Summary

We spent 7.9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • The Zoom Vaporfly 4% gave an all-new sensation to the foot and made running feel effortless, pondered a reviewer.
  • Many runners were satisfied with the breathability and lightweight nature of this running shoe.
  • Several users commented that the heel cup worked well in preventing foot slippage.
  • A lot of runners praised the ZoomX cushioning as the best thing they have ever felt in a running shoe.
  • The shoe was supportive enough to provide the sensation of running at a better pace and quality, according to a tester.

3 reasons not to buy

  • There are no Flywire cables, which are typically present in most of Nike’s shoes. It made the Vaporfly 4% feel lacking in support, said one reviewer.
  • A user commented that the very thin upper felt weak and flimsy.
  • Some runners thought that the price did not justify the small number of features that were offered.

Bottom line

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% is a shoe with a smart design. While it does not introduce newly-invented technology, it has put together existing technologies in a way that enables an improved running performance which satisfied most users. Despite its high price tag, many found the shoe to be worth it.

For more, check our guide to the best running shoes

Facts

Reviews from around the internet

Expert reviews:

Video reviews and unboxing

  • The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% is constructed with racing enthusiasts in mind. The name implies that the wearer would be able to run 4% more efficiently with the shoe, as researched scientifically. It is highly cushioned and is recommended for runners with neutral pronation.
  • The upper features a minimal design, with its single-layer mesh, single-piece overlay, and lack of internal lining. It aims to deliver the most ventilation possible, with the anticipation of the runner wearing the shoe for marathons.
  • Nike introduces the new ZoomX foam in the midsole, which aims to deliver more cushioning and more responsiveness. The ZoomX cushioning promotes a more dynamic feel as it not only absorbs impact on landing, but it also projects the foot forward in expectation of the next stride.

The Zoom Vaporfly 4% features a standard running shoe length. It is a unisex running shoe, with a single width-profile of D - Medium for men and D - Wide for women. Its semi-curved shape follows the natural curve of the human foot.

The minimalist pentagon patterns on the outsole aim to provide durable traction for the runner. It is made of lightweight foam rubber, which contributes to the flexibility and responsiveness of the shoe.

There are high-abrasion blown rubber reinforcements found on the heel and forefoot areas of the outsole, which give adequate traction. They are made durable to withstand various levels of stress from running.

The Vaporfly 4% uses the all-new ZoomX foam, which Nike labels as a "cushioning revolution." ZoomX claims to be the most responsive and energy-returning EVA foam on the market.

The cushioning is supported and enhanced by a full-length carbon plate that is embedded beneath the midsole. It aims to amplify the sensation of propulsion. In this regard, the carbon plate acts similarly to a lever as it helps the foot transition to its next step. The second layer of ZoomX foam beneath the carbon plate is present to dampen the impact.

All the elements of the midsole work together to provide more spring to the foot during running, but without the sinking sensation of an overly-cushioned shoe.

Made from a single-layer Flymesh, the upper of the Zoom Vaporfly 4% presents a well-defined and customized fit. There is no internal lining, yet the façade is designed to be lightweight and breathable. This Flymesh upper is also intended to work against heat retention. There are perforations in the forefoot and midfoot area to help heighten airflow.

There is a single piece of overlay over the lace holes. It offers enough support and structure while maintaining a minimalist design.

The tongue features a thin and asymmetrical finish and is also made from a combination of Flymesh and fuse material.

A stiff bumper is installed to provide protection for the toes and to absorb stress around the forefoot area, which is commonly experienced in long-distance running.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com