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Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% running shoe rating for women

It was easy to find a rhythm in these shoes and they definitely encouraged me to run faster and faster. I kept reminding myself to slow down, to pace up and down, to notice how my body felt – because damn it, those shoes just made my run fun again. And when I realized I was having fun running, all other thoughts released my brain. For the first time since the pre-pandemic world, I actually ran without worry. These shoes felt so good on my feet.

How my body felt during and after the activity

Much like my feet felt fabulous, my body felt great during and after the run too. I’d run many miles thanks to the tests for the Sneaker Awards, and these shoes kept my legs fresh from start to finish. The next day I felt great too ̵

1; not the least bit tired thanks to all of this energy return that worked in my favor.

Unlike the other shoes I’ve tested, there are a few other points that I need to point out here. These shoes are great in many ways, and when you have all the money in the world be sure to get a pair – but these aren’t the shoes I would recommend for tracking your daily miles.

For one thing, they’re not versatile. I stopped at one point during a run and tried to do some simple squats and pop squats and hold a forearm plank and the shoes felt weird. I was out of whack. This rocker arm shape, which helped my running frequency, worked against me when it came to stability, when landing from the hop or just trying to stand still for squats. In other words, if your favorite cross training class like Barry’s Bootcamp, Orangetheory Fitness, or any other HIIT class reopens, I wouldn’t recommend wearing these shoes. You run shoes. And you can only walk in them.

I mentioned earlier that I’ve only run four times in these shoes – and that’s partly because after just four times I noticed wear and tear on the heel of the shoes (the Nike logo was starting to rub off, and there were small ones that stayed Notches where I came across random pieces of gravel during the run). It reminded me that these are definitely not for everyday use. They’re really designed to do your best race.

Company’s right of return

Nike typically allows 30 days for returns but has extended it to 60 days for purchases since February due to the ongoing pandemic. They can take your gear for a test run and then decide if you want to keep it as per their website.

Still, I couldn’t find these shoes at Nike. The only places I can currently find the Alphafly NEXT% are other retailers, and their return policies apply everywhere. It is definitely something to keep in mind when looking to purchase a pair of these shoes.

The bottom line

Nike is no stranger to innovation that makes headlines and these shoes are no exception. They are easy to retract – light, springy and padded – and positively propel you on to your next step. They are very different from any other shoe I’ve tested and deserve high marks for their feel, fit, and value for money.

But if a friend asked for a daily recommendation for running shoes, it wouldn’t be high on my list. There are many other shoes out there that have better value and are designed for everyday use. (You can see some of my top tips for everyday running here and here.) These shoes are unaffordable – and especially when you consider they’re only meant to be worn for race days. There is no question that Nike achieved something amazing – and maybe made us rethink some of those basic running questions. If you get the chance to try these you won’t be disappointed. These shoes make running fun again and I’m excited to see what Nike will come up with next.

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