Written by

Brandon Law

Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
The Alphafly is Nike's top of the range super shoe. Here we will be comparing the latest 2 versions.
Foo Bar

The Alphafly is Nike's most premium, most expensive long-distance racing shoe. The Alphafly currently holds the records for the 2 fastest marathons ever. Armed with a full length carbon plate and Zoom Air pods, the Alphafly is built for explosive speed.

Version 3 was a massive departure from version 2. This comparison will be able to tell you which version is better for you.

Similarity and differences: Alphafly 3 vs Zoom Alphafly Next% 2

Zoom Alphafly Next% 2

Shoe type
Expert score
Expert score
Expert score
7.7 oz
8.00 oz
Heel Drop
8 mm
8 mm
The Nike Alphafly 3 is a superb top-tier racer and the best Alphafly version to date but it’s not deserving of its megahype or its $285 price. While it lacks the ‘magical’ feeling, it still has a combination of critical features (light weight, firm, stable, efficient) which provide a high level of speed assistance to the runner. Version 3 is a much better version than 2. It has a continuous bottom which results in smoother transitions, a stiffer midsole and most importantly, a wider midfoot with less arch irritation.
The Nike Alphafly Next% 2 is a super shoe which was designed for narrow-footed runners and runners with high arches because it has a very narrow midfoot. It’s best suited to short, fast-paced workouts rather than long runs because of its firmer ride and prominent arch. This version has been updated with a new, snugger Atomknit 2 upper, a more durable, flatter outsole and a wider, more stable midsole.
Recommended for
Racing, speedwork
Racing, speedwork
Cushioning type
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
some stability
some stability
buy half size bigger
true to size
Retail price

Sole unit: Alphafly 3 vs Zoom Alphafly Next% 2

The Alphafly 3 and 2 both have double layers of ZoomX PEBA foam, the firmer layer is on the top and the softer layer is on the bottom. They both have a firm ride compared to other super shoes due to the air pods in the forefoot.

The Alphafly 3 is lighter than the 2 and this makes it more versatile for a variety of runs. It feels more efficient on longer runs and more nimble on shorter runs.

Both versions have forefoot Zoom air pods but the main difference is that there is more space around the air pods of the 3 so they have more space to expand during foot strikes. This makes them more responsive in version 3.

The 3 has a continuous bottom which translates to a smoother ride while the 2 has a decoupled forefoot which suits forefoot strikers more. Midfoot and heel strikers will find the Alphafly 3 more comfortable.

When it comes to stability, the 3 has a wider base with more ground contact so it’s more stable than the 2.

In terms of outsole durability, the Alphafly 3 also wins because it has a flatter outsole design which distributes the wear more evenly.

Upper unit: Alphafly 3 vs Zoom Alphafly Next% 2

Both versions have bootie constructions made from highly breathable knitted materials. The Alphafly 3 has better foot lockdown because your heel sits lower in the midsole compared to the 2. They both have narrow fitting uppers that are not suitable for wide feet but the 3 has a wider midfoot which is more comfortable for flat footed runners.

Sizing is a little too small. You should go up a half size in both versions to account for your feet expanding during long runs.

Which one to buy: Alphafly 3 vs Zoom Alphafly Next% 2

If you are a heel striker or if you have sensitive arches, the Alphafly 3 will be more comfortable for you. It also has a smoother ride and is lighter. If you’re a heel striker or midfoot striker, the 3’s design will suit you better.

If you are a forefoot striker with high arches, the Alphafly 2 is better for you. It also has a firmer ride if you prefer less squish. The Alphafly 2 also has a more flexible midsole. If you’re a forefoot striker, the design of the 2 will suit you more.

This expert review is written by

Brandon Law

Marathon Runner and Shoe Expert
Brandon is a South African who lives and trains in Malaysia. He is a marathon runner who eats, sleeps and dreams running shoes. While most people wear shoes to run, he runs to wear shoes.