Since the launch of their revolutionary Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, Nike has slowly but surely started dominating the Marathon competitive landscape.
In 2018, Nike Running Shoes accounted for 25 of the 36 available podium placements in the Abbott World Marathon Majors and took 8 winning places out of 12 available.
Let us say something now: they have enrolled absolutely top-class athletes and we are not stating that the shoes won, instead of the runners.
The claims of the 4% more efficiency have been backed by studies done both by Nike and by independent laboratories – and the shoes have been constantly tweaked and improved since. So much so that the 2019 edition of these shoes is called “Next %” – not claiming a specific number, just alluding to an “extra” boost.
Let’s have a look at the Podium placements in 2019 in the 6 Majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City.
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A couple of weeks ago, in Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge run the sport-defining 1:59:40 Marathon, breaking the 2 hours barrier that many deemed a hard limit for humans.
He used a further prototype of the Vaporfly – something that looks out of this world:
The very next day, Brigid Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe’s female Marathon Record in Chicago by more than one minute, clocking 2:14:04 vs the previous record of 2:15:25 set at the London Marathon in 2003.
She was wearing a pair of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%.
The only other competitor present in this list, claiming all the remaining 5 spots, is arch-rival Adidas.
Adidas performance was at its best in NYC on Sunday, claiming 3 of the 6 Podium spots and the winner of the Women race – Joyciline Jepkosgei wearing what it seems the new Adidas Takumi Sen 5 (we’re still confirming with the Brand).
Albert Korir and Mary Keitany were both wearing a shoe that we already saw the Adidas athletes wearing during the Doha world championships last month. We know it’s called the Adidas Adizero PRO and it’s not for sale yet.
What do you think? Why are all these podium placements claimed by Nike athletes? How much of this is the shoe and how much the athletes?
Do you run in the Next%? Do you feel they help you run faster? Have you tried other carbon-plate shoes, such as the Hoka ONE ONE Carbon X?
Let us know in the comments!