In this article we take a look and assess the latest leaked information about Nike’s most anticipated upgrade, the Nike Vaporfly Next% percent 2
Any new running shoe from Nike is hotly anticipated and attracts legions of loyal fans but when it comes to their elite performance shoes, Nike undoubtedly right now leads the field. The Vaporfly Next% has for the last three or four years been the best ‘super shoe’ on the market and the weapon of choice for the world’s greatest athletes.
Since the release of the Alphafly however, the stead-fast tenacity of the Vaporfly has been revealed in all of its glory. Aside from a few, which admittedly includes Eliud Kipchoge himself, professional Nike athletes have overwhelmingly chosen to run in the Vaporfly, across all distances from 5k to marathon.
With Nike’s decision to upgrade the Vaporfly Next% instead of releasing a newer shoe or upgrading its more recently released Alphafly, it certainly suggests that Nike have decided that their Vaporfly model is the real market-leader.
Why have Nike decided not create a new shoe for 2021?
There could be a number of reasons why Nike have decided not to release a new shoe this year. One thing we do know is that Nike are experiencing a lot of financial issues, which they attribute to the global economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic. It’s been widely reported that Nike is seeking to cut up to 50 per cent of its expenditure on its athletes as well as restrict investment in other areas.
Perhaps, therefore, the decision to upgrade the Vaporfly Next% tells us a lot about Nike’s appetite for risk heading into the post-covid world. Rather than designing a whole new shoe, Nike have seemingly backed their most trusty steed whilst apparently adding some nice little improvements along the way.
For shoe geeks, however, Nike’s troubles pose the question about the future of their much talked about ‘racing flat’. This more aggressive, minimalist design, intended for faster races over 5 to 10k has been spotted on the feet of various Nike athletes, mostly in training sessions. Certainly, one to keep an eye on.
Anyway, I digress.
What’s new about the Vaporfly Next% percent 2?
Firstly, the upper. Despite proving reasonably popular, Nike have ditched the ‘Vaporweave’ technology in favour of a new material, totally different from the Alphafly’s ‘Atomknit’. The pictures suggest it’s a far more open and breathable material which would indicate that it is likely to have positive impact on the weight.
Lighter shoes, particularly when it comes to elite performance and racing, is never a bad thing but one of the usual criticisms directed at the Vaporfly Next% was that, for the price, it was substantially lacking in durability.
One of the main areas of concern was the front part of the toe-box, which particularly as runners start to push the pace, comes under the most sustained stress. So, to compensate for this potential weakness, particularly with this less durable upper material, Nike have reinforced the toe box with added material right at the very front of the shoe.
Secondly, laces. Nike had previously opted for different lace types in their 2 elite performance trainers, however, in the Next%2, it looks as though they have pinched the ‘ribbed’ laces from the Vaporfly’s Alphafly cousin to help runners avoid those dreaded foot lockdown issues.
Most excitingly of all however, is definitely the striking new turquoise colourway which is sure to result in some lustful glances as you glide past everyone else struggling along in the mere first edition of the Vaporfly Next %.
With all the competition in the ‘super-shoe’ market and with Saucony and most recently Adidas releasing carbon plated racing shoes that are garnering rave reviews, the big question is whether or not the Next% 2 will allow Nike to continue its dominance in the running shoe world. I guess, we’ll see.