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Home / News / Nike Alphafly 3 is a supercharged running shoe that can last you 10 marathons

Nike Alphafly 3 is a supercharged running shoe that can last you 10 marathons

Alphafly 3 launches on 4 January 2024 and sticks to same Alphafly 2 price

Nike Alphafly 3 side view
Nike Alphafly 3 costs £275

A prototype version of the Alphafly 3 was on the feet of Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum as he smashed the marathon world record at the 2023 Chicago Marathon. A version was also laced up by Dutch runner Sifan Hissan as she won the women’s race at the 2023 London Marathon in her debut marathon. Now that record-breaking running shoe is coming to the masses and Nike has revealed that the Alphafly 3 launch date is January 4th 2024.

That’s when the prototype colourway version of the hotly anticipated racer will drop on the Nike.com website, Nike app and select speciality running stores. Nike is also sticking to the same $275/£275 price it cost to hit that purchase button on a pair of Alphafly 2. That’s despite the emergence of rival Adidas’ race shoe, the Adizero Evo Pro Evo 1, which did some record breaking of its own and also raised eyebrows when it went on sale for an eye-watering $500/£400.

Fortunately, for those eyeing up the new Alphafly, Nike hasn’t followed suit and it seems for now it won’t be asking the seriously big bucks for its top-tier performance shoe. “I think our stance on the price of the shoe is kind of the same as it is on durability and performance, which is that we’re proud that we’re not passing on sacrifices to the runner, says Bret Schoolmeester, Senior Product Director, who oversees running footwear at Nike.

Unlike Adidas’ pricey single-use Evo 1, Schoolmeester claims that the Alphafly 3 has serious legs and isn’t a one race affair. “We’re not saying it only lasts one marathon, he tells us. “We’re proud that these shoes can last. We have testers going up to 200-250 miles on the shoe. We’re confident it’s going to last as long as any of the super shoes out there.”

Lighten up

So what are the nitty gritty details you need to know about the Alphafly 3? The key ingredients remain the same. It still sits below a 40mm stack height to ensure it’s race legal, with an 8mm drop just like the Alphafly 2. There’s a high stack of Nike’s light and bouncy ZoomX foam to keep you cushioned from mile one to 26. Dual Zoom Air Units are in place once again to absorb impact and help deliver big energy returns to keep your legs fresher as you dig deeper into the race, with a carbon fiber Flyplate there to give you that propulsive feeling. Those elements have been tweaked to make the new Alphafly a better race shoe to chase down PBs and also address feedback on previous Alphafly iterations.

So now that ZoomX foam sits on a continuous bottom, a design change Schoolmeester believes is going to surprise people and aims to offer smoother heel-to-toe transitions for all foot strike patterns. “This was in service of what we were hearing both from two hours to four hours of the marathon,” he says. “It was pretty consistent feedback of wanting better transition, comfort and stability in the product.”

Energy return

Those changes to the midsole also means the way the feet engage with the Zoom Air Units has changed too and should ultimately help to boost those all-important energy returns. The carbon plate has been widened too, on the medial side of the shoe to help improve stability.

“We’ve also adjusted the last so that it’s more accommodating in the arch. So there is a little bit more material there, which reduces some points of irritation for some runners and also just makes it more stable and secure.” This seems to be an acknowledgement of a particular pain point for some Alphafly users. “Changing the last of a shoe can change a lot of things. So adjusting it was not something we took lightly,” says Schoolmeester.

Weight off

It’s a lighter Alphafly now. 15% lighter than its predecessor according to Schoolmeester, with a men’s UK 10 weighing in at 220g and a women’s size UK 8 coming in at 176g. It achieved that drop in weight in different areas, including removing foam in the midsole in a similar fashion to what it did on its Vaporfly 3 shoe. A new Fast Shot outsole also has its part to play on delivering that overall lighter design.

Other highlights include a new version of Nike’s one-piece Atomknit upper, where there’s now a radial knit used for the first time to add more areas for compression and breathability. 

Crucially, Nike or at least Schoolmeester doesn’t feel these changes and its super shoe in general is off limits for those that are not smashing out marathon world records. “We’re not saying it’s only for a small number of athletes,” he says. “We haven’t found with this shoe a compromise where we say, hey, if we’re going to make it right for Eliud (Kipchoge), we can’t make it right for me and you and everybody else who wants to run two and a half, three, four hours in the marathon. We’re able to eliminate sacrifices so everybody gets the best of the best. I think there will be something in it that everybody can appreciate and enjoy. So increased adoption, not just amongst our elites, but throughout the pack of marathoners was the primary goal in the shoe.”

Blazing a new trail

The new shoe innovation not only lies on the road. Nike is also introducing two new options for that off-road time. The first, an update to its popular Pegasus Trail line with the unveiling of the Nike Pegasus Trail 5, which launches in May 2024. 

The fifth generation of its hybrid, road-to-trail shoe swaps its usual React-based midsole for a ReactX one, promising 13% more spring back for every stride and 43% less carbon footprint. Schoolmeester simply says that this foam will make the Pegasus Trail 5 feel more “comfortable” than Nike’s React foam. It’s also getting an upgrade in the outsole department with a new All Terrain Compound (ATC) to offer increased grip for mixed trail conditions.

Last and by no means least is the Nike Zegama 2, Nike’s most cushioned trail shoe, which will also land in May 2024. The first version was the first Nike trail shoe to take its ZoomX foam off-road and is now cradled by an SR02 carrier foam to offer protection for that softer foam and bring some added stability in the process. That’s rounded off with a Vibram outsole as the Zegama 2 joins Nike’s Ultrafly to benefit from Vibram’s grippy outsole expertise.

So whether you’re chomping at the bit to have something new on your feet for another attempt at a marathon PB or you’re far more at home eating up your local trails for hours on end, Nike’s got some tasty-looking new shoes ready to eat into your bank balance in the new year and again in Spring 2024.

Profile image of Michael Sawh Michael Sawh Stuff contributor


Mike is a freelance journalist, and contributor to Stuff magazine and Stuff.tv. He's also a dedicated runner and wearables lover