top of page

Nike ZoomX Ultrafly Review - The Best Trail Shoe Ever?

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


I’m crossing my fingers that the generous forefoot width of these is a turning point for Nike. Have they realized that a broad, stable base is better on the trails than a narrow, tapered front end?


I’ll have to watch for new Pegasus Trails and Terra Kigers to be sure, but for the moment, I’m just going to enjoy a pair of Nike trail shoes that could almost be described as - roomy? Spacious? Accommodating? Ample? I can’t believe these are words I’m using to describe a pair of Nikes.


I don’t have the specs for stack or drop, but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d put the heel stack somewhere around 35-40mm and the drop in the 6-8mm range (Jason nailed it because the actual stack heights are 36mm/26mm for men and 33mm/24 for women). If I’m in the right neighborhood, that’s a little more cushioned than the Pegasus Trail with a little more drop than the Wildhorse.



For such a lightweight shoe, it’s really impressive that these have an edge-to-edge, full-coverage Vibram Megagrip outsole. Anything else would feel like a compromise, and Nike isn’t asking me to make any compromises with this shoe.



I’ve run in a pair of Vaporfly Next road shoes with the same Vaporweave upper material, and it’s bonkers. Overall, lightweight, breathable, flexible, supportive, water-resistant, and virtually rip-proof. Even the heel cup and midfoot strap (between the tongue gusset and Vaporweave outer layer) have small holes for breathability and drainage.

Maybe - gun to my head - if someone forced me to find a flaw in these, I’d say the material of the laces doesn’t feel as luxe as the rest of the shoes (although even the aglets have a color-matched Nike logo and checkered finish-line flag). I had zero problems with the way they worked though, and I appreciated that the tongue has a thin layer of foam that sits just under the laces. The gussets also keep the tongue and that foam layer right where it needs to be - zero slippage to the side.



I would grab these off the shelf for anything from an off-road 5K to a trail ultramarathon, plus all the training leading up to it. These are obviously high-performance race shoes, and I’d lace them up confidently in any event I was planning to seriously throw myself at. But they’re also comfortable enough for long training runs, which is something I hardly ever find myself writing about performance-oriented race shoes. Typically, the compromises for speed are at the expense of comfort, but not here.


So, Are They Worth $250?

$250 is a steep price tag, but ultimately, I’d say they live up to the MSRP. They’re right in line with the Vaporfly Next 3, which seems like their road-focused counterpart. That’s a lot for a trail running shoe in a vacuum, but it feels like the market has demonstrated that there’s enough demand for shoes at that price point if the tech lives up to its promise.





1,787 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page