Summary

We spent 10.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

9 reasons to buy

  • Majority of its users find the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% to be a lightweight running shoe.
  • Some runners describe the Vaporfly Next% as the fastest running shoe they have ever worn.
  • The shoe’s overall structure has visibly improved compared to the previous version, according to a reviewer.
  • A number of commenters feel the shoe provides a flawless fit.
  • A few users find the outsole of the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% to hold up better than that of its predecessor. 
  • The new upper material and lacing setup offer a lightweight yet stable frame around the foot, a couple of wearers reported. Meanwhile, others claim that the upper is snug yet breathable. 
  • The sole unit’s wider base helps in balancing the foot, according to a tester.
  • Several wear-testers praised the ZoomX midsole as bouncy and soft, with some even saying it is the most cushioned foam they have encountered.
  • Many users attribute the faster and more responsive ride to the shoe’s updated, lower drop.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The flimsy quality of the tongue makes it difficult to lay flat or stay in place on top of the foot, said a reviewer.
  • A few consumers disliked the expensiveness of the Vaporfly Next%.

Bottom line

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% is considerably a successful shoe release, as attested by both running professionals and casual runners. The new features presented by Nike in this shoe has impressed the majority, thus making them claim that the shoe is a huge upgrade from the earlier version of the ZoomX Vaporfly Next%. The shoe’s performance has also allowed some users to say it is a must-have for running. With very little criticism coming from buyers, it is safe to say that the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% is worth the purchase despite its hefty price tag.

For more, check our guide to the best running shoes

Facts

Reviews from around the internet

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

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Video reviews and unboxing

  • Many running enthusiasts might recall the earlier version of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% because of its unique name and equally unique claim as a benefit: to improve the running economy (not speed) of the athlete. In this iteration, the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% sticks to that objective at an improved rate but without an exact value; hence, the “Next” percent in the name.
  • There are several notable updates in this shoe. First is the new material called VaporWeave that is introduced as the main component of the upper. The VaporWeave replaces the previous version’s Flymesh; it gives the Vaporfly Next% a thin yet sturdy coverage.
  • The midsole material is also leveled up a notch, in the form of the ZoomX technology. Although the same material is utilized in the shoe’s predecessor, the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% uses more of it in its midsole. With more foam, there is more energy return.
  • Lastly, the outsole also presents an update as it gets a revamped tread pattern. The materials remain the same, but with upgraded benefits in order to improve the running experience.

Like the earlier version, the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% is a unisex shoe that has a standard running shoe length, thus making it true-to-size for most runners. Those who usually go with women’s sizes are advised to get 1.5 sizes down to achieve their preferred fit. However, the shoe has an upper material that is relatively thinner compared to other running shoes. This might make it loose-fitting to some. The construction of the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% has the makings of a shoe for race day: a snug fit across the heel and midfoot and a low toe box height. The shoe is available in Medium width.

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% uses a combination of rubber compounds to deliver a combination of traction and responsiveness for a speedy run that is consistent as the miles log on.

At the forefoot area is a foam rubber that has a lightweight quality, allowing for easy toe-offs while retaining grip. The foam portion is thicker in this shoe compared to its predecessor, ensuring that softness of the foam provides optimum cushioning and contributes to the energy return during each stride.

Meanwhile, the heel area is composed of a high-abrasion rubber that equips the shoe with durability especially during footstrike. The material is designed to withstand the impact forces occurring during the run, thus reducing stress on the foot. Nike running shoes are known for utilizing basic rubber compounds in the outsole and focusing instead on midsole technologies. The Nike Revolution 4 is another example of this design philosophy.

The updated tread pattern of the outsole reflects the layouts made by the three athletes that inspired the creation of the shoe: Eliud Kipchoge, Mo Farah, and Geoffrey Kirui. The three elite runners were also involved in the design process of the ZoomX Vaporfly Next%. In making the outsole’s tread, lengthwise grooves were included in a way to enhance multi-surface traction in various weather conditions.

Although a returning feature from the previous version, the ZoomX midsole foam gets an update, too. In this shoe, the cushioning material is increased in quantity by 15% to facilitate better energy return. The added foam is strategically distributed in different locations: 1 mm in the heel and 4 mm in the forefoot. This technique consequently changes the drop of the shoe, which is intentionally done for a more efficient engagement between the runner and the ZoomX. It is also worth noting that the ZoomX foam prides itself as Nike’s most responsive and most cushioned foam. 

The midsole of the Vaporfly Next% also retains the full-length carbon plate that is embedded within the foam. This feature is meant to increase the stiffness of the midsole and encourage propulsion. The carbon plate is located closer to the heel in order to promote a stable platform in this area.

The most noticeable change in the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% is the introduction of the Vaporweave upper material. The Vaporweave has a thin, minimal appearance that makes it a lighter and more breathable textile compared to the Flymesh, which is what the previous shoe used. Additionally, the Vaporweave material is designed to absorb less water, thus maintaining dryness and ensuring consistent airflow throughout the run. 

Utilizing an offset-style lacing system alleviates pressure on the sensitive areas of the foot. It also aims for an improved, more locked-in fit. 

Beneath the mesh upper is a thin foam pod located on the heel area of the shoe. This element supports the Achilles, providing comfortable coverage in each step.

Compared to its predecessor, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% features a wider toe box that gives the runner even more room for an adequate toe splay. 

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% takes pride in being one of, if not the only, the running shoes that claim to improve an athlete’s running economy. But what exactly is a running economy? This notion is a little confusing to the average or casual runner, as it does not necessarily take into account speed or pace. 

Although a very scientific concept, the running economy involves factors that are familiar to the typical runner, such as energy return and performance. Such aspects were highly considered by the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% in order to create a shoe that improves on the wearer’s running economy. Simply put, the running economy entails the consumption of energy throughout an activity with aerobic intensity. 

The ZoomX Vaporfly Next% aims for a higher percentage of running economy, which means the runner should expend less energy but still boost, or at least maintain, their performance.

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