Even if you aren't a hard-core runner, you probably heard about Nike's attempt this spring to create the perfect conditions to break two hours in the marathon. (Eliud Kipchoge gave it a valiant effort, but he came up a bit short, running it in two hours and 25 seconds). The event was part science experiment and part PR stunt, highlighting Nike's new shoe, the Zoom Vaporfly 4 percent, which is designed to give runners a 4 percent improvement in running economy. While that shoe is available (at $250) for elite runners, the vast majority of runners will be better suited in the Nike Zoom Fly, a shoe designed to be durable enough for training yet retain many of Nike's technology used in creating the elite shoe.
The Zoom Fly is still super-light for its size, yet the Lunarlon foam midsole provides tons of cushioning while remaining very responsive – what you want in a long-distance race. It also has a carbon-infused nylon plate that is designed to absorb and return some of your energy – a controversial aspect that's still generating debate. But for marathon runners looking to shave off some time, the Zoom Fly could be the right fit. You won't break two hours, but that attempt to break four or five hours might be a bit easier.