In Vienna on October 12, 2019, Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge undertook his latest marathon attempt, which he completed at 20 seconds under two hours. However impressive, the record wasn’t counted as official, as it was not in open competition and he used a team of pacemakers. In Berlin back on September 16, 2018, Kipchoge achieved an official marathon world record with a time of 2:01:39. To put this astonishing feat into context, that’s the equivalent of running 100 meters in 17.3 seconds and continuing at the same pace for another 26.2 miles.

Kipchoge, 34, is now regarded as the greatest long-distance runner of all time. He is a seasoned marathon winner, including an Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro and three victories in the London marathon.

To top it off, he also seems like a genuinely wise, happy, and humble kind of guy. A New York Times profile tells of how he never ducks chores at his training camp high in the Kenyan hills: “He is a wealthy man, but he still scrubs the toilet.”

Getty Images / Bongarts / Maja Hitij

But his record-breaking marathon attempts (official or otherwise) have thrown up a few interesting questions. They don’t relate to performance-enhancing drugs — dozens of Kenyan runners have tested positive for banned substances, but Kipchoge’s record is clean and few would suspect him of involvement — but they do concern what does or does not constitute an unfair advantage.

Kipchoge has something most other runners in the field did not: the benefit of Nike’s latest and greatest technology.

Nike says the $250 Vaporfly 4% Runner, which was conceived as part of the brand’s ambitious Breaking2 project (also featuring Kipchoge) to attempt a two-hour marathon, is named 4% because it offers an average 4 percent running economy compared with other top runners. Or in other words, how much energy runners use while running in them.

If you’re not a runner, that might seem small or inconsequential, but even small improvements in running economy can equate to shaving off minutes, not just seconds, over long distances. It’s an astonishing claim, and one that could easily be dismissed as yet more marketing hype to sell more shoes. But this time it actually appears to be true.

In Vienna, Kipchoge was dressed in a future edition of Nike’s NEXT% marathon shoe, which features a unique cushioning chamber in the forefoot, as well as ZoomX foam. The upper looks to be made of Flyprint 3D, which has been used on previous marathon shoes like the Zoom Vaporfly Elite. Nike has made no further details available about that particular shoe.

Nike

The New York Times analyzed data from around 500,000 marathon and half marathon running times — taken from public race reports and fitness app Strava — over the last four years. It found that “runners in Vaporflys ran 3 to 4 percent faster than similar runners wearing other shoes, and more than 1 percent faster than the next-fastest racing shoe.”

The same argument was made for the even newer Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, which allowed Nigeria’s Brigid Kosgei to blow away the women’s world record for a marathon attempt made in two hours fourteen minutes and four seconds, shaving 81 seconds from the previous record.

If you’re a runner who takes races seriously, it’s likely you’re at least considering getting the these new Nike shoes. These innovations could arguably turn out to be the biggest step forward in athletics since rubberized artificial running tracks replaced crushed cinders — and for that Nike deserves tremendous credit.

But what does it mean for Kipchoge and Kosgei, who are breaking records using Nike’s new shoes? Well, as sport scientist Ross Tucker pointed out after the Kipchoge’s Berlin record, if what Nike says and what the NYT found are true, it essentially explains the record-shattering run.

Speaking about Kosgei, former marathon champion Gianni Demadonna told The Times, “They think the shoes are maybe allowing elite athletes to run two minutes quicker in the marathon. Understandably they are troubled by what is happening in their sport because the times being run are so fast. Even older runners are taking huge chunks off their best times.”

— Ross Tucker (@Scienceofsport) September 17, 2018

In Berlin, Kipchoge improved on the previous world record by 1.07 percent, which suggests Kipchoge and previous holder Kimetto were equal runners wearing unequal shoes. Lets Run‘s Jonathan Gault noted that, if you go by the New York Times study, you could even argue that Kimetto is the superior runner: “The Vaporflys were 1 percent faster than the next-fastest shoe in the study, but they were about 2.5 percent faster than the adidas Adizero Adios — the shoes Kimetto ran during his world record run.”

With all due respect to Kipkemboi and his victory:

I believe he ran 2:05 in performance enhancing shoes – Nike’s study says about 4 minutes faster for him at 2:05 pace with vs. without the Vaprofly 4s. pic.twitter.com/YhOy7KETTB

— Peter Weyand (@Dr_Weyand) September 23, 2018

The effectiveness of Nike’s new footwear is just another chapter in a saga that has plagued sporting officials for decades. At what point does new technology create an unfair or unsporting advantage? The International Association of Athletics Federations is certainly not turning a blind eye to the issue. The IAAF recently issued a statement to The Times noting, “Recent advances in technology mean that the concept of ‘assistance’ to athletes… has been the subject of much debate in the athletics world. The IAAF has established a working group to consider the issues.”

The US Golf Association banned balls that fly straighter than others, the NFL prohibited the use of a substance that helped players catch the ball, and swimming officials barred high-tech suits that reduced drag and increased buoyancy.

The difference between the Vaporfly or the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, and other running shoes is that they have a carbon fiber plate in the midsole. That plate stores and releases energy with every step, meaning the runner expends less energy as the shoe propels them forward.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules around footwear state that “shoes must not be constructed so as to give athletes any unfair assistance or advantage” and that they “must be reasonably available to all in the spirit of the universality of athletics.”

In a statement, Nike told Highsnobiety, “The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% meets all IAAF product requirements and does not require any special inspection or approval. The IAAF has also offered public support of the innovation. Furthermore, the shoe is available to every athlete via Nike.com and stores.”

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In 1:59:40 you have taught runners everywhere to reimagine their limits. Congratulations @kipchogeeliud, your pace pushes us forward. #justdoit

A post shared by Nike Run Club (@nikerunning) on Oct 12, 2019 at 4:00am PDT

It seems unlikely that the IAAF will ban carbon fiber plates, nor do most runners think they should. At least not yet. But the issue does throw up some interesting dynamics for the future of running shoes.

Will other brands try to catch up by using similar technology to level the playing field? How far can manufacturers push the technology? At what point does a world record become a creative technological feat rather than an outright physical one? Is the Vaporfly any different from, say, improvements in our understanding of nutrition?

As David Epstein asks in his excellent 2014 TED talk, are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?

Nobody can really answer any of those questions right now, nor does anybody seem all that willing to try. To do so would unfortunately take some of the sheen off Kipchoge’s incredible achievements.

In terms of the sport in a wider sense, it has been suggested that Kipchoge (and the Nike innovations on his feet) has effectively ended the era of other athletes chasing world records — simply because it seems unlikely that anyone but Kipchoge himself could seriously hope to improve on the official record now.

For more about Nike, check below.

