84
Good!
43 users: 4.1 / 5
15 experts: 92 / 100
Terrain: Road
Heel to toe drop: Men 10mm / Women 10mm
Arch support: Neutral
Pronation: Neutral Pronation

Verdict from 8.3 hours of research from the internet

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.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Our reviews

98
/100 by Dan Biagi, posted on .

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.

Dan Biagi | Level 4 expert Verified
I live in London, and I am passionate about running, traveling and technology. I combine all these passions by running marathons across Europe and improving my form through structured training plans supported by my training data and logs. I average at 60 miles/100km per week, mostly on roads. I've participated twice in the New York Marathon, Pisa, Paris, Seville, Trømso, Rotterdam and Cologne marathons. My PBs are 2:47 Marathon, 1:19 Half, 36:18 10km.

95
/100 by Jeffrey Schulberg, posted on .

Full disclosure: I am not a scientist. I do not understand or pretend to understand the science behind these sneakers. I don’t know if it’s legit or not.

All I can tell you is that these shoes performed phenomenally for me, and I wish I had purchased them sooner because they now seem to be unavailable in my size.

 

Why Vaporfly?

I ran the NYC Marathon in 2019, and it seemed like EVERYBODY was wearing some version of the Nike Vaporfly shoe.

So, finally, after admiring some of my running companions wearing Nike Vaporfly’s for a while, I decided to try the Nike 4% for myself, mostly because I couldn’t stand the colors of some of the other Vaporfly sneakers that Nike offers (particularly the ZoomX Vaporfly Next%).

The 4% however, are available in two very attractive color schemes: blue and red. I purchased a blue size 10, which is a half-size up from my normal size (also at the recommendation of a running companion and confirmed by Nike Customer Service).

At the time of my purchase (February 2020), the price was $187.50, which a significant discount from the regular price of $250.

ZoomX Foam

There are two key characteristics of the 4%: the ultra-light and super-responsive ZoomX foam on the sole and the carbon fiber plate, which runs the length of the shoe.

The ZoomX foam is lighter and more responsive than any other Nike foam. It’s designed to act with the carbon plate to deliver greater energy return (more on that later).

 

 

The foam sole does take some getting used to, and sometimes it feels like you might tip over, but you quickly get used to it.

It’s this foam and the amount that Nike includes in some of the Vaporfly shoes that have recently come under scrutiny and caused the Olympic Committee to ban any shoe with a sole thickness of more than 40mm and/or more than one foam plate.

Carbon plate

With respect to the carbon plate, many shoes indeed have a similar plate, which is used to propel the runner forward. However, few have one built from carbon fiber.

 

 

Carbon fiber is both light yet firm so as your foot hits the ground, the carbon fiber plate bends, then springs forward, propelling the runner faster into the next step.

Weight and feel

These shoes are unbelievably lightweight for all the tech included, with a Men’s size 10 weighing just 195 grams (approximately 6.9 ounces). The heel-to-toe drop is 10mm.

The upper is constructed from a very soft and breathable vented mesh but also gives a proper amount of support. I also love that the tongue is built into the rest of the shoe rather than being a standalone component added to the upper.

 

 

When you put the shoe on, it feels as if it’s wrapping itself around your foot in a very sturdy but not overly firm manner.

Longevity: TBD

There has been a lot of debate about how long these shoes will last and clearly, at this price point, that is a concern. I’ve seen estimates between 100 and 200 miles.

 

 

I was saving these shoes solely for half-marathons and full marathons, and since I’ve only run ~60 miles in them thus far, I can’t comment yet on how long I think these will last.

But, after ~60 miles, they still look like they are in pretty good condition.

Results? You bet

Now, to the important information: I have run ~60 miles in them so far, including two (virtual) half-marathons (after all, I am writing this review during the COVID-19 quarantine).

Incredibly, I have run my fastest and 3rd fastest half-marathons EVER in these running shoes. Could there be other factors? Of course. But it’s certainly an interesting result.

When you are at 100% of your energy, it feels as if these shoes are pushing you to go faster, to get to that next step quicker. Even as you get more tired and further into the run, you continue to feel as if the shoe is pushing your pace.

I cannot wait to try these on in a ‘proper’ half or full marathon. Yes, I wish they lasted a more traditional 350+ miles, but perhaps as the technology innovation continues, Nike will get the 4% there.

