The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% is probably the best running shoe available right now and for a reason. Eliud Kipchoge wore the same shoes in Berlin Marathon 2018 while doing his world record, earth-shattering marathon record, and finished marathon under 2 hours.
Something that had been thought impossible before. He’s finishing time was just 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds. That’s a whopping 20 seconds under 2 hours, and it might not sound much but the world record before that was 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds, which means the new record is almost two minutes better than before.
Whats even more amazing is that people wearing this shoe have recorded the five fastest marathon times ever (at the time of writing this article).
What makes the Nike Zoom Vaporfly so controversial?
What makes them a controversial shoe is that some studies have shown that they actually make your running power more efficient by lowering the energetic costs of running by 4%, also where the shoes get their name. Some might even say that it’s cheating that they help the runner run longer thanks to lowering the energetic costs. This was also an issue that the international federation, World Athletics had to answer.
Is it legal to use Nike Zoom Vaporfly in competition?
As some of you might have guessed, the new technology that the Nike Zoom Vaporfly’s had inside them did cause some fuzz around the globe and a lot of questions that the World Athletics had to answer. Thankfully though they did come into the decision that the Vaporfly can be used in competitions. (Source: The New York Times )
But because of the Vaporfly, there have been some rule changes to the shoes that are allowed in competitions and what shoe manufacturers need to consider.
- For example, the elite runners cannot run in prototype shoes that have not been available to any of their competitors to buy on the open market for at least four months.
- Footwear must meet certain design specifications.
- The sole cannot be thicker than 40 mm.
- Each shoe can’t have more than one springlike shank in the sole.
What’s new in the Nike Zoom Vaporfly NEXT%?
Compared to normal sneakers there are quite a few things Nike has changed on the shoes. Most of them might look just odd design decisions, but each of them actually has an impact on the performance of the shoe.
Vaporfly has a new material construct called Vapoerweave that makes the shoes lighter than the Nike Flyknit and more breathable as well as absorbs far less water, sweat or rain, meaning they stay airy and dry over the course of a marathon.
The laces in the shoes are slightly offset meaning there is less pressure along with the sensitive parts of the foot.
Nike has also increased their Nike ZoomX foam in the midsole to further increase the energy return and they have redistributed it to decrease the offset from 11mm to 8mm. This should provide a more stable feeling and help even further with the energy return.
Then what are the shoes actually hiding that gives that energy return on top of the basics that we just read. Well, Nike has actually hidden a full length curved carbon fiver plate middle of the shoes that increase the stiffness and provide a sense of propulsion. The carbon fiber plate is also bent so it acts almost like a spring, giving the runner better energy return. Another thing to point about the carbon fiber plate is that without it the actual foam wouldn’t work as intended.
Other shoes to consider
As you might have noticed the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly is designed for marathon runners, but if you yourself are a more casual runner there are some other good shoes from Nike to consider, that are more affordable and more widely available.
For women, we recommend the Nike Women’s Competition Running Shoes that are amazing running shoes. They are amazing running shoes that are knit and weight next to nothing. The air circulates through the shoes so your feet don’t sweat as they normally would.
For men we recommend the Nike Men’s Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Running shoe that has been a favorite of ours for a long time. They got a great cushion and the arc support is also very good, meaning your feet will be well supported your whole run.