Reviews You Can Rely On

Nike Vaporfly 3 - Women's Review

This speed-focused road shoe is what you want if you are chasing PRs, Strava segments, or pushing your limits
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Nike Vaporfly 3 - Women's Review (If you are ready to race, this is the shoe to do it in.)
If you are ready to race, this is the shoe to do it in.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $260 List
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Manufacturer:   Nike
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 12, 2024
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 24
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 9.5
  • Stability - 20% 6.0
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 5.0
  • Weight - 15% 10.0

Our Verdict

The Nike Vaporfly 3 is a shoe unlike any others in our lineup. With a full-length carbon plate for serious propulsion and a strong toe-off, and a uniquely minimalistic upper, this is a racing shoe through and through. Weighing in at only 4.98 ounces for a women's size 6.5, the Vaporfly isn't going to weigh you down one bit. Though impressive as a race shoe, it lacks versatility and isn't a road shoe that we recommend for all runners and run types — not least of which is because of the elite-level price point. But if you are ready to amp up your speed days and have the cash to spare, the Vaporfly 3 is a worthy, albeit pricy, investment.
REASONS TO BUY
Ultra-responsive
Lightweight
Great for racing
REASONS TO AVOID
Less versatile
Very expensive
Lacks upper comfort

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Bottom Line While not a daily trainer, this shoe is a racing phenom that will help you push your speed boundariesThis running shoe offers the performance technology and comfort needed to be your go-to shoe, no matter your running goalsThis racing shoe is built for speed demons who want to add a high-functioning piece of gear to their existing shoe collectionsFor epic versatility in a single shoe, we recommend this lightweight superstarWhile not a race-focused shoe, this affordable and bouncy option will keep your legs turning over quickly and easily
Rating Categories Nike Vaporfly 3 - W... Asics Novablast 4 -... Nike Alphafly 3 - W... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Saucony Kinvara 14...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.5
8.0
7.5
Responsiveness (25%)
9.5
7.5
10.0
7.0
7.5
Stability (20%)
6.0
8.0
4.0
7.0
5.5
Upper Comfort (15%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
7.5
6.5
Weight (15%)
10.0
7.4
9.4
8.5
9.5
Specs Nike Vaporfly 3 - W... Asics Novablast 4 -... Nike Alphafly 3 - W... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Saucony Kinvara 14...
Sizes Available 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 11 US, regular & wide 5 - 12 US, regular & wide
Style Racing Neutral Racing Daily Neutral
Measured Heel Stack Height 32 mm 40 mm 42 mm 34 mm 30 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm 9 mm 8 mm 2 mm 5 mm
Plate Type Carbon None Carbon None None
Rocker Angle 24.0 deg 22.0 deg 26.0 deg 24.5 deg 26.0 deg
Rocker Apex Location 72.28% 69.48% 72.28% 65.38% 68.15%
Measured Weight 4.98 oz 7.36 oz 5.71 oz 6.27 oz 5.55 oz
Upper Flyknit yarn Engineered knit mesh Atomknit Creel jaqquard Mesh
Midsole Nike ZoomX foam FF Blast Plus Eco ZoomX Supercritical EVA PWRRUN, PWRRUN+
Outsole Rubber AHAR outsole Rubber Rubber XT-900 rubber
Heel Tab Type None Finger loop Finger loop Extended heel pull Finger loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you are a speed-focused racer and want a shoe that can keep up on race day, this 8mm drop, carbon-plated superstar might be perfect for you.

Performance Comparison


nike vaporfly 3 for women - the vaporfly is built to push paces in. though it lacks some of the...
The Vaporfly is built to push paces in. Though it lacks some of the comfort elements of other shoes, it performs exactly as it is intended to.
Credit: Prudence Amsden

Cushioning and Landing Comfort


The Vaporfly 3 doesn't offer the typical landing comfort and cushioning that we are accustomed to seeing on shoes built for the road. Instead, it hosts a thick Nike ZoomX foam stack with an embedded plate for powerful energy return. This is paired with a profoundly thin insole (0.5mm) for maximal speed pushes. The foam and rubber come together beneath the body of the Vaporfly to create a really bouncy and comfortable ride, especially considering all of the tech that is squished into the outsole. While not a plush outsole, the springy foam cushions joints well enough to earn high marks in this metric. This is not our top recommendation for all training distances because of its carbon fiber plate. Especially for newer runners, a more traditionally shaped running shoe without a plate in the outsole will likely be a more reliable choice for overall comfort.

The underfoot foam of the Vaporfly cushions your landings to protect your joints while the carbon plate propels you forward.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Responsiveness


The Vaporfly set the standard for responsiveness when we first included it in our lineup of tested shoes and remains one of the top competitors in this metric. It is a rare model with such strength in its energy return. If you are looking for a responsive shoe, you've found it. The carbon fiber fly plate is responsible for the epic propulsion of the Vaporfly. The plate runs the entire length of the outsole, so no matter your gait, you have a launchpad to propel yourself forward.

What Did Our Mens' Testing Team Think?


On the men's side, the Vaporfly took home an award. We tested both the Vaporfly and the Alphafly, and While the numerical scores between the two are very similar, our men's team felt that the Vaporfly offered a bit more responsiveness when flying around fast corners. They prefer the course versatility that the Vaporfly offers, making it their top pick for race day.

