Fashion

The Lightning-Fast Running Shoes Engineered by Champion Speedsters

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% may take you beyond your limits.
IMAGE NIKE
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Let's save the most obvious and fun feature of this new running shoe from The Swoosh for later.  

First, we need to point out that the Nike Zoom X Vaporfly Next% is designed to squeeze out that last bit of performance—the next!—from long-distance runners. To put this in perspective, consider how its predecessor, the Vaporfly 4%, reportedly helped draw out four percent more efficiency from athletes (this translates to precious minutes shaved from total running times), so this next evolution of Nike's running technology promises to do even better.  

Like a souped-up sports car, the Vaporfly Next% has been put together by a host of experts, including sports scientists, engineers, designers, and even champions. Notably, long-distance running stars Shalane Flanagan, Eliud Kipchoge, Mo Farah, and Geoffrey Kirui shared critical feedback culled from on-road experience with Nike in order to make what's already fast even faster. 

Photo by NIKE.

What you really need to know is this: The Vaporfly Next% features a better upper, midsole, and traction.  

Flanagan, who won the women's race of the New York City Marathon 2017 wearing, of course, Vaporflys, noted how the previous model soaked up too much water during the miserably wet Boston Marathon 2018. And so the folks at Nike replaced the model's upper material, switching out Flyknit in favor of Vaporweave. The new construction, the company says, is lighter, breathable, and absorbs less rain and sweat. 

Other athletes focused on improving the shoe's cushion, resulting in the injection of more ZoomX foam in the midsole of the Vaporfly Next%—that's 15 percent more, to be exact, and yet it still weighs the same as the previous version. This foam, which has also been redistributed in the midsole, provides a more stable feel and maximizes the return of energy.  

Elite runners Kirui, Kipchoge, and Farah also contributed to the model's improved traction, addressing once more the problem of rain. Using data from the individual traction patterns of the three athletes, the Vaporfly Next% now offers better forefoot grip on wet surfaces, as well as smoother turns care of contoured treads on the outsole.  

Photo by NIKE.

If these technical details are flying over your head, focus on something that is easier to understand: that bold color. Apart from contributing to your safety with an unmissable hue, the varying shades of melt-your-eyes green deliver a jolt—a visual cue for more energy or a mind trick that says, yes, it is fun to run, and, yes, you are running faster.  

One more thing: In this model, Nike left the “percent” unquantified by using “next” in its name, and that's just perfect. The symbol serves as a placeholder for your potential, whether that's seven minutes shaved from a personal record or surviving a weekend run around the block. With these neon beasts dancing on your feet, you just may be able to do it.  

Nike Park Fort, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

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Clifford Olanday
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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