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Nike Gives Consumers a Taste of its Marathon-Ready Running Shoes

Nike’s ultra-fast Vaporfly marathon running shoe just skirted a ban by the World Athletics. Now, consumers will soon be able to get their hands on a version of the headline-making sneaker with the upcoming release of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly, part of the Next% family of footwear.

Nike described the Next% line as “the ultimate meeting of sports science and purposeful design.”

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly is based on the same prototype that world-class marathon runner and Nike endorser Eliud Kipchoge used to break the longstanding two-hour marathon record in 2019 under ideal conditions.

“Barriers are inspiring to innovators,” Nike VP of footwear innovation Tony Bignell said in a statement. “Like athletes, when a barrier is in front of us, we are challenged to think differently and push game-changing progress in footwear design.”

That progress comes in the form of two jumbo-sized Nike Zoom Air pods located on the outsole underneath the balls of each foot. The footwear maker also added an extra dose of ZoomX foam to provide additional cushioning and energy return, wrapping it all in a breathable Flyknit upper.

“Once we understood the plate and foam as a system, we started thinking about ways to make the system even more effective,” Carrie Dimoff, a member of Nike’s advanced innovation team, said in a statement. “That’s when we struck upon the idea of adding Nike Air to store and return even more of a runner’s energy and provide even more cushioning.”

Nike announces the next in its series of Next% running footwear, the Alphafly, equipped with improved cushioning
The Nike Zoom Air pods found at the forefoot of the Alphafly work to provide maximum energy return while running, reducing fatigue and increasing longevity. Nike

Additionally, instead of multiple carbon plates, the Alphafly uses just one—perhaps a response to the new regulations imposed by World Athletics on highly-engineered, prototype footwear in official competition.

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Unlike previous Next% releases, the Alphafly will also come with a suite of training footwear to complement the race-ready running shoes. The first Alphafly release will include the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next%, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% FlyEase and a pair of track spikes called the Nike Air Zoom Victory.

Each is designed to open up Next% technology to a wider base of consumers.

“For runners, records like the four-minute mile and two-hour marathon are barometers of progress,” Bignell said. “These are barriers that have tested human potential. When someone like Eliud breaks them, our collective belief about what’s possible changes.”

Both of the “Tempo” Alphaflys will be designed for training runs, swapping the carbon plate for one made of a composite material in order to increase comfort over higher mileage. Nike React foam is incorporated at the heel for impact durability while ZoomX foam sits above the plate at the mid- and forefoot.

The Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% FlyEase, which features Nike’s innovative FlyEase adaptive closure technology for easier entry, and the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% will include the same Nike Zoom Air pods found in the Alphafly.

Nike plans to release the Alphafly suite this summer.