The mildly convex shape of the outsole adds an additional element of responsiveness, as it seemingly allows one footfall to roll into the next. This combines beautifully with the launchpad-style outsole for maximal speed. Running in the Vaporfly means that the energy you put into your stride will be returned, which is very efficient, especially for racing. The first few strides in such a responsive shoe can feel wobbly because the fit tends to be unfamiliar, but after hitting a rhythm, the energetic feedback becomes addictive.

nike vaporfly 3 for women - the outsole shape and design make the vaporfly the most responsive...
The outsole shape and design make the Vaporfly the most responsive shoe that we have tested to date.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

While the Vaporfly is powerfully responsive, that doesn't make it appropriate for all runners and run types. Executing some training runs in the shoes you'll race in is a great idea, but performing all of your training runs in such a unique shoe isn't. Our expert testers recommend utilizing speed shoes like the Vaporfly as part of your arsenal. For long, slow mileage, the responsiveness provided by the Vaporfly is overkill, so these types of runs would be better enjoyed in shoes with a bit more outsole flexibility, lateral support, and toe box space.

The responsive design of the Vaporfly is awesome for speed work and races but is less appropriate for long and slow marathon training efforts.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Stability


The updated heel collar taper of the Vaporfly 3 makes it more stable than previous iterations, though this is still not a shoe we recommend to runners who want stability. The upper is made of wildly breathable Flyknit yarn. It is so breathable, in fact, that you can see straight through the holes to your socks. This design helps to keep the weight of the Vaporfly low but doesn't offer much reinforcement for lateral stability. The angled lace bed and tongue allow you to tighten the laces up for a secure fit to ensure you won't roll your ankles off of the platform. In terms of support for overpronators and the like, the Vaporfly is lacking. It feels secure but not particularly stable. If you want a racing shoe that offers incredible responsiveness with support, other options might be more appropriate for you.

nike vaporfly 3 for women - the bit of cushion in the heel creates a secure fit, but doesn't...
The bit of cushion in the heel creates a secure fit, but doesn't offer any lateral support.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Upper Comfort


The upper weave of the Vaporfly 3 offers almost nothing in terms of cushioning or comfort elements. With the exception of the tiniest little cushions you've ever seen on the tongue, the upper is severely minimalistic. The Flyknit weave of the Vaporfly is minimal but well-designed so as not to interfere with the fit and use of the shoe. To be clear, there is nothing outwardly comfortable about the upper, but it fits in such a way that it feels fine as you run. The toe box is slightly wider than it was in versions past, giving your toes a bit of extra space to splay and flex as you work. The heel collar is far from plush, but the small, pillowy pockets at the rear prevent rubbing and hotspots by ensuring a secure fit. The lay-flat tongue doesn't offer much of a barrier between the lace bed and the upper of your foot, which can feel uncomfortable after a few miles. Ultimately, the Vaporfly is not a shoe to consider if you want a truly comfortable experience. But if you are motivated by PRs and leg turnover, this shoe is well-fitted enough to earn a spot in your race day gear lineup.

The huge holes in the upper of the Vaporfly provide extreme breathability and help keep this speed-focused shoe so lightweight.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight


It is no surprise that a shoe built for speed weighs in at the light end of the pack, but the lightness of the Vaporfly feels almost otherworldly. At 4.98 ounces for a women's size 6.5, the Vaporfly is light. All of its weight rides in the outsole, which can add to the slightly awkward feel of the first few strides. But once your body grows used to the way the outsole weight functions, the Vaporfly feels almost weightless underfoot. It feels like a serious piece of gear underfoot, a sensation that is far different from many of the plush, pillowy running shoes on the market today. If an ultra-lightweight and responsive shoe is your jam, here it is.

nike vaporfly 3 for women - the minimalistic upper of the vaporfly is part of what allows it to...
The minimalistic upper of the Vaporfly is part of what allows it to be such a lightweight shoe.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Should You Buy the Nike Vaporfly 3?


The Vaporfly 3 lacks the versatility of some of our most often recommended running shoes, so keep that in mind as you shop. This is a really great speed and racing shoe, but it is not going to be your best bet for long, slow, distance runs because the comfortable elements just aren't there. If this niche shoe sounds like it would make a great addition to your existing running shoe lineup, we wholeheartedly recommend buying it and enjoying the speed it encourages. If you want a do-it-all daily trainer, we recommend you avoid specialty shoes like the Vaporfly.

nike vaporfly 3 for women - finishing speed workouts in such a propulsive shoe is sure to give...
Finishing speed workouts in such a propulsive shoe is sure to give you a sense of pride in your accomplishments.
Credit: Prudence Amsden

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?


If you like the idea of a super responsive shoe but want one with a bit more versatility, check out the Puma Deviate Nitro 2. The Deviate Nitro is heavier than the Vaporfly but comes with a bit more stability, cushion, and comfort. The Nike Alphafly 3 is another supreme racing shoe. The Alphafly is a bit heavier and offers a bit more arch support but is equally as responsive and race-ready as the Vaporfly. If you want a responsive shoe without a carbon fiber plate, the Saucony Kinvara 14 might be a great option for you. The flexible outsole of the Kinvara doesn't offer as strong of energy return as the Vaporfly or Deviate Nitro. The foamy underfoot feel of the Kinvara is comfortable and peppy and available for significantly less money than the leading super shoes.

Ally Arcuri