Hector Espinal, a sneakerhead and soon-to-be marathoner, was equal parts nervous and giddy on Thursday, November 2, when he stepped into the Nike Store in New York’s Flatiron District. How could he not be? The 26-year-old would soon be one of a minuscule group of individuals to own the Vaporfly Elite—the shoe Adidas Superstar Femme that Eliud Kipchoge of Nike’s Breaking2 experiment famously wore in May when he attempted to crack the two-hour barrier running 26.2 miles. Out of every item in Espinal’s 112-pair collection, which he splits between his Bronx apartment and his mother’s house, this $600, size-9 shoe—tuned by Nike to precisely match Kipchoge’s foot mechanics—would be the most Adidas NMD Donne symbolic. “It's like owning a friends-and-family version of the most hype lifestyle shoe ever—just that this one means something to Nike Air Max 95 Damen us runners,” he jokes. “It’s proof that nothing is impossible. It’s proof that with the proper training and the right technology we can do anything we want.” Espinal went on to run 6:21 through the five boroughs in this year’s New York City Marathon, but not in his new Vaporfly Elites. He would have, he Nike Air Max 95 Mujer says, if he had gotten them earlier in the training cycle. Instead, he chose one of the two pairs he owns of Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly 4%, a $250 shoe that is nearly identical to the Elite. The 4% uses the same lightweight Zoom X foam and carbon-fiber plate as the Elite, but with a slightly different upper, and it isn’t tuned to match the feet of Kipchoge (or his Breaking2 teammates Lelisa Desisa and Zersenay Tadese). The 4% can, however, potentially cut a runner’s marathon time by 4 percent—just like the Elite. “Other Adidas ZX 700 Mujer performance-based Nike Air Huarache Damen sneakers, such as LeBron’s line and the initial release of the Nike Flyknit, were big,” says Yu-Ming Wu, CMO at Stadium Goods and founder of Sneaker Con and SneakerNews. “But there’s extra hype around the Nike Air Max 270 Womens Vaporfly Elite because they’re beyond limited.”Hyped? Certainly. Every media outlet from Wired to GQ to, of course, Runner’s World has lavished attention on the Vaporfly in both its Elite and 4% incarnations. And with some justification: For many runners, the Vaporfly is the gamechanger they’ve been looking for. Kipchoge wore the Vaporfly when he won the Berlin Marathon this year; Galen Rupp and Tirunesh Dibaba wore the shoe when they won Chicago; so did four of the five top women at the NYC marathon, including the winner, Shalane Flanagan. According to a (Nike-funded) study published in November in the journal Sports Medicine, the Vaporfly really does lower the energy cost of running, suggesting that runners of all levels, not just elites, would be faster in the shoes. and found it delivered 80 percent Nike Air Max 720 Dames energy return in the heel and 77 percent in the Nike Air Max 97 Damen forefoot—the highest values we’d ever recorded.