Nike Air Zoom Maxfly Review
The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly are the newest sprint spikes produced by Nike. After being labeled as "super spikes", the Air Zoom Maxfly has gained a lot of attention.
But, do the Maxfly spikes live up to the hype?
In this article, I will use my experience as a sprinter, a track & field coach, and owner of multiple pairs of the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly to give you all the information you need to decide if these Nike sprint spikes are right for you.
Nike Air Zoom Maxfly: The New Spike On The Block
The Maxfly was released in July of 2021, just in time for the 2020 Olympics.
With fast times by sprinters like Marcell Jacobs and Fred Kerley, the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly seemed poised as the leading sprint spikes for this generation of spikes.
The Nike Maxfly is unique:
- The Nike Air Zoom unit in the forefoot which provides a responsive bounce at every step.
- Two full length plates, one of which is a carbon plate, which gives you the responsiveness you need to sprint your fastest.
- The shockwave pattern spike plate gives you extra grip for races from 100 to 400, regardless of the weather.
Nike Air Zoom Maxfly Performance
The Nike Maxfly's Are Fast
With the Nike Maxfly, shattering personal goals is just a quick sprint away.
I have set many personal bests in practice while using the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly sprint spikes. In chasing my personal goals, the Maxfly spikes have helped me break my own records.
I cannot say that the Maxfly spikes are inherently going to make anybody faster, but if you learn to work with the specific ride of these sprinting shoes, you can unlock your own potential in sprinting.
Nike MaxFly Spikes Are Better For Upright Sprinting Than Acceleration
I think that the performance of the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly really shines during top speed and speed endurance phases of the 100 meter dash.
In acceleration, they can feel sort of squishy and wobbly, which some athletes have complained to me about in the past.
When sprinting in an upright position though, such as at maximal velocity or during the later stages of a fast sprint, the Maxfly helps you maintain your speed effectively.
If you get your posture and ground contact right, the Nike Maxfly will help you continue to bounce off the track and maintain your speed as you race.
Nike Air Zoom Maxfly: Feel and Comfort
The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly Spikes Feel Good When Sprinting
I have owned 5 pairs of Nike Maxfly's, and have practiced in them for over a year. Here are some highlights of my experience as a sprinter using the Nike Maxflys:
- The Nike Maxfly feels great in upright sprinting, giving you a very reactive bounce off of the ground.
- The Maxfly feels easier on your lower legs than other spikes, due to the Zoom Air unit and the ZoomX foam. They feel both very soft from an impact standpoint, while also feeling very fast off of the ground.
- The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly can feel wobbly due to the rounded spike plate, particularly in acceleration. This took some getting used to, but eventually felt normal and gave me no issues.
- The Nike Maxfly feels like it puts more stress on your hamstrings when you first use them, because their profile is taller and this can lead to overstriding when you first use the spikes. Once again, this goes away after you are familiarized with them.
Overall I like the Nike Maxfly, mainly because they have led to fast sprinting times registered with timing gates, in competitions, and they are very comfortable to use during speed training and speed endurance workouts.
Nike Maxfly Is Soft At Impact Yet Quick & Responsive Off The Ground
In upright sprinting, no spike is more comfortable than the Max Fly, with respect to its shock absorbing qualities.
Most sprinting spikes feel harsh on your shins and feet when you hit the ground. With the Maxfly, you wont finish your session feeling like you're about to experience shin splints.
The soft & bouncy ride of the Nike Maxfly is due to the combination of 2 stiff plates built around shock absorbing ZoomX foam. The foam built into the shoe gives great shock absorption with responsiveness to match.
The Maxfly feels more like you’re running on bouncy pillows rather than a thin, stiff spike plate. The foam built into the shoe gives great shock absorption, along with responsiveness .
When wearing these spikes, the ball of the foot is the most noticeable pressure point. The shoes have a rounded forefoot which makes it easy to roll off onto your toes, whereas other spikes feel more flat along the entire forefoot.
Once familiarized, the feel of the Nike Maxfly spikes is very bouncy and forgiving on your lower legs when bouncing off of the ground. The combination of stiff spike plates and the unique foam heel make a high performance ride that is as comfortable as it is fast.
