If things go Nike's way, the sneaker shown above will end up in history books. The new Zoom VaporFly Elite, a concept shoe that's not releasing at retail, is the model to be worn by the long-distance runners participating in Nike's Breaking2 program that seeks to break the two-hour marathon mark. (For context, the current fastest marathon time on a record-eligible course is Dennis Kimetto's 2:02:57 in 2014.)
The shoes, which are individually tuned to each of the program's runners, work in the opposite direction of traditional running flats by building things up rather than breaking them down. Notable is the sock-like Flyknit collar and the ZoomX midsole cushioning, a feature Nike touts highly.
"The groundbreaking new Nike ZoomX midsole and curved carbon fiber plate work together to provide responsive cushioning and minimized energy loss at toe off,” said Tony Bignell, VP of Footwear Innovation for Nike, in a press release. A more detailed tech breakdown of the Nike Zoom VaporFly Elite is available here.
Per Runner's World, athletes Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese will run a half-marathon Breaking2 trial at the the Formula One circuit in Monza, Italy, on Tuesday.
While the Nike Zoom VaporFly Elite isn't releasing at retail, a pack of similarly colored shoes built around speed will launch this summer. The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, Nike Zoom Fly, and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 will release in the Monza-inspired colorways seen below on June 8.