  • Nike
  • Nike Vaporfly 4%

Words by Daniel Pearson Life Editor

Daniel is the editor of Highsnobiety Life. He grew up in north of England and is now based in Berlin.

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Throughout, the volunteers wore masks that tracked their oxygen consumption, which is one measure of efficiency.

They turned out to be most efficient in the 4% shoe, even when compared to the skinny track spikes and even after the researchers used lead pellets to add weight to the 4% shoe so that its mass equaled that of the other, slightly heavier marathon shoe.

The men and women had benefited equally from the 4% shoe and their efficiency gains had been unrelated, it seems, to that shoe’s featherweight.

But which elements of the 4% shoe did, then, most matter was still unclear.

So for the other new study, which was published in November in Sports Medicine, the same researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder who had conducted the original study of the shoe invited 10 fast, male runners to their lab, fitted them with motion-capture sensors, and filmed them as they wore the 4% shoe, a different Nike marathon shoe, and a similar Adidas model. (The work was paid for through the lab.)

They also employed specialized equipment to bend and manipulate the shoes, to see how they responded to forces and which portions of the shoes were most affected.

Finally, they used the motion-capture data and complicated mathematical formulas to determine that the 4% shoe had slightly changed how the men ran, reducing the amount of muscular activity around their ankles and within their feet, lessening the amount of energy they burned with each step and making them more efficient.

But those benefits were not due primarily to the carbon-fiber plate, their calculations showed. It stiffened and supported parts of the foot, allowing runners to push off hard with less muscular effort, but did not provide much thrust of its own. In effect, it acted like a lever, not a spring, says Rodger Kram, an emeritus professor at the University of Colorado who conducted the study with a research associate, Wouter Hoogkamer, and others.

Nike Vaporfly sneakers could face ban for being too fast

Just blew it.

Nike is making headlines again for the company’s controversial Vaporfly sneaker that could be regulated or outright banned by World Athletics, the Stockholm organization that oversees international running competitions. A ruling is expected by the end of the month, the group announced this week.

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly has come under intense scrutiny after multiple world records were broken by elite runners wearing the shoe. In October, Eluid Kipchoge clocked an incredible 1 hour 59 minute marathon in Vienna, becoming the first person to run the marathon in under two hours. One day later, Brigid Kosgei set the women’s world record at the Chicago Marathon with a time of 2 hours 14 minutes. Both marathoners wore versions of Vaporfly sneakers.

The rules on the matter are vague: World Athletics states shoes may not confer an “unfair advantage” and must be “reasonably available” to all, but the statute fails to define those criteria.

World Athletics, formerly known as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), announced in the fall that the body would convene experts to review the shoe and the wording of the rule. An announcement is expected by the end of the month, according to head of communications, Nicole Jefferies.

The discussion of a ban has sparked a larger discussion of technology’s evolving role in sports. In 2009, FINA, the Lausanne-based international federation that administers competitions for water sports, instituted a ban on high-tech polyurethane-based suits after swimmers wearing the suits shattered nearly all world records. Claims were made that the suits lowered swimmers’ times by as much as 2 percent.

Nike Zoom Vaporfly sneakers.

Nike

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge wearing Nike’s Vaporfly sneakers.

AFP via Getty Images

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge wearing the Nike Zoom Vaporfly sneakers.

AFP via Getty Images

Runners wearing the Nike Zoom Vaporfly sneakers.

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Another possible scenario is a regulation to the thickness of a shoe’s midsole. Most running shoes have a 1-inch thick midsole. The current Vaporfly models’ midsoles are 1.4 inches thick.

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% first debuted in 2016 around the Rio Olympics. The shoe was released to the public in July 2017 and retails for $250 a pair in the United States. The press release touts that its unique features “can make runners, on average, four percent more efficient than Nike’s previous fastest marathon shoe.”

The primary technological development is the shoe’s full-length carbon plate which is fused to the midsole. The plate is “intended to minimize energy loss during toe bend without increasing demand for the calf,” according to Nike. Put simply, the midsole of a shoe acts like a spring and the Vaporfly’s carbon-fiber plate minimizes the loss of energy, giving runners a greater forward push.

Multiple companies have attempted to copy Nike’s game-changing shoe with lesser success. Independent studies confirm that the Nike variant increases speed by four percent or more.

The decision could be appealed by Nike via the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an independent institution dedicated to settling sports-related disputes. An appeal could take up to a year, which could have implications for athletes competing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% – When the shoe takes you for the ride!

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Is there magic to this shoe? It is like believing in the Easter Bunny. Have you been longing for a PR? If so, spend the HEFTY price tag and watch the instant results.

I already had Nike shoes in a rotation of other shoes including the Hokas, Adidas, and Sketchers. On race day of 3 random races, I slipped these slippers on and 3 PR’s!

Specifications

Weight 195g (men’s size 10), 164g (women’s size 8)
Offset 10mm (21mm forefoot, 31 mm heel)

Fit & feel

I call them slippers since they fit like a sock. It is snug, but not too tight. I also like that the material becomes one with your foot.

I bought mine on a regular size of 8, which is a unisex size by the way. Also, the lacing system is nice because it is not bulky. The Flyknit material is very breathable.

Key factors

First, Nike’s ZoomX foam seems to be the key for the light feel and a very responsive overall run. Numbers that are thrown out for the return of energy is noted at 85%.

Second, there is a full-length carbon fiber plate in the shoe. It is designed to propel you forward.

The ride does promise you and provide you with an efficient run. I have used a lot of shoes before and rotate them often. If you allow the shoe to run you, your body and form will be less tired. So relax and breathe and buckle up.

The heel has a unique design the secure them to the back of your foot. On the other hand, the outsole has a rubber sole and was very good with traction.

I wore them in 3 temps and various traction situations. That includes rain, snowy, and warm weather. The shoes tackled the road traction without slipping or falling.

When to use them

The shoe is designed for pure speed, efficient running, and energy return. They can be worn out of a box. However, I believe they probably limited to about 150/200 miles.

I may be able to get 300 miles out of them. I have a very high cadence though so my shoes don’t wear as much. My “why” will be race day only because of the price tag, and the fear of selling out since I run about 5-8 Marathons a year.

For your “why” use them for speed workouts, tempos, and long runs. An alternative trainer can be the Pegasus Turbo X which has the same phone for a smaller price tag.

Performance

I wore these shoes for approximately 65 miles. Straight out of the box I took them on a test drive for a 10k race, plus 2 warm-up miles.

I PR’d this race at 43:14 – 6:58 pace as the first female in my age group.

I had my second race at a full marathon. I ran Rock N Roll Phoenix this past Jan. OMG, (3:18:52) I have been trying to break an old PR from Nov 2016 of 3:24:29.

