Nike Vaporfly Next % 3 Review

Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 Review – Better Or Worse Than The Vaporfly 2

The Vaporfly 3 is here and we finally got our hands on a pair to test. After recently smashing my marathon and 5k PBs in the Vaporfly 2s I have become a huge fan of the shoe. In this article we are going to look at the changes which have been made to this new model and whether or not we think it’s better than the Vaporfly 2. Let’s jump in.

Vaporfly 3 Video Review

Vaporlfy 3 Video Review

Nike Vaporfly 3 Tech Specs

Shoe TypeNeutral
TerrainRoad, Light Trail
Best ForRace / Speed Shoe
DistanceMarathon / Long Runs
WeightMen 198g (US 10)
Forefoot Height32mm
Heel Height40mm
Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 Specs

Who Should Buy The Vaporfly 3s?

Nike Vaporfly Next% 3 Review

The Vaporfly 3s are a straight racing shoe. These are not made for an easy 2-mile on a Tuesday. When I first held them in my hands I was shocked at how light they were. This shoe is made for running longer races such as the Marathon, Half Marathon, or maybe even a 10k. Expect to put a few runs in on the shoe before race day but really it is a race day only shoe.

Who Shouldn’t Buy This Shoe?

If you are just a casual runner who goes out for a few miles per week, you don’t need this shoe. It’s extremely expensive, starting out at £235 in the UK and $250 in the US. As the shoe is made for racing it doesn’t have the greatest durability meaning they may only last 150 – 200 hard miles before being replaced. The shoe sacrifices durability for speed.

Differences Between The Vaporfly 3 and Vaporfly 2

The Vaporfly 3 got some notable updates with this iteration.


Vaporfly 3 Midsole vs Vaporfly 2 Midsole

The midsole is still made with Zoom X foam but we have a new more angular shape. Personally, I prefer this style over the V2s. Nike has stated that the forefoot and heel heights are the same as the Vaporfly 2s at 32mm and 40mm, respectively. However, Nike has reduced the thickness of the outsole adding an extra 2mm of Zoom X foam. When wearing the shoe it does feel slightly more cushioned than the Vaporfly 2.

The shoe has lots of cutouts on the midsole to remove as much weight as possible without affecting the cushioning of the shoe.

The compound that the Zoom X foam is made of has stayed the same but Nike has stated that it has been tweaked slightly to provide slightly more energy return.


Vaporfly 3 Outsole vs Vaporfly 2 Outsole

The outsole now has a more grippy rubber on the bottom of the sole. Personally, I felt this was greatly needed on this shoe as I had problems in wet conditions in the Vaporfly 2, mainly on footpaths and other less grippy surfaces. The thickness of this outsole has been decreased slightly to allow for more Zoom X foam in the shoe. In my opinion, the Vaporfly 3 does feel considerably softer underfoot than the 2. It will be interesting to see how durable this thinner upper is over time. I will keep you updated on this in the wear and tear section below.


Vaporfly 3 vs Vaporfly 2 Upper

The upper in the new shoe has changed quite significantly. In the Vaporfly 2, the upper was made from a mesh-like material whereas the new upper is made from Flyknit. This Flyknit material has clear visible holes in it. You can clearly see your socks through the upper. If you’re running in the rain, expect to get your feet wet.

How Does The Vaporfly 3 Feel?

When I first put the Vaporfly 3s on, I instantly felt that the shoe was slightly roomier on my foot compared to my Vaporfy 2s in the same size. I was initially worried about slippage around the heel. On my first run, I did have a bit of rubbing around my arch but nothing major.

On my second run out I wore a slightly thicker pair of socks and this seems to have cleared up any issues. There was zero rubbing or slippage on the second run out. I would recommend trying these shoes on before buying as it could be a good choice to purchase a half-size smaller than you normally do.

Vaporfly 3 In Use

On that second run out the shoes felt amazing. Similar to the Vaporfly 2s I just wanted to run faster. I was able to push faster paces with less effort. The shoe feels really cushioned and has that signature Vaporfly slapping sound with every stride.

I definitely see myself picking the 3s over the 2s for the marathon distance. However, when it comes to a 5k I will probably opt for the Vaporfly 2s. They feel a little less comfortable to me but I love how responsive and springy they feel.

