This September, Nike has given its fastest marathon running shoe an upgrade - just in time to the Berlin Marathon 2018. The Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit competition shoe now has a new upper to provide more comfort and support during the race.

In this cpost, we’re going to discuss the benefits and the drawbacks of the new Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit, and we’re going to tell you how it performed during tests and during the Berlin Marathon 2018.

- Light, very comfortable competition shoe - Depending on running style, sole durability isn’t the best
- Carbon fibre plate for extra power during longer competitions - Slim fit isn’t for everyone
- Flyknit upper provides a first-class fit

The new Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit

As mentioned earlier, the latest version of the VaporFly 4% comes with a Nike Flyknit upper, meaning that the running shoe wraps snugly around the foot and provides average to narrow feet with superb support. The Nike Flyknit upper is also extremely breathable and very light.   NIKE_Schuh_byCarstenBeier-2 The cushioning consists solely of ZoomX foam - Nike’s best energy-returning material. Combined with the carbon fibre plate, this material is designed to catapult you forward during the race.

The Zoom sole makes your running experience beautifully gentle and works together with the carbon fibre plate to guide your foot. The rubber elements under the entire forefoot and the single one under the heel ensure the Nike VaporFly 4% delivers a solid grip on tarmac.   NIKE_Schuh_byCarstenBeier-8  

On the road

For me, the Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit was like a gift from above, as I wanted to beat my personal record during the Berlin Marathon in September 2018. I got the Nike running shoes broken in with a 15k run, which usually isn’t enough for a competition shoe designed for marathon distances.

That already showed me the benefits of having the Flyknit upper - the Nike VaporFly 4% fit like a glove after covering just a short distance. I was able to run faster from the very start and the Nike running shoe was what helped me do so. In fact, I felt like I had to speed up because the VaporFly 4% loves a fast pace.

It was the carbon fibre plate that impressed me at the critical 35k mark. This is when I usually need an extra boost, and the plate gave me the support I needed to finish the marathon with a new personal record.   NIKE_Schuh_byCarstenBeier-6  

Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit vs. Zoom Pegasus Turbo

Nike has already launched the Zoom Pegasus Turbo this year, a fast training shoe with similar technologies to those found in the September version of the VaporFly 4% Flyknit. However, both running shoes have some significant differences. Let’s begin with the upper: this area of the VaporFly 4% Flyknit fits much more snugly than that of the Zoom Pegasus Turbo, which provides quite a lot more space for runners with wide feet.   NIKE_Schuh_byCarstenBeier-5   The midsole of the Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit consists of 100% ZoomX cushioning, while the Zoom Pegasus Turbo has a layer of ZoomX and another layer of React. But the most important difference between the two models is in another part of the midsole: the VaporFly 4% Flyknit comes with a unique carbon fibre plate that delivers a bounce effect while you run.

As the Zoom Pegasus Turbo was designed for daily training, Nike decided to leave out the carbon fibre plate in this model.

Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo

Weight 9   8  
Cushioning 8   9  
Reactivity 10   8  
Grip 8   8  
Stability 8   9  
Gender Unisex Women’s & men’s
Weight 184g 238g
Offset 10mm 10mm
Sole material Nike ZoomX Nike ZoomX
Upper Flyknit Flymesh
Special feature Carbon fibre plate Good all-rounder
Fit Slim Average to wide
Surface Road Road
Shoe type Competition Training & competition
Price 249,90 €* 179,90 €*

*Current prices may differ.

Final thoughts on the Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit

The Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit is the fastest marathon running shoe out there. Apart from providing you with comfortable and dynamic cushioning, it also has a comfortable and hardwearing upper. As far as I’m concerned, the VaporFly 4% Flyknit keeps its promises - you’re sure to beat your own personal best with it.
Credits: Jan Lau/Running Culture Foto: Carsten Beier