So Wired's Nicholas Thompson, who ran NY with the 4% shoes on, wanted to know if they really work. So he had a buddy, David Greenberg, go out to the Bronx and photograph 138 runners at this weekend's NYC Marathon who had both bibs and shoes visible. He then compared the performance of the 4% wearers with everyone else. Here is what he came up with.
My research assistant and I eliminated the elites and just focused on the civilians. The fastest finished in around 2:30; the slowest in about 3:15.
Of the 92 photos Greenberg took, 138 runners have both shoes and bibs visible. Of those, 22 are wearing the Nike Zoom Vaporfly and 116 are not. We looked up the data for each of these 138 runners, and, interestingly, the Vaporfly runners finished much better. Of that group, seven, or 32 percent, ran negative splits. Of the others, seventeen, or only 15 percent ran negative splits. The average Vaporfly runner ran the second half of the marathon a minute and a half slower than the first. But the average non-Vaporfly runner ran the second half five and a half minutes slower. Both groups of runners had faded, but the people in the new shoes had faded less.
Here is the data:
We wonder why he eliminated the elites (to get rid of DNFS??). We'll ask him and report back.