Best Nike Shoes For Marathon – Vaporfly Next%, Alphafly Next%, Tempo Next%


Today, we’re going to be taking a look at 3 of the most talked-about and best Nike shoes for marathon currently on the market.

Each of these shoes features the highly responsive ZoomX cushioning and a stiff embedded plate. Visually, they look pretty similar, but each one of these shoes has its own unique ride and feel that’s going to give it its own specific purpose on the roads.

Which Nike shoe is going to be the perfect shoe for you? It’s going to depend on your own individual needs.

Let’s dive right into it…


Best Nike Shoes For Marathon

The first shoe I want to take a look at is the one and only Nike Zoom Alphafly Next%…

Nike Zoom Alphafly Next%



This could be the most hyped shoe currently on the market. If you know anything about it, you know it sells out almost immediately after each drop, and for good reason. It’s just an amazing shoe.

It’s the shoe you saw on the feet of Kipchoge when he broke 2 hours in the marathon. Since then, we’ve seen it on a lot of feet of many of the top runners throughout the world.

It really is Nike’s latest and greatest in carbon fiber plate technology.

Who’s the Nike Alphafly going to be for?

The Alphafly is going to be perfect for the competitive runner seeking a highly efficient, highly responsive carbon-plated racer with maxed-out protection.



  • Impressively lightweight & breathable
  • Midsole is highly cushioned & explosive with 
  • Offers an explosive, responsive yet bouncy ride with the Zoom Air pods
  • Carbon plate works really well
  • Transitions are quick thanks to the stiff forefoot geometry
  • Upper provides a secure foot lockdown
  • Outsole is really grippy


  • Pricey


Taking a look at the midsole, you’ve got ZoomX cushioning underfoot. There’s 40mm stack height in the heel and then 36mm in the forefoot for a 4mm heel-to-toe offset. It’s going to retain that World Athletic standard so it’s legal for racing.

It’s going to maintain that highly responsive and ultra-lightweight feel you’ve come to know with ZoomX cushioning.

We’ve also got that dual-chamber design up in the front that Nike calls Air Zoom pods. These are designed to further enhance that responsiveness.


Carbon Fiber Plate

Both the ZoomX and Air unit are going to work with a new carbon fiber plate design called Flyplate. It is actually exposed underneath the outsole so you can now visually see it. This is really what’s going to create the rigidity in the Alphafly and create that highly efficient ride.


Also, taking a look at this outsole, we’ve got a lightweight and sticky rubber up in the forefoot, which is going to offer great durability and traction.

Then, just looking at the base of the Alphafly, you’re going to notice it’s a lot wider than what we saw in the Vaporfly Next%. So, it’s going to create a little bit more inherently stable of a design.



Moving on to the upper, we’ve got a very thin AtomKnit material. The upper has actually been stretched and steamed to help create an ultra-lightweight experience. It’s going to offer just enough support to get through the marathon while also keeping weight at a minimum.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
NikeRunning Warehouse

However, this isn’t the only carbon-plated running shoe currently on the market from Nike. We also have the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Next%…

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%


When you look at the starting line of marathons, you see a lot of Alphaflys, but you’re also still seeing the Vaporfly Next%.

I Vaporfly is going to be better for those shorter races as well like 5ks, 10ks, or half marathons. It’s really going to be a very versatile elite carbon-plated shoe.



  • Ample cushioning & incredible bounce
  • Carbon plate provides a fast, propulsive ride
  • Cheaper than before (in some countries)
  • Upper offers better comfort than before
  • Super breathable


  • Narrow midfoot fit
  • Prominent arch area


Discover excellent alternatives to the Nike Vaporfly, providing great options for runners with different preferences or considerations.


In the midsole, we’re going to continue to see that ZoomX cushioning that works with a rigid carbon fiber plate.

In the heel, we’ve got 40mm of stack and in the forefoot, 32mm for that 8mm heel-to-toe drop. So, the stack height is going to be a little lower in the Vaporfly compared to the Alphafly, but the drop is 4mm higher.

That lower stack is going to attribute to a slightly lower weight. The Vaporfly is about to come in about an ounce lighter than the Alphafly Next%. Also, this is going to create a faster on-foot experience but still has all the protection you need for the marathon distance.



Moving on to the outsole, we’re going to see a little bit less rubber. It’s maybe not quite as sticky as what we’ve seen in the Alphafly but really everything you need for road racing.




We’ve got a thin lightweight and breathable Vapor Weave design. This upper is a little bit snugger than the Alphafly but still going to keep weight at a very minimum and ready to go on race day.

Overall, the Nike Vaporfly Next% is another great option for your marathon racing. It’s a little lower to the ground than what we saw on the Alphafly and a little narrower in the base.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
NikeRunning Warehouse

This brings us to our last shoe in the lineup. We’ve got the Nike Zoom Tempo Next%.


Be sure to check out our related article where we unveil the top choices for the best running shoes designed for narrow feet.

Nike Zoom Tempo Next%


Taking a look at this shoe, we can see some very similar features to what we’ve seen in the Alphafly, but this is not going to be an elite racer.

This really is your versatile performance trainer. There’s a high level of cushioning built for daily training, workouts, and some people may even use the Tempo for some racing.


What are you going to use the Tempo Next% for?

Again, you can use the Nike Tempo Next% for daily training, and workouts, and some people may even use it for race day. The Tempo Next% takes a lot of the learnings we saw in the Alphafly but packages it more in a daily training experience.


  • Very comfortable upper especially through the heel
  • Forefoot ride is fast and explosive thanks to the Air Zoom pods
  • Outsole is remarkably durable
  • Rides somewhat similar to the Alphafly
  • Paper-thin upper is super breathable
  • Performs great at fast long runs


  • Pricey for a daily trainer
  • Feels clunky for slow paces


Taking a look at the midsole, we’ve got a blend of ZoomX cushioning and React cushioning. This is the perfect blend of responsiveness and durability. We’ve also got the Air Zoom pods design which is just going to create a high level of energy return.



Moving on down to the outsole, we’ve got a lot of rubber. The Tempo Next% actually has far more rubber than the Alphafly and a very similar design with the ridge pattern, but the extra thickness and durability is going to hold out a lot better on the road for your daily miles.


Finishing this shoe off, we’ve got a knit design on the upper. We saw the AtomKnit in the Alphafly, but in the Tempo Next%, it’s just going to be a little bit thicker and a little bit more supportive.

It isn’t necessarily built specifically for racing. It adds a little bit of extra weight, but it’s going to be more of a supportive on-foot experience.

Where to buy (not affiliate)
NikeFoot Locker

So there you have it. These were 3 of the best Nike shoes for marathon. All of these shoes are amazing options, and which one is going to be perfect for you is going to come down to your own racing and training needs.

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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