The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly next% 2 is next-level elite and is arguably one of the fastest shoes on the market.
The combination of a full-length carbon fiber plate and Nike’s responsive ZoomX foam is perfected to help runners reach record-breaking PRs (personal records).
The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% is a comfortable, lightweight, and fast racer that you will not want to miss out on it in this upcoming marathon season!
Max level cushioning
Smooth Ride from 5k to Marathon
Wider Upper than before
Fantastic energy return and fast feel
Lock-down lacing is not super comfortable
Loose heel cup
Still lacks a super-secure feel
Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 – The Details:
The ZoomX Vaporfly Next%2 is remarkably similar in feel to the original Next%, but one major change is the upper. It previously used NikeVapor Weave but is now an engineered mesh upper.
The Carbon Fiber Plate
The Next% 2 offers the coveted carbon plate combined with Nike’s ZoomX foam.
The full-length carbon fiber plate creates a responsive and propulsive feel under each stride and helps with maximal energy return.
The ZoomX Foam
This shoe also utilizes Nike’s ZoomX patented foam which claims to give up to 85% energy return. You can imagine this like a trampoline-esque rebound pushing you into the next stride. It is an unbelievable feeling and offers one of the highest energy returns on the market.
The ZoomX foam is a lightweight, nitrogen-infused foam that gives a soft and springy feel. Nike used aerospace innovation to design this foam to produce a shoe with both comfort and energy return for the full marathon distance.
The Vaporfly stats
The shoe remains lightweight, albeit slightly heavier than the original, and weighs in at 6.9oz (195.6g) for Men’s and 5.8oz (141.7g) for Women’s.
The drop on the Next % is like many other racing shoes and sits at 8mm with a high stack height offering maximal cushioning. It sits 40mm off the ground under the heel and 32 mm under the forefoot. The 8mm drop helps evenly distribute forces through the body as the runner propels through the race.
The upper also offers a lockdown lacing system that is slightly slanted to help make the runner feel secure in the shoe. Additionally, Nike widened the forefoot rubber region on the outsole to improve stability and add grip to the road.
Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2- The Review:
This shoe has a huge reputation in the running world as the OG of carbon fiber racing shoes.
Nike pioneered the carbon fiber plate and combined it with a high stack height.
This had never been done before and really set Nike apart from other brands. It has now been worn by countless elite athletes from Shalane Flanagan to Eliud Kipchoge.
I recently used this shoe in a half marathon as a test for an upcoming marathon, and overall I was very pleased with how they felt.
I would highly recommend them as a race day shoe because they felt smooth and fast on the roads.
Previously, I had been using the Saucony Endorphin Pro and while these shoes both have carbon plates, the Nike felt superior in overall ride and comfort.
This shoe is definitely designed for fast running.
The shoe has a unique feeling that pushes you forward and up on your toes to make you want to run fast and efficiently.
The ZoomX foam with the carbon fiber plate is a feeling like none other. It forces the foot into a forward position even if you are a natural mid-foot or heel striking runner, unlike some other shoes on the market.
The feeling from the carbon plate and foam is explosive and you can really feel the rebound under the foot that Nike claims to give. Each stride feels almost effortless even after many miles into a race thanks to the energy return from the foam.
The maximal cushioning creates a high stack height which feels fantastic, but it can cause some issues with feeling unstable in the shoe.
Luckily, this did not bother me when I raced in it, but it has created a sloppy, unbalanced feel for others.
Despite some feelings of instability, the cushioning on this shoe is exceptional. It feels like running on springboard pillows because it is soft yet equally responsive.
However, I would not recommend this shoe for everyday training for various reasons that will be mentioned below.
For starters, it forces the foot into a forefoot position so natural midfoot and heel strikers will be forced to change their natural mechanics slightly.
The shoe is also considered a neutral shoe so if you’re an overpronator I would use your best judgement. While you may be able to race in it, training in it could be a different story due to the lack of stability.
Another reason is the durability of the shoe is low.
This shoe is meant for marathons but not training for marathons.
I would say this shoe can last about 4 to 5 marathons which is ~200-250 miles.
This is much lower than other carbon fiber plate shoes and definitely lower than a trainer.
The lacing system was also a bit wonky and while it is supposed to lock down the foot, I had trouble with my heel feeling like it was going to slip.
Ultimately, in the race I did not have any problems with the heel, but it was a different feel than what I was used to.
The laces also did not feel like they could easily be sinched down and if not in the right place could create some pinching or numbness in the feet due to the lower instep volume. In the future I may switch to a different lace.
An improvement that was beneficial was the overall fit of the shoe. Previous models were quite narrow limiting the fit to the masses.
The mesh upper is a little more forgiving and voluminous making it a wider fit. There are still improvements that can be made for future models but for now, this is better.
The largest change to the shoe was the upper. Nike utilized an engineered mesh upper in this model which is fantastic for hot, humid, or wet races, so that is a plus.
However, because it is so breathable it can be extra cold on the feet when the temperature drops. There is enough room for thicker socks, but if it is cold be aware of this and make sure your feet are taken care of.
Overall, the upper update is better than the previous VaporWeave because it actually does have breathability and does not smother the foot. It also gave more flexibility and volume to the shoe which contributes to the overall fit.
The tongue on the shoe also improved and is a bit more padded than before. I still found it to be quite thin and finicky on the top of my foot, but others seem to like this update a lot.
The outsole of the shoe remains minimal. There is a large portion, three/fourths, of the shoe that is exposed foam and only the midsole has a rubber base to it.
This is unique in the Nike models as many other shoes use a full-length rubber outsole. In the Next%’s case Nike opted for rubber strips under the mid-foot.
This design contributes to keeping you up on your toes during your stride. This is also a reason why the shoe is not ideal for heel strikers or everyday training.
My first race in the Next% was in a downpour, but I felt secure on the road despite minimal rubber. Over time, once the shoe has worn down, this may become a problem in wet or slick conditions.
The price point for this shoe is fair to good. It is not the least expensive on the market but it is also not the highest. With the full-length carbon plate, exceptional cushioning, and innovative technology the price point is reasonable and the shoe is worth the money.
Nike ZoomX Vaporfly next% 2 Conclusions:
The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next % is still a top-notch option for a marathon racing shoe and continues to shine amongst competitors.
Other brands are starting to compete with Nike in carbon plate shoes but this shoe still outshines them all in terms of speed and comfort on the roads.
It is continually improving and continually showing up on fast athletes in marathon races.
While there are some mild shortcomings with this shoe in the upper remaining too narrow and lacking some heel stability, the overall shoe is still a winning model.
The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next %2 shoe remains lightweight, ultra-responsive, and propulsive through the stride. The energy return is still like none other and you won’t feel nearly as fatigued at the end of a race.
Nike ZoomX Vaporfly next% 2 Ratings:
Until further notice, this shoe is hanging on to its title as the OG champ for carbon fiber plated shoes and you will for sure want to give it a try!
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