Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit Review: Worth $250?


– Morning, Trainiacs. Foggy little morning out there. Just past that fog is the track. This is gonna be the first
outdoor track workout I’ve done, and we are going to run in the shoes that you have all just been like, “Taren, Taren, Taren, are they for real?” Those are the Nike Flyknit 4%s. Yes, they are for real, but there’s a lot that you need to know about
them, because they are mad cheddar kinda pricey. So many snowbanks, how am
I gonna get to the track? Before you spend that kinda
dough, watch this review. (upbeat music) (groovy music) (grunts) Well, Trainiacs, that was not a pile of quality work. Before I get to talking
about the Nike Flyknits, look at what I was trying to
knock out hard efforts in. (crunching) That is not good footing for speed work. I think I’m about a week too early. On Instagram, I’ll put up a video with the description for
that entire speed workout. It was like 35 minutes,
but if there weren’t snow, it’d be a good quality 35
minutes that you could do. All right, these babies. Pow, pa-pa-pa-pow. All right Trainiacs, let’s talk about the Nike VaporFly Flyknit 4%. That’s not easy to say. All right, so we gotta talk about the two elephants in the room. Number one, these are taking
over the running world and there is a ton of hype. There probably hasn’t
been a more hyped shoe in as long as I can think. And the second thing
is, they’re expensive. They are $250 US, probably
the most expensive shoe, and there’s something I’m gonna explain that probably makes them
an even more expensive shoe when you consider it. Regarding the hype for
this, there have been races that over half the field had this shoe lined up in transition. When I was talking to Cam Wurf in LA, he was talking about the fact where, as long as you don’t have
a competing shoe sponsor, he was like, “Why would
anyone wear anything but this? The science just goes to support this.” Now, I’ll get into a lot of that. So, the specs, this is a
road racing shoe from Nike. It is 6.9 ounces in a men’s size nine. That is also a women’s shoe, because these are unisex shoes. It is a big heel-to-toe drop with a 31 millimeter heel
and a 21 millimeter forefoot. So if you are somebody who has traditionally run on a flat shoe, this is gonna feel a little bit weird. But, still works. I’ll explain why. So, this first claims of the speed. The name of it is the Nike 4%, and then it’s claiming
that it’s going to make you 4% faster, or 4% more efficient. What I heard from people
that were testing this before it came out is
that, actually at Nike, it was more like 3.1%, and
that’s what everyone was hearing was 3.1%. And then it came out and they were like, “Oh, they rounded up from 3.1 to four, that’s not how rounding works, Nike.” But, there’s still a lot
of science to back this up. In one study that was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, 18 runners were tested at
anywhere from about 5:21 per mile to, I think it was 6:53 per mile, and their efficiency in this shoe versus two other popular
shoes was measured. And that efficiency in every
single one of the runners, regardless of whether
they were a heel striker or a forefoot striker,
increased anywhere from about 1.6% to about 6.3%, clustering
around 4% more efficient. Now, the mechanism that
creates that efficiency is one, the energy return,
and that is a function of how much energy comes
into the shoe from landing and instead of dissipating
out the side of the shoe with heat, it actually gets
returned to moving you forward. Now, most shoes out there on the market are somewhere in between about
50% and 65% energy return going into pushing you forward. The previous leading shoe
was the Adidas Boost, which measured in the high seventies. This measured an all-time high of 80. Efficiency, though, is
really just a measure of how much workload does it take for you to move yourself forward,
and energy return, it’s not a perfect science
where more energy return means that you go faster. So, in testing, practically speaking, what does this actually do? We had a guy that is here locally that, he is a complete data junkie, and he did testing against this versus all of his other favorite shoes, and he found that this
was four seconds faster per kilometer, or six and a
half seconds faster per mile. And I basically found that same thing, that at the same perceived effort, somewhere around four
