9.4

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 Review Analysis (2021)

(1 user review)

$250.00

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 is a carbon plate shoe for fast, long, and comfortable running. This second version is more stable with a wider upper.

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9.4Overall score
A great competition shoe that combines comfort and performance for a unique ride
The star of Nike's running collection is back! This update to the OG carbon-fiber plate shoe doesn't feature many changes, except for the new upper that received mixed reviews.

The stack is still high with 40 mm under the heel and 32 mm under the metatarsals (8 mm drop). The carbon plate and ZoomX foam provide soft, bouncy cushioning with a snappy toe-off to improve your performance and shave a few precious minutes off your personal best, especially over long distances like the marathon.

The upper of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 is about comfort with an even more breathable mesh and more padding for a softer lockdown. The toe box is also wider to fit more feet. However, some testers were disappointed with the foot lockdown, which they felt was too imprecise for a racing shoe of this caliber.

Finally, the outsole offers a good grip even if the durability is still a delicate point—unfortunately, it's often the case with this type of shoe.

Overall, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT 2 maintains its elite status. However, if you can find the first model reasonably priced, we see little reason to opt for this 2021 version.
Comfort
10
Ride
10
Foot Lockdown
8.5
Stability
8.5
Durability
8.5
Value for Money
9.5
Design
10
PROS
  • Even more comfortable than the first version
  • Impressive cushioning
  • More stable platform
  • New upper with a wider, more breathable forefoot
  • Better versatility
CONS
  • Sloppy foot lockdown according to testers
  • Hefty price considering the expected lifespan

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 Review Analysis

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 review

Introduction

Between Nike, Adidas, and Asics, it’s time to choose! Nike still enjoys a special aura with its immense champions like Eliud Kipchoce and Mo Farah. But the competition has been heating up, especially with the Adios Pro, which dominates the half-marathon, and the MetaSpeed Sky, which is creating a buzz at the Tokyo Olympic Games!

This second edition has the explosive cushioning of the original Vaporfly with few changes. The main improvement lies in the upper, and we will see what’s in it for you.

Finally, another critical point concerns durability: the Vaporfly v1 was relatively fragile. Has Nike managed to make its marathon shoe more robust?

Let’s see what the review analysis will reveal.

Cushioning

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 cushioning

ZoomX, carbon-fiber plate

Nike almost didn’t touch the midsole: there’s still the full-length carbon plate that helped Eliud Kipchoge enter the pantheon of long-distance running by snatching the marathon world record in 2018.

Runners point out that ZoomX is among the best in terms of foam right now. The underfoot feel is as soft as ever for great comfort over long distances like the marathon. So the Vaporfly Next continues to brilliantly balance comfort and overall performance, though, clearly, Nike Running’s flagship shoe is for race day.

The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 is max cushioned with 40 mm heel stack height and 32 mm under the forefoot (the drop is 8 mm, which typically favors midfoot to heel striking). This type of platform, combined with a soft midsole, can result in a lack of stability. This was particularly the case in the first version. To correct the problem, Nike has widened the platform under the forefoot to ensure better balance. Does this really change the game for runners hesitant to give this shoe a try because of overpronation? It’s hard to say. We know it’s not the ideal answer, but on a subject as delicate as pronation, the best judge is often yourself.

So, what kind of ride does the midsole translate into?

The Ride

According to the testers, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next provides a fantastic feeling with an impressive trampoline effect. Thus, as in the first version, each stride results in an explosive rebound for optimal propulsion to allow you to go faster than if you made the same effort with a ‘regular’ shoe. The term ‘high energy return’ has never been more appropriate.

Despite its few shortcomings (like the lockdown, which we’ll get to in the next section), the Vaporfly Next has the merit of offering a unique and effective configuration. The other carbon plate shoes available (see the comparison section) achieve a similar result but feel different. In other words, Nike is the pioneer of this technology, and it shows.

Foot lockdown (upper)

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 mesh upper

Breathable engineered mesh material, overlays, wider toe box

The foot lockdown is, according to testers, the real Achilles heel of this shoe that is clearly exceptional otherwise. And we mean this literally: the fit is disappointing with some heel slip, according to the testers.