The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly Fits Well & Is Comfortable
Overall the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly is comfortable and fits well. The spikes are not heavy, but heavier than some others I have tried.
The Max Fly feels somewhat narrow at the widest point of the forefoot, so athletes with remarkably wide feet may feel pressure when wearing these spikes.
The spike plate & the air pad could benefit from having just a bit more coverage of the ball of the foot, as I feel like the back edge of the ball of the foot is unsupported. Going up a half-size helped fix this issue.
The upper material is thin and comfortable, the tongue does not get bunched up and the laces are long enough to easily tie the shoe.
Also, I wish the heel cup hugged the heel better, but this is not a major issue. Sometimes it feels like the heel is floating around unless they are laced very tightly at the ankle.
Problems With The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly
In using the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly for hundreds of sprints, I have found there to be a few problems with these sprint spikes that you need to know about.
The Air Zoom Units Deflate
For a while, there were rumors that the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly spikes would deflate under the forefoot. Eventually, the rumors were proven true as many athletes would find that their Nike Maxfly sprinting spikes would break during use.
I have had 3 pairs of Maxfly's blow up on me, which at the time was certainly a disappointment. Thankfully, Nike offers a warranty on workmanship and product quality that lasts 2 years from the manufacturing date, so I was able to get my broken spikes replaced at zero cost to me.
Because of Nike's smooth process for filing warranty claims and their willingness to support the customer, the deflating spikes are not a deal breaker when it comes to the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly.
The Spike Plate Breaks or Separates From The Foam
Another issue I have seen in my own spikes as well as athletes I know is the spike plate can either separate from the foam or become cracked.
One day I was running outside, and I felt a weird feeling on one of my sprint strides. After my sprint, I looked at my spikes to see that the spike plate had bent and separate from the foam.
I am not sure how this happened, but it led to this pair becoming unusable and I once again went through the warranty process.
Around the same time, an athlete I was coaching heard a cracking sound while running, only to find that his Maxfly spike plate had snapped under the arch.
It is possible that these issues have been fixed, but if they haven't, you can always go through the Nike warranty claims process to get a replacement pair if your Maxfly's have issues.
The Maxfly Spikes Are Hard On The Hamstrings
While the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly sprint spikes are much easier on your lower legs and may even help prevent shin splints, their taller profile can put stress on your hamstrings. This is both the case when sprinting in them, as well as when walking around.
Also, one time when I had taken a break from using the Maxfly's and went back to sprinting in them, I felt like my lower back and hamstrings needed time to adjust to them.
For athletes who are worried about these issues, consider trying the Nike Zoom Superfly Elite 2 first before moving up to the Maxfly.
Regardless, once I was accustomed to sprinting in the Nike Maxfly spikes, the issue with hamstring and back stress went away and the spikes were comfortable to use.
My Verdict On The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly Spikes
The Maxfly Is Great For Sprinters Who Want Better Speed Endurance
If you are an experienced sprinter who wants to improve your speed endurance, the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly is a good option for you.
Because of the great bounce at every step theses spikes give you, running 90's and 150's will feel great compared to a more traditional pair of spikes.
The Maxfly's Are Good For Athletes With Shin Splints
Because these spikes are not as harsh on your lower legs as some more traditional sprint spikes, the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly would be a good option for those who have struggled with shin splints despite improving their technique and reducing their sprinting volume.
The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly Spikes Are Good For Feeling Bounce At Every Step
For athletes who like to bounce at every step, you can let the lightweight feel of the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly take you down the track with ease.
Nike Air Zoom Maxfly Specifications
- Primary Events: 60, Dash, 100m Dash, 200m Dash, 100m Hurdles, 110m hurdles, 400m Dash, 400m Hurdles
- Weight: 5.7oz (Men's size 8.5)
- World Athletics Approved: Yes
- Carbon Spike Plate: Yes
- Price: $180 at Nike
Where To Buy The Nike Air Zoom Maxfly
If you want to try out these spikes which match your speed, give you extra grip, and you want a spike that can help you shatter personal goals, you can pick up the Maxfly through Nike.
Ultimately, if the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly is in your budget, they are worth trying out. Just know that you may face issues with the Air unit popping, and they may put extra stress on your hamstrings.