With all the reviews that I found of the shoe on the internet in the last year I told myself that I really need to try out the shoe by myself and that none of the reviews should influence my thoughts of the shoe. Till today I ran over 200 kilometers in the shoe.
How I used the shoes so far
I used the Nike Zoom Fly 4 as my training shoe on most of the runs while training for the half marathon I ran in Ljubljana. I did a few easy runs in the shoe, a few tempo runs and 2 long runs, one of them a long run workout. So just about any type of run that is required when training for a half marathon, except the recovery runs. But you will find out why more later, when I’m gonna write about the performance of the shoe.
Fit of the shoe
The shoe fits true to size. The padding in the heel keeps your foot in place and the sock-like inner part of the upper secures a great lock down. The toe box is very roomy so you can use thin or thicker socks. It’s actually a very secure and comfortable shoe when you put it on.
The temperatures now are lower than in summer. So I’m not sure how the shoe will perform at warmer temperatures, since the upper is from two parts. The inner part is sock-like and on top of that another layer of flyknit. During the runs I did I had no issue with any hot spots or blisters and my feet haven’t been hurting while running.
Performance of the shoe
Here it gets interesting. Yes, I did over 200 kilometers in the shoe but on the first run I did in the Nike Zoom Fly 4 I wanted to turn around after 500 meters and change the shoe. But I kept going. The first run I did in the shoe was a 5k easy run and if you would ask me after this first run about the shoe I would say: “Don’t buy the shoe!” The midsole felt stiff and strange. Nothing I ran in ever before. Well today, 200 kilometers later I have a different opinion on the shoe. But you should keep in mind, that the shoe needs quite some time to break in. It took me a few runs and about 50 kilometers that the midsole softened up a bit and the shoe got more responsive and now after 200 kilometers the shoe even feels better.
But the shoe performs best on tempo runs and long runs. The first time I took the shoe for a tempo run, as soon as I picked up the pace it felt like I had a different shoe on my feet. It became responsive and it felt softer. And that is, what the shoe is made for: tempo runs up to 10k race pace and long runs. Some runners even use the shoe as a race shoe. It’s not a Vaporfly but if you are looking for a cheaper carbon plated shoe with a firmer midsole, then the Nike Zoom Fly 4 can even be a race option.
The outsole of the shoe has a good grip. I went out a few days ago and ran on wet roads covered with leaves and I had no issues with the grip of the outsole. The ride is stable and even when running through tighter corners is easier in this shoe than in the Vaporfly.
How will I use the shoe
You probably could tell from what I wrote how I will use the shoe in the future: tempo runs, longer interval workouts and long runs. And today after 200 kilometers the shoe looks almost like it’s out of the box. I would say that you can easily run over 500 kilometers in the Zoom Fly 4, maybe even much more.
Now, how will long runs come into play with the shoe? The pace on the long runs is mostly closer to easy run pace than to faster pace. But the shoe has a high midsole with a lot of foam and a carbon plate inside the foam. This will help on your long runs. All the foam that’s in the midsole will prevent your legs from the pounding you will get through the kilometers and your legs will feel fresher after completing a long run in this shoe compared to other running shoes with less midsole foam.
Would I recommend the Nike Zoom Fly 4?
Yes, absolutely. Especially if you are looking for a carbon plated running shoe for your faster training runs and your long runs. Or you can use the shoe even as a cheaper carbon plated race day option.
Roman Brcar / Top4Running ambassador