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Road • September 2, 2022

Nike Zoom Fly 5 Review: Zoom Fly or Zoom Die?

nike zoom fly 5 cover
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What You Need To Know.


11.2 oz. (319 g) for a US M10.5

Stack Height/Drop

39 mm in heel, 31 mm in forefoot (8 mm drop)


Carbon-fiber plate, recycled ZoomX inside an EVA carrier, engineered mesh upper

On The Run

Recycled ZoomX foam feels exactly how you’d expect (like it’s recycled), double-mesh upper is secure and comfortable, firm and inflexible ride


$160 (on sale for $110)

The Intro

ROBBE: When you whisper the word “ZoomX” in our ear, it gets us real riled up. Hair on the back of our neck stands up, sparks fly, and visions of training bliss with LifeTouch studio filter enter our periphery. It’s the secret sauce that makes the tastebuds tingle when we plate up a helping of the Nike Vaporfly, Alphafly, and Pegasus Turbo 2. And even though we didn’t love the Nike Invincible, we still understood why many people did.

So when we saw that the Zoom Fly would finally get the ZoomX treatment for the Zoom Fly 5, we were ready to start making reservations by the fireplace at the Golden Corral. It’s BYOS (bring your own strawberries) on Wednesdays, so keep the chocolate fountain flowing.

But then we started getting some major catfishing vibes when the leaked photos began showing a different kind of ZoomX in the midsole — the same found in the Alphafly Nature, which is to say — trash ZoomX. Or, in marketing speak — recycled ZoomX encased in a carrier foam. Excitement levels weren’t as high as when we first swiped right, but we were still willing to meet up as long as she split the check.

After all, there were other things to be excited about. Aside from the ZoomX, the Zoom Fly 5 also features a revamped dual-layer engineered mesh upper, padded tongue, and a nice aesthetic. Maybe it’s not what’s on the inside that counts, after all.

We were about to find out either way.

BRANDON: The original Zoom Fly was one of my favorite running shoes of all time. I mean, it’s shredded down to the core. There’s basically little to no rubber outsole, and the mesh upper isn’t aging gracefully. It was my go-to race day and workout day shoe throughout high school and parts of college.

Fast forward 5 or 6 years later, and it’s a much different shoe now than it was. The shoe is softer, has a higher stack, blah blah blah, you get the idea. It innovated with the times like every other shoe. The big story behind this update is the incorporated ZoomX, which is Nike’s most superior foam. What the people didn’t know was exactly how the ZoomX was going to be integrated. I’ll give you the short version. It’s a letdown.

nike zoom fly 5 laces

Nike Zoom Fly 5 in Hunter Orange

The Good

ROBBE: I told you that from the original photos and bio of this shoe, I was already past the first date and thinking Cancun wedding with a classy reception at Senor Frogs. Top shelf Jimador at the ready. It looks beautiful, especially after the mediocre designs from Nike’s road crew over the last couple of years. The smoothed-out lines on the midsole, the large logo on the upper, the initial colorways — I love all of it.

The fit of the upper is great and classic Nike. It forms to the foot, and the dual-layered mesh provides structure without sacrificing breathability. Holes in the saddle area and the forefoot keep the air moving through the shoe. A padded tongue (even though it’s non-gusseted) puts a bow on the whole package.

The ZoomX itself does offer a bouncier feel than last year’s version, but it’s not what you think when you first hear ‘ZoomX.’ That said, it’s not bad. It’s just different than expectations. I think there’s a bit of propulsion and pop if you combine the ZoomX was the carbon-fiber plate, but it all comes down to whether or not you can get it to that point.

BRANDON: The double-mesh fit and electric orange color help the Nike Zoom Fly 5 stand out and scream fast on workout and race days. When it comes to design and aesthetics, Nike is at the top of its game. The tongue has no gusset, but the lacing system provides ample support and lockdown around the midfoot.

Another great feature about this shoe, which probably wasn’t all that prevalent in the past, is the outsole rubber and durability. Cornering on wet or tough surfaces never proved to be a problem. This is a shoe you can get upwards of 300-400 miles with ease. For only $160, that’s a pretty good deal.

Shop Nike Zoom Fly 5 - Men Shop Nike Zoom Fly 5 - Women nike zoom fly 5 heel

The Bad

ROBBE: Once a brick, always a brick is a saying no one ever said, but we’ll start saying now. The most common complaint about the last couple of versions of the Zoom Fly is that it’s quite blocky underfoot. It loves lamp, it loves desk, it just says things it loves but gives none back. Is it stable? Hell yes. Can it work as a running shoe? Sure. Does it look gorgeous? A hundred percent.