Jeffrey Schulberg | Level 3 expert Verified
I am a runner but not a super fast or super long runner. I've done several marathons and dozens of half-marathons. Also, I'm an avid biker. So, I think I speak to a lot of guys who want to be a runner but don't want to necessarily be a marathon runner or a sprinter who runs races on weekends. I appeal to people who want to run more than most—that is 10+ miles on the weekend.

90
/100 by Brian Jessie, posted on .

It’s been two+ years since I was made aware of the Nike Vaporfly; a friend texted me a picture of the shoes and told me that I should buy them. The article that he sent me talked about how fast the shoes were as well as the hefty price tag.

I watched the “Breaking Two” documentary and was fascinated by the technology that went into that first 4% shoe.

Could the shoes make everyone 4% faster or just once in a lifetime athletes like those attempting to break the 2-hour marathon threshold?

Thankfully, Nike put these shoes on sale, I purchased a pair and am now on my journey to see if they make a difference.

First things first, I’m a consistent 4:10/KM 5K, 43-year-old runner—not that fast and not that slow. I didn’t buy the shoes in order to become Eliud Kipchoge; instead, I was curious if they would make any difference at all.

I purchased them to race in, and unfortunately, all races have been cancelled for the foreseeable future (COVID-19). Since purchasing, I have only put 8 miles on the shoes, but I feel that is enough to give some feedback and opinion.

Upper

As mentioned in the model of the shoe, the shoe upper is made of Nike’s Flyknit® material. This is a one-piece construction like that of a sock. There are no layered materials, no ornate design, just plain and simple one piece of material from heel to toe.

 

 

It’s a minimal design and that is all you need in a fast, sleek race shoe—it really reminds me of a racing flat or even a track spike.

One thing that I’m not sure about at this point is the durability of the lace eyelets; they are built into the upper and I’m a bit concerned about them ripping after repeated use.

 

There are no eyelets in the shoe; instead, they are incorporated into the Flyknit® upper. I like a firm lockdown and tend to lace very tight—my concern is ripping the “eyelits”

Midsole

At this point, everyone knows about the Nike Vaporfly 4% midsole. Yes, I’m talking about Nike Zoom X foam. This is possibly the softest material I have ever felt in a shoe in my life. It’s like running on clouds. This would be heaven for those heel strikers out there.

However, if you are a heel striker, these are NOT the shoes for you (more about that later).

The Zoom X foam runs the entire length of the shoe. Embedded into that midsole is the secret weapon of this shoe—a full-length carbon plate. That makes the shoe fast, as it gives you amazing toe-off and spring.

Obviously, this means that the shoe DOES NOT flex at all. These aren’t for recreational running at a slow pace. Of course, there are concerns about the durability of the shoe, regarding the Zoom X (more on that later).

 

Nike Vaporfly 4% features a thick, plush midsole: 39mm in the heel and 29mm in the forefoot for a 10mm drop. The “secret” weapon, carbon plate is embedded in the midsole for an unbelievable response.

Outsole

The outsole of the shoe contains very minimal amounts of rubber. Mostly the rubber is contained to the forefoot and very little in the heel area. This is an effort to reduce the weight of the shoe (7.5 ounces).

They honestly feel much lighter than that when held and even lighter on the foot. There is much-exposed foam on the outsole, which means durability should be an issue and honestly the shoes should only be worn on hard surfaces.

I would not recommend them on grass because of minimal tread and on gravel due to the damage it would cause to the exposed foam. I have not worn them yet on wet surface but would be very surprised if they did not slip on a hard surface.

Design

As mentioned earlier, this is a minimally designed, sleek shoe. No frills, no unnecessary items—just a minimal shoe. Unlike most Nike shoes, there are a limited number of colorways —the Nike website only had two color choices.

Most Nike models have at least 15 colors to choose. The lack of color choice probably hinges on the price. When I purchased mine, blue and red were the only choices.

Fit

The one-piece upper hugs the foot like a sock. The upper provides a secure lockdown, but also surprising structure. I’m a size 11, which is the size I purchased in the 4%.

I do think the upper will stretch over time, and I’m a bit concerned about that. I have a really narrow foot, and it may have been better to go down a half size.

I would recommend to anyone wanting to purchase the shoe, to go try one on first. Since the upper is designed to slip on, the laces really do not lock down like that of a traditional shoe.

