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.


Expert Reviews

87 / 100 based on 31 expert reviews

  • 98 / 100 |

    Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% - When the shoe takes you for the ride!

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    Is there magic to this shoe? It is like believing in the Easter Bunny.  Have you been longing for a PR? If so, spend the HEFTY price tag and watch the instant results.

    I already had Nike shoes in a rotation of other shoes including the Hokas, Adidas, and Sketchers. On race day of 3 random races, I slipped these slippers on and 3 PR’s!



      Weight   195g (men's size 10), 164g (women's size 8)
      Offset   10mm (21mm forefoot, 31 mm heel)

    Fit & feel

    I call them slippers since they fit like a sock. It is snug, but not too tight. I also like that the material becomes one with your foot.

    I bought mine on a regular size of 8, which is a unisex size by the way. Also, the lacing system is nice because it is not bulky. The Flyknit material is very breathable.


    Key factors

    First, Nike's ZoomX foam seems to be the key for the light feel and a very responsive overall run. Numbers that are thrown out for the return of energy is noted at 85%.

    Second, there is a full-length carbon fiber plate in the shoe. It is designed to propel you forward.



    The ride does promise you and provide you with an efficient run. I have used a lot of shoes before and rotate them often. If you allow the shoe to run you, your body and form will be less tired. So relax and breathe and buckle up.

    The heel has a unique design the secure them to the back of your foot. On the other hand, the outsole has a rubber sole and was very good with traction.  

    I wore them in 3 temps and various traction situations. That includes rain, snowy, and warm weather. The shoes tackled the road traction without slipping or falling.


    When to use them

    The shoe is designed for pure speed, efficient running, and energy return. They can be worn out of a box. However, I believe they probably limited to about 150/200 miles.

    I may be able to get 300 miles out of them. I have a very high cadence though so my shoes don’t wear as much. My "why" will be race day only because of the price tag, and the fear of selling out since I run about 5-8 Marathons a year.  

    For your "why" use them for speed workouts, tempos, and long runs. An alternative trainer can be the Pegasus Turbo X which has the same phone for a smaller price tag.


    I wore these shoes for approximately 65 miles. Straight out of the box I took them on a test drive for a 10k race, plus 2 warm-up miles.  

    I PR’d this race at 43:14 - 6:58 pace as the first female in my age group.



    I had my second race at a full marathon. I ran Rock N Roll Phoenix this past Jan. OMG, (3:18:52) I have been trying to break an old PR from Nov 2016 of 3:24:29.

    I became 3rd in age group. But that didn’t even matter because I just landed a PR marathon time. So was it the shoe or lack or training?

    I did one more test drive on the third of March at the Little Rock Marathon. It was on a cold 35-degree morning with rain when we set out for another Marathon Run.



    26.2 miles later and completely unplanned and unexpected, another PR at 3:18:54 and grabbed the second spot for the overall female. What, I can’t explain! My only explanation is the shoe does actually take you for a ride if you let it.  My legs never felt tired.


    Two hundred and fifty dollars! Yes, it is the most expensive shoe I have purchased in the last 5 years of my running hobby.  I own 2 pairs. I won’t train in them because they sell out and have been known for limited miles.


    This is a luxury item and can cause you anxiety. But very worth the experience. I want to make a quick observation regarding the overall results.

    I train, plus I put the work in to achieve many of the basic goals. I have found finding the right product to enhance the training is key. I find it through research and reading others results.

    This shoe can and will make you feel like an elite even if just on race day or after one good result. I can do a lot for the mental aspect of setting running goals alone or overcoming a plateau.


  • 97 / 100 |

    Living up to the hype: The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

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    running shoe in history.

    The Nike Vaporfly 4% is a long-awaited response from Nike to the Adidas Adios Boost shoe. The top marathoners in the world, prior the introduction of the Nike Vaporfly, were predominantly racing in the Adidas Boost shoes.

    However, the winners of most major marathons have worn the Nike Vaporfly 4% since it’s introduction.



    Nike claims the shoe will make anyone who wears them run 4% more efficient. Even lab tests have shown a greater energy return to the runner as compared to other leading shoes.

    The Nike Vaporfly 4% feel very comfortable when they are first laced up, almost squishy, like a Hoka or other heavily cushioned shoe. The difference is how light the Vaporfly is.

    They feel fast even with their large sole, that does take a bit of getting used to. In the later stages and post-marathon, the Vaporfly left my legs feeling significantly better when compared to other racing flats.

    Every marathoner should at least give the Vaporfly a try, even with the high price tag, they are worth it.


    The Vaporfly upper is very light and with very little material, you can see right through it. The lacing system has no frills but does make the shoe feel secure.



    Nike has a flyknit line of shoes that feels very much like a sock, the foot feels secure and is not subject to movement during the race.


    The midsole of the Vaporfly provides quite a bit of cushioning, especially for a racing flat.

    The extra cushioning is designed so the muscles do not get as fatigued running longer races. The cushioning also provides an energy return to the runner, a kind of bounce like effect.

    The Vaporflys give a feeling to the runner as if they are being propelled, the shoe almost rocks you forward.



    One area where the Vaporfly could improve is the outsole.

    In comparison to the Adios Boost, the Vaporfly feels lacking in traction.

    Combined with the fact that the midsole is thicker than other racing flats, the Vaporfly does not provide the connection to the ground that other racing flats do.



    Right when you slide into the Vaporflys, they feel fast. They almost propel the runner forward.

    However, the enhanced cushioning and thicker midsole make them a bit too much shoe for any race under a 10k. If you are running at a mile or 5k, pace the cushioning may leave them feeling bulky and clumsy.


    The Nike, the shoe consistently sells out in minutes from going on sale.

    The hype is real and this shoe is so much different from any other marathon shoe on the market that any marathoner should at least try them to see if they pay dividends.

  • 95 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 5 expert

    Probably one of the most incredible shoes I've ever run in.

  • 60 / 100 | Hes Kicks | | Level 4 expert

    Is it worth $250? I say absolutely not, it's not worth a price point only because of the durability from a casual perspective.

Become an expert

  • 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.

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.