Nike Zoom Fly 4 Review
by iRUN Singapore on February 09, 2022
They say that good things come to those who wait. It took Nike 2 long years to release the Zoom Fly 4. The Zoom Fly is one of their most popular trainers and one of the most popular carbon-plated shoes in the world.
What made the Zoom Fly such a success is that it's widely available, it's very durable and most importantly, it helps you to run fast thanks to its full-length carbon plate.
The Zoom Fly 4 is classified as a “training companion” which means that it's a speed shoe designed to deliver a similar ride to its racing counterpart, the Vaporfly Next% 2 but in a more durable, more affordable package.
In the training companion category, the Zoom Fly 4 competes with the Nike Tempo Next%, the New Balance Fuelcell TC, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2, the Puma Deviate Nitro and the Adidas Boston 10. Most of them have plates in their midsoles and are designed to go fast.
Men (272 g), Women (233 g)
Every great running shoe needs a great upper and the Zoom Fly 4’s upper is close to perfection. It has a really unique construction which feels both secure and not overly padded.
The Zoom Fly 4 has a bootie construction so its tongue is attached to the rest of the internal layer. The tongue and collar are made of stretchy, knitted Flyknit which is comfortable and soft to the touch.
A pull tab is attached to the tongue but it's there more for decoration rather than function because there's no tongue slide.
There is a strip of soft padding on the inside of the heel counter which does a superb job of locking your heel in place so it eliminates any heel slippage.
On the midfoot, elastic straps wrap around your midfoot for a secure fit. These straps are more stretchy and forgiving than the older Flywire cables found on other Nike trainers so they don't dig into your foot.
The rest of the upper is made of 2 layers of mesh which are both very porous so ventilation in the Zoom Fly 4 is good and it's suitable for hot climates.
The fit of the Zoom Fly 4 is true to size. The toe box has enough room for your toes to splay but the fit is on the narrow side. Most runners with narrow and normal width feet will be fine with the width but wide-footed runners might struggle with how narrow the last is. Unfortunately, it doesn't come in a wide version.
A good midsole for a speed training shoe needs to be durable, responsive and cushioned. The Zoom Fly 4's midsole ticks all the requirements.
The Zoom Fly 4’s midsole is made of React foam and while it feels a little firm, it's still very well cushioned thanks to its thick, 39 mm heel stack height.
The geometry of the Zoom Fly 4's midsole is similar to that of its racing companion, the Vaporfly Next%. They both have forefoots which are angled upwards so you get a “forward-tipping” sensation with every toe-off. This geometry helps you to pick up the pace.
The Zoom Fly 4 has a full-length carbon plate embedded in its midsole. It's a stiff plate but it flexes a little more than the carbon plate in the Vaporfly so the ride is not as harsh.
The forefoot of the Zoom Fly 4 is wide while its midfoot and rearfoot are narrow. It's a shoe that wants you to strike on your forefoot.
The Zoom Fly 4 features a similar outsole to the one found on the Vaporfly Next%. It has full rubber protection on its forefoot, an exposed midfoot and 2 long rubber strips to protect the lateral and medial sides of the rearfoot.
A thick, hard sheet of rubber covers the entire forefoot of the Zoom Fly 4. It has thin vertical strips which protrude from the rubber to improve traction.
There's no rubber on the midfoot section because it isn't a high wear area but the exposed React foam is extremely durable so you don't have to worry about the foam chipping or wearing out prematurely.
The Zoom Fly 4 has a concave rearfoot so the centre is raised off the ground. This feature allows the centre of the heel to compress downwards when loaded and makes the heel more cushioned.
The rubber strips have vertical cuts in them to improve grip. Outsole grip is average because of how hard the outsole rubber is.
Outsole durability is very good and better than the Vaporfly Next%’s outsole durability. You can rack up the training miles in the Zoom Fly 4 without worrying about wearing down the outsole.
The Zoom Fly 4 is a fast-feeling shoe. It excels at interval workouts, tempo runs, fartleks and any other type of fast-paced run.
It works best when you're running at pace and you're leaning forward to engage the forefoot. During transitions, as you compress the heel, the stiff plate acts as a lever to propel you forward.
Compared to the other carbon-plated training companions, the Zoom Fly 4 has a firmer ride than most of them. It's firmer than the Puma Deviate Nitro, Endorphin Speed 2 and the New Balance Fuelcell TC but it is softer than the Adidas Boston 10.
It has smooth ride transitions due to its full ground contact outsole and its single-density midsole so it's easy to get into a rhythm.
Just like the Vaporfly, stability in the Zoom Fly 4 is below average owing to its narrow midfoot and rearfoot sections so it's best suited to neutral runners or light over pronators.
The 2 years were definitely worth the wait. The Zoom Fly 4 is a big improvement over the Zoom Fly 3. Its upper provides much better foot lockdown and it has a much more comfortable fit.
The Zoom Fly 4 is the perfect training shoe for intervals, tempo runs and fartleks. It also has plenty of thick, durable outsole rubber so you get bang for your buck.
The ride of the Zoom Fly 4 is similar to the ride of the Vaporfly Next% in that they both have a “forward-tipping” sensation during transitions so it's a great training companion at a much cheaper price point.
The Zoom Fly 4 is quite a bit heavier than the Vaporfly and firmer as well but if you train in the Zoom Fly 4 and race in the Vaporfly, you will go significantly faster on race day because you'll be used to training in a heavier shoe.
Reviewed by Brandon Law
See the Full Nike Zoom Fly 4 Collection here