This week, Nike Running is launching an upgrade to the Zoom Vaporfly 4%. The new silhouette is going by the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%.

Made for marathon running, Nike describes the sneaker as “revamped from toe to heel to incorporate key feedback from Nike’s world champion runners”.

Nike Running emphasizes the role its sponsored athletes played in improving the performance of the sneaker:

Its second iteration dazzles with an improved upper (largely thanks to athletes including Shalane Flanagan who gave feedback after water weighed her down in Boston), a re-tooled midsole (a Nike Sport Research Lab solution that combined feedback from many of Nike’s elites) and a redesigned traction pattern (this was a major ask from Eliud Kipchoge after he ran a very wet race in Berlin). 

Nike details how the design has been upgraded but also what design elements remain from the original.

What’s new:

Vaporweave, a material construction debuting on the upper, is lighter than Nike Flyknit, breathable and — critically — absorbs far less water from sweat or rain, so it stays airy and dry over the course of a marathon.
-The laces are slightly offset to alleviate pressure along the sensitive part of the foot. (It’s a look Mo Farah said he was very into).
-A thin foam pod inside the heel keeps the Achilles happy as the miles add up.
-There’s more Nike ZoomX foam in the midsole, which has been scientifically proven in Nike’s Sport Research Lab to further increase energy return.
-That foam has been redistributed to decrease the offset from 11mm to 8mm to provide a more stable feeling and help maximize energy return at the critical toe-off.
-Designers merged Kirui, Kipchoge and Farah’s custom traction patterns to improve the forefoot grip so the shoe handles better in wet weather.
-Contoured treads with deep grooves on the outsole facilitate smoother movement during turns.

What’s returning:

-Still embedded within the foam is a full-length curved carbon fiber plate that increases stiffness to provide a sensation of propulsion.
-The shoe’s weight stays the same — even with 15 percent more foam.

Nike adds NEXT% to the name of the silhouette…

When Nike launched the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, the shoe delivered an average of 4 percent improved running economy over Nike’s previous fastest marathon shoe, the Nike Zoom Streak 6. The upgrade to NEXT% represents looking forward to each new race day as a chance to cross the line faster. Because as Mo Farah recently said, “As an athlete, you’re always looking for that next percent.”

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% will make its debut during the London Marathon. In London, you can find the performance runner on the 25th of April. The sneaker will then hit the NRC app for US Nike Plus members on the 28th of April.

What Nike sponsored runners are saying about the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%…

1. “With the plate, they get you on our toes, get you moving forward as fast as you can.” — Mo Farah 
2. “They fit me better, especially around the shoelaces.” — Suguru Osako  
3. “The added foam in the forefoot feels like it’s giving me more energy return in the final moments of my stride. I just ran my fastest-ever training run while testing them!” — Roza Dereje
4. “Traction is very important to give you the freedom and confidence to run without limits.” — Geoffrey Kirui 

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