Nike is breaking new ground with its “Breaking2” initiative to help a group of three runners complete a full marathon in under two hours for the first time in history.
To aid its chosen athletes, the sportswear giant has developed a brand-new running shoe called the Zoom Vaporfly Elite, which will be worn during the marathon attempts.
It uses tech called ZoomX, which refers to a new kind of midsole cushioning system. It’s designed to give runners more energy return during push-off while providing additional support for the long run.
This makes the Elite different from other racing shoes, as most models are very flat without much cushioning. The ZoomX foam is also softer, lighter, and more responsive than other foams.
Other innovations in the Elite include a carbon fiber plate in the shoe that “minimizes energy loss at toe off, creating a smoother transition.”
The Elite is a concept shoe that won’t be for sale, but the shoe and its ZoomX tech will be adapted for the mass market as the Zoom Vaporfly 4%. That 4% refers to Nike’s claim that the technology allows runners to be that much more efficient in a marathon compared to its previous fastest marathon shoe.
For runners looking for a more full-featured shoe, Nike is also making Nike Zoom Fly, a shoe durable enough for both racing and training, and the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34, which is not for racing but offers balance between comfort and support. All three models will go on sale on June 8.