I became 3rd in age group. But that didn’t even matter because I just landed a PR marathon time. So was it the shoe or lack or training?

I did one more test drive on the third of March at the Little Rock Marathon. It was on a cold 35-degree morning with rain when we set out for another Marathon Run.

26.2 miles later and completely unplanned and unexpected, another PR at 3:18:54 and grabbed the second spot for the overall female. What, I can’t explain! My only explanation is the shoe does actually take you for a ride if you let it. My legs never felt tired.

Price

Two hundred and fifty dollars! Yes, it is the most expensive shoe I have purchased in the last 5 years of my running hobby. I own 2 pairs. I won’t train in them because they sell out and have been known for limited miles.

Conclusion

This is a luxury item and can cause you anxiety. But very worth the experience. I want to make a quick observation regarding the overall results.

I train, plus I put the work in to achieve many of the basic goals. I have found finding the right product to enhance the training is key. I find it through research and reading others results.

This shoe can and will make you feel like an elite even if just on race day or after one good result. I can do a lot for the mental aspect of setting running goals alone or overcoming a plateau.

This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit

Due to limited quantities available, there is an order limit of 2 (two) units per customer / shipping address for this shoe style.

NOTE the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit is a unisex-sized shoe. Men’s sizes are shown — women should order 1 to 1.5 sizes below their standard running shoe size. For example: for a women’s size 9.5 shoe, order a size 8 or 8.5.

Nike running shoes are fast. The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit is faster.

Runners outfitted with the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% dominated major marathons around the world: Shalane Flanagan in New York; Galen Rupp and Tirunesh Dibaba in Chicago; and Edna Kiplagat in Boston.

But the original Vaporfly 4% backed up its talk in 2017 when Eliud Kipchoge took it for a spin. Kipchoge wore the Vaporfly in his attempt with Nike to break the two-hour marathon barrier, finishing in 2:00:25. The historic effort isn’t recognized as the world record, but it wouldn’t take long for Kipchoge to set the official time, too.

In 2018, the Kenyan smashed the world marathon record by running 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon — wearing a custom version of the Vaporfly.

The shoe derives its performance from a combination of energetic Zoom X foam and a propulsive full-length carbon fiber plate. Now, the new Flyknit upper is lighter and more breathable than the previous version without sacrificing support or comfort.

So, whether you’re setting world records or breaking your own, the Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit is built to dominate.

Want it faster? Nike upgraded Vaporfly in 2019 to the Nike Vaporfly ZoomX NEXT%.

  • Tech
  • Summary
  • Pros
  • Cons

Nike’s marketing pitch: Designed for record breaking speed.

Upper: Single-piece, stretchable Flyknit mesh with fused layering.

Midsole: Full-length ZoomX Foam, internal Carbon plate. 10 mm heel to toe offset.

Outsole: Exposed ZoomX foam, Carbon rubber under the forefoot and heel.

Weight: 195 gms/ 6.9 Oz for a half pair of Men’s US 10/UK 9/EUR 44/CM 27.1

Widths available: Single, D – regular (reviewed).

The hype is real. The Nike Vaporfly 4% packs an incredible amount of bouncy cushioning which works great for long-distance racing. And what’s the catch? While the Vaporfly rewards good form and faster paces, the opposite is also true. Excellent cushioning-to-weight ratio, very responsive, high cushioning turnover and transitions, comfortable interior and secure fit Expensive, average heel grip, unstable rearfoot, lack of widths and reflectivity

INTRODUCTION

Do you know why we deferred the Vaporfly 4% review for so long? In its pre-Flyknit avatar, there were simply not enough pairs to go around. And even if we managed to get one in the color we wanted, what’s the point of reviewing a shoe which was out of bounds for most people?

This year, there’s plenty of Vaporfly to go around. We bought the Flyknit version in February, and the stocks haven’t run out on Nike’s website. Even third-party retailers are carrying plenty of inventory.

But just spare a minute to think about it. How did a shoe which was priced at nearly $300 (after sales tax) manage to achieve a sold-out status for nearly a year?

There’s another aspect of this rare phenomenon. The Vaporfly wasn’t a shoe coveted by sneakerheads – a situation where hype-over-substance creates scarcity and drives high prices in the secondary market.

Instead, most of the first generation Vaporflys were purchased by actual runners; we don’t believe this event has a precedent.

And what makes the Vaporfly such a unique shoe?

Nike has pushed the boundaries of running shoe design with both the Vaporfly and Zoom Fly. To come up with a midsole foam like the featherweight, cushioned, and springy ZoomX is a huge feat by itself. It sets new standards for what midsole foams should feel like, and has made materials like expanded Polyurethane look old.

But no, the Swoosh company went farther and plonked in a curved Carbon plate between the two layers of the said foam – and somehow made it work.

The product of this rather unusual union of foam and Carbon fiber is the Nike Vaporfly – a running shoe with a ride experience like none other.

Here, you get the unadulterated cushioning experience of Nike’s proprietary ZoomX foam which is perfect for long-distance comfort. We remarked in our Pegasus Turbo review how great that shoe was at countering foot fatigue – and the midsole wasn’t even made of 100% ZoomX.

But the real hero of the Vaporfly story is the Carbon fiber plate which is hidden from plain sight. That is what gives the Vaporfly that extra kick – the plate acts as a spring-loaded plate under the heel.

So how does the Vaporfly feel like to run in? Well, it depends on who’s asking. Given the complex nature of the Vaporfly’s midsole, the shoe’s character depends on how one uses it.

That’s one of the reasons why this review took so long. Complex shoes are difficult to read so it is possible to present an objective opinion only after an ownership period of several months.

THE RIDE EXPERIENCE

Most people remember their first aircraft ride. Or getting behind the wheels of a car for the first time. There are many moments in life which aren’t easily forgotten, and your first run in the Nike Vaporfly is probably going to be one of them.

So far, you’ve run in soft shoes, firm shoes, good shoes, and bad shoes. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve probably experienced oversized stability trainers, Vibram Five Fingers and other barefoot types, maximal cushioning, motorized adidas shoes, the occasional over-engineered shoe, racing flats, zero drop trainers, and regular neutral or stability trainers.

Until this point, it was relatively easy to match a shoe with a general trend or category.

The category-matching doesn’t work with the Vaporfly – at least for the time being. Because this shoe takes all that is familiar and tramples over it with Carbon fiber.

Nike markets the Vaporfly as a racer so it must be a firm shoe? No, the Vaporfly is one of the cushiest shoes we’ve ever tested. Alright, then. The Vaporfly has a high-volume and cushioned midsole so it must be heavy. No, it isn’t; it weighs less than 7 ounces.

Ok, if it is a soft shoe, it must feel slow and mushy. Well, the answer is an emphatic no – again. The Vaporfly’s unique Carbon Plate and the responsive ZoomX foam combine to create a midsole which is bouncy and efficient as it gets.

