Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Shoe Review

Chances are, if you are thinking about buying the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2, you’ve made up your mind and don’t need to buy another shoe review about it.

To keep consistent with reviews, I decided I would try it.

Everyone loves it. Everyone seems to run well in it.

Why not me? LOL.

Just because “everyone runs well in it”, doesn’t mean it’s actually everyone. The people who do run well are the loudest and there have plenty of people the shoe does not work for or runners that get injured in the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 shoe review

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Quick Facts:

Weight: 6.6 oz

Heel to Toe Drop: 8 mm

Cost: $250

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Introduction:

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 is the updated version of the original 4%. I’ve blogged about it before, and the carbon fiber plated technology does help most runners. It also hurts many runners too. In 2020, it caused me to have a tight Achilles, which ultimately led to a stress fracture.  Since then, I’ve stayed away from the shoe.

What differentiated the Vaporfly from competitive carbon plate shoes was the ZoomX foam and the shape of the carbon plate. The updated Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 only received minor updates since the original Next% was so vastly popular. 

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 shoe review

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Fit:

When I first saw a photo of the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2, I was like…what is different? It looks the same. The mesh upper, however, is different, and it is more flexible and softer. It resembles the Atomknit of the Alphafly. 

When you get close, you can tell how much better the mesh is on the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2. It’s much better than the Vaporweave, and it’s more breathable as well. It makes the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 feel more premium, which should be at $250.

The previous version of the Vaporfly felt stiff and didn’t breathe well. If your feet got hot or poured rain, the shoe did not feel great. Thankfully, that’s all been updated. The Next% 2 breathes much better and a shoe you will feel better in inclement weather.

My personal opinion is that running shoe uppers should disappear off your feet when you’re racing. That’s not always (or heck even usually) the case with racing shoes, but the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 feels a lot better than usual.

Nike has added more rubber reinforcements to the toebox. This gives the shoe more structure and durability. Speaking of the toebox, the Next% 2 does have a wider toe box than the previous version.

There is now foam padding around the heel cup, which keeps the heel in place and makes the heel more comfortable. The first version of the Nike Vaporfly Next% felt like a razor blade to the heel.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 shoe review

Like the previous versions of the Vaporfly, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 fits relatively accurate in size. Plus the toe box is wider. It is narrow through the arch of the foot but has a wider toe box. If you need a wide area in your arch, this shoe doesn’t have it. Typically in running shoes, I wear between a 10-11 wide. Usually, I choose a size ten for racing flats, which is what I’ve been most comfortable in the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Ride:

The ride of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 is a big deal! Fans will be happy to know not much has changed. In fact, you could even call this a half update since realistically the upper was the only thing updated.

It’s still one of the softest carbon plated shoes, but the responsive feeling is still there. Nike stands by this particular model: if it’s not broken, don’t change it.

People don’t realize that most of the responsiveness comes from the heel of the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2. The carbon plate is shaped downward, and combined with the softness of the ZoomX foam; it springs your foot forward. By design, you feel as though you’re tipping forward.

The narrow midfoot can give many people problems in the arch of their foot, or it just might not fit them. That narrow arch also makes the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 extremely unstable. If you need stability, this isn’t the shoe for you, and it will probably cause problems.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 shoe review

Durability and Traction: Another welcomed update from the 4% to the original Next% was the amount of rubber on the bottom. The Nike Next% 2 still has this rubber.

A few years ago, you weren’t getting more than 50 miles out of the 4%, but now the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 should last about 100 miles. Yes, the shoe may look “normal” at 100 miles, but chances are the technology has worn down and won’t give you the same advantage.

As far as traction, taking hairpin turns in the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 is not always pleasant, but it’s still come a long way. I probably wouldn’t use the shoe if I knew it was pouring rain or inclement weather, but it responds a lot better if you choose too.

I’ve used the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 for running fast. Why use it for anything else? It responds just as advertised. If you’re looking for one of the fastest shoes on the market, then it’s the choice. Depending on your budget you might have a pair of Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 to train in as well as a different pair to race in. The durability to get the full carbon plate benefit is still only 100 miles. If you’ve never worn the shoe before, it might take you 100 miles to work into them before racing in them.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 shoe review

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Conclusion:

Not much has changed. It’s really just been a half update to the upper. If you liked the original Vaporlfy, you’ll probably like this too. If you’ve never run in the Vaporfly, it’s important to work into them slowly. Since they are relatively unstable and emphasize the Achilles, you might find yourself sorer in the calves or Achilles. Instead of just jumping into a distance race, I would probably take my time getting into them, especially if you plan to use them for a half or marathon. These days there are other options, and the Asics Metaspeed Sky is just as good and has more stability. I also think the 361 Flame Shoe is great and $90 cheaper.

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Brooks Aurora, Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo, New Balance 1080 v11Hoka Bondi 7, Brooks Levitate 5

Speed Work: 361 Flame, Nike Tempo Next%, New Balance Fuelcell TC Shoe ReviewReebok Float Ride Run fast Pro, Nike Vaporfly Next% 2

Long Runs: Hoka Clifton Edge,  Under Armour Sonic HOVR 3

Trail Running/Hiking: Hoka Torrent 2, Saucony Peregrine 11, North Face Flight VECTIV

Races: Asics Metaspeed Sky, Hoka One One Rocket X, adidas Adizero Pro, New Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin ProNew Balance fuelcell TCReebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2?

What is your favorite racing shoe?