Is there anything left to say about the Vaporfly? I have the feeling that whatever I say in this review will have already been covered many times in the years that the different iterations of Vaporfly have been with us, with slight modifications since they arrived to the market 4 years ago.
The Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2 are continuous with respect to the model that comes to replace, obviously the Nike Vaporfly NEXT%. All modifications have focused on the shoe upper, leaving the ZoomX midsole unchanged with its carbon plate. The sole has not received any changes either.
Nike gave me a pair of shoes to do this review and I've been squeezing them for several days. These shoes are made for running FAST (regardless of what speed means for each one of us). So I was also able to compare them with the Nike Tempo NEXT% as well, another of the greyhounds of the Oregon brand.
- Slight price drop
- Upper that breathes better
- More reinforcements, and where they are needed
- Despite its height and changes, it remains a very light shoe
- It is now less expensive, but its price is still very high
- Durability continues to be questioned
Nike Vaporfly 2 video review
If you prefer to see the video review, you can find it in the header, clicking on this link or below. It is not a substitute but the video provides information that is not available in the written analysis and vice versa.
What and when should we use the Nike Vaporfly
It is clear that the Nike Vaporfly is designed to run fast. Not only run fast, but do it for a long time. That is why it has become the most seen shoe in the top positions of any marathon.
The reason is simple. The combination of the carbon plate with the ZoomX is not just there to give you more speed, the main benefit you get with these shoes is a reduction in fatigue.
There we have the main secret of these shoes, they are able to improve the running economy. So it's not that you put them on and you're going to be able to run 10 seconds faster per km; what they allow you is to keep a somewhat higher pace for a longer time, because the energy return and ZoomX make horizontal displacement not depend exclusively on your muscles.
That's why since the introduction of these shoes different athletes have managed to improve their times in multiple distances.
What kind of races should we think about for the Vaporfly? I'd say we're going to notice its benefits over distances from the half marathon and more. Evidently they can also be good for a 10k, mainly because its lightness, but there we will not take advantage of the advantages in running economy.
What is clear is that it is a race day shoe and, if anything, maybe for quality days as well. The front of the sole is very soft -to provide both dry and wet traction that other Nike shoes do not have, and there is plenty of material of the midsole completely to air - to reduce the sole to the minimum expression and thus have a reduced weight.
What's new on the upper of the Vaporfly 2
Gone is the VaporWeave upper, a fabric that never convinced me especially by its plastic feel and the little consistency at the edges of the shoe. Now we have a mesh fabric that reminds, even, the Atomknit of the Alphafly.
The total shoe set is slightly heavier than in the Vaporfly NEXT%, but I think this is more due to the reinforcements that the upper now has and not to the material itself.
This new mesh fabric is still very light, in my opinion with better perspiration than the previous VaporWeave. Like this one, it also does not absorb liquids, so the weight of the shoe will not increase by absorbing sweat or rain. I actually ran with them in the rain and stepping puddles, and the shoe didn't accumulate any water. Of course, I can't say the same thing about my socks...
The next important change we see in the upper is the reinforcement that is on the front of the shoe. I think this is another important improvement, because in addition to protecting an upper that is certainly delicate, it also allows to provide a certain structure to the entire upper set.
I'll start with the first thing, reinforcement as protection.
The VaporWeave formerly started from the midsole and covered the entire upper of the shoe. To achieve a light weight, this material must be very thin. Obviously it is not a shoe designed to be playing football with it, but raise your hand if you have not stumbled at some point with a stone, step or any other element.
That protection acts like a “bumper.” It is a slightly harder plastic material than the rest of the upper, and it allows us to precisely save the shoe from those involuntary encounters that we may have when wearing the shoes.
But as I say that reinforcement has a second function, which is to give the upper firmness in the area of the fingers. With the VaporWeave, the upper “fall” and did not stand upright. That caused you to feel your fingers trapped because, more than a flyknit that stretches, it's a fabric that doesn't leave us enough space for our fingers.
As the stiffer reinforcement is the beginning of the upper, this is more stable, so the tendency of tissue drop does not occur in the area of the fingers but further back. So you can forget about that feeling of finger jacking, now the upper simply hugs better in the metatarsal area.
As in the previous Vaporfly NEXT%, the eyelets are slightly shifted from the center. Nike did this to relieve pressure from that area of the foot, and it is something that continues in the NEXT% 2. But now we have curly laces just like those of the Alphafly.
And from those same Alphafly the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 has also received a slightly fluffy tongue, which also contributes to relieving pressure in the metatarsal area.
The heel area has also undergone modifications. I don't mean the inner pad that allows you to fix the heel comfortably, that already came to the shoe with the Vaporfly NEXT%. In addition to providing fixation to the back of the foot it also reduces fatigue as the kilometers go by.
What is new is a small addition that there is where the collar ends. I don't really know what is it for.
