What if your trainers could actually help you run faster, and not just by being supportive? That's the promise of the Next% running shoe from Nike, a shoe that can actually get to the finishing line in a shorter amount of time, as well as offering premium style and premium comfort. The inventive design actually does help competitors run faster (as we found in our review), and Nike continues to improve on its ground-breaking design – that kind of immediate impact is why we're giving our Tech Innovation Award at the T2 Awards 2020 to the Nike's ZoomX Vaporfly Next%.
• Read our full Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% review (opens in new tab)
Let's not forget this shoe series is also responsible for Eliud Kipchoge becoming the first person ever to run a marathon distance (26.2 miles) in under two hours: 1 hour, 59 minutes, and 40 seconds. Kipchoge had some help from a group of elite pacesetters, and a guidance car, but he was also wearing the Nike trainers that have caused such a stir in the world of running.
Enter the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% – as the name suggests, it’s intended to add the next percentage point improvement to your running times. There are no hidden springs here, just an immensely intelligent bit of of technical and structural design that means you're expending less energy as you run, with the spare energy able to propel you to a faster pace.
Everything about these trainers is configured for speed, from the lightweight AtomKnit fabric that reduces weight and improves breathability, to the carbon fibre plate underneath the shoe that means your foot snaps back from the ground. Despite being lightweight, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% is supremely strong, and repels water effortlessly to make sure moisture doesn't drag your feet down.
Then there's the advanced cushioning that we need to talk about: Zoom Air Pods and ZoomX Foam maximise the energy return on every step that a runner takes through a race. With this improved cushioning combined with the reduced weight of the shoe, it's time to tackle those personal bests again, although if you really want to improve those weekly Parkrun times, we'd recommend sticking to a sensible diet and getting through plenty of exercise, as well as upgrading your trainers.
Added to all of this are the style and distinctive aesthetics that you would expect from Nike. The iconic tick is here of course, but so is a bold colour design, with green, blue, black and pink hints expertly merged together. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course, but we think you're going to be turning some heads while wearing these (on your way to another fastest time).
For Nike to produce such a level of innovation in a product that's been around for as long as the running shoe is a mind-blowing achievement – about as mind-blowing as a two-hour marathon – and shoe is a worthy winner of this year's Tech Innovation Award.
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