Why the new Nike Alphafly 2 running shoes are a big deal

Nike added more foam underfoot and completely reworked the Atomknit 2.0 upper to create the ultimate running shoes in the form of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2

Nike launches Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2, its latest high-performance runnign shoes
(Image credit: Nike)

Marathon runners, rejoice! Nike announced the second iteration of its fastest running shoes, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2, which is said to be quicker and more comfortable than the original Alphafly, which helped Eliud Kipchoge break the 2-hour marathon barrier in 2019. And this is a big thing.

It's not like we didn't expect Nike to release the new version of the Alphafly eventually; that would've been daft. The first Alphafly is beloved by long-distance runners worldwide and is considered not just one of the best Nike running shoes but also one of the best running shoes overall.

So it's only understandable Nike decided to update the shoes. Not because they needed an update; similarly to the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, the Alphafly is a super-capable running shoe that will be in high demand, even after the release of the Alphafly 2. No, the Alphafly 2 is a big deal because it might bring us one step closer to breaking that 2-hour marathon barrier under real-life circumstances.

THIS JUST IN: you can get the OG Alphafly for £80 cheaper at SportsShoes.com right now. Don't miss out!

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2: Price and availability

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 was announced on June 15 2022 and sells for a recommended retail price of $275/£275. AU Price TBC. The Prototype colourway releases in limited quantities beginning June 15. More colourways will follow.

For more info, please visit Nike (opens in new tab) today.

Nike launches Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2, its latest high-performance runnign shoes

The shoes feature a wider heel for more stable landings

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2: Features and updates

Eliud Kipchoge's sub-2-hour marathon was achieved under special circumstances; the whole event, including the route, the pacers, tech, etc., was designed to help Eliud maximise his performance. This doesn't take away from his achievement – he was insanely fast – but that time isn't an official world record time.

However, he ran that time in the prototype of the original Alphafly, so in theory, each new iteration of the shoes will bring us closer to that coveted 2-hour mark – under 'real' race circumstances.

The updates to the Alphafly NEXT% 2 focused on refining the shoe's construction to "take all runners through the marathon distance with improved stability and transition, " Nike explains. 

Nike launches Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2, its latest high-performance runnign shoes

The full-length ZoomX foam is now extended under the Air Zoom units for smoother transitions

(Image credit: Nike)

Thankfully, Nike left the features that made the Alphafly intact: the Alphafly NEXT% 2 features a midsole made from a combination of full-length ZoomX foam (Nike's lightest and most resilient foam), a full-length curved carbon plate, and dual Nike Air Zoom pods.

However, additional foam was added under the Zoom Air pods on the forefoot, which is said to offer more energy return and help ensure a smooth transition from heel to forefoot as runners go through their stride.

The heel is now slightly to help improve stability and transition through changes of pace. Probably the most significant update is the new Atomknit 2.0 upper, engineered for "containment in the forefoot, breathability above toes, and comfortable padding under the laces", Nike says.

Closeup look of the new Nike Atomknit 2.0 upper

the new Atomknit 2.0 upper helps keep your the shoes in place

(Image credit: Nike)

Will any runners be able to break the 2-hour marathon record in the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2? Only time will tell. From what we know about the shoes, it has the potential to help you break your barriers and smash that 26.2 miles PB.

(For shorter distances, we recommend the Nike ZoomX Streakfly instead.)

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.