Triathlon Cheater? – Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2

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You know who…

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2

They’re definitely fast and definitely legal but I’d be mindful about using the brand new, super-fast Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 for your next triathlon.

 

Unchanged

It’s the same energy-return foam as before and the same rigid carbon plate as before. The forefoot cushioning and rebound pads are the same too.

New and Improved

This is a marathon shoe and there are several minor improvements to aid comfort and arch support. Whilst normally trivial, these subtle improvements are more important over the longer distances.

As I see it, the two key differences are these:

  1. Of specific interest to triathletes might be the increased widths: 3mm at the heel and 2mm at the forefoot. This boosts the shoe’s stability. If you are just coming off a 100+ mile bike ride for the run leg of your Ironman then you will have less good form than usual. Stability is probably going to help.
  2. The original Next % definitely did no favours to ‘less good’ runners who perhaps were mid-foot or heel strikers. Thus there’s now an increased drop of 8mm (from 4mm) to help you.

 

Where’s the problem?

I don’t think there’s a problem per se. The current generation of super shoes is definitely faster and whether it’s the foam, carbon plate or both that makes them faster is a moot point. They’re designed for straight-line road racing.

You’ve invested huge amounts of training time towards your race day and it’s pointless to scrimp and save on a few hundred pounds to buy entry-level shoes when a year or two of your life has been focused on doing as well as you can on a given day.

So you’re going to buy what you think is going to make you faster. Just be mindful that certain kinds of shoes will make certain kinds of runners better (Eliud Kipchoge) and that you might not be that certain kind of runner who benefits the most.

Q: Will you buy these?

A: No. I bought the previous generation Alphfly and Vaporfly Next %2 and like them both a LOT. But I have boxes of shoes I’ve not even opened yet. (I probably would buy a pair otherwise)

Costs A Lot, When? Soon, Where? Nike.com

 

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