to eight seconds faster feels the same. The secret is two things. One is the ZoomX foam
by Nike at the bottom, that is designed to be A, cushy, so it takes a load off your body, and it’s still nice towards
the end of a half marathon or a marathon, but B,
also, is very springy, so it shoots you forward. There’s also a carbon plate that goes through the entire shoe and as you can see, it’s
a really stiff shoe. So that carbon plate is
designed to load up tension and snap you forward, shooting you forward in the direction that you wanna go instead of having all that
energy dissipate out the side. (indiscriminate talking) Love you, bye. All the science aside,
my experience with them has been really good. I used them for a few training runs leading into Half Ironman Puerto Rico, and then in Half Ironman Puerto Rico, I found that they certainly helped. So they were faster in
those training runs. I wasn’t necessarily
very fast in Puerto Rico, but if you look at the data
from my Stryd running foot pod, what you can see is that my
form didn’t really break down. I’ve never had a half
marathon in a Half Ironman where I stayed with the same form throughout the entire course of the race. So I think that that’s a
function of being more efficient, and this foam taking a little
bit of load off my body. I found that the best feeling
that I got from this shoe is around, say, 10K race pace or up to marathon race pace. I didn’t really like it
for like, that super fast, 200 meter effort, or a one kilometer, like, twitchy fast, where
everything’s flailing, because it’s like this was too stiff to really let my body function naturally. So it was like that difficult tempo pace that I really liked. Also, the sole on this
is really, really basic. It is not designed for
really anything besides track or road running. Don’t be using this on
gravel, off-road, trails, not what it’s for. As far as durability, it’s not
gonna be a very durable shoe. This is a race shoe. This has been stated by Nike to be somewhere around 100 mile shoe, and if you look at forums online, everyone’s saying that
around mile 80, 100, 115, that it starts losing its springiness. Now, when you combine that with the fact that it’s a $250 shoe, it’s probably the most
expensive dollar per mile shoe out there. And that’s just fact. Like, it’s made with this ZoomX foam, is actually Pebax foam, Pebax, Pebax foam, which is known for being very forgiving, very springy, but
degrading fairly quickly. And the last thing,
with regards to sizing, if you do end up choosing to get these, go at least one half size up. With a thin sock, one half
size is perfect for me. With a thick sock, it’s starting to even still get a little bit tight. Now, the question is, should you buy this? Now, going back, we haven’t
done this in a few weeks, on the Trainiac Heads
Scale of zero to five, where zero is, I don’t really recommend anyone buy this at all, but five is, every single athlete should buy this, I would actually give
this a two out of five. And the only reason that I’m
giving it such a low number is because it is so stinkin’ expensive. Now, that’s not to say
that it’s not a good shoe. It’s legit. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do. I really like it. I’m probably going to run in it. But not everyone needs this shoe. So that two number is an indication of it being a great product, but it’s for a very nichey audience. It’s for somebody who, not
only has multiple shoes, somebody who wants a very fast shoe for certain periods of time, but somebody who wants
the best possible shoe that they can get, and somebody that’s moving fairly quickly. If you’re somebody
that’s doing a race that you are slower than, call
it, eight minute miles, 8:30 miles, I don’t
know if you’re gonna get the bang for the buck out of this. So this is a very nichey shoe, but for the right person,
it’s a great shoe. I’m probably gonna be
buying a few of these over the next few years. I like it a lot. It’s just damn expensive. So there you go, Trainiacs. That is the Nike VaporFly Flyknit 4%. It’s legit, and if you
got the cheddar for it and the speed and the desire
to get the best shoe out there, go for it. I like it. It looks slick, it feels good. I just feel like I’m
holding a precious item that is disintegrating every
single time I put it on, 4%. Later, Trainiacs. Hit the Subscribe button below.

