Eliud Kipchoge wore the new ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 at the NN Mission Marathon in Enschede, which he won in 2:04:30.
The new version of the Vaporfly Next% is similar to the previous shoe, with some tweaks made to the upper.
Type: Neutral road/race shoe
Most of the changes from the first version of the Vaporfly Next% are in the upper. The mesh material replacing the 'Vaporweave' is designed to better contour to the foot and keep you cooler on race day. Nike has also added padding to the tongue to reduce lace pressure on the top of the foot.
The laces are more like those found on the Alphafly, with grooved edges to prevent them from loosening or coming undone.
Nike says it has also added 'forefoot reinforcement' to increase the durability of the outsole in high-striking areas.
What's the same?
Aside from the upper, pretty much everything else remains unchanged – it's the same carbon fibre plate and Zoom X foam as on the previous model and the shoe still delivers the propulsive feel they have become famous for.
The wide midsole, toe-box shape and rubber outsole also remain, but coupled with the small degrees of reinforcement in the upper, the shoes feel more stable on tight corners.
What do they feel like on the run?
We’ve been running in the ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 for the past few weeks and here’s what we thought:
Jane McGuire, deputy digital editor
‘I’m a big fan of the changes Nike has made to the upper; as someone with high arches, I found the Vaporweave didn’t have a lot of ‘give’ across the top. While I didn’t have problems with the laces coming undone, I did find that by the end of my run there was a lot of pressure on the top of my foot, which often got pretty uncomfortable by the end of a long run.
'Compared with the Alphafly, I find the Next% 2 far more stable underfoot on the run – while they don’t have the same propulsion, the lower stack height means I don’t feel like my ankle’s going to collapse should I land slightly awkwardly.
'All in all, this is the same impressive shoe it’s always been, with a few tweaks to the upper for comfort. If you can afford to invest in it, it’ll almost definitely help you charge towards a PB at anything from a 5K to a marathon. That said, if you’re not bothered about the carbon fibre plate and you’re not fast enough to be worrying about stack heights, I’d save the £40 and opt for the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next%, which have a similar feel for a cheaper price.'
Ben Hobson, digital editor
'I agree with all Jane has said on the changes on the upper and improved comfort, and a lot of that has come from small changes; all that money on a shoe and it's the laces that make the difference!'
'The textured or ridged edge mean that the laces are less prone to losing tension and moving about, which I found on the laces in the NEXT%. I found this dramatically reduced the need to over-tighten the shoe over the forefoot and helped lock the heel in place without the shoe feeling too tight. Also, the off centre V-shape cut into the tongue has been made deeper, allowing for the tongue to wrap around the top of the foot to greater effect, plus some minimal padding on the tongue helps reduce hotspots.'
NEXT%2 on the left, NEXT% on the right
‘These small changes, however, are nothing compared with how much more breathable the upper is in this new version. As we head into summer, that's going to make a big difference to the enjoyment of this shoe. It’s just as fast as the first iteration, but with some refinement that improves the ride.’
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