distances and I am not sure how they are at longer distances yet. In my opinion, they weigh too much and are too soft for many runners to use them as their “flats”.

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So, in other words, they are probably just what I need.

At this stage of my running, I am more concerned with comfort and cushion, than I am about race fit and firm shoes. While they might not be the fastest shoes I could run in, I do not seem to be as sore after running faster in them when I am done.

Yeah, I am getting old and being able to recover from a fast/hard run is an important consideration, beyond just being able to run fast.

Quite frankly, I don’t really see the Zoom Fly as a great racing flat for shorter distances, although they will probably be on my feet when I do a race. Especially, since I do not see myself getting the Vapor Fly anytime soon and while they may not be perfect as a race day shoe, they are good enough for what I want to accomplish.

I also see my Zoom Fly v1s getting more use as a daily trainer, as my other trainers get more miles on them and the pair of Zoom Fly SP that are on their way as Bennie’s Father’s Day gift, become my go fast shoes. 🙂

It will also be interesting to see if the Zoom Fly SP version affects my Leg Swing the same as the V1s have.

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