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Nike ZoomX Dragonfly Review:
Fast As You Can
By Senior Contributor David Salas

Can Nike strike gold twice with the Dragonfly? Short answer is yes, but this time there are some competitors in close pursuit. The Nike Dragonfly is a highly versatile distance racing spike for everything ranging from 1500m to 10,000m on the track. Some people have been seen to wear this on XC courses and that is certainly possible if it is all grass. The Dragonfly features the same ZoomX midsole seen in the Vaporfly and Alphafly and features a PEBAX spike plate that runs the full length of the spike. Weighing in at 4.7 ounces the shoe brings a very impressive package combining protection underfoot and responsiveness.

Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 4.7 oz, g (men's size 9) per Running Warehouse
Stack Height: N/A, under World Athletics 25mm maximum
Drop: N/S   
Classification: Distance Racing Spike


The Nike Dragonfly is an elite tier distance racing spike for those looking to have a shoe with a lot of versatility underfoot. The Dragonfly features Zoom X cushioning underfoot and is the same midsole material as the Nike Vaporfly and Alphafly. The shoe uses a full length PEBAX plate that acts as a rigid lever and spike plate as well. The shoe still feels like a track spike and has some aggressiveness to the ride, but also forgiving enough for most to heel strike as well if needed late in a race.


The Nike Dragonfly fits me true to size in my normal men's 9.5. Overall, the shoe fits similar to most track spikes and does have a performance fit throughout. The heel is normal width to slightly narrow, the midfoot normal to slightly wide, and the forefoot slightly wide compared to most track spikes. The upper is a single layer mesh that wraps the foot pretty well throughout. There is a small amount of stretch to it, but not enough to require re lacing after warm up or strides. The length is normal throughout. The shoe does not have too much volume vertically, though this is expected for good lockdown and that performance track spike feel. There is a hole in the posterior aspect of the achilles/heel that is noticeable initially but fades away quickly from consciousness. There is no heel counter, but there is some light reinforcement throughout the upper with underlays down the midline of the calcaneus and heel collar, with similar material as a toe guard. Overall the shoe locks down pretty well and does have a little bit of room through the midfoot than some other track spikes on the market. 


The Nike Dragonfly took a little getting used to. The Zoom X midsole is definitely soft for a track spike and the integration underfoot gives a soft sensation when loading the forefoot. The heel has decent cushioning as well, but the plate sits a little bit closer to the heel in that region. As a result of this, there is a tad more rigidity and firmness under foot. The spike plate/full length plate is spooned out as it sits higher up in the heel and then scoops downwards as it moves forward along the foot. Even though it is PEBAX the plate still has decent rigidity to it throughout. Because of the softer forefoot I actually liked having 1/4 spikes in when normally I run in a little bit smaller. The spike certainly wants you to be up on your forefoot with the plate configuration, though still has decent cushioning through the heel. The shoe has a sidewall along the medial aspect of the midsole that moves up the medial aspect of the midfoot, though it does not feel like it does much for stability as the upper leans a little wide through that region and the last underfoot is still pretty narrow. For those with stability needs they may find themselves collapsing through the midfoot a little more than they want to. With all of that said, this still is certainly a track spike and wants you up on your forefoot moving fast; it does, however, provide some forgiveness if you fatigue. There is a lot of Zoom X in the forefoot region before hitting the plate and there is some getting used to that sensation is needed. The Dragonfly does certainly move  quickly and I can easily see myself running 1500 to 5000m in this shoe. Due to my personal midfoot instability though, I may look into a different pair for the 10k distance for my personal needs. 


The Nike Dragonfly has some elements that help with stability, and misses the mark in some others. The immediate heel is done quite well with the full length plate integration and having the plate up closer to the heel. This gives a little bit more grounding to the spike and creates some rigidity to the platform throughout the heel to toe transition cycle. The last, however, is very narrow through the midfoot and those that have some midfoot instability may find themselves collapsing medially through the midfoot. The midsole does have a sidewall that extends up the medial aspect of the midfoot, but could be integrated a little bit better. The narrow last and wider fit through the midfoot in the upper can create a little bit of a sloppy midfoot. If you are running fast you may not notice at all as the transitions are quick; those that are fatiguing or running a little slower may notice though. The last could probably be widened a tad, or the sidewall cinched in a little tighter on the midfoot with the upper to give a better hold in the future. The forefoot is very soft but the wide plate underfoot still does a good job of stabilizing that region.  


Today's DPT section will be a little more grounded in theory and appreciation for innovation within the industry. The road running shoes have been in an arms race amongst all of the different companies, however no one put too much focus into the track industry. Nike, Adidas, and New Balance appeared to be at the forefront of this by incorporating their new generation foams into the midsole as well creating new geometries for the track spikes. Normally most track spikes will contain a spike plate that extends from the late midfoot through the forefoot. What Nike did with the Dragonfly was extend the plate full length and then tune it by rounding out the plate from a higher place in the heel to ultimately underfoot through the forefoot. The result creates a lot more responsiveness and a spring loading effect we are seeing in many of the road racing shoes. The plate also creates some rigidity and helps stabilize the softer and bouncier Zoom X foam throughout the full length of the shoe. The midsole materials throughout these foams have also been lighter than previous midsoles in most occasions and the Dragonfly shows you can still have good cushioning and protection underfoot, even in a track spike.


I am really happy with the weight and responsiveness of the Dragonfly. The shoe has a lot of versatility but could improve with some midfoot refinement. The upper leans a little wide in that region while the last is very narrow through that region. The combination creates a little bit of collapse through that region and although there is a sidewall, it does not seem to do much. Perhaps widening the last slightly or cinching in the midfoot sidewall and upper through the midfoot might help stabilize that region through the midfoot during mid stance.


The Nike Dragonfly is a top shelf distance racing spike for both track and cross country events (for those that allow). The shoe is very lightweight and provides enough versatility for 1500-10000m events. The ZoomX midsole and PEBAX plate are both very soft and responsive in combination with each other but the construction of the shoe does have some instability through the midfoot. For those with sound mechanics looking to go fast this will definitely be a track spike to have on the radar. 


Fit: A- (Good lockdown throughout but the combination of a wider midfoot through the upper and narrow last underfoot creates some excessive movement in that region)
A- (Very responsive underfoot with combination of ZoomX and PEBAX plate. Transitions are quick and sound, though for those landing through the heel may have some slapping through the midfoot transition because of aggressive spike plate.)
Stability: B (Overall decent stability. Good heel and forefoot integration but midfoot a little sloppy. Upper wide in midfoot and last underfoot narrow through region, so the sidewall doesn't seem to do much.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (It is good to see some innovation with spike. Bringing the full length plate geometry and PEBAX based midsole with ZoomX Nike has shifted the gear in innovation for the industry again, though there certainly is some competition with the Avanti and others.)
Personal: A- (I love how responsive this spike is. I think the balance of weight, cushioning, and responsiveness is on the money. I do still have a little bit of instability through the midfoot though, but I'm willing to live with it up to 5k.)
Overall: A- (Great distance racing track spike with soft and responsive PEBAX midsole and a full length PEBAX plate. Responsive and protective underfoot though does have some instability through the midfoot.)



Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse

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David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing.

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased with an affiliate discount through Running Warehouse.  We thank the  people at Running Warehouse for help with supporting DOR.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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