57 Comments

  • Why would you wear anything else? Ask me again when Nike starts making shoes in a 16 wide!

  • Love your videos dude. Out on the track with snow on the ground. No one else in our sport like you Taren!

  • Thanks for your review. Been using Altra forever but tried the zoom fly… Like it. Gonna get it in the flyknit.

  • $250 for 100 miles 😨

  • How does it compare to Nike Zoom Flyknit?

  • I think the phrase for you should forever be…"We've got to talk about the two dogs in the room…" 🙂

  • People wouldn't bat an eye at a cycling product giving 4% gain which costs 500+$.

  • when will the 20% come out? 4% won't be enough for me

  • I unfortunately can't cough up that money and will stick with Adidas Adios. It would be nice to see what Nike found on a bell curve. I am guessing to get that 4+% gain you need to be a competent runner already. Not everyone will be able to fully utilize the shoe due to other bigger mechanic issues.

  • The University track is clear

  • My track is still 3 feet under snow

  • I have a pair of these and while great to run fast in after only 20 miles in mine the sole looks like it has done 100miles! Definitely a race day only shoe.

  • Just got to 100 miles in mine and done about 5 5K races and one 10K plus a few treadmill Zwift sessions. Seem ok still. Rather weird sensation at first but can’t complain with my best times for 3 years although of course the shoes are only a part of the pie. Certainly a shoe for relatively fast running I am almost back to sub 18 5K shape. Ran 15:26 years ago but Vaporflys don’t take 20 years off you! In lot slower warm down should perhaps take them off and save for another day as little help then. Main difference I find is they help to keep you going after halfway in races when things normally get difficult. Expensive for shoes but about price of a pair of mid range bike shoes or set of training wheels so need to set the context. Why get a TT bike or fancy aero wheels as they cost orders of magnitude more and most of us aren’t pros either so do we need to try and take of a few seconds if we can without even more training. I am normally a UK 12.5 or 13 but actually just about get away with a 12 in these as don’t go bigger. Very thin socks for sure though. Usually wear Adios and would still be choice if needed more grip but did wear the Vaporflys on a dry gravel bit bumpy but flat trail 5K Saturday and were OK if not as good a difference when on harder tarmac.

  • Superbly well balanced review that. 👍

  • where's your helmet TT?

  • As much as I love these shoes, I whole heartedly agree with your analysis. I have a pair and they're pretty much only used for the last two training sessions before a race and race day.

  • Yup, you got it all correct. Expensive, burn fast, best for pretty fast pace—-but they’re also a great race shoe. The drop is disconcerting for a minimalist but it works. You can extend the life span of the 4% by using the Zoom Fly for your race pace WO days in the weeks before a race and then swap to the 4% in the last few fast run days plus the race because the feel of the two shoes is close enough to work, giving you some extra time to save up for the next pair. ‘Cause you gotta extend them given a cost of ~$50-60/marathon!

  • Great business opportunity: snow shovel bracket for bikes. Hahaha!!!! Great revview, T!

  • Great review taren, really good. Thanks this is just what i needed. Will try them at the shop treadmill today and see how i feel.

  • My experience is that I don't hurt after running in these. I absolutely love them, and I think that you don't have to run a certain speed to justify buying them. The cushioning in such a light shoe is amazing, and I bet there will be data of less injuries from runners using the vaporfly coming out soon.

  • no not buying it..

  • can you make a comparison between the 4% and the zoom flys? I have the zoom flys and really love them, but not sure if it's worth getting the 4%s, would be really good to hear your thoughts on both shoes.

  • Sure are great & expensive runners, I love my pegasus 35 turbo's with zoomX foam plus only one third of the price but without carbon, triathlon is an expensive sport as it is, great watching kipchoge in breaking 2 doco 🤟🏼

  • I wore a pair of version 1 4%s last year, I must have clocked over 200 racing miles in them. I’ve now retired them from racing but I’m still using them occasionally for fast paced marathon workouts. Thee shoes will easily do 250 miles IMO. Or maybe I’m just lucky.

  • Nike might have actually snatched some of their carbon plate research from finnish shoe developers that made the same research 8-10 years a go with the same results… its just too damn convinient.. and you get the same effect with half the money from FEET EVO+ shoe that has also feets own carbon plate that has the same 4% efffect… also their shoes are made by runner to runners and one who knows biomechanics of the feet&ankle, and there is no shortcuts made, you will get an piffany when using those shoes the first time… every one go check them out, this is not paid advertise as i also need to buy their products but sure enough I will do so in future too..

  • loving the dogs , i will be sticking to my five fingers

  • Nike is garbage shoe not for runners

  • No kidding disintegrating in your hands 80mi life expectancy @ 250$ (ca? You don’t mention, I’m also ca)
    $3.13/mi, you better be sponsored or winning money at races to consider these shoes. There’s not even enough life expectancy to be able to train long enough and get a good race out of a pair.
    Train on them and they’re worn out for the race, save them for the race a chance NEI (new equipment injuries)
    I think you need to consider these shoes at a cost of $250/race rather than $250/80-130mi shoe as a reality cost
    Love the honesty in your show

  • Yeah, the flyknit has ruined it for me. The v1 with the regular upper was true to size and I could leave the toe lacing looser but the ankle lacing tighter. Great for feet expansion while running longer races and keeping pressure off (my fragile) extensor tendons. Even at a half size more I find the flyknit is too tight (I dont even do the laces up) and it still hurts my extensor tendons.

  • So… Mediocre triathletes who spend thousands on unnecessary bike stuff to gain a few minutes to go sub6 for the bike leg, shouldn't by a shoe for 250 bucks a year, if they race ~70-80 miles a year. And by racing, I mean a $500 race… 🙂
    Yeah, not gonna happen, everyone gonna buy it 😀

  • Best distance shoe Ive ever used. Been running since 1984 and have run in just about everything on the market. These are my favorite for anything over 10k. Interesting how folks complain about the wear on these…..I guess its kinda the same as folks expecting to get 50,000 miles out of a set of drag slicks. Just not gonna happen. I train in Epic and Odyssey Reacts and use Zoomflys for brick sessions. The Vaporflys are for race day, not for logging in miles

  • This shoe is worth every penny guys. Got my 2nd pair, and maybe a 3rd soon. Love running with these.

