Summary

We spent 8.3 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • Those who have tried the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit stated that they liked using it for tempo runs and speed training sessions.
  • Some testers reported that the midsole unit felt comfortable and responsive.
  • Most runners claimed that the sizing scheme of the Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit followed their expectations.
  • Testers appreciated the tongue-less structure of the upper unit as it provided a smooth hug.
  • The color schemes were eye-catching, a couple of purchasers noted.

3 reasons not to buy

  • For a running shoe that is designed for speed, the Zoom Vaporfly 4% is quite heavy, according to some runners.
  • Several people felt that the heel was a bit loose; they experienced some slippage during their initial runs.
  • Many reviewers have experienced the outsole coming apart from the rest of the shoe after only a short-time usage.

Bottom line

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit running shoe gained favor as a reliable racing and speed training companion for the roads. Most consumers were happy with its performance and its overall quality. They apparently felt fast and enabled while tackling their running sessions. On the other hand, some users have complained about the shoe's durability and weight, factors that they have found to be disappointing.

Facts

Terrain: Road
Arch support: Neutral
Heel to toe drop: Men: 10mm | Women: 10mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Material: Vegan
Features: Slip-on
Strike Pattern: Heel strike
Heel height: Men: 39mm | Women: 39mm
Forefoot height: Men: 29mm | Women: 29mm
Release date: Oct 2018
Brand: Nike
Type: Maximalist
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $250
Colorways: Blue, Orange, Red
Size
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Rankings

Among the better Road running shoes
A top rated Nike running shoe
A popular pick
It has never been more popular than this December

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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92 / 100 based on 5 expert reviews

  • 98 / 100 | Dan Biagi

    Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit: The shoes we have been waiting for!

    More photos

    After spending sleepless nights reading reviews on Vaporfly and the opinions of other runners, I decided to give them a go.

    Vaporfly is a race day shoe but, unlike the typical race day shoe with a low drop and low stack, Vaporfly takes a maximalist approach with quite a tall stack and a 10mm drop.

    Also, one important aspect that you have to accept, if you are considering this shoe, is that it isn’t durable: you won’t log hundreds of miles on Vaporfly, maybe just a hundred. It’s a shoe conceived for race day for (fairly fast) runners with a neutral gait and for long distance - 5k or longer.

     

    Ride & transition

    As soon as you put the Vaporfly on, you notice a very bouncy feeling and the stack height. But as soon as you start to hit a pace faster than 4min/km (6:25min/mi), you feel that they facilitate the transition as long as you are a mid-foot striker (or at least, this is what I feel).

    So, if you are a heel striker, I don’t recommend this model.

    Also, I would recommend Vaporfly only to runners able to hit a pace faster than 4min/km for 10k and a half marathon distance at least. I don’t feel that Vaporfly helps much with slower paces.

     

    Fit

    Vaporfly are true to size: I’m UK size 7 with most brands and this size suits me for Vaporfly too.

    I managed to take only Flyknit versions. The shoe will fit like a second sock above your socks and, as a lot of other reviewers have reported, lacing can be tricky.

     

     

    If I had had the choice, I would have gone for a version with a normal upper mesh instead of knit, because the knit isn’t too firm. In fact, the instep on my right foot is slightly higher than the left and I could feel a small degree of instability on the right foot, especially in the first 50/60km.

    If both your insteps are high, you may feel Vaporfly is too unstable.

    Runner profile and workouts

    I would recommend Vaporfly to all runners able to run a 10k / half marathon at a pace of 4min/km (6:25min/mi) or faster. For slower runners, it’s subjective.

    It depends a lot on your gait: if you have a very neutral gait, then you can consider giving it a go. Like most fast shoes, they tend to amplify small defects in your gait, so it isn’t uncommon to see pictures of even professional athletes on Vaporfly who pronate their feet.

    In terms of pace, I feel that the faster you go the more they help. In my case, I feel that when I run at a pace where I am mostly a mid-foot striker, they help the transition a lot.

    While I would use them for sure on road, and on track too (why not?), the only downside is that if it rains or you’re on wet surfaces, they don’t offer any grip so you risk not bringing them home in one piece!

     

     

    A wise thing to do before purchasing Vaporfly is to check your gait. They challenge your lower leg and foot a lot while running, so they can lead easily to overload in that department and to injuries. They help the cause but they also make your calves and feet work a lot. After a half marathon, I had cramps in my feet when I took them off. Yes, cramps in my feet after a half marathon!

    I heard that a lot of runners, after racing on Vaporfly, feel fatigue in the medial head of gastrocnemius and soleus, which also happened to me.

    Durability

    Vaporfly is not a shoe made to last - it is a shoe made to run fast. That’s it. If you are looking for a durable shoe, look elsewhere, not Vaporfly.

    Vaporfly is a very delicate shoe. At the time of writing this review, I have run 90 miles on it and I feel that the bouncing effect has almost gone and the outer sole has deteriorated. At the finish line of the London Marathon this year I saw several runners with brand new Vaporflys but the outer sole had already worn out after 30/40 miles.