The upper also doesn’t fit like a traditional racing shoe. Instead of a constricting fit commonly associated with racers, the Flyknit upper has an easier forefoot fit. What’s more, it even has a rounded toe-box.

The Vaporfly has been reviewed countless times by others, so how does solereview add value?

We can think of two ways. Shoes like the Vaporfly are difficult to review so we put more miles on it. We bought this shoe in February and have logged over 100 miles across all kind of runs and terrain.

We’ve put the Vaporfly through the snow, warm weather, the roads, and even muddy trails. Heck, we even used the Vaporfly 4% as a walking shoe, simply because we can.

A longer ownership period reduces second-guessing and initial biases. The Pegasus Turbo went through a similar process and you’ll realize that its review is more nuanced than what we usually publish.

Naturally, we cannot afford to do this with every shoe. Otherwise, Solereview is going back to 2 reviews a month and no money to pay for the shoes or run the servers.

The other area where this review adds value is footwear anatomy. Despite so many Vaporfly reviews, we’ve yet to see one which actually shows you what’s inside. And what better way to understand a complex shoe like the Vaporfly than an old fashioned tear-down?

So we’ll lead with that. The whole ‘Carbon plate inside the midsole’ spiel has been done to death, but finally – we offer you a clear look at the Vaporfly’s innards.

And before you ask – yes, we bought the Vaporfly with our own money. After reviewing shoes for over a decade, the guilt of cutting open perfectly functioning shoes isn’t what it used to be. But do not attempt this at home, and no, the financial cost isn’t the only reason.

And why haven’t we seen a Vaporfly dissection yet – even though the internet is saturated with reviews? We can think of two good reasons.

a) No one is stupid enough to slice open a shoe which costs nearly $300 ($250+tax) – especially when it’s your own money.

b) Even if a reviewer got a free pair, the Vaporfly is an incredibly hard shoe to cut open without damaging the Carbon plate. Even if one managed to leave the plate intact, a clean separation of the ZoomX foam from the plate is extremely difficult. We did it, but don’t even ask how long the process took.

The midsole set up is exactly how Nike describes it. A full-length plate made of Carbon fiber extends from the forefoot to the heel. It covers the entire underfoot area and begins with being broadest under the forefoot with a gradual taper towards the heel.

And the shape makes sense because it covers the entire effective surface area under the foot.

The midsole has a contrast line on the outside suggesting the path of the plate. That is purely representational and does not reflect the exact placement of the Carbon plate.

Though it might not be right under the insole, the plate is located in the upper region of the Zoom X midsole. The plate is sandwiched between the upper and lower pieces of the midsole, so its curve follows the joint lines.

Here’s an “X-ray” of the midsole so that you can see where the plate actually is. The plate’s origin is also at a lower level than the red line; there’s barely a couple of millimeters of foam between the plate and the forefoot.

And yes, this isn’t Nylon- it is indeed a Carbon plate. Shaving the plate yields thin, brittle shards.

Now that you’ve seen what the Vaporfly really looks like on the inside, you can pretty much guess what takes place when you run in the Vaporfly.

The front of the Carbon plate is anchored under the forefoot – just above the outsole but with plenty of ZoomX foam above it. This part creates a launchpad for transitions while offering a generous amount of soft, bouncy cushioning. The plated forefoot also means both the Vaporfly and Zoom Fly Flyknit have zero flexibility.

The plate curves upwards from the forefoot and extends towards the rear where it is suspended between two layers of the ZoomX foam. As mentioned earlier, the plate’s actual path doesn’t follow the painted outline on the midsole. The exterior paint is merely a suggestion rather than the exact location of the Carbon plate.

The floating end of the plate is what gives the rearfoot its signature flavor. When loaded, the Carbon plate flexes downwards – since the front is securely held in place, any loading action creates a spring-like rebound.

This tension is what tries to push the foot forward during the gait cycle. It’s worth emphasizing that the Carbon plate works more efficiently inside the Vaporfly than it does on the Zoom Fly. The plate has greater freedom of movement inside a softer foam environment – which exists inside the Vaporfly 4%.

The forefoot doesn’t get any of the spring-loaded action but that doesn’t translate into a lack of responsiveness. The thick ZoomX stack ensures a cushioned and bouncy experience regardless of the foot-strike orientation, pace, or cadence.

The forefoot midsole feels substantial under the foot and reacts to weight loading with agile responsiveness.

The same goes for the cushioning softness too. We’ve often remarked that cushioning and softness aren’t necessarily the same, but the Vaporfly is one of those cases where both intersect.

One has the ZoomX foam to thank for that; this lightweight material is a perfect blend of featherweight softness and responsiveness.

We were initially surprised at the Vaporfly 4%’s compact form factor. The sense of smallness comes from a very slim midfoot waist and rearfoot. At the same time, one doesn’t realize the slimness of the midfoot when wearing it. The exaggerated flare (see image above) just under the arch conceals the scooped sidewall underneath.

The design affects heel stability, though that’s something which depends on how one runs in the Vaporfly. We’ll discuss that separately for different use-case scenarios.

Nike made news for the wrong reasons in 2015 when the insoles slipped out of Eliud Kipchoge’s shoes during the Berlin marathon.

To prevent such mishaps from occurring, the Vaporfly 4% is fitted with a pasted insole. When you tug on the insole, you realize that the sockliner is properly glued to the lasting. The insole isn’t anything fancy – it just a flat piece of molded foam with a soft touch fabric on top.

And one doesn’t require anything other than a basic insole, considering that there’s so much of ZoomX goodness just below it.

We put the Vaporfly through a battery of test conditions – which included running on trails and in the snow. If there’s anything that several months of ownership have taught us, it is that the Vaporfly’s character changes based on how one uses it.

Let’s break out the ride experience here based on different scenarios:

10 miles+/half-Marathon/Marathon distance:

The Vaporfly 4% is the definitive long-distance racing shoe. Traditionally, this category had been the realm of racing flats – lightweight running shoes which tend to be hard on your feet. Thinner midsoles are good for higher transition efficiency, as the foot spends less time going through the compression cycle.

In Vaporfly’s case, that conventional wisdom is turned on its head. The midsole is soft throughout but isn’t mushy. In fact, the cushioning turnover is excellent – the ZoomX foam is very resilient, very responsive – and quick to snap back. The plate complements the foam midsole perfectly well.

Not only does the plate propel the foot forward, but it also guides the foot through a very effective motion path. Without the plate, it’s easy for the foot to sink into the soft midsole. The Vaporfly wouldn’t be half the shoe with the Carbon plate. Runners who are bothered by the Pegasus Turbo’s lack of midfoot structure will know exactly what we mean.

