The RW to go: In a post-Vaporfly world, the racing dish is all but gone. He makes a comeback in the Streakfly.
- Thicker than a traditional flat sole, the sole is made of ZoomX, a light and bouncy PEBA-based foam.
- It is Nike’s lightest running shoe.
- Heel strikers may want more cushion in the back half of the shoe.
Type: Race dish
Lester: 6.0 oz (men’s size 9)
Drop: 6 millimeters
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“Lighter is faster.” This has always been the axiom of running shoe designers – look at the ultra-thin running shoes of the 2000s, which have been stripped down to the bare minimum. But boy, did your legs take a beating at the end of a run.
Then came the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly 4%, which, while not particularly heavy, was bulkier than those old ballerinas and, somewhat surprisingly at the time, even faster. The magic, of course, is the PEBA-based foam and the carbon fiber plate. The suit proved so fast that the Vaporfly was worn in varsity cross-country races – the Harvard men’s and women’s won the 2019 NCAA Division I Northeast Regional Championships, held on the roads because the Buffalo golf course was covered in snow and ice. Clearly the Vaporfly has a great range from those 6K and 10K runs up to a marathon (and beyond), but some runners wanted even less shoes for short road runs like a 5K.
Introducing the Streakfly, Nike’s lightest running shoe.
Everything about the Streakfly shoe is stripped down to the Vaporfly. Its sole is thinner, but not as thin as those older runners. For example, the forefoot of this shoe is 26mm thick, whereas the Flyknit Streak 6 we tested in 2016 had a heel thickness of just 25mm. And the foam has been vastly improved: traditional racing flats used EVA-based foams, but the Streakfly, of course, has ZoomX, the elastic PEBA compound.
Unlike the Vaporfly, there is no carbon fiber plate here. Instead, the shoe uses a short Pebax plate under the midfoot only, designed to stabilize your foot as you go – the shoe size is quite narrow and the foam is exceptionally soft and flexible, so the plate gives a moderate amount of control.
Foam, however, turns out to be our biggest problem. We love ZoomX – and Pebax in general – because we’ve seen it used on not just Nike’s shoes, but a number of others, including our long-time favorite Reebok Floatride Run Fast and even the new surprise hit by NoBull. But, in this configuration, we found that the heel went down too easily. If you heel strike or run downhill, you’ll feel the squish of the foam, then a firm “thump” as your foot runs out of room to move – the foam compresses as far as it will go.
That feeling, however, is completely gone if you’re the midfoot or forefoot landing type. So that limits our recommendation here to fast runners with an efficient stride. A tester who wore the Streakfly for a few threshold runs and a 20 mile says it sticks with the Vaporfly for 5K and 10 km races.
The transparent upper doesn’t stretch at all, but it’s roomy enough to fit comfortably. And the offset lacing has just enough adjustability that you can tighten it as much as you want.
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