Completing a marathon is a great achievement in and of itself but Nike — like rival brand adidas — is aiming for something greater: completing a marathon in under two hours.
Currently, the fastest completion time of a marathon is 2:02:57 by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in 2014. Now, here is Nike’s latest attempt to crack the sub-two-hour marathon time.
(If you’re interested, we had previously covered the other two runners, the Nike Zoom Fly and the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34, here.)
The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% features a Flymesh upper with a dynamic archband in the midfoot to ensure the wearer experiences no distractions in that area. The tooling features a new foam, Nike ZoomX, that is ultra-lightweight, soft and capable of providing up to 85-percent energy return.
There is a full-length carbon fiber plate in place that increases stiffness to provide additional propulsion with every step. There is mounting concern that these plates do not conform to the rather imprecise footwear standards of the I.A.A.F., according to The New York Times, and that Nike’s new shoes could give runners an unfair advantage. The carbon fiber plate also minimizes energy loss during toe bends without increasing the demand for the calf.
Nike says that the carbon fiber plate saves 4 percent of the energy needed to run at a given speed when compared with another of its popular racing shoes. If accurate, said Ross Tucker, a South African sports scientist, that is “the equivalent of running downhill at a fairly steep gradient” of 1 to 1.5 percent — a huge difference.
The $250 Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% in Ice Blue/Bright Crimson/University Red/Blue Fox releases on July 20 at select retailers, Nike+ in North America, and on nike.com in other locations around the world, while the Blue Fox/Bright Crimson/University Red/Black colorway (pictured here) will be available July 20 at select retailers.
What do you think of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%? Do you think that Nike can crack a sub-two-hour marathon with this shoe? Let us know in the comment section below.