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Nike Zoom Fly SP – 50 Mile Review

Yep, the Nike Zoom Fly SP another pair of shoes that are a couple of years old, but are fairly new to me and have been one of the more impressive shoes in my rotation in a long time.

These are the first pair of running shoes that I purposely do not run in as often as I want to, because I want to keep them for when I want to run fast for me.

In other words they have become a shoe to keep.

Just for reference my stats are: 62 years young, 5’7” tall, around 155 pounds (+/-) 5 pounds depending on the time of year and supposed to wear size 8.0 mens shoe, but that rarely happens.

Why I got them:

I have been looking closely at the Zoom Fly SP ever since they came out as an cheaper alternative to the Vapor Fly 4%, but even at their original price tag of $160, I was not going to get them.

I do not race enough to justify spending big bucks on “go faster” shoes. So I waited to see them at the Nike Factory Outlet stores or on eBay.

After running in the Zoom Fly v1 for a while this Spring, I knew that I really wanted the SPs.

So I got a decent, not great deal on a pair through eBay. When I got them, I quickly figured out that the SP version of the Zoom Fly is a much closer fit to the the Vapor Fly line than Zoom Fly v1 was in my opinion and definitely a racer, whereas I felt v1 and v2 (FlyKnit) were more of a fast trainer.

What are these shoe’s purpose in my rotation?

Without a doubt the Zoom Fly SP are my “go faster” shoes. They look and feel fast on my feet.

What kinds of runs have I done in them so far?

I have pretty much stuck with faster running in the Zoom Fly SP. I want to know that when I put them on, that I am planning to run faster than I usually do. While I can run slower in them and have in warm-ups with no issues, that is not what I use them for.

How have they worked out for me? The Nike Zoom Fly SP has done what I wanted. I run fast for me in them and do it mostly comfortably as long as I wear thin socks.

Weight

While not as light as a pair of Vapor Fly’s, they are at least in the ballpark and in line with other “marathon” racers that I now use more as my race day/go faster shoes. Most racers that are sub 6 ounces just don’t have enough cushion for the old body any more.

Fit

Do the Nike Zoom Fly SP run true to size? I am between sizes 7.5 to 8.0 according to the Brannock and have skinny heels, with a Tailor’s Bunionette on the outside of my right forefoot. The size 8.5 fits great and I probably could get away with a size 8.0 if I wanted a true performance fit.

However, at this point in my life, I am more concerned about comfort than a little extra weight.

Are they wide enough in the toe box? The ZF SP are on the borderline of what I could wear for a half marathon or even a 10 miler based on the toe box and my preferences. While they have not bothered all that much on longer runs, I still have not done a double-digit run in them to find out how they will feel on a longer run to me.

How does the heel fit? I have skinny heels and the heel locks in perfectly.

I have had zero issues with blisters or discomfort from the shoes rubbing-which is what I expect from shoes that work well for me.

Feel (different from fit)

The Zoom Fly SP is a softer/cushioned race day shoe, that I love the feel of when running fast. With the “plastic not carbon” plate there is still a snap that is lacking in my other shoes and one that I miss when I have been running in them and then switch back to more traditional shoes.

When I am getting tired during a faster run, my form deteriorates and I land even more on my heels and with the amount of cushion in the Zoom Fly SP, I still feel protected.

Although on a newer cushioned track, they almost feel too cushioned and made me wonder if I was loosing too much energy due to the combined softness.

However, when I compared times, effort levels and heart rates, I found that the ZF SP were the best shoes that I had during the tests. So I use them when I want to go faster.

Do the Zoom Fly SP run quiet or slap the road? While there is a lot of rubber on the outsole, there is something about the way I run in them that they are very quiet.

Midsole

There is confusion/controversy on whether the midsole is made from Lunarlon or React? I am not sure which one it actually is, but at the same time it doesn’t matter when it comes down to how it feels.

They are cushioned, but feel as though they have a nice snap to them that I really love. Although I do worry a bit about when I get tired and my form deteriorates, how the super soft heel will support my gait as the distances increase? That is something that I need to answer before I do a longer race in them.

I do like shoes with toe spring, because I have ankles that are as flexible as two 2×4’s nailed together and the Zoom Fly SP have plenty of it.

Sole

Are they rock collectors? I run a lot on dirt roads and road shoulders that have a LOT of pebbles that tend to get wedged in the outsoles of many shoes. With the Zoom Fly SP I have run on the dirt road down-back and on roads, but while they pick up a few pebbles it really isn’t a concern.

Are the Zoom Fly SP a three season outsole and then only good for indoor running in the winter. I would not run in the SPs much at all outside in nasty conditions, the outsole just is not designed to run race paces and handle bad weather. While I have run successfully in them in the rain, hard cornering can be adventurous.

Is there apparent wear, where? There is not apparent wear on the SPs after almost 70 miles. I really expect them to be usable in racing or shorter training runs for quite a while.

My thinking is that the Zoom Fly SP is that the outsole will last as long as I will be using the shoes.

Upper

• Do they have sewn on overlays or are they welded? The upper is a simple upper that doesn’t have any extra overlays which in my opinion – less is more.

When I was down visiting with Sam W earlier this month I got to look closely at a pair of Nike Vapor Fly Next % and the uppers on the SPs were more similar than other versions of the Zoom Fly. Which surprised both of us.

Also the foot is well held by the lacing design, but is comfortable enough that my Tailor’s Bunionette is not bothered as much as usual in “race day” shoes. A very good thing.

Laces. I did change out the original laces because they were too long and wacked against my other leg, which was a distraction that I didn’t want to deal with when I am running faster.

Appearance

I like the appearance of the white background with colorful highlights. It is rather old school in appearance and says when I see them that I need to run faster.

Would I get them again?

• I am looking around for another pair to put the closet for these wear out. I will find them and be very happy about it.

Although I would love to get my hands on a pair of Vapor Fly 4% v1 or Next %, I am pretty happy with how I run in the Zoom Fly SP.

The Reality is That

While the Nike Zoom Fly SP are not in the same league as the Vapor Fly line, I run great and comfortably in them. Today I did a treadmill 5K time trial in 21:19, which if done in a race would have been the fastest 5K I have run in the last 10 years.

So yes, I run well in them and pretty fast for me. Do the shoes make a difference – definitely. Do they improve my performance – yep. Enough to make me an elite athlete – nope. 😉

Which means I can see another pair of Nike Zoom Fly SP if I can’t find a pair of Nike Vapor Fly Next % under the Christmas tree in a few months, because I just run well in them and they do not bother my feet.

That is the important thing. Although I do want to find out if the Next % make that big a difference. Hehehehe.

Disclosure of Material Connection: These were a personal purchase on eBay and I do not represent any corporate or private interests for advertising or marketing purposes. The opinions I have expressed are my own and your experience with the product might be different. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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