The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 (originally dubbed the “4%”) is perhaps one of the most mysterious and influential running shoes in history. It was first worn and tested by elite athletes, including Eliud Kipchoge, during Nike’s “Breaking 2” project in 2017. Shortly after Nike’s public attempt to break the 2-hour marathon barrier, the Nike Vaporfly 4% was made available to the public - and the world of racing would never be the same.
So what made this shoe so special? Well, it’s unbelievably lightweight, conceals an explosive carbon-fibre plate, and each step is cradled by one of the most comfortable and responsive foams ever created. Oh, and there is the whole “this shoe will help you run 4% faster” thing, which was confirmed to be true after several years of collected data. Runners around the globe lined up eagerly on launch day to secure their pair, and it's nearly impossible to look at a fall 2018 race photo without spotting a pair of fiery red Nike 4% running shoes.
But as in-demand as the OG Vaporfly 4% was, the new shoe from Nike generated plenty of questions and myths: Is it true it only lasts for 100 km of running? Is it hard on the body? Is it even a legal racing shoe? Is it reserved for elite athletes only?
We’re here to put these misconceptions to rest! Now in its 5th year on the market, the current iteration of the Nike Vaporfly deserves a place in the spotlight (and on your shoe rack) as a fantastic shoe with endless benefits and possibilities for all runners. So let’s take a look at our top 5 things you need to know about the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2!
1. The Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 is Great for Training
Originally, most runners bought the Nike Vaporfly as a shoe reserved only for race day. But the Next% 2 has been redesigned over the years to be a multipurpose training shoe for any runner. Running in a high-efficiency shoe like the Vaporfly means less wear and tear on the body, helping you perform your best during key workouts. You’ll still need an adequate recovery shoe in your rotation, but we strongly recommend lacing up your Vaporflys for speed workouts and tempo runs to reap major training benefits.
2. Yep - the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Can Help You Run Faster
There is real evidence that shoes like the Vaporfly Next% 2 and its siblings, like the Alphafly Next% 2, can indeed help you run faster. It all boils down to technology, energy output, and efficiency. It’s widely accepted that the introduction of carbon-fibre plated shoes has played a role in helping athletes smash through long-standing records over the past few years. Not only that, but statistics suggest that the vast majority of runners of all abilities have experienced an improved performance by making the switch to a carbon shoe on race day.
3. No - The Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 is Not Banned
Eliud Kipchoge’s running shoes stirred a great deal of controversy when he broke the 2-hour marathon barrier, including whether evolving shoe technology could compromise the sport of running. But, ever adaptable, Nike’s current version of the Vaporfly Next% 2 is completely race legal. So go ahead and enjoy that performance boost 100% guilt-free!
4. It’s a Durable and Dependable Running Shoe
Most runners report getting just as much dependable mileage out of their Vaporfly Next% 2’s as any other running shoe on the market. That means it’s time to squash the “only good for 100 km” myth once and for all.
Now, stride, frequency of use (ahem, you should be rotating between at least two pairs of shoes regularly), body type, and road conditions can all impact the longevity of any pair of shoes. But generally, you can look forward to getting at least 500 km of quality time-on-feet in a pair of Nike Vaporflys.
5. The Vaporfly Next% 2 is a Great Shoe for All Types of Runners
The idea that the Vaporfly Next% 2 (or any shoe on the market) is only for elite athletes needs to be put to rest. Absolutely any runner can benefit from the technology that comes with a pair of shoes like the Next% 2, including comfortable cushioning, energy conservation due to the responsive ZoomX foam, and a little extra spring in your step from the carbon plate. In fact, many studies suggest that the average runner is likely to experience more drastic benefits from wearing a pair of high-tech shoes compared to an elite racer.
These shoes were designed to accommodate a wide range of strides, speeds, and foot shapes, so don’t be shy about trying a pair for yourself, no matter where you are in your running journey.
The Bottom Line: Treat Yourself to a Pair of Nike Vaporflys!
The Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 is a versatile, durable, and downright fun shoe to add to your rotation. Let’s face it - running is a hard sport - and the only thing separating your body from the pavement is your shoes. So why not invest in a pair that makes you feel fast and fabulous as you lay down one foot in front of the other?
If you’ve been on the fence about the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2, or any other high-performance running shoe on the market, come visit our Shoe Experts at BlackToe Running and test out a pair for yourself.