At the recent World Half Marathon Championship in Gdynia, Poland, more than 90 per cent of the shoes worn in the men’s race hard carbon plates inside them.
In addition, around 80 per cent of the 117 finishers wore a Nike shoe – either a Vaporfly or Alphafly.
The race itself was won by Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo in a blistering time of 58mins 49secs, who was wearing the Vaporfly Next%.
The table below, created by Vincent Guyot, illustrates what the 117 finishers were wearing on their feet.
Why were so many runners in the Next%?
But why are the Vaporfly Next% the chosen shoe for so many athletes? When they were released, Nike said for some athletes in some tests, the combination of 15% more ZoomX foam, a carbon fibre plate and the lightweight uppers, increased efficiency by 5%.
While ZoomX foam is one part of the sole mix, the real magic might actually be in the carbon fibre plate, and not necessarily in the way you might think. While it’s widely thought that the plate acts like a spring, adding track-spike-like propulsion during toe off, research has suggested that the plate actually brings stability to the ankle joint and reduces wasted energy, leading to overall efficiency gains.
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