What’s amazing is that while you feel the plate doing its job, you don’t sense the midsole and the plate as distinct components. They function in a cohesive manner; we can only imagine how many prototypes Nike went through to get this balance right.

There’s unanimous agreement on the fatigue resistant ride quality of the Vaporfly, and we attest that to be true.

On a long run, your quads might scream, the glutes might feel overworked, or your calves and Achilles could tighten. But somewhere within all the musco-skeletal chaos, your feet feel fresh – regardless of whether it is a 10 or 20-mile run.

And it isn’t just the foam. The plated construction allows the foot to quickly roll over instead of going through the flexing motion. Repeated flexion tires the foot, and the Vaporfly prevents this from happening.

The shoe’s comfort is only as good as its upper. The Vaporfly’s upper eschews the super narrow fit of racing flats and adopts a more liberal approach towards interior fit. The Flyknit upper has a just-right fit which doesn’t squeeze the foot – this helps greatly during long runs.

The Vaporfly doesn’t have great heel stability – but you should be ok if your pace doesn’t drop below a certain threshold. The instability of the heel becomes noticeable once you drop below 5:30 per km speed. Being a rearfoot lander aggravates that to a certain extent. We’ll discuss this later in this review.

And here’s the $250 question: Does the Vaporfly really help make you go 4% faster?

There are plenty of anecdotes about runners breaking personal bests in the Vaporfly, and to a certain extent, it can be attributed to the shoe. Having fresh feet on a run over 20 miles does make a difference. It frees the mind off your otherwise tired feet so that you can focus on more important things – like maintaining your form and pace.

Vaporfly 4% for 5K races:

The Vaporfly is an excellent long-distance shoe but not a great 5K racer. One usually tends to go flat out in a 5K race so your pace will be a lot faster than the typical 5K split times during a marathon.

This shoe has a wide pace range but it falters if you go too fast – or too slow. At quicker 5K paces (4 min/km or under), the compression of the midsole makes the Vaporfly feel like a chore. Call us traditionalists if you will, but we’d pick something like the Nike Streak 7 or the LT version for a 5K race.

Vaporfly 4% on Trail:

Can the Vaporfly be used on trails? After all, if maximal Hoka running shoes can be successfully used on trails, so why not this shoe? There’s even a forefoot plate inside the VF.

Do not use the Vaporfly on any kind of trail – that includes ones with gentle gradients as pictured. There are two reasons why you shouldn’t.

The outsole has sufficient traction for roads but lacks the lug length and grip required for trails. Introduce even the slightest of dampness, and the Vaporfly’s lack of traction becomes treacherous as the thin grooves trap mud and turn slick.

The lack of stability is the second reason. Unlike Hokas which have a wide midsole footprint and raised sidewalls, the Vaporfly has a slim midsole profile. The foot also sits on the top of the midsole instead of being cupped inside by high midsole walls. As a result, the Vaporfly lacks even the bare minimum stability required for trails.

Vaporfly 4% in the snow:

The ZoomX cushioning doesn’t stiffen in the cold as React does, so the ride behavior isn’t dependent on temperature. However, as with any non-winterized running shoe, the outsole lacks grip under icy conditions.

Think of the Vaporfly as a sports car with slick summer tires – would you take it off road or in the snow? Likewise for the VF 4%; it’s best used on dry, paved surfaces.

On synthetic tracks:

The same instability which renders the Vaporfly useless for trails also comes into play on tracks. Going fast through turns doesn’t inspire confidence at all, and the lack of stability comes obvious in the first 200 meters.

Vaporfly 4% as a daily trainer:

You can use the Vaporfly as a daily trainer as long your speed doesn’t drop below 5:30 per kilometer – and you aren’t landing rearfoot. This means that you can go on easy runs if you make ground contact landings, forefoot/midfoot strikers included.

The ZoomX midsole is very easy on your feet and has plenty of versatile cushioning for a wide pace range.

There’s a caveat; landing on the heel isn’t ideal. Though the plate provides structure and guidance through the linear path, it doesn’t do much for lateral stability. The combination of the sit-on-top design, the narrow platform, and the midsole softness make the Vaporfly’s rearfoot stability extremely poor.

You can use the Vaporfly 4% on a treadmill but it isn’t the right shoe for the job. Read our guide here for suitable alternatives.

The Vaporfly 4% as a casual-wear shoe:

Outward appearances suggest that the Vaporfly might be good for lifestyle wear. After all, the high volume midsole has plenty of bouncy cushioning. The upper isn’t overly tight-fitting either.

However, things aren’t as simple as they seem. The rearfoot instability is very noticeable at walking paces; it becomes worse if you step on uneven surfaces. You can also feel the outline of the plate when walking – this is where the forefoot plate curves upwards towards the rear.

The whole point of the Plate + ZoomX set-up is to quickly run through the gait cycle without dwelling on the midsole softness for long. This way, the ZoomX shows its responsive super-powers and the plate also reacts with swift snapbacks. The VF performs best above a certain speed threshold.

You’re better off wearing the Nike Epic React or the adidas UltraBoost for casual wear. For whatever it’s worth, even Nike says that the React is suitable for walking.

Midsole creasing happens in the very early stages of ownership; most Vaporflys come pre-creased in their box.

However, this has no effect on the cushioning – you get the same soft bounciness at mile 100 which you experienced at mile 10.

The flat outsole lacks protruding lugs so they spread the wear and tear very evenly. Apart from the gradual abrasion, the forefoot stays intact.

It’s also worth noting that the rubber coverage under the forefoot is edge-to-edge while the rearfoot isn’t.

The rearfoot has four rubber lugs inlaid flush with the ZoomX foam. This geometry leaves the foam exposed near the edges and that’s where the initial wear and tear happens.

The small rubber pieces near the edge do their job and take the brunt of the abuse, but the foam receives minor scuffing. The ZoomX wear and tear happens in an unusual manner. A wafer-thin ‘skin’ peels off the foam where the latter comes in direct contact with the ground.

View the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit as a firmer, cheaper, and less springy variant of the Vaporfly 4%. The midsole has a Carbon plate sandwiched between Nike’s React foam instead of the softer ZoomX. So while you get the plated experience, the ride isn’t as soft.

A firmer Vaporfly – or the Zoom Fly – has higher versatility; the Zoom Fly doesn’t punish rearfoot striking as seriously as the Vaporfly.

Due to the Vaporfly’s high cost-per-mile, it is best that you reserve it for longer runs and races at moderate to higher paces.

For daily use, the Nike Pegasus Turbo is a shoe you could look at. It is partially constructed using the same ZoomX foam as the Vaporfly so both share something in common but without a functional overlap.