Vaporfly 3 Structure


The Upper on the Vaporfly 3s is made from Nike Flyknit. This is designed to be lightweight and comfortable for those long miles. The holes in the fabric are very breathable giving you adequate airflow while pushing yourself. The upper feels like it hugs around your foot when you lace up the shoe.

Lacing System

The lacing system is very similar to the Vaporfly 2s. It’s offset from the center, coming down the outside of your arch. The tongue of the shoe is quite large. When I first laced them up it crinkled in a certain position. This is what I think caused the rubbing on my arch during that first run. When you’re putting the shoe on ensure that the tongue is spread evenly across the top of your foot before lacing the shoe up.

I personally use the runner’s loop method of tying the shoe to lock it down. I have to do this on both the Vaporfly 2 and 3 to ensure the shoe feels stable on my foot.


Vaporfly 3 Midsole

The midsole in this shoe is made from Nike’s signature Zoom X foam. They have said that the compound they use has been tweaked slightly to provide more energy return from the shoe. By decreasing the thickness of the outsole, they have been able to add an extra 2mm of foam to this shoe, compared to the Vaporfly 2.

To me this change is noticeable. I find the shoe to be a lot more cushioned than the Vaporfly 2.

There is also a significant change in the design of the foam. This time around we have a more angular design. There are cuts outs on the sides of the foam, as well as a cut-out underneath revealing the carbon plate in the bottom of the shoe.


Vaporfly 3 Outsole

The outsole of the shoe has changed significantly from its predecessor. We now have this new grippier rubber pattern on the forefoot. I haven’t had a chance to race in the rain in this shoe yet, but it looks like a significant improvement over the forefoot on the Vaporfly, which I found to be very slippy in wet conditions.

The shoe also feels more stable to me. It feels like you have slightly more width to the shoe getting more rubber on the ground.

The rear of the sole looks like it could be prone to some very quick wear and tear. I will keep you updated on this as I log more miles.

Long Runs In The Vaporfly 3s

I took on my first long run in the Vaporflys yesterday and wasn’t disappointed. I was slightly apprehensive after the rubbing on the first run out, but a slightly thicker sock seems to have solved any problems.

I did an 11.5-mile run at 7:50 pace. This is considerably faster than I would normally do a long run. I wanted to give the shoe a good run out. Normally I would do my long runs around the 8:40 pace.

For running at a threshold pace for me, for 11 miles my heart rate stayed around the 165 range with an average heart rate on the run of 161 BPM. Running at a 7:50 pace felt a similar effort to running 8:10 or so in normal shoes.

The shoes were comfortable throughout and any rubbing or slippage problems I had on run one had disappeared. The shoe potentially just needed some time to be broken in.

Speed In The Vaporfly 3s

I just took the shoes out for a Tempo session and boy did they feel good. I went out for 6 mile, 1.5 warm-up 3 tempo and 1.5 cool down. I ran at a 6:55 pace for the tempo section which is 20-30 seconds faster than my usual tempo speed yet I felt solid throughout the run.

The shoes just make you want to go fast. My heart rate stayed steady at around 170-175 which is great for me at those paces. I don’t think there is a huge difference from the previous version of the Vaporfly but it’s definitely not worse. As I have mentioned in other sections of the review, it feels extremely soft underfoot and springs back when you strike your foot.

The shoe felt stable throughout my run and felt like it really gripped the road, giving me the confidence to push into corners hard.

Overall, I feel really confident in this shoe and believe it is slightly more comfortable and stable than version 2 of the Vaporfly.

Should You Buy The Vaporfly 3s?

If you want a great race day shoe that is more than capable of taking you to a Personal Best then go ahead and pick this shoe up. The shoe is great all around, especially for the half marathon and marathon distance. The only real downside is the price. The shoe is on the more expensive side due to it being a race day shoe with carbon plates.

If you have miles left in your Vaporfly 2s I don’t think you need to rush out and purchase these right away. While the shoe feels slightly more comfortable and spongey underfoot than the Vaporfly 2s it’s not going to make a significant difference in your times compared to the 2s. You may also be able to pick up the Vaporfly 2s at a nice discount since the 3s have dropped.

How Durable Is The Nike Vaporfly 3

Below I will keep you updated on how the shoe holds up over the miles.

50 Mile Update

Wrapping Up

So there you have it. The latest version of the Nike Vaporflys. Hopefully, this review has given you enough information to make a decision on whether or not you should purchase them. Chances are, if you grab a pair, you won’t be disappointed.

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