Nike has updated its marathon footwear taking on board key feedback from world champion runners to create what is said to be the fastest shoe ever. The new iteration is dubbed Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% and features an improved upper, a re-tooled midsole and a redesigned traction pattern to help athletes cross the line faster.
Feedback came from Mo Farah, Shalane Flanagan who wore the previous Vaporfly 4% during a very wet Boston Marathon, and Eliud Kipchoge after he ran a very wet race in Berlin. Although three athletes could never make for a well-rounded sample group, so Nike’s Sport Research Lab takes on board feedback from dozens of athletes from professional levels through to weekend warriors.
“This shoe is truly the result of our athletes, sports scientists, engineers and designers closely collaborating throughout the entire process of design, testing and manufacturing,” says Brett Holts, Nike VP of Running Footwear. “We are all so excited to see the NEXT% continue to push the limits of human performance on marathon courses around the world.”
The shoe itself features a new material construction named Vaporweave. Lighter than Nike’s Flyknit construction, Vaporweave is breathable and absorbs far less water from sweat and rain, so it stays airy and dry throughout a marathon.
A thin foam pod inside the heel keeps the Achilles happy as the kilometres (or miles) add up. There’s more Nike ZoomX foam in the midsole to further increase energy return. The foam has been redistributed to provide a more stable feeling and help maximise energy return at the critical toe-off. The laces are also slightly offset to alleviate pressure along the sensitive part of the foot.
Despite the 15% increase in foam, the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% shoe weighs the same as the previous version. Even when accounting for the full-length curved carbon fibre plate embedded within the foam. The plate increases stiffness and provides a sensation of propulsion.
You can add a pair of Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% to your marathon outfit when they go on sale July 4.