It’s no secret that Nike wants to make you a faster runner, but can the right pair of shoes help you eek out that personal best? According to an article released by the New York Times, there’s enough evidence to believe that the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% can do just that. The Times looked at race data from 500,000 marathon and half marathon running times since 2014. The Vaporfly 4% first launched in July of 2017, and have flown off shelves ever since.
Elites like Eliud Kipchoge, Shalane Flanagan and Galen Rupp have all worn the sneakers to win the Berlin, New York and Chicago marathons, respectively. But do the performance benefits translate to the everyday runner as well? Overwhelmingly, yes.
The Times studied race and shoe reports from Strava, a run and cycling logging app that’s popular among those communities. The sheer amount of data points and comparison points The Times gathered from Strava allowed it to come to the conclusion that a shoe can actually make you faster. Compared to other popular running shoes, “runners in Vaporfly ran three to four percent faster than similar runners wearing other shoes.” And it’s not just for marathoners — when The Times restricted its analysis to slower runners, enthusiastic runners (four completed full or half marathons) and fastest runners (New York City marathon qualifiers), the chance of a PR (personal record) was consistently 59 percent or higher.
While it’s not a sure science, if you’re a four-hour marathoner, the Vaporflys can help you possibly shave about eight minutes off your time, and can help a three-hour marathoner improve by almost six minutes. We certainly think the $250 would be worth it for that kind of time.
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