We knew Nike was getting ready to put a fresh spin on its record-breaking running sneaker, the Alphafly Next%, and the company is now making it official. Dubbed Air Zoom Tempo Next%, this new sneaker is designed to be a daily training complement to the Alphafly, offering a firmer ride that Nike says creates a "more propulsive sensation." The Air Zoom Tempo Next% also takes cues from the brand's Vaporfly and Pegasus Turbo series, in addition to the ultra-fast Alphafly, and combines a slew of Nike's top-of-the-line footwear technologies — including ZoomX foam, Air Zoom Pods, and React cushioning.
Training mode — Unlike the Vaporfly and Alphafly, though, Nike's Air Zoom Tempo Next% doesn't sport a full-length carbon fiber plate. Instead, according to the company, the Tempo comes with a composite plate that's intended to be less stiff during daily use. That feature is key because, according to Nike, it provides more "stability and transition throughout a runners' stride" as well as added comfort "over higher mileage", and it's the first time a plate of such kind has been brought to one of its running training shoes.
Nike says it also wanted to make the Air Zoom Tempo Next% more durable than its other high-end models, which is why it tacked on extra rubber padding on the outsole — all while keeping the shoe lightweight and generally lean. That, along with the comfort and responsiveness of the React cushioning, ZoomX foam, and Air Zoom Pods, should translate to more enjoyable runs over long distances.
Co-existing — With all those features in mind, it's important to remember that the Air Zoom Tempo Next% isn't intended to replace or be a follow-up to the mind-blowing Alphafly, but rather be a companion to it. Train with the Air Zoom Tempo Next%, race with the Alphafly Next%. Essentially, Nike says, the Tempo is designed to offer all the energy return and the cushioning attributes of the Alphafly but in a toned-down mode. "What if you had all the benefits of a race shoe, but didn't have all the drawbacks?" Nike said in a media briefing.
Some of the "drawbacks" of the Alphafly sneakers, of course, include the sensation they can give of making runners feel "tippy" due to their super thick and incredibly high heel. The goal with the Air Zoom Tempo Next% is to make runners feel more grounded and offer better traction, while at the same time giving them access to the features that make the Alphafly Next% the best running shoe out right now — not just from Nike but any brand, period.
Coming soon — If the Tempo Next% has you intrigued — and it definitely should — you won't have to wait long to try to get a pair for yourself. The shoe launches on September 24 for $200 for Nike members (free to sign up), with a wider rollout coming on October 1. There's a FlyEase edition for the same price, too, featuring Nike's ease-of-entry lacing system, which sports a simple pull mechanism that makes it relatively effortless to get the sneaker on or off, similar to what's on the "Space Hippie 3."
Like the Alphafly, the Air Zoom Tempo Next% are bound to fly off the shelves, so you'd be smart to put their launch date on your calendar and (hopefully) you won't miss them when the time comes. That said, one important fact to note before you buy is that the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% does not meet the latest stack height regulations from the World Athletics (WA) organization, meaning they wouldn't be legal on sanctioned races — and thus their training-day nature.