Evan tried another shoe for us, this time it was Nike's Vaporfly Next% 2, a racing shoe designed for optimum responsiveness, precise fit, and all-out performance. Check out the whole review below to find out whether or not the Vaporfly Next% is really the true racing shoe Nike claims it to be.
This shoe is incredibly responsive, it was super fun to run in, and I ran one of my fastest marathons ever while wearing them.
The unique lacing system also creates a great overall fit. The laces are fascinating. Nike has tried several different styles of laces in their previous iterations of this shoe, and this style is by far the best. The laces are lined with ridges that fit together like teeth, making it incredibly difficult for them to come untied on their own. I didn't have any sizing issues, but I trusted these laces a ton.
The shoe has a unique feeling due to the carbon fiber plate, but it doesn't irritate the arch. It seems to encourage more pronation than usual, so there probably isn't much arch support in the shoe itself, but that's not the point of the shoe anyway.
I found that this shoe fits great on the upper with no rubbing or hot spots even as I broke them in, and the midsole is lightweight and insanely responsive. The only real downside of this shoe is the limited durability on the outsole- but more on that a little later.
Additionally, the upper provides far better ventilation and breathability. The tongue has a thin layer of padding that protects the top of the foot from lace-related discomfort. And although the strip of padding along the heel counter was there before, it feels more seamless this time around. Looking even further back at the original Vaporfly 4%, which was not the most comfortable racing shoe, this feels luxurious by comparison.
Overall, it's snug enough to make you feel like you won't be sliding but not overly tight.
Nowadays, there are many carbon-fiber racing shoes out there. Even though Nike can no longer boast the only carbon fiber racer in town, Nike's Vaporfly will always be known as the trailblazer who started the renaissance–and they're the best they've ever been.
For the competitive (or competitive-at-heart), this shoe will give you that extra dose of energy return. They're enjoyable to run in, and their supreme cushioning will keep your legs feeling happy the day after your race. I choose to race in them, and I would highly recommend giving them a try.
This shoe performs exceptionally well on roads and smooth dirt paths only. With plenty of exposed midsole foam, anything rocky or scratchy will demolish the shoes quickly. I suggest sticking to smooth, paved surfaces while running in this shoe.
As impressive as they are–probably still the best racing shoes on the market–they're not durable enough to train in and should only be used for races. I also noted that they have decent traction on wet spots.
If only they could figure out how to make the shoe more durable or more affordable, these shoes would be more attainable for the average person. Because they're only at their best for a handful of efforts, most runners on a budget would probably be better served to buy a more durable, affordable trainer, such as the Saucony Endorphin Speed.
If an experienced runner is looking for that competitive edge and has already invested a lot of time and effort into their quest to run a PR, it can be well worth the investment.