Nike has always been on the leading edge of technology in the track spike world and now with the new Zoom Victory and Dragonfly, Nike has yet again stepped up their game. Over the last 15-20 years there has been small innovations in track spike technology and we’ve seen some truly amazing designs that were built with 1 goal, to run fast. Shoes like the Jasari, the Miler, the Victory, and the Matumbo, were all ahead of their time and created ultra lightweight performance on the track. But over the years, we have yet to see anything that really is ground breaking and we haven’t seen anything nearly as disruptive as what we saw on the road running scene with the Vaporfly or Alphafly, but that all changes now in 2020. Nike has taken their learnings with their ultra lightweight ZoomX cushioning and embedded plates and has created two unique offerings that will help create huge performance and efficiency benefits from anything from 800 -10000m.
The last distance spike Nike released was the Mamba V and upon release it instantly became a hit from high school to elite competition. Even with these new offerings, there will still be athletes that will still use it in competition, especially in the steeplechase, because it light, breathable and has that traditional low to the ground design. But the Mamba was the shoe that started to push the limits of what Nike could do with a track spike. Now fast forward to 2020 and along with some extra inspiration from the Alphafly, the Nike dragonfly was born.
The Dragonfly is an ultra lightweight and responsive distance spike and it’ll be unofficially taking over for the Matumbo as a spike that will excel in anything from the mile to 10k. The Matumbo has been the go to distance spike for years and while it had more cushioning than the original victory, it was still pretty minimal. That design philosophy changes with the Dragonfly. In the midsole, the shoe utilizes full length ZoomX cushioning for an ultra lightweight design with unreal energy return. ZoomX was the big story with the Vaporfly but athletes needed a shoe that had more connection to the track. The Vaporfly is very efficient but it was just a little too much shoe, especially when you’re trying to close out a really fast bell lap. So the dragonfly takes the same ZoomX cushioning but slims it down and it’s really what helps keep this shoe in that 4oz range, which is nearly the same weight at the previous Matumbo but with all the extra benefit of added cushioning.
Along with ZoomX and a plate, there's also a small sliver of CMP compression foam underneath the heel to increase durability. This shouldn’t have any impact on weight and performance but it was added in to help the shoe hold up a little longer mile after mile on the track. That ZoomX foam is going to work with a full-length Pebax plate for an effortless, propulsive feel. The Dragonfly doesn’t have a carbon fiber plate but the full length Pebax design still helps create that added rigidity and stability needed to run at peak efficiency.
On the outsole, the shoe features a ridged plate design. This was actually inspired from an algorithm done for traction on the Alphafly, Nike refers to it as a shockwave generative design and it was created to enhance traction in the most important areas as you go through your gait. On the upper, the spike offers a simple mesh design. This upper took some inspiration from the Ventalus 2 and Mamba series and was built to be super minimal and lightweight, as well as offer plenty of breathability,
The Dragonfly is surely going to be a favorite in 2020 but it’s only one of two new distance spike offerings from Nike. We also have the more aggressively designed Victory. The Victory line has been leading the charge in middle distance racing for years and while this newest version definitely has been completely overhauled, its going to continue to be a great option for 800-5k.
In the midsole, the shoe features ZoomX cushioning in the heel for a lightweight and responsive design, as well as unique dual chambered air bag that offers a small lateral air bag and larger medial air bag. Air cushioning has been around for a while and while it does have cushioning benefits, it also helps create added responsiveness as well as added stability. This cushioning system is going to work with a full-length carbon fiber fly plate. This fly plate tech is similar to what we saw with the Alphafly and helps create that stiff and efficient ride while also adding a more aggressive feel. For added traction, the shoe is going to offer a similar ridged spike plate seen in the dragonfly, and again this was built to offer peak traction, especially on the turns.
Finishing the spike off, we see the use of an AtomKnit upper. The Atom Knit design was debuted on the Alphafly and it has very unique property that allows it to be stretched and steamed to set ultimate lockdown with huge weight savings.
In the front part of the shoe, near the toebox, the upper is more reinforced AtomKnit structure and in the midfoot and heel, the upper transitions to a super lightweight and minimal knit that is extremely lightweight. For even more weight savings, similar to the Dragonfly, you have the Matumbo hole in the back which is just a final touch to help keep weight down, and many athletes in testing found they prefer the fit better than the standard heel.
Overall, the Nike Dragonfly and Victory are two of the most exciting track spikes to drop in a long time and could potentially be the fastest spikes we’ve ever seen. Both shoes have heels tack heights around 20mm making them legal for elite competition and which one you choose will likely come down to personal preference. If you’re looking for something a little more aggressive, you may choose the victory, and if you’re looking for something a little more cushioned but still extremely fast and responsive, you may choose the dragonfly. Both are amazing options, and we’ve already started to see athletes take down world record wearing them. If you missed out on our limited drop but still want to get these spikes on your feet, stay tuned, as more will be coming into stock in fall 2020 here at Running Warehouse.