As you see there are many changes that the shoe has received in its upper. Are they any good? I certainly think that the protection profile is really useful, not only as protection against chafing but also at the level of comfort in general, because it allows to provide the upper structure in the area of the fingers, eliminating that feeling of pressure that could occur with the Vaporfly NEXT%.
In fact, that could make you feel like they weren't true to shize. With the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 I wear the same size as other models of the brand (US12 or 46 European), and the size of the shoe is real.
Vaporfly midsole without changes or modifications
If the upper of the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 has changed in almost everything, the midsole has not changed at all with respect to Vaporfly NEXT%.
The carbon plate continues to be sandwiched between the two ZoomX “breads” of very generous size. That gives Vaporfly NEXT% 2 that characteristic feeling this shoe has of rebound and explosivity.
Here we have to completely forget about the typical feeling of being stepping on the floor that we have with flat shoes. The Vaporfly NEXT% 2 have a lot of cushioning. And the advantage they provide is that this cushioning does not subtract, on the contrary, it adds. The ZoomX has an energy return capacity of 85%.
Until a few years ago race shoes were light and poorly cushioned. Quick shoes had to be light, and to be light it was necessary to reduce as much material as possible, to make them as light as possible. This equation can work in short track races or 5k en route, but not in a marathon. Now we can have lightness and cushioning in the same shoe.
The drop of the shoe remains at 8mm, as is the stability that has not changed. And to talk about stability you have to remember that it is a running shoe (preferably fast), and that it has absolutely nothing to do with the touch it offers when walking or running slow.
If you simply try the shoes in a store you will have the feeling that they sink under your feet and that when walking you may even have the feeling of twisting your ankle. But that feeling, once running, is totally lost.
It should also be remembered that often it is said that the rebound and return of energy comes from the carbon plate, and that is not entirely true. The thing responsible for that feeling of thrust corresponds to the ZoomX foam. Yes, the carbon plate logically also makes a lever effect, but its main mission is to give stability to the shoe, something that in other models is solved differently (for example with greater width in the case of the Invincible Run).
In the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2 a lot of technology has been used, but it has certainly been on the midsole where it has been invested most, is what makes this shoe special. Reducing it to a few words, we have the comfort and energy return of ZoomX foam, while the carbon plate provides us with propulsion and stability. And all this in a shoe that does not penalize us for excessive hardness.
Vaporfly 2 outsole
Finally it's time to talk about the sole. It is exactly the same as we found in the Vaporfly NEXT%, which stood out not only in terms of traction but also for including two small rubber inserts on the back of the shoe.
Even if you don't run landing on your heels, there are other circumstances that we can find while running. Walk to the start line, descend more or less steep hills, even down steps.
These back parts protect against abrasion to ZoomX foam, which is fully exposed.
As for traction, it's really good. Both dry and wet, at no time is there any kind of traction loss (something that can not be said about other models of the brand). This is due to the material that Nike uses for the main sole (forefoot and midfoot), which is very soft.
Being such a soft material its durability is more compromised. Not only because it is soft but also because it is a shoe made to go fast and offer great traction, here the goal is performance and not duration. It's like a Formula 1 tire. And obviously, this is not a shoe for daily training.
Those grooves you can see on the front are made to make it easier for the toe of the shoe to bend, helping to have good traction in the take-off phase. As you see, everything is thought out to the smallest detail.
Of course, durability is something that has always worried Vaporfly users, both in the upper (which as I indicated above, is now more protected) and in the wear of the sole. Do not forget what you should use these shoes for and that they are not intended for daily workouts. If you have such premises in mind the durability of the sole should not be a worrying thing.
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Nike Vaporfly 2 opinion
My opinion? I think these are a fantastic shoes. Obviously they have an objection, an important one: the price. The good news is that Nike has lowered its price 20€ compared to the model it replaces, the bad thing is that it is still a tremendously expensive shoe.
Although we can also see it from another angle. Nike has reduced the price of the shoe while improving it. Both claims are totally true.
However, you have to look at the price in perspective. In that sense I think the competition is being of great help, because Nike is no longer the only manufacturer with shoes at very high prices, the main rivals also have this issue: Saucony Endorphin Pro, Adidas Adios Pro, Asics Metaracer, New Balance RC Elite 2... Any of those models cost or exceeds 200€. And the Vaporfly still has the Alphafly on top.
To tell you it's an expensive shoe is a no-brainer. You knew that as soon as you started reading the review. What I have left to tell you is that it's one of the fastest shoes you can find, but at the same time it's extremely comfortable. That's it's great virtue.
If this shoe works for you and you can pay the price tag, I can't think of a better choice as a racing shoe. And all this regardless of whether you're going to run a marathon at 3:30 min/km or 5:30 min/km, the improvement in efficiency will be there thanks to the carbon plate and the ZoomX. You will be able to maintain a higher pace because the accumulated fatigue will be lower.
Can I recommend this shoe? Totally. I really doubt it's going to leave someone dissatisfied.
And with that... thanks for reading!