 

Breathability

The shoe breathes fine. I usually train in Pegasus, and I think that the 4% breathes much better. The main reason is the lack of a tongue; that lack of material makes the shoe much cooler on the top of the foot.

Flexibility

Ha ha ha ha ha! The carbon plate embedded into the midsole allows for no flex. Keep in mind that with this shoe on, it is somewhat like having a very cushioned piece of metal strapped to your feet.

That isn’t bad as that is what makes the shoe perform like no other I have tried. The shoe has a super-fast response—the carbon plate propels you forward, especially on slight inclines (more about that in the performance section).

Cushioning

Unbelievable!! One thing to note in this area. The cushioning is so soft that these shoes feel very unstable on the heel. They are awkward to walk around in—they are meant to be used in the forefoot area only when running. Heel strikers need not apply!

Durability

My personal opinion on that cannot be determined at this point. So far, I am impressed given the limited mileage I have on mine. I have read that some people have gotten only 50 miles, and I’ve read as many 250 miles.

I think it depends on each person; how they run and what their running technique looks like. I only plan to run as fast as I can in them and stay off the heel.

I believe constant slow running in the shoe would lead to it breaking down prematurely. They aren’t a daily trainer. If used as a daily trainer, I would be surprised to get 100-150 miles before complete deterioration.

As a racer, I fully suspect to get 200-250 miles.

Performance

At this point, after having the shoe for almost a month, I was hoping to have some race data to share. Unfortunately, races have been cancelled, so I will have to rely on the very limited training data.

Though, I believe I can accurately gauge the shoe performance on this data.

Treadmill

After spending $200 on shoes, I was very apprehensive to wear them for training, especially given the reports of how “brittle” they can be. However, it’s a good idea to get a feel for shoes before racing in them.

I decided to use them on the treadmill. I have never been a good treadmill runner. On average, I run about 7:20-7:30 pace on a treadmill.

My first mile, after a short warm-up, came in at 6:40; The main thing I noticed was that my legs were not tired at all—the shoe (carbon plate) seems to have performed all of the heavy lifting. I jogged a 2nd mile at 7:05 and again, did not feel labored in the least.

 

The Vaporfly 4% features minimal rubber on the forefoot and the heel. These are mostly designed for faster, forefoot strikers. After only 2 miles on the treadmill, the shoes show signs of wear on the exposed foam.

 

 

 

 

Also, the midsole shows wrinkling after only a few steps. While it’s only aesthetics, they will not stay new looking for long.

Outdoor test

This was a short 1-mile test on a somewhat flat route (20 ft. gain). I did not warm up other than minimal stretching. I was able to run 1 mile in 6:35!

Once again, while my breathing was comfortable (156 bpm), my legs were not fatigued at all (176 cadence). I jogged a 2nd mile back at 7:05.

 

I can’t stress enough how brittle the exposed foam is on these shoes. These pictures are taken after a two-mile run on hard surface. There are already signs of wear on the heel—only 4 miles on the shoes so far.

 

 

Interval training

Each Thursday, I meet a group at 5:30 AM to run. The first week of owning the shoes, I decided to wear them. I mostly wore them to show them off, instead, I picked a good day for it—the group organizer decided that we would run intervals.

We only ran a total of 4 miles; within that 4 miles, we ran (8) 400m intervals. The average pace achieved during each of those 400m intervals was 5:15.

 

After 8 miles on the shoe, this is the condition of the outsole and the shoe overall. There is considerable wear, but this should not damage the performance of the shoe.

 

 

 

Conclusion

As you can probably tell by the limited training data provided, I am not a world-class runner. I compete very well on a local level, but at the end of the day, I am a 9-5 working stiff who enjoys running.

Are these shoes for everyone? I don’t think so—I’m not sure they were meant for me either. I will also add that my longest distance competitive running is the 10K. I believe these are built more for marathon running.

Do I think they will make me 4% faster? Yes, I do think I will be faster. I am not sure that it will be because of the technical aspects of the shoe or if I just think they will.

Either way, I really like this shoe. It’s not for heavier runners; it’s not for heel strikers; it’s not for daily training. It is designed for running as fast as you can when you have it on—whatever fast is to you!

