Nike Vaporfly 3 Review by a 31 Minute 10k Runner

Updated: May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024 in Reviews

Nike has consistently been leading the charge in shoe technology in recent years. While other shoe brands are now out there and quickly catching up, we will detail in this Nike Vaporfly 3 Review why we think it is the ultimate racing shoe.

So, if you are looking for your next race-day shoe or have never heard of a carbon-plated shoe, read on. 

What is the Nike Vaporfly 3?

The Nike Vaporfly 3 is a top-end racing "super shoe" from Nike. The shoe is one of the best-performing racing shoes out there and one I particularly love over the 5km and 10km distances.

Along with the Alphafly generation, the Vaporfly is Nike's premium super shoe. The Vaporfly tends to be favored for shorter distances, such as the 5k and 10k, and the Alphafly for longer distances, such as the marathon. However, different runners have different preferences, so it's certainly worth looking into each.

Who Created The Vaporfly 3?

The Vaporfly 3 was created by Nike. I have owned and raced in the complete range, so I can speak from experience in comparing them.

Nike was the first to really come out with a "super shoe" which became more popular during the Breaking 2 project. The shoe has come a long way since the early versions, with improvements made mainly on the upper and overall fit while retaining the performance benefits, utilizing a full-length carbon plate and ZoomX foam. 

Top Benefits Of The Nike Vaporfly 3?

Speed over race distances: The Nike Vaporfly can help you run faster over all distances. However, personally think its optimum performance is at the 5k, 10k, and perhaps half-marathon distances. The key ways the shoe makes you faster are through the carbon fiber plate and the ZoomX foam.

Reduced muscle soreness: My legs feel significantly less sore when I use the Nike Vaporfly 3 in training than before using the super shoes. This means I can train hard and feel better the following days, and as an experienced athlete, I can complete double training days, running both in the morning and at night. 

Grips groundOne of the big improvements I have experienced is the way the shoe can grip the ground. It also performs better now in wet conditions than prior models.

The Best Features of The Nike Vaporfly 3

Traction Pattern 

I have found that this version of the Vaporfly offers improved grip on various surfaces and, most importantly, the road in wet conditions, ensuring you maintain control and confidence with every step. 

Traction of the Nike Vaporfly 3

Carbon Plate 

This ZoomX foam and carbon fibre plate combination creates a responsive yet cushioned ride, ideal for long-distance running. In this version of the Vaporfly 3, they have added some more ZoomX foam, which I really like as an enhancement of the Vaporfly 2. 


While my feet are fairly narrow, the Nike Vaporfly fits very well for me. I can get a good shoe lock, and the shoe feels secure and stable, which is very important when running intervals or during a race. 


The Nike Vaporfly 3 boasts an upper made from a lightweight, breathable Flyknit material that wraps snugly around the foot. I have never felt that my feet become too hot in the shoe while running. 


One of the best features for me is the balance between cushioning and responsiveness - I think that is pretty much perfect on this shoe.

Nike Vaporfly 3 Review: Pros and Cons

With so many super shoes on the market now it's time to consider the Pros and Cons of the Nike Vaporfly 3. 

Nike Vaporfly 3 Pros

Design: The design and overall look of this shoe is great; I really like the white version. When the Vaporfly range first came out, they were quite extreme colors. The last versions have been much more comparable to the traditional race shoes. 

Nike Vaporfly 3 Side

Comfort: I find the fit and "lock" of these shoes very goodI prefer it in this regard over perhaps the Alphafly. I think for a 5k or 10k, you want a pretty tight fit. They have also added some more foam compared to the Vaporfly 2, which would make me happy to use it for a Half Marathon. 

Performance: The shoe makes you want to run fast and be striking the ground at the midfoot. It really does come into its own during speed and tempo sessions or on race day. It's not one I would use for an easy jog, as I find the performance element is then reduced. 

Shoe Weight: Of course, the weight of the shoe is important for a racing shoe; before the super shoe boom, the weight of a race shoe was the key thing runners looked for. This shoe feels very light and encourages a quick cadence vital for running at speed. 

Nike Vaporfly 3 Cons

Cost: The cost of super shoes is generally higher; however, the Vaporfly is in line with most of its nearest competition. Additionally, I think it can be justified if you do gain a benefit in performance and recovery from using the shoe. If you look after the shoe and perhaps save it for key workouts and race day, then it should last some time. 

Nike Vaporfly 3 Alternatives

In terms of other options for the 5k and 10k , you could still try and find the Vaporfly 2 or look at different brands.

Addidas has the Adizerio Adios Pro 3, which uses carbon-infused energy rods.

New Balance has the Fuel Cell Super Comp Elite v4.

