Renovations in the sneaker segment come in two different forms: a slight update to the upper or with minor tweaks to the shoe, or a deep renovation in which the basic structure is maintained but the manufacturer goes beyond a change of fabrics or designs. This second case is the one we have with the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 3.
Slight update is the one we had in the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 2In the last version Nike improved the upper while keeping the midsole and outsole, but in the last version the changes are present in the whole shoe. It is still a Vaporfly, 1TP7We can recognize it as such and the feel is still the same; but there are many changes for the better, although others are not so good.
I've been using the Vaporfly 3s for all my quick workouts for a couple of weeks now. Set days, hill intervals, tempo runs...anything that wasn't a leisurely run. It's actually been enough for poder to produce some significant wear in some area of the outsole.
So now I'm in a position to tell you all the good things about these Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 3 -which is a lot-, but also the less good things -which are also there. Do you want a quick summary? The Vaporfly 3 are better than the precursor models: lighter, with more ZoomX foam, more comfortable and possibly faster. But since I guess you'd rather have all the full facts, go ahead and read all the sections below.
- Even lighter than previous Vaporfly
- Highly ventilated, yet resistant upper
- More ZoomX quantity
- Increased comfort
- Price, although we are getting used to it
- Same stability problems
- Difficulty in putting on the shoe
- Heel area that does not secure the foot
Nike Vaporfly 3. Improved upper but with objections.
I want to start this review of the Vaporfly 3 by its upper, because that's where I found the things I liked the least, or at least that I would have corrected. Of course this is a personal opinion and adapted to the shape of my foot and my running dynamics, something that is totally personal.
The upper of these new Vaporfly is a VERY light Flyknit. The feel is not very pleasant, but that doesn't matter. And besides being light, it is also very ventilated. There are some huge openings especially in the front through which you'll poder see your socks perfectly.
I have to say that I was surprised by the weight of the shoe when compared to its predecessors. Not because of the figure itself (which is also) but mainly because we are starting from a lightweight shoe that is visually smaller than the Vaporfly 3.
Almost 20 grams of reduction for my size 46 is something to keep in mind.
The mesh has good structure, it is slightly elastic but without excess. But I think it is at the right point. It's not a "sock" like the Epic React was, but it's not a very stretchy upper like the Invincible 3 or the Pegasus Turbo Next Nature
Despite being so open it doesn't seem fragile to me. In fact I had a "run-in" with some bramble branches and the Vaporfly came out victorious without any marks on the upper.
I noticed the snag while running and, when I went to take my shoes off when I finished the session, I could see perfectly well how the thorn of the branch was caught in the upper of the shoe. The upper did not suffer any tearing and after removing the "hook" there was no mark left on the upper. I do not fear for the durability of this upper under any circumstances.
The Nike Vaporfly 3 continues to keep the lacing on one side, with a somewhat strange feel in the tongue. The tongue, which is still not attached to the midsole, has grown in size. And I have to say that I don't like how it is resolved.
In my opinion it is excessively large, so when fitting the shoe you have to be careful when tying them so that there are no wrinkles and it is correctly positioned. This is important especially for long distances like a marathon. You don't want to have to stop at mile 25 because a wrinkle in the tongue is chafing the top of your foot.
It is also very thin and has very little protection, so if you tighten the lacing too much, you may start to feel the laces strangling the foot as the foot swells.
The laces are the same as those of the Vaporfly 2, with a knurling that prevents them from coming undone mid-run. But it also makes it hard to slide it through the eyelets. And there are 5 plus the extra eyelet to improve the collar closure. So between the laces and the tongue, putting the shoes on is a time-consuming process.
The Vaporfly NEXT% 3 must be broken in with a lot of time and patience. A process that almost becomes a liturgy, as if it were a bullfighter and his suit of lights. For an asphalt race it does not worry me at all, pod we can invest 5 or 10 minutes if necessary to have a perfect fit. But it is something that makes them practically unfeasible for triathlon.
