Nike Tempo Next% Review for a Midpacker

Many people like running because it doesn’t require a lot of gear. Just put on some shoes and walk out the door and you are ready to go. Still that doesn’t mean there is no innovation in running gear. It’s easy to start a want list of high end equipment in the search of an edge. 
Nike tempo breaking in

Recently the hot gear is a new type of shoe. Shoes that have an added spring to them, almost like a mini trampoline. After risking being banned from competitions, and being linked to a number of world records, these shoes have become a great resource and something that even more casual runners can benefit from.

For a midpack runner the performance improvements from better shoes can be big. Being able to run faster with less energy is the key and a lightweight shoe the helps avoid injury is ideal for setting a new personal record. 

First Impression running with Next Percent 

When first unboxing and lacing up the Nike Tempo the first thing noticed is that they feel lighter than most other shoes. The foam sole is thicker than most, but deceiving in the weight. The foam is not dense at all. Putting them on also feels a bit like wearing a riser. Even though the Nike Tempo Next% stack height (45mm down to 36mm in the toe, a 9mm total drop) isn’t too much compared to similar styles, my everyday shoe is a brooks Ghost. Comparatively the Next% heel is 45mm compared to Ghost 31mm. 
Comparing tempo next% heel height to brooks ghost stack height

Beyond that the upper of the shoe is a near see thru mesh material that’s closer to a sock than it is the upper of other shoes. The sock like feature extends to the part that touches your ankle where it is elastic. Although there are still laces, this means the shoe would stay on without them. At first this is a concern in that if it irritates the Achilles or ankle there is no way to prevent the tight fit. Thankfully since it is a soft material this isn’t much of an issue. 

Do Tempo Next% help you run faster? 

Yes. After running 150 miles in my new Tempo Next%, the average mile pace was 45 seconds faster than normal.

Of course that’s not the full story. In part because of their cost and a desire not to wear them out, I saved the shoes for more intentional runs. After breaking them in on a shorter 5 mile effort, the rest of the miles have been on 7-8 mile tempo runs and long progression runs. That is to say, I anticipated going faster when wearing them.

Still, the pace did feel better easier. Especially in the middle miles I felt like my legs continued to have spring and didn’t feel as heavy as normal and I found myself more easily maintaining my normal stride. The tendency is to drop into more of a shuffle over time, I find myself unconsciously doing this and it results in more dragging of my feet or stumbling on small lips in sidewalks – this didn’t happen with the Tempo Next%.


How long do Nike Tempo Next Percent Last?

All running shoes differ in how long they hold up for. Mostly the reason shoes need to be retired is because the soles wear down and loose their grip. Tempo’s are The same, but because they are designed for smooth surfaces and racing they may last longer than others. 

Run summary chart of 9 mile run in Nike tempo shoes

Expect to get anywhere from 200-400 miles  (300-550km) out of the Tempo shoes. It is worth tracking this, at least to a shoemaker starts offering a gps enabled shoe with a subscription service. The wide range is due to the variety of terrains as well as a personal foot strike pattern. Next Percent shoes are well balanced and not made to counter act any non traditional foot strike, so if you do tend to favor one side or land heavily in one spot it may be on the lower end. 

So, Are Nike Tempo Nike % Worth It?

The original cost of Nike Tempo’s was around $200 USD. Over time though this has come down a bit with the Nike site itself marking them down to roughly $150. Some colors and styles  are available from other suppliers for even less, with the lowest price personally seen around $120. At this price the Tempo’s are barely more expensive than other shoes and fall squarely in the normal price range for typical well made trainers. 

Given this, YES! The Nike Next %’s are totally worth it. They are are fun shoe with plenty of support and they certainly have all the features needed to be a great daily option or as a dedicated tempo workout or racing shoe. Personal preference may push some runners not to use them, either because of the sock style heel or the overall feel, but there is no reason to simply avoid the shoe. 

If you are considering the Tempo Next % and want to compare them to a close relative that is higher cost, checkout the AlphaFly Next%. For the vast majority of runners the differences in these two shoes will be negligible, but there are benefits at the higher (read: faster and more competitive) end that can sometimes justify the additional cost. Compare to the Tempo’s the AlphaFlys are about $100 more at $250 USD on Nike’s site.

Alpha Fly’s have a slightly smaller drop (5mm) than the Tempo, due to a lower stack height in the heel, but have all the same light weight foam benefits.