Asics has the Metaspeed Sky Paris and also the Metaspeed Edge Paris based on your running technique. 

Additionally, although the Nike Alphafly 2 is better for longer distances such as the marathon, if you have a wider foot or perhaps are looking for a shoe to race and complete your long runs, you may want to consider the Alphafly.

My Experience Using The Nike Vaporfly 3 

Runner using Nike Vaporfly 3

I have used and raced all of the Vaporfly shoe range and love both the Vaporfly 1 and this third version of the shoe. I think the Vaporfly 1 was such a significant advancement in shoe technology that the psychological benefit would have also contributed to my running performance. My 10k personal best was set using the Nike Vaporfly 1. However, I believe I can run for under 15 minutes using the Vaporfly 3 and will be sharing some of these sessions. 

I would be confident racing up to a half-marathon in the Nike Vaporfly 3; however, I also like the Alphafly for longer distances.

personally prefer the Nike Vaporfly 3 to the previous model, the Vaporfly 2. The Vaporfly line has been my go-to race shoe for the last four years.

How Does The Nike Vaporfly 3 Perform Over Different Conditions?

Wet Weather: would still feel confident about using the Vaporfly 3 in wet conditions. This would not have been the case with some previous versions of Nike super shoes. However, there has been a marked improvement in recent versions.

Hot/Warm Weather: I think the Vaporfly is well-suited to hot conditions. The race shoe has a lot of ventilation in the upper, which helps with weight savings and keeps your feet cool. 

RoadThe road is where the Nike Vaporfly 3 is designed to be used. The grip of the road is excellent, and the shoes respond brilliantly at faster paces.

Nike Vaporfly 3 Back

Grass: The shoes feel OK on grass; however, it does need to be short grass, and we wouldn't advise using them much for these sessions. Overall, I feel the benefits of running in the shoe on grass are lost, especially in muddy conditions. 

Trail: I would not use the Vaporfly 3 on the trails, generally this is because I like to keep the shoe in as good condition as possible for road races and workouts, and also because the grip and durability is not designed with this in mind.

How Does The Nike Vaporfly 3 Fit Into My Current Shoe Rotation?

I use the Nike Vaporfly 3 for the following runs during my training and racing.

Speed session: This is where I am either looking to run at race pace or faster. It might be 400s on the track or Km reps on the treadmill, but when I am doing high-quality race-pace sessions, I look to the Nike Vaporfly 3.

Race Day: I would certainly look for the Vaporly 3 for race day. I have also tried the Alphalfy 2, but I do prefer the Vaporfly mainly due to its responsiveness, and my personal preference for the feel is slightly firmer than the Alphafly. I also find it easier to increase my cadence in this shoe.

Threshold run: Sometimes, I will use the Nike Vaporfly for a threshold run, usually something like 3 x 10 minutes, mainly just to see how the data looks in my race shoe. However, I am often more likely to use a shoe like the Addidas Pro 3 or the Nike Alphafly 2 for threshold runs. 

Should You Buy The Vaporfly 3?

I do recommend the Vaprfly 3 as a shoe to buy. I think it feels the most like a racing shoe with an outstanding balance of spring and cushioning. It also grips the road in most conditions. Some previous models could be a bit tricky with cornering in wet conditions. So, if you have the Vaporfly 2, I would say it is worth the upgrade, but only once you think you have got the use out of it. I still use my Vaporfly 2 in training sessions but use the Vaporfly 3 for race day. 

also have found the durbability to be good with the vaporfly 3. However I do save it for races and workouts. I also feel it is a stable shoe and is the lightest super shoe I own. 

If you are looking to achieve your best time in your next races, it's definitely worth giving the Vaporfly 3 a go. However, if you are just getting started with running, then I would recommend a more everyday-type pair of running shoes, which you will be able to use across a variety of sessions. 


Is Vaporfly good for 5k?

The Vaporfly is fantastic over the 5k distance. It provides the perfect mix of speed and responsiveness, along with comfort and improved traction. The Vaporfly 3 is suited to the road, so if it's a road 5k, it would be a go-to shoe choice.

Are Vaporflys good for everyday running?

The Vaporfly has been designed with speed and performance in mind. However, I would save the Vaporfly for your speed sessions and race days. There are cheaper shoes out there that can be used for everyday running. 

What is better, Nike Alphafly 2 or Vaporfly 3?

This is down to personal preference and also your race goals. If I could only have one, I would choose the Vaporfly 3 as I feel I can run faster in it. However, perhaps if your goal is the marathon distance, then the Nike Alphafly 2 would be better suited.

About the author 


James is an elite distance runner and has also raced triathlon for a number of years. James is a fully certified UESCA Running Coach and has a passion to help all athletes succeed in finding a balance within sport and life.