I have been a Marathon in Training (MIT) coach for several years and I always tell my athletes that the new racing shoes have been scientifically tested on women with bad results. We proven this by trying a lot while walking and also when doing exercises. Literally everyone was like OUCH!
Hard to tell how much faster I am with Vaporflys since I was in much better shape when I was racing in the Streak Lts.
Two parts to my answer. 1) For any given race, about 3 sec per mile faster as compared with wearing a different pair of shoes like my trainers (~1%--which aligns with some other answers). 2) That said, my recovery from races and hard workouts was much much better with Vapor Flys and Zoom Flys than when wearing racing flats or even other regular shoes. Consequently, my training improved once I started wearing them regularly, and I cut about 20 seconds per mile off my racing times (e.g. 18 min 5k to 16:55 5k). Teasing apart 1) and 2) is really important here, and I think people are underestimating the recovery benefits from the shoes.
How do cheater shoes do on hills, where you require ankle flex......and cheater shoes give you no ankle flex.
Has anyone won Mt. Washington in cheater shoes?
They seem to allow you to run over the ground, but not drive off the ground. In other words, they work best on the flat, and longer distances.
Weren't the original cheater shoes (Zoom Fly) foam only (and left runners floundering), and they had to add the carbon fiber plate to add stability.
Do flex shoes (Nike Free, etc) give you an advantage over shorter distances?
Is it true cheater shoes were originally designed for Rupp (a bouncy, drivey runner) to handle the ravages of the last 6 miles of a 'thon?
Plenty of food for thought here - please respond the same AKA thoughtfully.
My friend's sister ran her first marathon in 4:58 in Vomeros
Then she bought some Vaporflys and ran her next marathon 2 months later in 4:39.
She is a believer and plans to buy every new version of this shoe when released to keep improving.
If Nike made a 4% or Next with Lunar foam and the same weight and uppers but without the plate or foam... I bet people would run nearly identical times in either shoe. The thicker foam and nice uppers are probably the biggest asset to the design. All marathon shoes produced before the 4% were all thin foamed 5K shoes. There wasn’t even one thick foamed light racing shoe until the 4%.
The Brooks, Adidas, and Nike shoes that existed before the 4% were all 10K shoes with zero cushion.
Personally as my fitness progressed over 4-5 years I ran before the shoes existed and with each new model. I don’t think the shoes are as important as good weather and a really fast course on a cold day. I’ve run more 1/2 marathon PR in Lunar Racers and only 30’seconds faster in the marathon with the Next %. I also ran several minutes slower in mediocre weather with all types of shoes.
I don’t really believe anyone running 3, 3:30 or 4 hours that these shoes really help. Anyone running an 18-19 minute 5K can’t really tell me that the shoe helped them drop a minute. My guess is their PR’s were soft. Every local 5k is run on different course in different weather. Most local 5k’s are not actually 3.1 miles.
6-7 minute miles are closer to fast jogging. You could easily lose 5-10 pounds or train harder and easily get 5-10 minutes faster in a marathon running in training shoes. Once you are running 5:30 pace no one is getting 1 minute per mile faster per mile regardless of shoes or training.
I think once you get under 2:30 maybe you can start to tell a slight difference. That is at least a decent effort near 5:30 per mile. Most runners at that point are very lean and . They probably have a few marathons under their belt to compare. I think it’s hard for someone who didn’t have a really fast PR before the shoes.... and after the shoes to have a good opinion.
We need concrete studies to say how they effect race times and who they have an effect on. Anecdotally, it’s pretty clear they feel good, and feeling good in training translates to feeling good in races. You feel good while racing? Guess what. You run fast.
In my experience, they’re worth it for the benefit of feeling good in workouts, but quickly become like anything of the sort. You miss them when you don’t have them.
30 seconds or so for 5k for a slow old runner. Maybe even a bit more. 19 minute runner.
I agree the shoes feel Good and are soft. They fit great and are light.
People who claim 30 seconds in a 5k need to go to the track and run a 5k...4-5 times in comparable shoes. If they did this over a 1 month period there is no way they run 30 seconds faster in the 4% and 30 seconds slower in a similar racing shoe. There is no way a shoe can make you 30 seconds faster if you run with the same fitness on the same course.
Running 19 minutes in a 5k would suggest moderate training and a moderate BMI. There are bigger ways to improve. It would also suggest possibly moderate fitness which might make a runner inconsistent and easily manipulated by a placebo. If you found a runner in peak fitness and they could replicate a 5k at 90-95% effort you could start to narrow in on some good data.
The problem is people run a peak effort in the shoes and they give all the credit to the shoes.
Before the Vaporflys when people PR’d they gave themselves and their coach the credit. There were no shoes to take all of the credit.