If you’ve spent all your money on the Vaporfly, then the Reebok Floatride Energy is a great shoe for daily runs. The Floatride e-TPU midsole is cushioned and responsive without the high-volume softness of adidas Boost models like the Glide.

When it comes to shorter 5K races, we prefer low-profile racers like the New Balance Hanzo S or the Nike Streak 7.

UPPER FIT QUALITY

We don’t have wear-test experience with the first generation Vaporfly, but the general consensus is that the Flyknit version fits narrower.

Well, we don’t know how much more room the mesh version had over the Flyknit upper, but know this – the Vaporfly 4% Flyknit has excellent interior proportions. For a racing shoe with a very narrow waist, the upper is surprisingly accommodating.

Our observation is based on a regular D width, so runners with larger feet should first try the shoe before buying. There are no optional widths so the Vaporfly’s fit is a take-it-or-leave-it kind.

The Vaporfly 4% has a true-to-size profile with just the right volume of vertical toe-box room. The forefoot sides are secured by the non-elastic section of the thick Flyknit mesh. Only the top of the forefoot has a slight amount of mechanical stretch.

Most of the upper’s elasticity is concentrated over the tongue area. The elasticity extends from the tongue to the edges of the collar; the thin band near the top is elastic, and so is the Achilles dip behind the pull tab.

The tongue flap has plenty of built-in stretch, so it’s easy to slip in and out of the Vaporfly. The ribbon laces are surprisingly functional, and applying cinch pressure actually results in a fit adjustment.

The thin ribbons lie flat over the upper so there’s no uncomfortable top-down pressure.

There’s not a lot of layering inside. The toe-box has a felt-like internal bumper which gives it a rounded shape. A similar material is used under the lacing areas to prevent potential chaffing.

The inside of the heel has a synthetic suede lining with a smooth hand-feel. There’re small pockets of foam packed near the top, but they do an average job at heel fit.

The Vaporfly 4% heel grip is ok. The tongue flap and the laces do a far better at keeping the foot locked down; the heel grip doesn’t inspire confidence. That’s due to the lack of a heel counter, knit stretch, and the slightly lower placement of the collar padding.

There’s a caveat to all this – the heel grip depends on the conditions you run in. For example, the heel movement is noticeable when running uphill or downhill in the shoe. A rearfoot landing also tends to pop the heel a bit as the springy midsole pushes vertically.

The heel fit is on its best behavior if you’re landing full-ground contact on roads with negligible gradient.

Whichever case applies to you, just know that the heel fit isn’t a severe issue. It’s not like your heel will completely slip out of the upper, but the nagging sense of a less-than-perfect heel fit will cross your mind every now and then.

PROS AND CONS

Rarely do running shoes live up to their grand marketing adjectives and loft claims, but then, the Vaporfly is a unicorn. The latter has everything that it claims to possess – like an ultra responsive and cushioned midsole, a distinct pop from the internal plate, and the fatigue-reducing ride during longer runs and races.

The Vaporfly 4% is also extremely lightweight – for the cushioned shoe it is. At less than 7-ounces, the cushioning-to-weight ratio is the best in the industry. The lightweight Flyknit upper fits just right without the ultra-narrow fit of traditional racing shoes.

The cushioning softness doesn’t have a durability trade-off; the cushioning has a long lifespan.

Only if the Vaporfly 4% wasn’t so expensive. In territories with a sales tax, the retail price comes within striking distance of $300. That is a high cost per mile for a running shoe which doesn’t have a wide use range. That price is pro-equipment level, and coming to think of it, the Vaporfly does feel like one.

The Vaporfly is many things, but versatility isn’t one of them. It’s hard to do slow runs in the Vaporfly, or even rearfoot landing for that matter. And if you’re landing on your rear, then the heel feels decidedly unstable.

And depending on how you run, you might experience a less than perfect heel fit. The lack of widths and reflectivity are other minor shortcomings.

SIMILAR CUSHIONED SHOES WITH CARBON PLATES

Only two shoes compare directly with the Nike Vaporfly 4%, and one of them – the Hoka Carbon X – isn’t even available widely.

We haven’t run in the Hoka yet so won’t be able to provide insights. Another Carbon plated Hoka exists in the form of the Evo Carbon Rocket but that shoe is more a Nike Zoom Fly competitor – and even then, rather vaguely so.

The Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit uses the same Carbon plate as the Vaporfly. The difference lies in the midsole material – the Zoom Fly uses the firmer React foam instead of ZoomX. The upper fit and feel are nearly identical.

With a firmer ride, the Zoom Fly ends up being more versatile of the two. The firmer ride is easier to work with when you’re landing rearfoot or even going slow. Naturally, it’s unrealistic to expect the cushioned bounciness of the Vaporfly. At the same time, it’s a fair trade for increased versatility and a price which is $90 less expensive.

The Pegasus Turbo is a completely different shoe than the Vaporfly but it makes partial use of the soft ZoomX foam – which is the same as what the Vaporfly uses. So if you want a daily trainer which is cushioned and yet doesn’t feel lazy, then the Turbo is great.

Hoka put the high-volume cushioning concept on the map; their product line has plenty of models with deep cushioning for long-distance runs. With the exception of the Evo Rocket and the Carbon X, none of the shoes have the internal plate.

But if high-mileage, efficient, and lightweight cushioning is what you’re after – and that too without paying the Vaporfly premium – then models like the Hoka Bondi 6, the Clifton 6 (and many other Hokas) are worth trying.

Do you own this shoe? Improve this review by sharing your insights – submit a review here.

Nike Black Friday sale: Save a whopping £107 on Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit running shoes

Since the release of the next-generation Nike Zoom Vaporfly NEXT%, the Vaporfly 4% has regularly been seen coming in below its £210 RRP but, thanks to the latest Black Friday deals, the superb running shoes are now the lowest price they’ve ever been.

READ NEXT: Best running shoes

Not only is Nike selling the two-year-old design for £147 – a saving of £63 – if you buy direct from Nike and use the code ADDON30 at checkout (this code applies to many of Nike’s Black Friday offers) you’ll get an additional 30% off which takes the price down to £103. This comes with free delivery and returns.

The catch is that it appears this is a popular deal and only a few sizes are remaining so if you’re keen on this deal, you’ll need to be quick.

Save £107 on Nike’s Vaporfly 4% Flyknit

The shoes were built with marathon runners in mind, thanks to their breathable Flyknit upper, ZoomX foam, a full-length carbon-fibre plate and added support to secure your heel.

They’ve been worn by the likes of Shalane Flanagan and Geoffrey Kamworor who have both won the New York marathon while wearing the shoe, and five of the six podium finishers in Boston wore it.

Although they’ve been designed for marathoners, don’t let that put you off because they’re still great shoes over shorter distances as well.