    My estimation would be a life of 100/120 miles as a race day shoe and an additional 100/120 as a trainer for fast sessions.

     

    Comparison

    Vaporfly is a unique shoe. Even though it is a fast shoe, it has a very tall stack (29mm forefoot height) and a fairly high drop (10mm).

    I think the only comparable model is the Nike Zoom Fly, which has the same structure, design and fit, apart from the carbon plate in the outer sole. However, I found that Nike’s whole Zoom line has a similar ride, so if you feel good with Pegasus, Pegasus Turbo and Zoom Fly, I don’t see any reason you might have problems with Vaporfly.

    Hola Hoka has recently launched two shoes with a carbon plate, Carbon X and Evo Carbon Rocket, but I haven’t tried either of them so I can’t say anything about the differences.

     

    Features and design

    Personally, I’m not a big fan of the upper mesh with the knit, but I can see why Nike and some other brands go for it for some of their race day shoes. The idea is to reduce chafing as much as possible and to have the shoe as a kind of second sock. The knit also allows a reduction in the weight of the shoe.

    I find the look is one of the most captivating in the market. Honestly, who doesn’t like the Nike Zoom models? All the models have an amazing design both in terms of look and engineering.

    It’s intriguing to see that Nike, after years of research and the famous Breaking 2 project, where three of the best marathoners in the world attempted to run a sub-2-hour marathon, ended up with a shoe with a 10mm drop, like most trainers.

    However, the biggest feature of this shoe is the carbon plate in the outer sole. Some people say that it is just a placebo effect while others say that it’s magical. So, I’ll just tell you what happened with me. Objectively, I could see that in my case it helped.

    I could clearly feel that the ride is smoother. Also, a couple of times when I needed to break them before a race, I noted that at a certain heart rate, in the same weather and course, my pace was marginally faster than usual… So, I can say that in my case, they helped.

    In terms of lightness, it’s definitely the lightest shoe I have ever owned: UK 7 weight is only 177g.

     

    Pros

    • Possibly the fastest shoe in the market for long distances
    • Cushioned not at expenses of pace

    Cons

    • Lacing system
    • Knit not very firm
    • Demanding on lower leg
    • Suitable only if you have a neutral gait

    Conclusion

    If you are a committed runner and want to improve your PBs or maintain a high standard, just go for them. They are expensive shoes, but these two factors should be considered:

    1. If you compare running with cycling, it’s like a cyclist investing money in a light, fast bike - in running, the tool is the shoe.
    2. They aren’t much more expensive than most premium cushioning shoes. If you google prices for premium Asics, Brooks, Hoka Hoka or New Balance, you won’t find them much cheaper.

    Overall, I am happy with Vaporfly even if they are very delicate and I only use them for race days.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 92 / 100 | Mick Stafford

    Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit: An amazing racing shoe

    More photos

    Here is a quick overview of me and my running experience. I am 52 years young and currently runs between 70-80 miles per week, usually seven days a week.

    Over the last couple of months, I have had two races in the Nike Vaporfly. One was a half marathon, which I finished in 1 hour 21 mins. The other was a 5K in windy conditions, which I finished in 17:44.

     

     

    Compared to my last half and 5K times around 18 months prior, I finished in 1:28 and 18:45, respectively. I’m not saying the shoes have made me run this much faster, but I think they have played a big part in the new PBs.

    But, ultimately, I think it’s been down to good consistent training and diet. These pieces of information don’t make me an expert, but just so know a bit of my running background.

    Firstly, the colour is an odd choice for me. However, this was the only colour Nike had in stock at the time. Then, after I bought them, Nike eventually had loads of colours available.

     

     

    But, don’t let the colour take anything away from the shoes. They are a fantastic racing shoe, but not for general runs.

    I’m not big on all the stats of a show—what they say the sole is made from, the upper is made from a single piece of, the amount of energy they return, etc.

    I’m more interested in how I feel after a run, especially a long run—how my feet feel, do I get blister any hotspots, how many miles I get from the shoe, and others.

    Anyway, here are a few stats that I am interested in when buying a new pair of running shoes.

    How many miles can I expect to get from the new shoes?

    With racing shoes, you don’t tend to get as many miles as general running shoe for everyday runs. They are more built for speed than for getting lots of miles.

    But, I have run over 90 miles in these so far on around 19 runs. The soles are still in great shape. There are no signs of wear on the outsole yet.

     

     

    I did read somewhere that you should only expect to get 100 miles from these. But, looking at the soles, I expect to get a lot more than that from them.

    The only wear I have on the soles is from when I first bought them. I did a few normal runs in them.

     

     

    Some of these runs were on dolomite and stone roads, which I think have shredded the very outer border of the sole, as I do land on the outside of my foot.

    Anyway, I am still waiting to see how many miles I'd get from them.

    Weight of the shoe

    Nike says the shoe weighs 195 grams on a UK size 9. I’m a size 7, and that’s what mine weighs in at.

     

     

    I do like a lightweight shoe, as I am only slim build.

