Shoe Reviews

Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit Performance Review

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Hot damn! I love these shoes. You can stop reading now if you want because here on out I am just going to explain why I adore the Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit even better than the original Vaporfly.

Nike Vaporfly Flyknit

The Good

Thomas: The Flyknit streamlines the look of the Vaporfly 4% which is pleasing to the eye, but even better the Flyknit hugs the foot and creates a custom fit. At first, I thought the upper was too tight. After about a mile and a half, the knit started giving and molding to my foot. By the end of the eight-mile run, the upper disappeared on my foot giving me the sensation that the midsole was attached to my foot. Speaking of the midfoot, it hasn’t changed, and the outsole is identical as well. As in the original, Nike embedded a full-length carbon plate within their ultra-light ZoomX foam. The energetic bounce and pop you got from the original Vaporfly remains unchanged. The traction in the rain was better than I had expected, there weren’t a lot of tight turns on the Chicago course, but my foot felt secure and steady on slick roads and shallow puddles. During the Chicago Marathon, the rain completely soaked my feet, and the rain made the Vaporfly Flyknit upper even more elastic.

The Woodlands Leaderboard

For this reason, I recommend you stick with your regular running shoe size. THE FLYKNIT WILL STRETCH.

The VaporFly Flyknit weighs 7.65 ounces /217 grams for a size 10.5 US and has a 10mm drop.

Meaghan: In case you’ve been living in a cave, the elusive Vaporfly 4% has a version 2, and it comes with a knit upper. To be totally honest, I was nervous about the updates. My half marathon and marathon PR’s were both set in the original Vaporfly, and I didn’t want Nike to change a thing about them… outside of making them more readily available. So, the good news – Nike kept everything underfoot the same. You still get the bouncy ZoomX foam,  paired with the stiff carbon-fiber plate, which runs from heel to toe. It’s that combo that I love – these shoes truly propel you forward.

The new upper is constructed with a one-piece bootie-like construction that fits snug around your foot. It’s definitely a racing fit, but it also has quite a bit a stretch to mold around your foot. The simplicity of the upper is aesthetically appealing.

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Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit

The Bad

Thomas: While the upper fits a lot better than the original Vaporfly, the heel counter rubbed my Achilles enough that I wasn’t comfortable running in the shoes without sock that went up higher than the lip of the heel counter. The lacing is an exercise in trial and error. It is too easy to over tighten the laces and cause pain if you loosen the laces too much your heel will lift.

Meaghan: I wouldn’t call the Vaporfly Flyknit an improvement over the original. I don’t love the stretchy knit for racing; the upper lacks typical reinforcements like overlays and a heel counter. Regarding comfort and general fit and feel, I prefer the mesh. The lacing is also a bit challenging. I found myself wanting to tie these super tight to secure them down, but there’s a fine line between tight and digging into the top of your foot.

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Vaporfly 4% Flyknit

Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit Conclusion

Thomas: Once again Nike has the best running shoe on the market for race day. Even better, the Vaporfly Flyknit will be produced in numbers that will make it more accessible to more runners. During the Chicago Marathon, the shoe was everywhere. If you are going to put 100+ hours and 40+ mile weeks into training for a marathon $250 for a shoe isn’t that outrageous. The Vaporfly runs like a cushioned shoe, but with its light weight and pop, you run faster with less fatigue. The Flyknit also makes the Vaporfly easier to get on your foot. Nike has created a shoe that is a joy to run in. I have heard some runners claim they are not fast enough to be running in the Vaporfly, that is bullshit. None of us can run a marathon as speedy as Eliud Kipchoge, but everyone can benefit from a lighter more responsive running shoe. The Vaporfly will help you hit your best times, don’t worry about who is watching you get there. I recommend thin socks that go up to at least your ankle for fit and to avoid heel counter-irritation in these.

Meaghan: I used this shoe for the Chicago Marathon, and they held up well through the rain and puddles. While I would probably pick the original over the Flyknit, I would take either of these shoes over any other on race day. Nike has created the best underfoot construction of any shoe out there –  plenty of cushioning for long distances, with just the right amount of stiffness to propel you forward. I just love this shoe.

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8 Comments

  1. How much different is this from the new Nike Zoomfly Flynit? I can’t afford the VF but could spout for the ZF. I’m not a fast runner but enjoyed the experience when trying the new ZF. Will I regret it later?

    1. No, the VPF is built for durability. I have over 200 miles on my original pair, they are still functional, but have lost some of the bounce.

      -T

  2. The Achilles issue is a no go for me. If they come out with a model that resembles the heel of the Pegasus 35, then I’ll give it a go.

  3. I’ve put 16mi (two runs) on mine…love them but already see the foam on the outside edge near the heel starting to peel. Do you see similar wear?

    Train in Epic Reacts which I love, planning to race in these but need a few long runs in them pre marathon to be sure all is well.

    Thoughts?

    (Great reviews btw)

    1. Hey Jeff, Are you talking about the bottom of the shoe showing some flaking where the ZoomX is exposed? If so that is pretty normal. -T

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