Nick Symmonds is a two-time Olympian for the US and also the CEO of Run Gum. The former professional runner took a trip to his local Nike store, purchased a pair of Nike Next% shoes and sliced them open to see what’s inside.
Symmonds examines every part of the shoe in the above video. Here are the takeaways.
The upper has selective padding
When slicing open the shoe, Symmonds found padding around the heel collar, which ensure the runner’s foot stays put and the potential for chafing and blisters is minimized. This is an important feature of the otherwise extremely minimal upper.
The carbon is high quality
The carbon-fibre plate which runs through the entire shoe is really good quality. Symmonds struggled to slice through the plate with a saw.
ZoomX foam is hard to slice
Nike’s ZoomX foam, used in the Vaporfly shoes and the Pegasus Turbo line, is very light, but shockingly dense, as demonstrated by Symmonds’ video. The runner struggled to get a knife through the foam, an interesting outcome as one of the chief complaints about the shoe is how quickly the foam begins to deteriorate.
Many have argued that the IAAF should ban the shoe, something they’ve done before. The organization’s shoe rules state: “Athletes may compete barefoot or with footwear on one or both feet. The purpose of shoes for competition is to give protection and stability to the feet and a firm grip on the ground. Such shoes, however, must not be constructed so as to give athletes any unfair assistance or advantage.”
The rule continues, “Athletes may not use any appliance, either inside or outside the shoe, which will have the effect of increasing the thickness of the sole above the permitted maximum, or which can give the wearer any advantage which he would not obtain from the type of shoe described in the previous paragraphs.”
Symmonds’ assessment is that the shoe isn’t breaking any rules, and based on the IAAF’s silence, that’s likely its assessment as well.