Nike adjusted the fit of the knit upper to make it looser and more flexible. The result is successful in terms of comfort (especially if you have wide feet) but is not convincing when it comes to performance. Indeed, we expect a racing shoe to provide a precise and snug lockdown that feels safe when you run fast. In this case, runners note that the lockdown is a little too loose, especially in the heel.

Thus, the result is not ideal for a competition shoe. From a comfort standpoint, Nike has done a good job with a better-ventilated mesh upper and light padding to reduce lace pressure on the top of the foot and in the heel cup. The collar is also soft for a more comfortable fit.

Finally, the upper features some overlays to prevent it from tearing prematurely. However, the real bottleneck with ultra-lightweight racing shoes like this one is their outsole. Let’s see what’s the verdict in the case of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT 2.

Grip and durability

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 rubber outsole

Rubber outsole, flex grooves

As an elite running shoe, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2’s outsole mainly consists of exposed foam with some rubber strips to protect the most high-wear areas and improve road grip.

In terms of traction, the result is satisfactory, according to the testers. As for durability, they didn’t notice much difference from the first model. How many kilometers does this shoe have in it? 200-250 miles? Probably. That’s what runners reported for the original version. If you buy this little gem, don’t forget to tell us in the comments how long you got out of it!

Conclusion

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 road running shoe

The Nike Vaporfly Next 2 continues to lead the way in the carbon-fiber plate category with its effective and comfortable configuration for fast and long runs with less effort.

The sole remains very similar to keep the soft underfoot feel and the responsiveness that made the success of this model. The upper is wider for a more comfortable foot lockdown but a little less effective. We hope the v3 will offer a more targeted fit.

The testers unanimously enjoyed the exceptional ride of the Nike Vaporfly Next 2 runs that is really worth a try and gave a very high score to the shoe. Of course, the $250 price tag is still steep and may be a barrier for many carbon-aspiring runners! Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find cheaper shoes in this hot category.

Now that we have established that the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next 2 is an outstanding shoe, we need to determine how it fares against its direct competitors. Make sure to check out our comparisons to find out if this model is the most suitable for you!

Since 2017, we have analyzed hundreds of running shoes and every month thousands of runners trust us to find the perfect pair! Discover our selection of the top 2021 running shoes.

Where to buy it?

Besides your local running store, here are some trusted online retailers where you can find the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2:

Model: Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

Facts
Terrain

Road

Heel to toe drop

8 mm

Heel stack height

40 mm

Forefoot stack height

32 mm

Pronation

Features

,

Weight (men)

186 g/6.6 oz

Weight (women)

168 g/5.9 oz

Release year

2021

Technologies
Midsole

ZoomX

Outsole

flex grooves, Rubber

Upper

Engineered Mesh

Cushioning
Bounce (1-5)

5 – Very bouncy

Softness (1-5)

4 – Soft

Use
Distance

10K, Mid distance, Marathon, Long distance

Speed

Moderate, Fast

Workout

Competition

Comparisons – Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2 vs.:

Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% (2020)

The stack, drop, and weight are the same from one model to another. Thus, the underfoot feel and the ride are almost identical. The main changes are the following:

  • The toe box is wider
  • The shoe is wider under the forefoot for better stability
  • Looser fit to accommodate wider feet, but may be a problem for others.

Overall, we recommend that you base your decision on your budget (the first version is now available at a lower price).

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT

See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.

Asics MetaSpeed Sky

See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.

Adidas Adizero Adios Pro

See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.

Saucony Endorphin Pro 2

See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.

New Balance FuelCell RC Elite 2

Coming soon.

FAQs

How's the fit of the Vaporfly?

Answer: It fits true to size. For example, if you're used to shoe size 10 (US) at Nike, then you can choose the same for this model.

Is the Vaporfly worth the price?

Answer: In terms of design, innovation, and ride, yes, it is! However, when it comes to durability, we can't say that it's worth it.

How long will the Nike Vaporfly last?

Answer: It will depend on the runner, but it should be around 200 miles at most. Of course, it can be more or less depending on your personal criteria (some like to see holes in the sole before retiring their shoes!).

1 review for Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2

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  1. Runner’s Lab

    A great competition shoe that combines comfort and performance for a unique ride.

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