These days, life moves fast, so we won’t fault you if you’ve already forgotten about Nike’s attempt to break the two-hour marathon. But if you love to run — or just geek out on new, hyper-designed sneaks — you’ll want to know that, starting today, you can have your own “Breaking2” sneakers. Well, pretty close, at least. The ZoomFly has a similar build, look, and feel as the sneakers that Nike’s elite runners used to try and break the sub-two record (which, during lab tests, yielded a 4 percent increase in speed). So, what does that all mean in practice?
When I first laced up the ZoomFlys, it was for an impromptu 5k, and during that race, I didn’t think about the shoes once. (I did put down one of my faster 5k times, despite jet-lag and two hours of sleep.) What that first run told me: These shoes are effortless. They may look a little clunky, with a 33m stack height, but they immediately matched my natural stride, and the layers of Nike’s proprietary Lunarlon foam made for a pleasant amount of cushion and bounce (but not so much so I felt like I was sacrificing speed and efficiency).
In the weeks since, I’ve taken them out for runs as long as 10 miles, and that feeling never changed — though my running did. I noticed I was leaning slightly more forward, more up on my toes, and it was easier to aggressively attack hills. That could be thanks to the carbon-infused nylon plate inside the shoe’s midsole, which Nike claims will help propel you forward, almost like you’re getting a teeny invisible push while you run. Though it might seem obvious, fair warning that these are not all-purpose shoes. After accidentally leaving my flat-soled cross-trainers at home, I tried to sub in the Zoom Fly’s for weights and conditioning at the gym. The same sole that yields a smooth ride for running made me feel off-balanced and clumsy with a loaded barbell, and less efficient on a rower. For dedicated runners, however, this new, speedy shoe is a great fit. ($150; store.nike.com)