The magnificent shoe powering Kipchoge to world history books


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World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge is using the latest model of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly shoes called the NEXT% in his second attempt to become the first man to run the marathon under two hours at the “INEOS 1:59 Challenge” in Vienna, Austria.

Footwear website, Footpatrol puts the price of a pair of NEXT% costs 240 sterling pounds (Sh31,578).

Footpatrol says this about these shoes: “Improving on already near-lightning speed, Nike’s latest marathon silhouette arrives in the form of the ZoomX Vaporfly Next%. The streamlined runner boasts even more of Nike’s ultra-light, ultra-responsive ZoomX technology than before for unprecedented levels of responsive cushioning, and a highly-efficient carbon-fibre plate in the midsole prevents energy loss to power your strides. Even more weight is shed up top, the pair sports a lightweight Vaporweave construct, with updated eyelets to help relieve pressure on your foot. The technologically advanced runner is finished with flex-grooves on the outsole for multi-directional grip.”

According to The Telegraph, these shoes are so effective that “there have even been instances of international runners sponsored by other companies wearing the Vaporfly and drawing over them in an attempt to hide the Nike branding.”

In 2017 as Kipchoge prepared for his first attempt to run 42km under two hours at the Breaking2 project in Monza, Italy, Nike announced plans “to make fast even faster by shaking things up and rethinking the traditional marathon kit.”

The world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes Nike said designers focused on five key areas that Eritrean Zersenay Tadese, Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa and Kipchoge said could be better – weight, fit, comfort, fatigue and grip.


“Designers combined the athlete’s body scan data with their personal preferences to develop a custom kit, perfectly tailored to each runner.

“The Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite shoes were custom crafted for each athlete. The shoes feature Nike ZoomX foam for responsive cushioning and a full-length carbon fiber plate to increase stiffness and provide a propulsion sensation. An aerodynamic heel reduces drag. A Flyknit upper hugs the foot without adding weight,” Nike says on its website.

Assisted by 30 pacers, pacemaker vehicle displaying a large clock of the race time and projecting green lasers onto the ground to indicate where the lead pacer should be at all times, Kipchoge finished the distance in 2 hours and 25 seconds.

The five fastest marathons in history in the last 13 months have all been run by athletes wearing the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly shoe namely Kipchoge (2:01:39) and Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41), Birhanu Legese (2:02:48) and Mosinet Geremew (2:02:55).

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