Nike just updated its fastest super shoe — meet the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2

a photo of the Nike Alphafly Next% 2
(Image credit: Nike)

Nike knows how to create a lot of hype when it comes to its super shoes. When Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line of his 1:59 marathon in Vienna in 2019, the world was staring at the monster shoes adorning his feet. Did they really have two carbon fiber plates? What was the weird air pocket? And were they too fast to be legal for competitive competition? 

A few months later, the Air Zoom Alphafly Next% was launched, and they sold out in seconds. It quickly became one of the most sought-after running shoes in the world and for good reason — it’s seriously fast, seriously lightweight, and seriously cushioned. Yet today, Nike has announced the launch of the Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2, the super shoe’s big brother, and I’ve been digging into the specs. Read on to find out more. 

It goes without saying, the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2 is a super shoe, designed to help you run fast on race day. If you’re looking for a shoe to clock your regular miles in, check out the best running shoes on the market and the best Nike running shoes to shop right now. 

a photo of the Nike Alphafly Next% 2

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2: Price and release date 

The Alphafly Next% 2 launches on Wednesday, June 15. The shoe is set to retail at $275/£269.95, which is the same price as the original Alphafly Next%. At launch, the shoe will only be available in an all-white colorway, which Nike is calling its ‘Prototype colorway’. In a release for the new shoe, Nike said, “This colorway features a wear test number on the medial side, along with pops of color highlighting the dual Zoom Air Bags”. The company also confirmed other color drops would be available after the launch. 

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2: What’s new 

There’s no doubt about it $275 is a lot to spend on a running shoe, so what’s changed between this and the original version? The Alphafly Next% was one of the best carbon fiber running shoes on the market, so it’s likely the Alphafly Next% 2 will be just as popular. While I’ve yet to run in the shoes, I spoke to a friend who had been lucky enough to test before launch, and he confirmed that the wider base makes the 2nd iteration of the shoe feel more stable — one of the drawbacks of the original Alphafly was the fact it felt unstable on wet ground, or around corners. 

a photo of the Nike Alphafly Next% 2

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike says the updates on the shoe were focused around the construction, and that it has attempted to “take all runners through the marathon distance with improved stability and transition.” It looks like it has done this by making the heel of the shoe slightly wider. 

Nike has also tweaked the midsole foam of the shoe — it still contains the super-cushioned, super-bouncy ZoomX foam, but there’s more of it under the Zoom Air pods in the forefoot of the shoe to provide more energy return and a smoother transition. The upper has also been tweaked slightly — it now contains Atomknit 2.0, which is now slightly more structured in the forefoot and padded around the laces, while still being super breathable.

a photo of the upper on the Nike Alphafly Next% 2

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% 2: Outlook 

It’s impossible to draw a conclusion before running in the shoe, but I’m hoping to see a more stable version of the original Alphafly, which got me a PR in the half marathon and 10K. As a 3:50 marathon runner, I felt like I didn’t have the calf strength to cope with the original Alphafly. The bounce-back from the pavement felt absolutely fine during the run, but the next day my calves were in bits. Plus despite the wider forefoot, I definitely felt unstable running around corners in the Alphafly Next%, although how much this matters when you’ve got a shiny medal and a new PR is up for debate. 

With the new version, I’m hoping for all of the same energy and excitement, but for a little more stability for those of us not racing across the line in 1:59. I'll be updating this page as soon as I get my hands on a pair. 

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.