Nike running shoe generates praise, criticism


The sport of running has been improving since shoes were first made. One of the most recent developments is the Nike Zoomx Vaporfly 4 percent shoe that has gained attention in the running community. The Vaporflys have put Nike back on the map for running shoes through their technological improvements. The Vaporflys have broken ground with the implementation of a carbon fiber plate and the use of zoomx foam that gives it more bounce resulting in the shoes hypothetically letting the runner use 4 percent less energy than other shoes. For all the shoe has to offer, the $250 price tag, has drawn criticism for limiting uses to those athletes who can afford them.

While the Vaporflys are not outlawed in any races, skeptics have questioned the legality of the shoe in high school and collegiate athletics. The carbon fiber plate and the alleged air pockets give an advantage that is not matched by any other shoe. Even though most do not own a pair, they are fine with athletes using them.

“I’m OK with the shoes being allowed as a choice of the runner to buy them,” Jameson Isom (11) said. “The shoe doesn’t give any training or fitness advantage, so it doesn’t benefit anyone when they take them off.”

Although the Vaporflys are rarely used for training, many races have been dominated by athletes wearing the shoe. Most prominently, Kenyan distance-runner Eluid Kipchoge used the Vaporflys in his famous 2 hour 15 second marathon. In addition, 31 out of 36 major marathons have been won by runners wearing Vaporflys, pointing to a possible imbalance in racing.

Even though most races have been won with Vaporflys, talent and skill will always outpace the advantages of a shoe.

“I’m fine with them being used in races.” Sam Oliver (11) said.” If someone is truly a better runner, then they can beat someone with a good pair of shoes.

The Vaporflys do have some disadvantages beyond price with reports of the shoes going bad after 150 to 200 miles of use.

“The shoes aren’t meant to be worn for anything that is short distance, so they would only last four to five weeks.” Jameson said. “If the owner is fine with putting in $250 for that little, then be my guest.”

Vaporflys are only the start of Nike’s improvements in running shoes. Nike has begun testing variations on the Vaporfly and many more tests are on the way. The next biggest introduction of Nike shoes are the Alphaflys that are scheduled to be released to the public on Saturday. The alphaflys have already gained the same spotlight the Vaporlfys had after Eluid Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier in the marathon with a time of one hour, 59 minute and 40 seconds while using the Alphafly shoes, which share some of the same advancements as the Vaporflys.

By Gavin Litchfield