However, if you don’t need all that tech and design prowess for a standard 5K, Nike has also reduced the price of its Nike Zoom Fly FlyKnit (was £140, now £98) and the Epic React Flyknit 2 (was £130, now £91).

Minor changes made, some good some not so much…

I’m not going to go over things the way I would normally due to the fact that these are nearly identical to the Nike Zoom Crusader so I’m just going to note the minor changes.

The midsole on the Run the One is a bit firmer than the Crusader so you can’t feel the Zoom Air as much as you could previously. I remember praising the Crusader because it was one of the few Zoom based models currently available where you could finally feel the Zoom… not sure why they changed it, but I wasn’t pleased with it. However, the fit feels nicer and a bit more secure due to the changes made within the upper’s construction. Instead of the inner bootie or sleeve, they decided to go with a one-piece build that hugs the foot perfectly. With the Crusader, I felt as if the interior and the exterior of the shoe where going in two different directions when you were in motion… these are solid throughout and felt much better overall.

Ventilation is a minor upgrade, great for those that prefer some air flow and nothing special for those that don’t care about that attribute.

Overall, I’d go with the Zoom Run the One between the two based on the fit. I never felt 100% secure in the Crusader and initially thought it might’ve been due to the extremely low cut. These proved that the cut wasn’t the culprit, but the build. Not a bad model for the price and if you wanted more detailed information then head over to the Zoom Crusader Performance Review to compare notes/ score cards.

Technically, he doesn’t run the one, but he’s running towards that MVP trophy… When the Nike Zoom Run The One dropped, James Harden had just begun the 2014-15 NBA season. Since then, he has blasted his way into MVP contention and of course, the NBA Playoffs. The Zoom Run The One has been his choice of sneakers for most of the season, but he has changed into the new Nike Hyperchase as of late. Regardless of the fact, the ZRTO plays surprisingly well for the package it offers. It plays a lot like it’s predecessor, the Nike Crusader sharing the same traction and low-cut design. I’m sure Nike will give Harden a future signature shoe so let’s see if these hold up to the Kicksologists performance standards.

Traction: 8.0/10

As always, we start off by testing the traction. The outsole is made up of two types of rubber compounds. The inner area is a lot more soft and less dense than the outer part of the outsole. With that, we’re not sure if it has to do with outdoor and indoor hoops, but the grip is great. It needs a minor break-in time as the rubber is stiff and doesn’t grip the floor initially; the more you play in them, the better they get. For you squeaky enthusiasts, the shoe does squeak. I’m not talking about the sound the shoe makes when you walk, the shoe whistles as you stop on dimes and cut to the basket. I had no issues moving laterally or back pedaling. Nike did a great job making sure that Harden wasn’t slipping around on court. With Harden’s move set, they definitely got this right.

The ZRTO can be played outdoors (pictured above) however the rubber isn’t solid enough to withstand hours of concrete play. Treading isn’t soft, but it isn’t hard either. I’ve played about 10 hours in mine and you can see the wear on the medial area of the outsoles. It isn’t too bad, but thought I would mention that.

Just about everyone on court wipes their soles during dead balls and with this shoe, it’s no different. With the ZRTO outsole, it doesn’t attract dust like some other outsoles do. I didn’t have to wipe constantly which was great. The traction pattern isn’t as close so dust doesn’t collect during play.

Cushion: 7.5/10

Unlike the Crusader that had zoom in both the forefoot and heel, the Zoom Run The One only contains it in the forefoot The heel has some sort of foam brick. Pretty odd, but it is what it is. During play, the cushion isn’t as responsive as I would want it to be probably due to the density of the midsole. The midsole is pretty dense, but softens up slightly as you play on. The Zoom Air in the forefoot could hardly be felt even after they break in but for a hundred bucks, they manage.

Court feel is great. The shoe sits pretty low profile. I never felt too high off the ground or off balanced. Is the shoe responsive? Eh, somewhat. To be honest I didn’t feel a whole lot of bounce, but I still felt pretty great. My knees didn’t hurt after my games so that’s a plus. Playing outdoors is a different story. Lastly, I wouldn’t say the shoe was plush at all, but it wasn’t firm either. It’s a great balance between both and kept me stable for the most part. Mushy isn’t a term that you would want to describe your basketball shoe.

Overall the cushion was great. You would expect the heel to be the deal breaker here, but in this case it isn’t. Still, I want more than a piece of foam in the heel, but my body wasn’t dying at the end of the day. Cushion isn’t as great as the Crusader, but these aren’t bad either. Great package for the price.

*Cushion is graded on responsiveness, impact protection, and court-feel.

Transition: 8.5/10

James Harden is one smooth dude on court. He can get to the rim at will. His shoes are just like his dribble, step back, pull up… silky smooth. Probably one of the best areas of the shoe is its transition. From the heel strike, to toe push offs, it feels like the shoe is meant for jabs and quick attacks at the rim. I give credit to the two piece construction on the upper. The fuse toe piece bends really well allowing great mobility and flexibility for the foot as you cut, jab, or run. Flexibility is huge for the 1-3 guard position especially when you are trying to create your own shot.

Not only does the shoe provide really good flexibility, but having a great heel strike and toe off comes really natural for this sneaker. It’s hard to forget the lack of heel cushioning, but when the shoe feels this great when your on fast break, you kind of don’t care much for it anymore. The ZRTO offers a quick slash esque feel to them that delivers every time. The low-cut collar offers great range of motion and doesn’t restrict your movements at all. I know i’m making this shoe sound God-like but truly is a fun sneaker to play in in that respect.

*Transition is how smooth a shoe feels as you strike on your heels to pushing off from your toes.

Lockdown/Fit: 8.0/10

Shoe fits true to size for me. They do run narrow so those who have wide feet may want to at least try these on or move onto the next one. They aren’t wide at all. Fortunately, my feet are on the narrow side so the fit on these were awesome.

As far as lockdown in the heel department, it wasn’t perfect. My first couple runs were very scary. Not because the shoe isn’t stable, but because of personal feelings for how low the shoes cut were. Probably the lowest sneakers I own and I love playing in lows. These however took it to another level. But, thankfully the shoe is very rigid in the heel area as it offers a very good internal heel counter. The sides of the sneaker are fuse and synthetic so that gave the heel area some additional structure and support.

Lockdown in the forefoot was on point. No extra space, but not a crowd either. The midfoot was top notch as the lacing system did a splendid job containing that area. One con I can point out is that they should have added one more lace hoop in the shoe allowing a secure fit for the ankle. I had to tie it real snug around the tongue of the sneaker (there is no tongue but close enough) to get secured. Not a huge problem, but it could be fixed.

When I thought this score would be mediocre given the fact that the shoe is a true low top, the ZRTO scores pretty damn well.

