1:59:40. Eliud Kipchoge. World record. Even though there were no natural competition conditions, the Kenyan is the first human to run the marathon under two hours. In Vienna at his foot: the prototype of the new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%.

This spring the world record running shoe will be launched and added to our product range. We present the Nike Alphafly NEXT% and its innovations compared to the Vaporfly NEXT%. One thing is for sure: the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% is a running shoe that will break many more records.

The creation of the fastest marathon running shoe in history

It all started in November 2016 and Nike has announced that they want to break the eternal two-hour mark in the marathon with the project Breaking2. Together with Eliud Kipchoge and two other elite marathon runners, they started in Monza in May 2017. With a time of 2:00:25 from the same Eliud Kipchoge, they just missed the target by a very narrow margin. Nevertheless, it must be said that it was not a defeat for Nike. The sub-2 marathon was within reach.

At the Nike Breaking2 Event Eliud Kipchoge runs after just over 2 hours to the finish

Especially for this event a new kind of marathon running shoe was developed, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% with the new carbon fiber plate in the midsole. For the running event in Vienna two and a half years later this development was decisive. Only the realization of what is possible with such a carbon fiber plate in the sole and the right foam paved the way. With the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% a lot of new records and victories over different long distances were set over the last year. Looking at the World Marathon Major series alone, out of 21 podium finishes in the men's race, only two runners were not wearing Nike shoes.

"The groundbreaking research that led to the original Vaporfly unlocked an entirely new way of thinking about marathon shoes. Once we understood the plate and foam as a system, we started thinking about ways to make the system even more effective. That’s when we struck upon the idea of adding Nike Air to store and return even more of a runner’s energy and provide even more cushioning."
- Carrie Dimoff, marathon pro and part of the Nike Advanced Innovation Team

Nike took the missed goal of Breaking2 as a clue, motivation and proof of what is possible. The Vaporfly 4% and the Vaporfly NEXT% were further developed and improved once again. In October 2019 in Vienna the time had come. With the prototype of the Nike Alphafly NEXT% on his foot Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line after 1:59:40 after 42,195 km. The long thought impossible was done. Perhaps the biggest sound barrier in running was broken. You can find out here what these innovations are and how they improve you and your running.

Eliud Kipchoge is the first human to run a marathon under two hours in Vienna in 2019

The four new features of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

The new fastest running shoe in the world comes with four new features compared to its predecessor, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%. Perhaps the most noticeable is the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%: Air!

On the forefoot you will find two responsive Zoom Air chambers. The Nike Air technology has been used for many years in various models, including Nike running shoes and sneakers. The air-filled chambers provide even more energy recovery when pushing off the ground. Every step becomes softer and more energetic.

The second change is also easily recognizable by the silhouette of the shoe. The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% has even more ZoomX foam in the midsole than its predecessor. More foam means even softer cushioning but also more responsive. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the ZoomX material is its light weight. Despite the distinctive thick sole, the running shoe is extremely light.

The new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2020 soon at Keller Sports

The four new additions to the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% in the slideshow

The Air Zoom chambers on the forefoot of the new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

Nike Air Zoom chambers: additional damping and increased energy recovery

The thick ZoomX Foam midsole of the new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

Thicker Nike ZoomX midsole: lightweight and optimal reactivity

The Flyplate carbon fiber plate in the sole of the new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

Nike Flyplate: stiffer in the forefoot for even more reactivity and stability

The Atomknit Upper of the new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

Nike Atomknit Upper: light, breathable and does not absorb water

The third change to the Vaporfly NEXT% is also found in the sole. The flyplate, the carbon fibre plate mentioned above, has been revised once again. Now it is a little stiffer in the forefoot, which pushes you even more forward when walking. The plate runs along the entire length of the sole and works like a spring with every step. At the same time it provides stability during the rolling motion. A completely new running feeling that every runner should try out.

After the many innovations in the sole, Nike has also taken another look at the upper material. The result: Atomknit. Nike wanted to save even more weight for the new shoe, after all every gram counts in a marathon. Starting with the well-known Flyknit material, the brand developed a new upper material. By damping and stretching the Flyknit fibres, the so-called Atomknit was created. It is lighter, more breathable and absorbs almost no water.

"For runners, records like the four-minute mile and two-hour marathon are barometers of progress. These are barriers that have tested human potential. When someone like Eliud breaks them, our collective belief about what's possible changes. Barriers are inspiring to innovators. Like athletes, when a barrier is in front of us, we are challenged to think differently and push game-changing progress in footwear design."
- Tony Bignell, VP, Footwear Innovation

When will the new Nike running shoe be released?

First of all, it should be said: There is no fixed launch date yet. But there are good reasons for the running shoes to be on the market in March. For that we have to make some progress. The many successes, podium finishes and record times have made it clear that performance can be directly linked to Nike running shoes. So it didn't take long before some people started talking about Nike shoes being cheated or some other kind of doping. The Nike running shoes should even be banned.

This did not escape the attention of World Athletics, the umbrella organization of all national athletics federations. After some investigations, they approved the Vaporfly 4%, but the Vaporfly NEXT% and the times they had run in with it. Only the prototype of the Alphafly, with which Kipchoge broke the two-hour mark, was banned.

The reason for this was new rules for running shoes: the sole may be a maximum of 40mm thick and only have one carbon fibre plate. But the most important innovation was that all running shoes must be available on the open market for at least four months before elite marathon runners are allowed to wear them in competitions.

Now let's flip through the calendar and see the start of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 24, 2020 - the marathon races will start on August 8 and 9. Nike and also the top athletes of the brand will not miss the opportunity to wear the best material at the Olympic Games. This would mean that the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% will be released on March 24th and April 8th at the latest.

As soon as we have an exact date when we will be able to offer you the Alphafly running shoes, you can find out here.