Brian Jessie | Level 2 expert Verified
I ran for fitness while in college. Then I got married, life caught up with me and blossomed to 260+ lbs. I 2016, I decided to get back into shape and began running again. This turned into somewhat of an obsession—after three years and 4300 miles, I am now maintaining 180lbs and improving my running slowly. I have only run about 15Ks, two 5-mile races and one 4-miler, and have placed in my age group (all but my very first race). I have won my age group 10 times and have three overall top finishes.

92
/100 by Mick Stafford, posted on .

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.

Mick Stafford | Level 2 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Mick! I love running. I started running again approximately 3 years ago after taking 25 years off. My runs range from 10K to 30 K. The harder the run the more I buzz and enjoy it. I am a member of my local running group and would consider myself a good club runner, and still improving, not bad for a young 52 year old.

90
/100 by Keilum Griffin, posted on .

When I first saw the Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit, I wondered if 4 % is really worth $250. You read everywhere that people are setting new PR’s. When you go run larger races, they seem to be on everyone’s feet.

With all the testing and reviews that are out there, it is clear to see they work, but for how long? I received a pair of Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit as a gift. When someone asked if I could have any shoe I wanted, what would it be? So thus, my journey began to see just how good these shoes really are.

 

 

When I first put these shoes on, I loved the way they felt on my foot. The fit for me was perfect.

Within the first few steps of a test run, I felt a spring in my step. This was due to the responsive Zoom x foam and full carbon plate that seems to propel you. This made me excited to run in these shoes.

The upper

The upper is made of a Flyknit tech, which stretches over your foot for a smooth fit. Others have stated they noticed the Flyknit stretching after a while.

For me, the uppers still fell snug around my foot. The Flyknit 4% has tongue less design, which at first took a bit to get used to, but now I love it.

Some runners claim the upper Flyknit holds water during rain runs. To me, this was not an issue. The Flyknit 4% also has a heel grip that takes getting used to every time you put them on.

Since I only wear these for races and speed work, I'm reminded they are there during warmup, but they soon go unnoticed. For me, the heel grip helps with a more sure fit around my foot.

Midsole

The Flyknit 4% is very lightweight; the cushion weights less than 7 ounces. The midsole is made of Zoom X PEBA foam and has a carbon fiber plate that seems to send you forward with each step. Which makes for an ideal racing shoe.

I have worn these for numerous 5k’s and 10k’s (setting and breaking PR’s), and when I finish, my feet still feel as fresh as when I put them on. The soles of the shoes have exposed foam, which is prone to wear and tear, which I saw after 9 miles of running.

Per Nike's support, this is normal. Determining the surface that you run on and how your land can eat away at the sole quickly. So with a $250 price tag, I am very selective on when I bring them out and what surface I do speed work in them.

The lower and I have a love/hate relationship. I love how the cushion of the Flyknit feels but hate how exposed the cushion is on the sole of the shoe, making it easily worn.

 

What I like

  • Setting PR’s
  • Looks, comfort, and fit
  • The effortless feeling of running fast
  • Lightweight design

What I don’t like

  • The durability of the soles

Conclusion

Would I buy them (since they were a gift)?

Are they really worth the money, with how they wear quickly for some runners (me being one of them)?

The answer is, YES!

With these shoes, I have set multiple PR’s and have come 1st place overall and won races. To me, PR’s and “internet results are forever” (quoted from my running buddy Brandon), and they have a value, and to me, that is $250.

Could I have done this with other shoes, possible? However, these shoes make running fast seem effortless and comfortable. When doing speed work, I am able to push more and run faster.

Since January, when I received them, my time keep dropping, and I love these shoes more and more. With the race season halfway over now only if they can last me until the end of the year or till the next %.

Keilum Griffin | Level 1 expert Verified
I Live in Alabama and I’m part of the local track club. Because of the competitiveness of the Grand Prix races, I’m always looking to get faster and set a new PR. I'm always trying to find that edge by testing and swapping out racing gear.

  • 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.

Size and fit

True to size based on 11 user votes
Small (18%)
True to size (82%)
Large (0%)
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Size comments

Vaporfly are true to size: I’m UK size 7 with most brands and this size suits me for Vaporfly too. - Dan Biagi, Level 4 expert

How Zoom Vaporfly 4% Flyknit compares

This shoe: 84
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $250
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 10mm
All shoes average: 8mm
0mm 11mm+
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