Support/Stability: – 8/10

Just like lockdown, I didn’t think this should would be great at all. From the start, I was already worried about rolling my ankle. Looking at the silhouette and on the shelves of stores, the shoe looked way too low for my liking. But I was curious on how it would be and thankfully, I was wrong. Nike used a combination of old school tech with the first-gen Nike Flywire and Fuse along the upper. Along with a stable base in the forefoot, the ZRTO is surprisingly a supportive shoe. I’m not going to lie, throughout some games I felt like I was going to twist an ankle, but it was all in my head. I was at ease once I found out how the shoe really played. Definitely changed my perspective.

Durability/Materials: 8.3/10

Nothing too insane, but you have fuse around the upper and synthetic plastic overlays. No expensive Flyknit or Flightweb or Woven uppers, yet this old fashion Nike material will get the job done. The toes are a little beat up from toe drags and the outsole tread is worn out to some degree, but they still function. The laces are looking terrible though, but I don’t care much for it. The shoe also doesn’t weigh you down as it plays light and isn’t bulky at all.

Breathability: 8.0/10

I like to experiment with my testing methods. I usually stick my foot out the car while I drive and see how breathable shoes really are, but that wouldn’t be so credible for an on court review like this. For the most part the ZRTO have side panels that allow air-flow through the sneaker during play that result in a substantial amount of air. This alone serves great ventilation. The end.

*Ventilation is not part of the overall score as it does not hinder the performance of the sneaker. However if the foot is excessively drenched upon play, it will effect the score and be mentioned in the review.

Final Thoughts

The Zoom Run The One looks to be a pass from the start, but ends up being a great basketball sneaker for those who enjoy mobility, speed, and slashing to the basket. Not only does it offer great transition, traction, and just enough cushion to get by, but it allowed me to look past my fear of the low-cut ankle collar that this shoe has. A few minor issues that I would fix is adding a extra lace hole to secure the fit and also add heel zoom rather than just a piece of foam.

Overall, you are getting a great shoe for the price of $99.99 retail. You get a low-key signature model from a premiere athlete, James Harden. But is the Zoom Run The One an MVP in our books? Not really. Although there are a lot of high end models right now in the market, it has potential to be in a starting rotation for the court for any hooper.

Buying Advice

If you can get past the low-cut collar with no fear (as you should) then you should look into these. If you are a guard who are light on their feet and want something that gets the job done for the budget price, I say pull the trigger. You can find these for the low ($79) right now so don’t hesitate and Just Do It!

Not only has Nike revealed the Zoom Fly Flyknit, but they also introduced the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% Flyknit rendition for the upcoming marathon season. Based on two of Nike’s most popular designs, the shoes have been updated to deliver greater efficiency and ultra-lightweight, breathable support

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With the use of Flyknit, Nike has created a even lighter, and more breathable shoe. What hasn’t changed is the revolutionary technology that is the hallmark of the 4% system. Created in conjunction with Breaking2, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% was designed with the goal of helping the world’s fastest marathoners run their best. It’ll also come equipped with the models signature Nike ZoomX foam cushioned sole.

Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% Flyknit Release Date

Look for the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% Flyknit to release on October 4th at select Nike retailers and Nike.com. The retail price tag is set at $250 USD.

Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% Flyknit
Color: Bright Crimson/Ice Blue
Style Code: AJ3857-600
Release Date: October 4, 2018
Price: $250

UPDATE: Nike releases official photos of the VaporFly 4% Flyknit.

UPDATE: Detailed photos of the newly introduced Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% in its upcoming “Bright Crimson” colorway.

Nike Unveils The ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, Faster Than The Fastest Shoe

Why exactly does Nike want relationships with the best athletes on the planet? Obviously they want them wearing their product, but more importantly, they want them informing it. For decades the world’s elite have been influencing design and engineering through feedback gained from pure experience, and the ZoomX Vaporfly innovation is the perfect exemplar of how a this collaborative process can make athletes simply better. Working closely with world-class athletes, Nike created a running shoe that lowered the energetic cost by 4%, which in turn led to indisputable dominance on the marathon field over the last two years. Now, the Swoosh is ready to shave down those finishing times even more with the debut of the Vaporfly NEXT%.

Springboarding from the Vaporfly 4% findings, Nike sought to improve the moisture wicking abilities to keep the weight of the sneaker down as much as possible throughout the entire 26.2. Shalane Flanagan’s input led to the creation of VaporWeave, a fabric lighter than Flyknit that absorbs far less water. The forefoot traction of the shoe has been modified as well for better wet-surface stability, with data taken from Eliud Kipchoge, Mo Farah, and Geoffrey Kirui. There’s more ZoomX in the midsole, and the offset was decreased from 11mm to 8mm for even more propulsion during the stride. With all these additions and changes, the shoe weighs exactly the same as its predecessor.

With the shoe set to debut during the upcoming London Marathon, Nike has prepared a special release for this highly technical (and beautiful) shoe. Limited quantities of the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% will drop on the Nike Run Club App on Sunday, 4/28 (US only). You can sign up for notifications here.

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%
Release Date: April 28th, 2019 (Nike Run Club App Exclusive)
$275

Make sure to follow @kicksfinder for live tweets during the release date.

Where To Buy

  • Nike+ Available

Nike Updates Its Top-of-the-Line Vaporfly Runner

With a $275 price tag and considerable hype around its will-it-break-the-marathon-record storyline, Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly 4% runner has been the Swoosh’s elite running shoe since its 2017 debut. It’s since been updated with a Flyknit upper, but the model has yet to see any drastic changes—until now.

Enter the ZoomX Vaporfly Next%, the latest iteration in Nike’s Vaporfly line. Built with insights from elite Nike athletes such as Mo Farah, Shalane Flanagan, and Eliud Kipchoge in mind, the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% sticks with what worked best in its predecessor, but revamps the entire shoe with new materials and design changes.

Image via Nike

The most notable updates to the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% include its upper, which marks the debut of Vaporweave material. According to Nike, not only is the material lighter than Flyknit, but it absorbs less moisture from sweat and rain. Another major change is the new lacing setup, which is offset to the lateral side rather than a more traditional setup. One of the sneaker’s standout features, its ZoomX cushioning, has been tweaked with added foam and a new 11mm to 8mm offset.

Image via Nike

Despite these changes, the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% retains the full-length carbon fiber plate found in the original Vaporfly 4%, and it even manages to come out weighing exactly the same as its predecessor.

The ZoomX Vaporfly Next% retails for $275 and will release first in London on April 25 followed by a stateside launch on April 28 on the Nike Run Club app.

Image via Nike Image via Nike Image via Nike Image via Nike Image via Nike Image via Nike

Zoom vaporfly 4%

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