Effects of Highly Cushioned and Resilient Racing Shoes on Running Economy at Slower Running Speeds

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2023 Jan 10;18(2):164-170. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2022-0227. Print 2023 Feb 1.


Purpose: The Nike Vaporfly line of running shoes improves running economy by ∼2.7% to 4.2% at running speeds of 13 to 18 km·h-1. It is unclear whether similar benefits are conferred at slower speeds. Our purpose was to determine the effects of the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 (VFN2) on running economy at 10 and 12 km·h-1 compared with a mass-matched control (CTRL) shoe.

Methods: Sixteen runners completed 4 × 5-minute trials at both 10 and 12 km·h-1 on the same day. Each shoe was tested twice at each speed in a counterbalanced, mirrored sequence. Data are displayed as mean (SD).

Results: A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance showed a significant shoe × speed interaction for oxygen consumption (P = .021). At 12 km·h-1, oxygen consumption (in mL·kg-1·min-1) was lower (-1.4% [1.1%]; P < .001) for VFN2 (35.8 [1.7]) relative to CTRL (36.4 [1.7]). That was greater in magnitude than the differences observed at 10 km·h-1 (-0.9% [1.8%]; P = .065) between VFN2 (29.4 [1.9]) and CTRL (29.6 [1.9]).

Conclusions: From these data, it appears that the VFN2 still enhances running economy at 10 and 12 km·h-1; however, these benefits are smaller in magnitude compared with previous research at faster speeds.

Keywords: biomechanics; endurance; footwear; marathon; performance.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Running*
  • Shoes*