Want to Run Faster?

Want to Run Faster?

Author: Dr. Michael Ryan
Director of R&D, Kintec
BHK, MSc, PhD, Certified Pedorthist
Adjust Professor, SFU, BPK Dept 

Nike’s Next Generation of Performance Running Shoes

The art and science of speed and comfort

In today’s world of high-performance running footwear, it’s quickly becoming the norm to bring your Nike Zoom technology kicks to anything from a 5 km to a marathon.

And for good reason: 86% of the men’s and women’s podium finishers in the six major marathons in 2019 were wearing the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%; and this October, Eluid Kipchoge became the first human to break the 2-hour marathon barrier in the NEXT%.

The results have been so good that some elite runners have appealed to the IAAF to suggest that Nike’s NEXT% represents ‘Technology Doping’. One thing we know for sure—this shoe will help you to run faster.

The good news: runners at every level can benefit

The good news is the NEXT% will help runners of all levels, not just the competitive or elite. In fact, through my conversations with scientists at Nike’s Sport Research Lab, I’ve confirmed that recreational runners stand to gain even more than the advertised 4% improvement in run efficiency.

When we looked at the original study done to measure the shoe’s performance (University of Colorado), it only included participants that could run a sub-31-minute 10 km, and they compared the performance of the NEXT% to an already exceptionally light weight shoe (Nike Streak). This means that the relative improvement of the NEXT% for the recreational runner will be even more substantial, especially given that most wear shoes that are more than twice the weight of the Nike Streak, the control shoe in the study!

More good news: the best just got better

In fact, you could say the NEXT% is 15% better, which is the percentage increase in the amount of Nike’s proprietary midsole foam (ZoomX). This industryleading foam is 87% resilient, which means 87% of the energy that is applied to the midsole is ‘returned’ through the rebound of its shape (by comparison, Adidas’ Boost claims 79% resilience, and is significantly heavier shoe).

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%

Kyle Barnes, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Grand Valley State University’s Movement Science Department, who recently authored a study on the NEXT%, said it best:

As soon as you put the shoes on, you have this 'Aha!' moment in which you know these are different than anything you've put on before...I have several pairs.

Enhancements to the new NEXT% include:

  • lengthwise flex grooves;
  • larger forefoot rubber to enhance traction in wet weather;
  • new VaporWeave upper material that doesn’t absorb water;
  • further weight savings through the elimination of the arch-band due to some clever improvements in lacing;
  • a relaxation of the forward lean, which makes the runner feel more in control at slower paces.

Nike Zoom Fly 3

The Nike Zoom Fly 3 is a great alternative to the NEXT%—it has a lower price point yet maintains the same dedication to Nike’s three pillars of performance running footwear:

  1. lightweight design;
  2. full-length carbon spring-plate (to reduce work needed by foot muscles during toe-off);
  3. and energy-returning ZoomX midsole foam.

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2

For the performance-obsessed runner who enjoys a shoe that sits a touch lower to the ground for improved road-feel, the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 is the shoe for you.


The perfect fit for you?

These new Nike ZoomX styles are only three of the many high quality running shoes we offer.

Drop in to a Kintec store and meet with one of our Fit Experts. Many of them are runners and athletes themselves, and they all share a passion for helping you staying active on your feet. They’re also footwear experts with degrees in Kinesiology (or students working on their degrees!), which means they’re experts in the science of human movement.

Our Fit Expert will walk you through 3 simple steps to help you find the perfect fit:

  1. Understand your work, lifestyle, activities, history of pain or injury, and current situation
  2. Analyze your feet and movement patterns using the latest in science and technology, and sharing these insights with you
  3. Fit—using all the information and insights we’ve gathered, we’ll find footwear that best fits your:
    • Foot shape
    • Function: work, casual, going to the gym or running a marathon)
    • Feel: comfort is king and—at the end of the day—it just has to feel right for you!
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