The Ampla Fly carbon fiber running shoe. (AMPLA)
AMPLA compensated me for the time it took me to test their product, write about it, and share it on this blog. Compensation I receive from any company is not compensation for my good opinion. I only share products I think readers might find interesting.
Ampla Fly, the first shoes from nascent running company AMPLA, are so far outside the proverbial (shoe)box that I had to try them for myself. I put them to the test on the road and the treadmill.
When I first heard of the new Ampla Fly carbon fiber soled shoes, I assumed they were cycling shoes. Carbon fiber soles are de rigueur in the cycling and triathlon world. Simply, the stiffness of the soles helps transfer more force from your legs to your pedals than a softer material that loses energy when it flexes. The result? You pedal farther and faster with the same amount of effort.
But au contraire mon frère. The Ampla Fly are not cycling shoes. They’re running shoes. Yes, you read that right: carbon fiber running shoes. Predicated on the idea that “Force is your friend,” Ampla Fly aims to use force to train you to become a more efficient runner. They sell for $120 in men’s and women’s sizing and in two colors, red and black. If you want to try a pair, use code RunKarlaRun for 10 percent off at AmplaSport.com.
The Ampla Fly running shoe collection (AMPLA)
Ampla Fly Design
Why carbon fiber? “When a runner lands on the ground the force can equal upwards of 8x their body weight; we needed a material that could handle that weight, absorb that force and return the energy. Carbon fiber was our only choice.”
Folks not familiar with carbon fiber cycling shoes might worry that a “plate” in the midsole might make them heavy. Worry not. Carbon is both stiff and lightweight. Weighing in at 10.1 oz. in the men’s shoe and 9.8 oz. in the women’s shoe, the Ampla Fly are comparable to the Asics Gel-Nimbus or Brooks Glycerin weight wise.
This isn’t a minimalist shoe; it isn’t a maximalist shoe, but something wholly different. The 4 mm drop might lend itself more toward the minimalist end of the spectrum. But when you consider that drop comes from a 20 mm heel to a 16 mm forefoot, you realize this is an elevated shoe.
The seamless mesh and micro-suede upper are pretty standard. The Ortholite sockliner, EVA sub-sockliner, and EVA Lite top midsole provide a nice, but not overly soft, amount of cushioning.
Ampla Fly’s design (AMPLA)
The Amply Fly midsole, however, is what makes this shoe unique. The carbon fiber plate stretches the full length of the shoe, sandwiched between the single piece top midsole and EVA foam bottom midsole. But it’s not just a uniform piece. The plate includes a tab or tongue that moves with each footfall—effectively, a spring.
The EVA foam bottom midsole is then split into two pieces to cover the plate. The foam heel is fixed in place to cover the rear of the plate. The foam forefoot covers the toe off and tab of the plate.
What does it all add up to? The design promotes a midfoot strike, gathering the force of your step, and then channeling the energy into your forefoot at push off, AMPLA says.
No, heel striking itself isn’t bad. But studies show that overstriding—often a result of heel striking—might lead to more injuries. That midfoot strike encourages runners to shorten their strides and land with their feet beneath, not way in front of, their bodies.
Does the Ampla Fly work? I slipped them on to find out.
Karla tries Ampla Fly (RunKarlaRun.com)
Ampla Fly Performance
Wearing the women’s size 9, I took the Amply Fly on the road and treadmill.
Fit & Feel
First, the toe box is on the snug side. This is a common complaint of mine about many of the running shoes I try, and the Ampla Fly is no exception. Overall, I’d call this a close-to-the-foot fit. The heel is locked in place and ball hugged, even if the toes are a bit squished. Sizing is comparable to Nike or ASICS. Read the rest of this entry →