Regarding the heel, in my case it is a bit loose and I notice some slippage in the rear part, especially when running uphill. And this despite the fact that this area is somewhat stiffer than before and in theory with a slightly more pronounced cushioning.
For me at least those changes have not worked too well. I have played a lot with the lacing and I have not been able to get a perfect fit and, when I have found it, it has been at the expense of having the shoe too tight. If I feel it in minute 1 I know that after 2 hours the laces will bother me a lot.
Curiously, this is a problem that does not happen to me with the Vaporfly 2 with which it shares side lacing, cushioning shape and I would say collar shape.
ZoomX midsole - what a midsole! 😍 😍 😍
Did you like the feel of the previous Vaporfly? Well, these are even better. In fact the feel reminds me of the Alphafly. They are more comfortable, more cushioned and more responsive thanks to the increased midsole height.
So the more ZoomX, the more rebound. The base is the same as in the past, in fact the Flyplate carbon plate is maintained respecting the S-shape.
In the image above you can see both the shape of the plate and the extra foam in the midsole.
Regarding the foam, I think it is necessary for me to explain how the amount in the midfoot area has been increased.
The specifications of the shoe remain the same as in the previous model. The heel height complies with World Athletics standards for maximum height: 40mm. The drop remains the same (8mm), so again the midfoot height of 32mm is maintained.
So... how come we have more foam in the midfoot? Well, it's because Nike has reduced the thickness of the outsole so that those millimeters cut from the rubber can now be used for more foam.
ZoomX is lighter than the rubber in the outsole, has more rebound and is softer, so it obviously increases responsiveness and comfort. In return, there is less rubber than 1TP7We have to wear out, but I'll save that for the next section.
Regarding stability I haven't noticed any apparent changes. They have the classic unstable behavior of Nike racing shoes, either Vaporfly or Alphafly. Perfect when running in a straight line, but they don't give security when taking sharp turns and stepping on a hole in the road compromises the joints. If you have used a Vaporfly in the past you will know what I am talking about.
The geometry has changed, especially in the rear part of the midsole. The characteristic peak of the Vaporfly or Alphafly is no longer present and the new Vaporfly 3 has a much more squared rearfoot area.
I think it is a positive change because aesthetically it eliminates an area that stole too much attention, and dynamically I think it added absolutely nothing in a shoe that is not designed for heel running, but quite the opposite.
With all these geometric changes Nike has also worked a lot on the deformation zones. All the grooves, cutouts and polygonal shapes you see in the image above are not aesthetic components, they are programmed deformation zones so that the foam, when collapsing in the tread, will do it in a certain way.
Obviously this midsole is by far the most elaborate of the entire shoe. It is what gives it its character and dynamics. The feel is the typical ZoomX, very soft but you can feel the great response it offers even at a standstill. It is addictive and makes it a shoe that constantly asks for "cane". I recommend you to watch the video because you can perfectly appreciate how the deformation occurs and the amount of travel offered by this foam.
What does ZoomX give? Answer, it launches us into every stride. But not only that, it also helps with fatigue. It is something that is especially noticeable the days after intense workouts, when you would normally get up with your legs as if they were cork, now you feel the fatigue but little else. And of course that will also be something that will be noticeable in the race, taking better care of your muscles and helping to keep fatigue at bay.
Do you want me to summarize this entire section in one word? Easy, that word would be "MAGNIFICENT", in capital letters.
Thinner sole on the Vaporfly NEXT% 3
As I said before, there is less rubber thickness, something similar to what happened with the Alphafly 2. This reduction in rubber benefits the comfort, response and dynamics of the shoe. Also in weight, because now there is not a full forefoot piece but a diamond-shaped hole.
So compared to previous models there is less rubber per thickness and per surface area, leaving more foam in view. This may cause us to fear for the integrity of the ZoomX.
