Nike Alphafly 3 Initial Thoughts
Nike is back. After a lacklustre 2023 where Nike’s own athletes eschewed the Vaporfly 3 for older versions, the Alphafly 3 are here to show Nike isn’t messing around in 2024. With adidas and ASICS taking spots on major podiums usually reserved for those wearing Nike shoes, Nike needed the Alphaflys to, well, fly. But are they any good?
The Alphafly 3 had already grabbed headlines at the Berlin marathon on the feet of Eliud Kipchoge. He won again but failed to break the record, which meant that the jury was out on whether the Adidas Pro Evo 1 were now the shoes to beat. But when Kelvin Kiptum smashed the world record in Chicago the following month wearing the new Alphafly, it catapulted them back to the top of the most-wanted list.
But how have they done it? And will it work for us, mere mortals?
From version 2 to 3, the Alphafly has undergone a significant slim down, shedding 15% of its weight, making an already lightweight shoe now feel impossibly light. However, this weight reduction looks to have been achieved in part by reducing the outsole coverage – leaving a lot of exposed foam to run on which could bring durability into question.
The new Atomknit upper feels notably more comfortable compared to its predecessor. The legendary ZoomX midsole feels stiffer and snappier thanks to a change in the compression ratio which was missing in the Alphafly 2 and the Vaporfly 3. The carbon plate is also a little wider to provide greater stability and counteract some of the criticism of previous versions, especially on tight turns.
The redesigned rear, featuring a more aggressive cutout and the removal of the tail, raises questions about the shoe’s continued visual identity as an Alphafly – it now looks very different from the OG carbon-plated history maker.
Put all those changes together and we think the shoe is an improvement, but there’s no hiding from the hefty £300 price tag – will the new Alphafly be as quick to fly off the shelves as the athletes who run in them?
Jess has been testing them out on a few initial runs and has this to say about them:
“The shoes offer improved stability compared to the 1s, featuring a slightly wider base that eliminates the sensation of walking on stilts even though the stack height is the same.
I loved the bounce and responsiveness when I was accelerating. They were also remarkably comfortable even after 5 hours of wear, which definitely hasn’t been my previous experience with high-performance footwear. I’ve been able to use them for both easy running and more intense paces and found they had a true-to-size fit with a wide toe box. I liked the lightweight upper too – the soft upper material gave a nice fit without any digging sensations.”