Hello everyone, In this article, I’ll compare two highly sought-after shoes – the Nike Zoom Fly 3 and the Nike Vaporfly Next%.
While discussing the differences, I’ll show some B-roll footage so you don’t have to stare at me the whole time.
The Nike Vaporfly Next% is a top-of-the-line, lightweight racing shoe with a carbon plate, while the Nike Zoom Fly 3 is a slightly different option.
As you may already know, the carbon plate sets these shoes apart and makes them so special, or in this case, expensive. The Zoom Fly and Vapor Fly have carbon plates, but the difference is in the foam used.
The Zoom Fly uses React cushioning, like those used in other height-enhancing Nike shoes like Epic React and Odyssey React. This foam is soft, bouncy, and responsive, with a nice balance. Combined with the full-length carbon plate, it provides a great running experience.
On the other hand, the Vapour Fly uses Zoom X foam, which is even more impressive than React foam. It’s lighter, bouncier, and softer than React foam, providing an unparalleled running experience.
However, it only lasts briefly, with only around 200 miles of use, before losing its bounciness. In contrast, react foam is more stable, providing a different experience.
Although the Zoom Fly is designed for racing. Some runners use the Zoom Fly as a training shoe for the carbon plate feel. And then switch to the Vapor Fly for racing half or full marathons.
However, for shorter races like 5k or 10k, the Vapor Fly may provide little benefit. It’s important to note that the Zoom Fly 3 is still part of Nike’s racing line. Even though it doesn’t have the ZoomX foam or folding carbon plate like the Vapor Fly, you can still race in the Zoom Fly 3.
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The Nike Zoom Fly 3 and Vaporfly Next% have Nike’s Vaporweave uppers, which are thin and almost plastic-like.
The Vaporfly Flyknit was too unstable for some due to its narrow base and the Flyknit material. The Vaporweave on these shoes is a better option for stability, and the Zoom Fly 3 also has this feature.
The new Vaporweave upper on the Nike Vaporfly Next % saves the shoe, making it much better than its previous version.
Although some people might hate the shoe, it’s all about how it feels for the individual. The new version feels a lot better to me, especially compared to the Fly versions.
On the other hand, the Zoom Fly upper has a different design with a more secure fit due to the addition of the Vaporweave material around it.
Stability and Security
The Vapor Fly is not too unstable and sacrifices some security on the midfoot for speed. However, I found it fine when using the shoe in real-life situations.
The heel counter is where the Vapor Fly shines compared to the Zoom Fly, as it feels more secure in the Vapor Fly’s heel cup. While the Vapor Fly is a stripped-down version of the Zoom Fly in terms of minimalism, it still provides a more secure fit.
The Vapor Fly has padding around the heel and ankle area, which adds cushioning and improves the shoe’s security.
In comparison, the Zoom Fly doesn’t have as much padding, and I experienced slipping even after tightening the shoe. Despite being a stripped-down shoe, the Vapor Fly felt more secure to me. I can’t explain why, but that’s how it feels.
Both shoes have a similar outsole design with rubber in the midfoot and heel areas. The outsole of the Zoom Fly and Vapor Fly is almost identical.
Despite the fact that the Zoom Fly’s 3 base width is wider than previous Zoom Fly shoes, I still find it a bit restrictive. Although it appears to have the same base width as the Vaporfly, my foot still slightly protrudes over the edge. While it’s not as apparent when running, it still needs to be more optimal.
Comparing it to shoes like the Speed Elite or Carbon X, which could benefit from a wider base for better stability, the base width of the Zoom Fly could be improved.
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The Vaporfly shoe should be more accommodating for a wider range of people. On the other hand, Zoom Fly does not have this issue as it has a wider base. If the base of the Zoom Fly is combined with the Vapour Fly’s foam, it could make a great shoe.
Regarding its purpose, the Vaporfly shoe is more suitable for speed training as it is heavier than other racing shoe options like the speed elite, carbon X, carbon rocket, or racing flags. Although it can still be used as a racing option, I prefer it for training runs where I can go light or train hard. It’s more durable, but for $250, it’s quite expensive.
If you want the Vaporfly, be prepared to pay the high price tag as it’s a popular shoe with the Nike swoosh. However, on sale, you can find them for around $130-$140 without discount codes on websites such as Nike.com or Running Warehouse.
The Zoom Fly is also a good option, and it’s not as expensive as the Vaporfly. I would go with the Vaporfly as it’s more enjoyable to run in, but other training options are available, such as the Carbon X, which I use as a training shoe.
If you are looking for a carbon plate shoe, the Vaporfly Next% is a popular option but comes with a high price tag. However, the Zoomfly 3 is a more affordable option. The Vaporfly is more enjoyable to run in and could be a good racing option. While the Zoomfly is more of a training shoe. There are other options for carbon plate shoes if you are looking for a training shoe. Such as the Carbon X. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal choice, and there is no definitive answer. What is your opinion on these shoes? Do you prefer the latest versions of the previous ones? I was hoping you could share your views with me in the comments below.
I’m Hamza, a passionate soccer player, and running expert. My love for sports started at a young age and has only grown stronger with time. Whether on the field or hitting the pavement, I pour my heart and soul into every step. I am committed to pushing myself to my limits and helping others do the same.