Nike’s brand new silhouette, the ZoomX StreakFly, plugs the gap between their more substantial marathon distance road running shoes and minimalist track racing shoes. Good news: it doesn't disappoint.
Brilliantly executed, it's equipped with a weight-conscious helping of ZoomX Foam, ensuring you feel connected to the ground but still with a really nice level of energy return, certainly more than you’d expect from a shoe of this weight. Our UK size 10 came in at a mere 191g on the micro scale.
The engineered mesh upper is supportive yet highly breathable and comfortable with no rubbing whatsoever. Although there's no carbon, a Pebax midfoot plate helps with stability and springiness. It's ideal for 5km and 10km, but I’d also be quite happy running a half marathon in this shoe.
Price and release date
Released on January 27, 2022, and priced at £134.95 (about $180 / AU$240), the ZoomX StreakFly is a little more expensive than Nike’s entry level performance running shoe, the Pegasus 38, but significantly less than the Vaporfly, which start at $250 / £209.95 / $310.00, whilst still bringing similar top end performance.
With such a defined manifesto and targeted use case, the StreakFly’s design should always have been simple, and indeed it is, balancing enough of what you need without unnecessary details.
Elliott Heath, Footwear Product Manager at Nike Running, explains the rationale behind it: “To better serve athletes who race and train on the roads for the 10k and 5k, we set out to develop a shoe that would still offer them a comfortable, lightweight, propulsive ride with more connection to the ground.”
This shoe is indeed light. Curiously, Nike never seems to quote a shoe's specific weight on product web pages, instead broadly labeling it 'lightweight', so we put our men’s UK size 10 on the micro scale where it weighed in at 191g. To give this some context, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 weighs 220g, the On Cloudboom Echo weighs 237g, and the Hoka Rocket X weighs 234g, so it’s a good margin less than these alternatives.
The upper is minimal and partly see-through (colored socks would show slightly), made from an engineered mesh with perforations. As with the Alphafly and Vaporfly, there's a tab of foam around the heel for comfort and to keep it secure on the foot – and that's about it.
The midsole is armed with 32mm of ZoomX foam under the heel and 26mm under the forefoot. A Pebax midfoot plate provides stability and mild propulsion – it’s a lightweight and flexible polymer compound, and more forgiving than carbon.
The front half of the outsole is fitted with a gripper black rubber compound on the forefoot section, and exposed ZoomX foam on the back half. There are two small strips on the left and right hand outer edges made from a harder version of the foam to help durability. Wave-like ripple effects a couple of millimeters in depth run laterally the entire length of the sole, intended to provide good traction throughout the stride while keeping weight down.
Right out the box, this shoe is a winner – zero niggles and no adjustment period to get used to what is a really natural ride. The ZoomX foam has the perfect level of spring which helps with performance and speed, and the more conventional stack heights mean a nice connection to the ground with no chance of rolling your ankle or feeling unstable while cornering. Combine this with the Pebax midfoot plate for stability and poise, and we found nothing to fault in its energized ride.
It would also work for a slower paced runner, or a more relaxed jog, unlike the Alphafly or Vaporfly, which only really work for speedy runners and tempo work. This makes it a much more versatile trainer that you could use for all types of road runs.
The upper is also really well executed. A contoured heel pod combined with a strip of foam delivers secure comfort and lightweight heel lockdown, and the engineered mesh upper is light, breathable and comfortable. Our only mild criticism of the shoe is that the tongue is ever so slightly too narrow, meaning it only just tucked under. Anyone wearing a thicker pair of socks, or with differently shaped feet might find it struggles to overlap.
For some reason, it's quite noisy to run in - perhaps because of its lightly contoured lateral lugs, which mean a large amount of the outsole is in contact with the ground. Other runners certainly hear you when approaching from behind.
We didn’t get to test the shoe in really wet conditions, but the grip proved totally sufficient on all types of urban surfaces - drain cover, cobbles, flagstones, asphalt.
Longevity wise, it’s hard to say for sure. We amassed around 60km whilst testing the shoe, and the grooved ridges are starting to wear down on the back half of the outsole, although its speedy performance still feels top end. However, as is the case with any performance trainer, a shorter life is inherent, and one of the biggest downsides to weigh up when considering a purchase.
All in all, this shoe is sublime, and one we would recommend without any hesitation to just about any runner, from relative newcomer, right through to top class athletes.
Buy it if
You want the ultimate sub-15km shoe
The Nike ZoomX StreakFly is optimized for this distance, and will give you your best shot at a personal best.
You like versatility
It's good for everything from weekend plods to serious training and race day.
Don't buy it if
Durability and extra long life are a priorities
A performance shoe always has a shorter lifespan, and we saw noticeable wear after 60km.
You’ll be heading off-road
This is a road and track shoe exclusively.