Nike ZoomX Streakfly review: the new king of short-distance running races

As it turns out, the hype surrounding the Nike ZoomX Streakfly is well-deserved

T3 Platinum Award
Nike ZoomX Streakfly T3 review
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
T3 Verdict

I expect the Nike ZoomX Streakfly to dominate short-distance running races the same way the Vaporfly ruled marathon distances in the last few years. The ZoomX foam is as brilliant as always, and switching the carbon for a Pebax plate seems to have paid off too.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Super lightweight

  • +

    Pebax plate provides subtle propulsion

  • +

    ZoomX is still one of the best foams out there

  • +

    Moderate rocker shape is less taxing on the legs

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    You want to use the shoes for tempo training and racing only

  • -

    Admittedly less versatile than 'standard' training shoes

Nike ZoomX Streakfly review TL;DR: if you're planning on acing your next 5k or 10k, you'll need these shoes. The ZoomX Streakfly is tailor-made for breaking PBs.

I hate Nike for creating shoes that can't be hated. I was ready to be critical with the Nike ZoomX Streakfly; I just couldn't believe the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% could be tweaked enough to be a decent short distance racer. It shouldn't be possible to take a concept that works for a certain distance, alter it, and make it dominate a completely different race span.

Yet, this is exactly what happened with the Nike ZoomX Streakfly.

I'm not a person who easily gives into the hype, but the excitement around these running shoes is well-deserved. The engineers at Nike did a brilliant job translating what made the Vaporfly so great into a short distance running shoe. The ZoomX Streakfly are undoubtedly the best Nike running shoes of recent times and one of the best running shoes overall at the moment.

Nike ZoomX Streakfly review: Price and availability

The Nike ZoomX Streakfly was announced on 19 January 2022 and will be available to buy from 27 January 2022 directly from Nike US, Nike UK and Nike AUS for a recommended retail price of $160/£134.99/AU$230.

Make sure you check our Nike discount codes to save on your order.

In usual Nike fashion, the ZoomX Streakfly is in short supply and is often out of stock. Keep your eyes peeled and sign up for Nike Membership to get notified when the stock drops.

The sole of the Nike ZoomX Streakfly

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Nike ZoomX Streakfly review: Tech

What makes the Nike ZoomX Streakfly great is that it combines technology that's been working well for years – the unbeatable ZoomX foam – with newer stuff such as the Pebax plate. For the uninitiated, Pebax is made of a lightweight and flexible polymer compound that is said to provide better energy returns than carbon plates.

As well as the full-length ZoomX and the Pebax plate, you also get an engineered mesh upper with a reinforced forefoot section, a contoured heel pod for "lightweight heel lockdown", and a unique, psychedelic-looking outsole that provides traction without the added bulk. This "generative outsole traction pattern" is based on a data-driven approach and grips the pavement from contact to toe-off – or so does Nike claim.

The Nike ZoomX Streakfly weighs only 185 grams (men's UK size 10) which is extremely light. It has a moderate stack height (32 mm under the heel, 26 mm under the forefoot) and a 6 mm drop. The reduced stack height (compared to full-cushioned marathon racers) provides better control and more stability.

Nike ZoomX Streakfly T3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Nike ZoomX Streakfly review: Ergonomics

As you can probably tell, I tried to keep my cool as much as possible when talking about the specs but I don't think I'll be able to do the same when explaining how it feels to run in the Nike ZoomX Streakfly.

My first thought after putting the shoes on was just how comfortable they are. The engineered upper is just tight enough and thanks to the position of the lace cage, there is plenty of space for your forefoot to expand. The heels are basically cuddled by the heel pod; a brilliant fit overall.

The bounce of the ZoomX foam is as great as always and it makes that unique sound as you land, just the way I remember it. Good memories apart, the best thing about the full-length ZoomX foam is that the bounce starts as soon as you land on your heels. As you start rolling, the foam kicks you up a bit just before you hit the propulsion plate, giving you a bit of a push at each step.

Said propulsion plate – the Pebax plate – works perfectly because of this soft foam. I found the plate to provide a subtler push than carbon plates but it could also have been the result of the more moderate rocker shape of the sole, compared to the Alphafly and the likes.

This is good news as this puts less pressure on the legs. Run a half marathon wearing the Vaporfly or the Alphafly and you'll find it hard to walk for a week; the same doesn't apply for the ZoomX Streakfly. For this reason, I'd wear these shoes for fast training sessions as well as racing.

Nike ZoomX Streakfly T3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Nike ZoomX Streakfly review: Aesthetics

The Nike ZoomX Streakfly reminded me of the Vaporfly NEXT% a lot while also paying homage to the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37, one of the most handsome shoes of 2020. The default White/Summit White/Photon Dust/Black is less eye-catching than the Ekiden version of the Vaporfly NEXT% but this bright-white variety has a lot of small details, too, such as the little orange box on the medial side of the heel, to keep your eyes occupied.

Even without the huge swoosh logo at the front of the upper, the ZoomX Streakfly is instantly recognisable as a Nike shoe. The tail extension, the contour and the patterns are all very much Nike-like; like it or not (I assume you do like it), you'll know straight away you're looking at a pair of Nikes when you cast your eyes on the ZoomX Streakfly.

Don't like the way the ZoomX Streakfly looks? I'm sure there will be plenty more colourways to come later.

Nike ZoomX Streakfly T3 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Nike ZoomX Streakfly review: Verdict

Nike has done it again: the ZoomX Streakfly is a brilliant running shoe that I'm sure we'll see cropping up on podiums of short distance running races in the near future. It's nimble, fast as hell and enables you to run fast without completely obliterating your legs in the process.

You know you'll have to pay for such a privilege but that said, the ZoomX Streakfly is far from being the most expensive running shoe on the market. It's well under the RRP of the Vaporfly and on par with similar shoes such as the On Cloudflash and the ASICS Metaracer.

If you can get hold of a pair of Nike ZoomX Streakflys, I recommend buying them ASAP.

Nike ZoomX Streakfly review: Also consider

The Salomon S/LAB Phantasm provides the closest running experience to the ZoomX Streaklfy. These minimalist running shoes are probably not well-suited for beginners but will serve runners with a little more experience perfectly, especially if they appreciate more control over their running stride.

Prefer running a bit slower? The Adidas Adistar aren't for chasing PBs and running until your legs feel numb or pressuring you into breaking all the local Strava segments every time you head out for a run. Instead, this chunky running trainer will help you appreciate slower, longer runs and conserve your energy so you can exercise longer without wearing down your joints.

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym reviews.