    Heel drop

    These shoes have a heel to toe drop of 10mm (21mm toe to 31mm heel). Usually, the smaller the drop, the faster the shoe. But not in this case. This is a fast shoe.

    Comfortability

    You can only really find this out after you have bought them and had them on for a few runs. The shoes are comfortable to wear. I haven’t had any blisters, sore toes, or hot spots. I also haven't experienced rubbing.

     

     

    The toe box is nice and wide, which I like as I have a bunion on one big toe. So, these give me no problems on that aspect.

    Also, as soon as you put these shoes on, you can feel the bounce as if your walking springs. It feels really nice.

     

     

    But, if you haven’t worn them in a while, the bounce on the first few strides feel a bit strange, but you soon get used to the feeling pretty quickly.

    Flexibility

    There is not a lot of flex in the shoes. As you can see in the photo, I am placing a lot of pressure on the shoe yet it doesn’t flex much. But, this takes nothing away from the shoes.

     

     

    You don’t feel this when your running in them. This is down to the carbon plate that runs through the length of the shoe. But, this plate is what helps to propel you forward.

    When you put on the shoes, they do make pull you up on to your toes straight away. It will generally make you run faster.

    Grip

    I have found the grip to be perfect. I wore them on a Sunday so I could write this review and did a few miles on a grass surface.

    It was early on the morning, and the grass was damp, but I had no problems with the grip on the damp surface. When turning in to a corner, the shoes never lost grip, same on hard surfaces such as tarmac, etc.

     

     

    So, you have total faith in the grip when running at speed and around corners. It makes a big difference when racing with that kind of confidence in the shoe, especially when approaching a sharp corner.

    Stability

    The shoes are very stable. Once you have them on and laced up, there is minimal foot movement in the shoe. But, they do not feel tight or your feet. It is snug but comfortable.

    Lacing up

    The lacing system keeps the foot tight in the shoe, but not crunched or uncomfortable. The only criticism I have relative to the lacing is the tongue.

     

     

    The tongue is very thin, and you can sometimes feel the laces through it. And after a run, sometimes, I find little marks on my foot. Although, it doesn’t bother me when racing in them.

    Conclusion

    • Would I buy them again? YES, without a doubt. It is nice to race in it, and it is indeed a fast shoe.
    • Comfortable? YES. It has plenty of room for toes, but the foot is still stable and snug. I had no problems during or after a run—no blisters or aching, my knees and back all good, and these feel nice to run in.
    • Flexible? NO, but does not interfere when running and is down to the carbon plate.
    • Good grip? YES, very. You'll have total confidence in the shoe even on damp, wet surfaces.
    • Breathable? YES. My feet don’t feel too hot or sweaty during a race or run.
    • Fast? YES. It is ideally used alongside proper training and diet for PBs or social runners who want to beat a family or friend in the local park run.

    Well done, Nike! The Vaporfly 4% Flyknit is an amazing racing shoe.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 90 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 5 expert

    Nike has created the best underfoot construction of any shoe out there – plenty of cushioning for long distances, with just the right amount of stiffness to propel you forward. I just love this shoe.

  • 88 / 100 | Believe in the Run | | Level 5 expert

    The Vaporfly will help you hit your best times, don’t worry about who is watching you get there.

Become an expert

  • The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit is a road companion that’s meant for those who have neutral pronation. When it comes to the build, this shoe isn’t different from its counterpart, the original Zoom Vaporfly 4%, save for a Flyknit upper and a one piece opening, both of which aren’t constituents of the precursor model.
  • Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of the ZoomX, a full-length foam that’s touted to be highly responsive and lightweight. A carbon fiber plate is implanted into the foam to help with durability and foot propulsion. Abrasion resistance is given by a rubber heel layer while extra energy return is the responsibility of foam rubber in the forefoot.

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit is a bit smaller than the usual sizing expectations, so runners are encouraged to get half-a-size bigger than the usual or to try on the shoe first. Widthwise, the available option is D – Medium as it is a unisex shoe that follows men’s measurements.

The heel section of the outsole unit is made up of a rubber compound that is highly resistant to abrasion. It protects the contact points from wear and tear. It also provides traction through its grippy nature and its patterned surface.

The forefoot section of the platform utilizes foam rubber, which still has traction capacities. But its primary purpose is to provide additional cushioning for the underfoot through its spongy disposition.

The ZoomX is a full-length foam that’s responsible for carrying the foot throughout the running session. It has a bouncy nature that energizes each step. It’s also touted to be lightweight and durable.

A carbon fiber plate is placed inside the ZoomX, acting as a protective layer and as a propulsive medium that further boosts the forefoot lift.

The upper unit of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit features the Flyknit technology, a material that evokes the texture and elasticity of a sock. It has an open construction that welcomes air into the foot-chamber.

A cleatie design removes the traditional tongue unit and replaces it with a one-piece opening. Such a configuration allows the wearer to feel a smooth and non-irritating coverage.

A pull tab is placed on the back part of the collar. This fabric loop makes it easy to put on or remove this running shoe.

Comparison