But what the f*** is the point of this shoe at this point? For straight-up training purposes, we have the Pegasus 39 (great shoe). For comfort or long hauls, we have the Invincible (again, a shoe that a ton of people love). For other purposes, we have the Vomero, React Infinity, or Streakfly.

I get it if you want to do a plated trainer with a version of your premium foam. After all, other brands have done it with wild success, from the Saucony Endorphin Speed to the Adidas Takumi Sen (more tempo than trainer, though) or even the Hoka Carbon X. But all of those are executed better than the Zoom Fly 5.

It’s heavy underfoot — like real heavy — partly thanks to the carrier foam, the same used in the Vomero 15 and the candy-inspired Joyride. It’s soft but dense and nowhere as light as actual ZoomX.

Weird complaint, but the window underneath the shoe showing the recycled ZoomX is designed so that it becomes a suction cup when your foot lands a certain way. Like, I sometimes felt myself using extra effort to detach it from the ground. I can confidently say that I’ve never had that happen before in any shoe.

Also, what is the deal with the recycled ZoomX being used in all these shoes? I appreciate using all the scraps like the last contestant on Alone, but it just in no way offers the same feeling of actual ZoomX. Is there a supply shortage? Can we just make beds with the scraps instead of footbeds? So many questions.

BRANDON: Remember when I said this one was a little bit of a letdown? Turns out that the highly anticipated ZoomX foam that we all have come to love is actually recycled, and only inside the midsole, while wrapped around a different foam called SR02. None of this is good news. This combination creates a more brickish and less responsive feel under the foot. I’m not sure what the thought process was, but it seems like Nike was really trying to cut some corners or bring down the cost of midsole production. Nothing says go green like more dollars in their pockets, right?

Shop Nike Zoom Fly 5 - Men Shop Nike Zoom Fly 5 - Women
nike zoom fly 5 cutout

Recycled ZoomX inside the carrier midsole

Nike Zoom Fly 5 Conclusion

ROBBE: I want to love this shoe, I really do. But not even an endless buffet of fried shrimp and the finest sirloin this side of the Mississippi could distract me from the in-person feeling of the Nike Zoom Fly 5. Can we just bring back the real Pegasus Turbo, but for real? If you really need to throw a plate in it, go ahead, but we just want the OG feeling of that shoe back and not some mad-scientist corpse creation of it.

If you want this as a walking shoe, it should work, but at the $160 price point, there are just plenty of other shoes that offer the same benefits you’re seeking. If you’re looking for a shoe that accomplishes what the Zoom Fly 5 is trying to do, get the New Balance Supercomp Trainer. For a lighter version that can still work as a daily trainer, go with the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3.

BRANDON: The Zoom Fly 5 is a step down from the ZoomFly 4. I had high hopes for the integration of ZoomX, but we all know how that turned out. The updated version feels less smooth underfoot and doesn’t provide that snappy or responsive ride I was looking for. The upper was great, and I had no issues there. But, at the end of the day, no shoe can be complete without a decent midsole, and this one fails to do that.

You can pick up the Nike Zoom Fly 5 for $160 by using the shop link below.

Shop The Shoe

Nike Zoom Fly 5- mens shop
Shop Nike Zoom Fly 5 Men
Nike Zoom Fly 5-women shop
Shop Nike Zoom Fly 5 Women

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nike zoom fly 5 front

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Nike Zoom Fly 5


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Martin Ebbensgaard says:

    If your’e not build like a runner, but instead like a 100 + kg Icehockey player, how would it perform?

    I like cusioning to soften the blow on my hips but im worried that a full Zoom X midsole like in the invincible will be to fragile.

    Could this work or what are your Heavy runner recommendations? I don’t need a lot of stability.


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Robbe Reddinger
Senior Editor
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

All-time favorite shoes: Nike Epic React, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield, Asics Metaspeed Edge+

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brandon rossi
Brandon Rossi
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In addition to his photo and video skills, Brandon is also a producer for The Drop podcast and founder of the Believe Run Club in Baltimore. He is a tried and true product of the running system, competing in cross country and track and field at the Division 1 collegiate level.

All-time favorite shoes: NIKE Alphafly NEXT%, ASICS Novablast 3, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2.

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