As you use them 1TP7You will see that the ZoomX will crack, chafe, crack... It is normal when there is so much foam in sight, but it does not present any problem with respect to its operation.
The next point to address is the reduction of rubber in the sole area. That is, now there is less quantity that 1TP7We can wear out. A priori it is not something that worries me, even despite the pronounced wear in the toe of the shoe that you can see in these images.
As you can see, the lugs in the front area of both shoes have been erased. But you also need to understand how and why this wear has occurred.
One of the workouts I've done with the Vaporfly 3 has been intervals on steep hills at 4:00min/km with walking rest (or that was the plan, then maybe the reality differed...). In other words, very strong starts with a very high demand for punctual traction. Three blocks of 10 sets, which is equivalent to 30 hard starts. Like going for skids and complaining that the tires do not last long...
In competition, how many hill starts are you going to make from scratch? One or none. You are going to run more or less slowly, but you are not going to make such exaggerated traction demands. Therefore, this wear cannot be extrapolated to a normal use of the shoe, although it is proof that the rubber is not going to stand out for its durability.
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Review Nike Vaporfly NEXT% 3
Nike has improved the Vaporfly in each and every one of its aspects, and returns to give a blow to the table after a few years in which the competition not only put itself at the same level, but there were also several models that had improved the Vaporfly NEXT% 2 both in performance and comfort.
More comfortable, more ventilated, lighter and more responsive with more ZoomX underfoot. With a delicious feel for those who like the sensation of ZoomX.
The associated problems are those already discussed, which you will have to weigh and see if it is a shoe that meets all your criteria. It is not an easy shoe to put on, something that in my opinion rules it out for triathlon use. In my particular use I found it lacked a little more support in the heel, even though the design hasn't changed much in that area.
Is it the best shoe with a carbon fiber plate? I think right now it has regained the throne it had lost in the past because it has improved on some of the points that the competition had managed to close the gap (and in other cases surpass the Vaporfly).
When all these shoes came out I was pretty pissed off with the price, but the truth is that now I can't live without them. The truth is that they give results that I couldn't even imagine before.
It is true that prices have skyrocketed, but it is equally true that if we compare the performance of the old "flyers" with the current competition models, the differences are abysmal. Not only in performance, but also in how you recover and how you feel after the competition.
Good, how do you see it to attack the sub 3 in marathon? I want to try it in Valencia this year
Well, perfect for that sub 3, and Valencia is a great race both for circuit and animation, so I'm sure that with good preparation you're going to get it.
Thanks for the proof Edu, I can only congratulate you because yours are the best proofs there are, because it can be seen that you tell exactly what you think and you don't bite your tongue for anything.
By the way, I have already subscribed to the channel.
Thank you Salvador
You will test the new Hoka? it looks very good and the truth is that I'm hesitating between the two...
You mean the Hoka Rocket X 2? Well, the truth is that I don't know, because Hoka has already told me on more than one occasion that they are not interested in the reviews I do (not in those words... but basically that) and on the web they have never had my size, so it looks like not.
Really? And what is the reason?
Well, more Hoka loses 🤣
Decided, let's go for the Vapors then
You will tell us how it feels
The Vaporfly has arrived and... 😍😍😍😍😍...
They are very responsive and feel more comfortable than my Vaporfly next. They also feel cooler
For the moment I am very happy. Thank you Eduardo!
Many thanks to you Juan for sharing your opinion!
Do they fit like the Vaporfly Next?
Yes, I have used the same size and they fit the same.
Between these and the Alphafly 2, which one would you choose for half and marathon?
For half marathon I think you'd be better off with the Vaporfly 3. Marathon I would have doubts, I personally would prefer the extra comfort of the Alpha, but in this generation I would have many doubts. If it was the NEXT%2 I would definitely go for the Alphafly, but in the 3's maybe I'd go with the lighter weight of the Vaporfly.
Good review, thanks for sharing