Both Nike and Adidas have been looking for ways to help athletes achieve something that many have thought impossible: finishing a two-hour marathon. And Nike thinks it has just the running shoes to help clear that milestone in the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite.
Slated for a test run in the spring, the shoes will grace the feet of three long-distance runners: Lelisa Desisa, Eliud Kipchoge, and Zersenay Tadese, all of whom will be wearing it across a 26.2-mile circuit in Monza, Italy. While there’s no guarantee that the trio will actually achieve the goal, Nike projects the shoe will effect a four percent improvement in running economy, allowing runners to keep the same pace while preserving energy in order to continue performing at a high rate during the tail end of a race.
The Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite has a Flyknit upper that’s optimized to support an athlete’s foot shape and stride, all while sporting an aerodynamic shape to minimize running drag. That upper is paired to an exceptionally light and responsive inch-thick midsole, which comes inlaid with a unidirectional carbon fiber plate to help spring the runner forward and enhance the propulsive sensation in every single stride.
The bad news? Each Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite is actually customized for each of the outfit’s three sponsored runners, so you can’t wear the exact same shoe in your local marathon. The good news? There will be two consumer versions, the Zoom Vaporfly 4% and the slightly heavier Zoom Fly, both of which will come out in June.