Dezeen Magazine

Nike adapts super-fast marathon shoe for everyday wear

Nike has applied its signature ZoomX foam to a new running shoe, which the brand describes as its "fastest-ever training product".

The Zoom Pegasus Turbo is the latest product in a line described by Nike as the "next generation" of running shoes. Its name comes from Nike's classic Pegasus shoe, which has been giving a new aerodynamic shape.

The sole kicks away at the heel to give the impression of motion even when stationary. This feature also provides comfort by taking weight off the sensitive Achilles tendon, which can be a sore spot for many runners.

The shoe features an ultra-lightweight foam midsole that absorbs ground impact and cushions the foot, improving marathon performance while also being comfortable enough for daily training.

The foam was originally developed for athletes attempting to break the two-hour marathon barrier at the Breaking2 race held by Nike last year. Runners including Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea wore Nike's custom-engineered Zoom Vaporfly Elite marathon shoes.

Afterwards, Nike took feedback from the athletes on how the super-fast Vaporfly Elite could be adapted to create a commercial running shoe.

"We decided to take the best of the Vaporfly and Pegasus, and merge those things together to create the world's fastest training product," the brand told Dezeen.

"The Vaporfly was the first of this generation of running shoes. With Turbo, we went back to where the conversation started. It uses Nike's lightest foam with a 85 per cent energy return, and then a reactive foam that protects your foot from the street."

Following extensive testing, Nike travelled to Kenya to meet with Eliud Kipchoge so he could try the Pegasus Turbo out for himself. On his first wear, he managed to break his own 40 kilometre record.

The shoe is fast thanks to its lightweight design, with a men's size 10 weighing just 230 grammes. To achieve this, Nike designers removed as many elements as possible, including the centre section of the outsole.

"The team took out weight everywhere they possibly could," said Nike. "Any areas where you don't actually need increased durability, we gut it."

"It has this whole gap in the mid foot, because we know that isn't an area of the shoe that gets aggressive wear and tear."

Nike also removed the carbon-fibre plate that is present in the Vaporfly Elite, in order to reduce stiffness and improve comfort for the wearer. This means the ZoomX foam sits directly beneath the foot.

The shoe's upper is made from a translucent textile material, called Flyknit, which fits the foot snugly.

Nike unveiled the Pegasus Turbo during an event that took place at its Fast Lab in Berlin, attended by six-time world champion runner Paula Radcliffe.

Nike also developed a pair of trainers with 3D-printed uppers for Eliud Kipchoge to compete in the London Marathon earlier this year.