Run 4 Percent Faster

Nike’s New Shoe Aims to Run the Fastest Marathon Ever


This spring, we may witness a feat of human athleticism long thought to be impossible: the two-hour marathon. It is a goal that runners and scientists have been working toward for years. But now, after three years of research and development, Nike — like its rival, Adidas — believes it finally possesses the technology to make it happen. The Zoom Vaporfly Elite, according to Nike, makes any runner 4 percent faster. This is attributed to a number of design elements: exceptional lightness (at 7 ounces, which is just 1.6 ounces heavier than Nike’s latest Olympic racing spike), a 3D-knit outer and an inch-thick foam sole inlaid with a carbon fiber plate, which helps spring the runner forward — a feature never before seen in a Nike running shoe.

This spring, three world-class long-distance runners — Lelisa Desisa, Eliud Kipchoge and Zersenay Tadese — will attempt to break the two-hour mark while wearing custom-made versions of the Zoom Vaporfly Elite. Two consumer versions will hit shelves this June: the Zoom Vaporfly 4% (essentially the same as the Elite, but not customized) and the Zoom Fly, a slightly heavier version of the Elite.

Adidas Is Gunning for the Two-Hour Maraton Record, Too

A new version of Boost foam, an ultralight upper and a new outsole make this Adidas’s fastest marathon shoe ever. Read the Story