  • ? 250? As in dollars ? Canadian? For real? I just bought a bike meter for $319.00 …. Nike’s R&D and the amount they pay the people to assemble them means Nike just made $200 on each shoe they sold ….I had to add this, but, not sound all sanctimonious but this reinforces how expensive triathlon is and how it’s a sport for rich white people…

  • You prefer it over cloudflash?

  • Hey TT. Due to the entitlement culture of triathletes and the fact that a higher percentage have money….if this shoe was 500$ they would still be flying off the shelves. Tell me I'm wrong. 🤘🇨🇦

  • The vaporfly or the on cloudflash? Matt Hanson runs with them.

  • I wouldn't use 4% for speed work. It is for race day.

  • Have over 180km on those and they still still feel bouncy and softest long run shoe. It's worth 250 Us for me. Now it's mainly for race or treadmill tempo runs to me and amazing for long runs looking forward to get this blue one in fall

  • Not worth the money… hype and marketing does wonders. Zoom streak 6 has a 3% percent improvement. In fact most runners do. Adidas Adizero Boost 3 will still be my racing shoe.

  • Good review. I disagree on the benifit to slower paced runners. I’m a 9:15 (was 9:30) pace senior marathoner. Not only did the shoes improve my pace by over 15 seconds a mile, they also leave my old legs feeling much less beat up at the end of the 26.2. The Pegasus 35 Turbos, while not as fast, are also easy on the legs.

  • It's worth every dollar imo when you reach a certain level. I would recommend getting 2 pairs (one for racing and one for training after a few marathons). When used for around 3 marathons use it for race pace specific workouts (I've done more than 1200 miles in mine now), so that your body get used to the rather different running form in this model. I know most people only use it for races due to the high price. It's just much better to let your body get used to it, also to avoid injuries.

  • Yea if I was sub 3 hr marathoner I'd get it, but to save 5 mins off 330… Nah

  • What brand are those sunglasses at @0:25? Can anyone tell me

  • I got the slightly more normal, amateur/training version, and I can say, those feel fast! No way for me to test the actualy performance in a meaningful way, but they feel amazing for sure

  • NO pair of sneakers ON THIS PLANET cost more than SEVEN DOLLARS to make……SUCKERS!!!!!

  • Answer: No

    Next!

  • thanks! Is the first really honest review on this shoes

  • This is the probably the "fairest" shoe review I have ever seen. This a fantastic review of the shoe; however, Taren never strayed far from the elephant in the room….the price of the $hoe. ~10:35 – 10:50 really speaks to this guy's credibility. I appreciate it!

  • And Nike has purposely priced to gouged the hype-able. 99% of runners don’t need this since most Runners are not competitive, and are running for fitness. And those individuals who are most served by such a product, are in the group with those who are over-straining and ruining their joints and body based on the recent study of multiple studies, which combined and joined together 100,000 participants. The optimum health benefits were discovered to be mathematically charted on a Bell-Curve. Those charted at the top and middle of the bell-curve, are not under or over taxing their bodies, are weekend athletes who may or may not be running (and other forms of exercise) generally in any form of competition. But these individuals are consistent in their training, but are not over-taxing their bodies trying to win races and beat the pack. They are optimizing their physical bodies, while and the same time optimizing internal physical recovery and allowing the body to recover and mend itself for optimize strength.This, of course, will not be a popular conclusion, since too many are crippling themselves and impairing their legs and joints, and in later life are disappearing from the running scene.
    Case in point, not directly, but a like-kind of example, is Jack Nicolas, famed golfer, who over-walked, since no golf cart is allowed in professional golf competition, a competitor must walk all 18 holes, perhaps totally thousands of miles over several years. Nicolas had to have two separate artificial knee replacements for each knee. And notice he was not even a runner 🏃.

  • zoom flyknit vs these is there really so much difference? I just ordered flyknits and hope ill like em as fast run shoes

  • nice running pants

  • Taren, please help me to find where can i buy this shoes in this blue color with World wide shipping? I have the same, but orange color and i bought from the reseller.

  • Thanks for the review. I have a pair of this shoes and I really recommend it. Yes, it is expensive, but really great 🙂

  • I do not know why I keep buying Nike zoom expensive sneakers, they are good becsuse Nike is doing good marketing

  • Are they great for the Kipchoge's of the world? No doubt. Are they great for the Fred's of the world like you or me, who are less limited by their shoes and more limited by the absolute state of their running? Nah.

  • No because it doesn’t make you run faster. Just get a regular racing flat.

  • Your backpack is open mate!

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