Compared to Zoom Fly 2, the Nike Zoom Fly 3 running shoes are a modern interpretation with better foot support. The shoes are also slightly more expensive at their release date. But the old compression-molded Phylon has now turned into the sinking and rigid Nike React. The upper’s materials are also engineered to repel water and to make the shoes dry quicker.
The outsole is centered on the forefoot. This is why here’s where most of the rubber sits for traction and shock absorption. As a result, the shoes only fit forefoot runners. There’s barely any rubber on the heel area of the outsole. On light trails or even when running on grass, the shoes lose plenty of traction as a result. But on the pavement and the track, they perform well for those who rely more on the forefoot.
The outsole is wider in the forefoot area than on the previous generation. This attenuates some stability issues given by the shoes’ narrow and tall profile. But it also adds that slap sensation when hitting the ground hard.
With a tall profile, the midsole has a cushioning feel. The Nike React foam may not be the premium option from the brand, but it is highly valuable for most. Furthermore, the addition of the carbon fiber plate adds a propulsion feel. Some would even describe it as a trampoline effect which ensures faster take off on every stride.
However, runners need to be aware that any running limitations such as excessive pronation can be troublesome with the shoes. Their high platform is not particularly appealing for those struggling with stability. Shorter runners may also be at a disadvantage when it comes to enjoying a natural stride.
Made with the Vapoweave technology, the shoe upper is lighter than before. The material is a combination of nylon and molded plastics. Its role is to keep water away. This is the reason why the shoes may be an option for rainy days running. With the limitation of the rubber on the outsole, they could have even been the first option on wet pavements.
The lockdown of the lacing is also better than expected. It doesn’t feel loose on the foot. Furthermore, even when running for long periods, runners not there is no moisture absorption and the upper can be wiped dry immediately. This performance is laudable. However, the shoes come with virtually no cushioning around the ankle and this is something runners need to get used to with the newest Nike releases.
Size And Fit
The fit has been described as narrow and it's expected from such thin upper designs. Runners need to ensure their feet are suitable for this profile of shoes. If this is the case, they become a solid long run shoe. Recovery runs can also benefit from the high propulsion capacity of the shoes.
Alternatives can be found at this price. Even those seeking a recovery shoe may find the Hoka ONE ONE Carbon X to be a solid alternative. However, Hoka’s shoes are a bit more expensive and it lacks the upper performance of the Zoom Fly 3 with water repellence.