Full disclaimer, I know almost nothing about shoes. I don’t work in shoes, I have never worked in shoes, I just wear shoes. And really I only wear one brand of shoes. If you want to know about every version of the Hoka One One Clifton ever made I am your girl. (Original, the best. The 3, very good. The 6, excellent. The rest of them, meh.) Any other shoe, sorry I can’t help you. So if you are looking for a pro review that talks about the “responsiveness of the midsole or the offset of the upper” this is not for you. (I’m kidding a little, I know that last one isn’t a thing, it just sounds funny). And if you seriously do want to talk shoes all day go see the good folks at Good Times Running Co. in Katy, Tx or the good folks at North Wales Running in PA! They know shoes.
Anyway! I was recently blessed with the latest and greatest of shoes! The Nike Air Zoom Alpha Fly! It is all the rage. It will automatically get you to Boston just by looking upon it’s glory. It is everything! Is it though? I am going to put it to the test. I also have a few pairs of the Hoka Carbon X shoe, so I am not brand new to carbon shoes. I have worn them in several races and have had fantastic results. Was it the shoes or was I just in good shape? I’m going with it was the shoes. I very much like the Hoka Carbon X, mostly because I love the Hoka Clifton and it has that Hoka feel that I am familiar with. They are comfy and do not feel weird, and they are fast!
I have read zero reviews of this shoe so all impressions and opinions are my own. First impression of the Alpha Fly. They either look super cool or super ugly, depending on your perspective. The pair I have is bright orange, Nike wants everyone to know you are wearing their shoe. They are also incredibly light. The upper (ok, I did use a shoe jargon word) is made of a kind of mesh material. Light and airy. It also looks to be of a material that will not absorb water. There is also no tongue in the shoe, that would just be extra unnecessary weight. Of course the first thing I did when I got them was try them on. And no joke it took minutes to get my foot into the shoe. They are TIGHT! These would be a terrible choice for a triathlon. You would add minutes to your transition time. Because they don’t have a tongue you can’t open them up to get your foot in easier. Then I stood up and walked around my house. And they feel WEIRD! You totally feel like you are walking on springs. They bounce you along. They don’t feel as narrow or tippy as the Vapor Flys, which I tried on one time. The base of the forefoot and heel are quite wide.
Last Saturday I took the AlphaFly’s out for a spin. I needed to put down a couple fast miles for the Sonic Endurance Love To Run challenge so it was the perfect opportunity. Again, getting them on was difficult. I felt like Cinderella’s ugly stepsister trying to get my foot in there! Very tight. But once you’re in it feels like a hug for your foot. I did a little jog around the parking lot just to make sure I wasn’t going to break an ankle when I went full speed. Off I went! First half mile impression, I felt fast. Like an elite runner. Whether or not I looked fast or like my usual plodding self, I don’t know. But these shoes give your legs life, no doubt about that. I did a 1.2 mile segment and I ended the segment with one of my fastest miles outside of a race situation, and really about 15 seconds faster than I was expecting. Did a second half mile segment, again much faster than my current fitness would have me expecting. Therefore in my super scientific experiment of one, I have to say these shoes live up to the hype. On my cool down jog back to the car (again at a faster pace than I normally would expect) I was focusing on the how the shoes felt, and if I thought I would be able to run a full marathon in them. They are extremely narrow through the middle and having slightly wide feet I felt like I was only running on half a shoe. I could see that getting uncomfortable over 26.2 miles. However, would I try it just for the potential benefits? Probably.
I’m excited to take these to a real race and see how they do. Because they are extremely expensive and extremely hard to even come by they will be reserved for a race day shoe only. (Or maybe a hard to get Strava Crown).