Just in time for those New Year running goals that I hate referencing every time I write something in the last week of December, Nike has announced the follow-up(s) to the successful (and somewhat divisive) debut of the Nike React Infinity last January.
The two progressions of the line include its offspring, the Nike React Infinity Run 2, and the all-new Nike ZoomX Invincible Run. By the way, we’re still mourning the loss of the original Epic React, which was killed off like your favorite Netflix bought out by Disney (we miss you, Punisher).
Speaking of punishment, Nike knows that real runners get beat to hell. Some of us have a larger collection of physical therapists than Strava badges. To that end, Nike made bold promises with last year’s React Infinity, claiming the shoe had a 52% lower injury rate than those that wore the Nike Structure 22, a traditional stability shoe. Our own stability reviewer, Aldren, ran nearly 500 miles in the React Infinity with nary an injury.
Nike React Infinity Run 2
That pursuit of the Yoda healer touch has progressed with the React Infinity 2, which retains the geometry and basic components of the first version (namely the heel clip, rockered geometry, and wide forefoot). However, it also appears to upgrade the weak points on the first version. Namely, the heel slippage. With a more structured heel counter and plushness in the collar, it appears that this version will cater to those who had issues in version 1 (it was one of our biggest complaints).
An updated Flyknit upper is expected to provide more strength and support, notably in the toe area, but also throughout the midfoot. Oh, also, Flywires are back because why the hell not. We’re super interested to see how much this shoe actually weighs, because it looks like it’s going to ratchet up the ounce count, and the React Infinity wasn’t exactly featherweight.
As far as upgrades from the original, that’s pretty much it. The midsole of full React foam is still just that. In fact, as far as we can tell, nothing has changed since version one in that regard.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run
On the other hand, we have the all-new ZoomX Invincible, because who doesn’t love a good story about Mark Wahlberg landing a roster spot on the Philadelphia Eagles? This jawn is interesting to us, as it looks to be a cross between the React Infinity, the React Miler, and … the Vaporfly?
Reason being, it is the only “normal” shoe in the Nike lineup that will feature a full-length ZoomX midsole, Nike’s most responsive foam that is featured in its carbon-plated racers, the Vaporfly NEXT% and Alphafly NEXT%. There’s also a greater volume of foam than in the React Infinity 2. This is pretty interesting, as what makes the Vaporfly and Alphafly what they are is a combination of the soft-yet-responsive ZoomX with a carbon plate to stabilize and propel during toe-off.
Nike realizes that most people will ZoomX and automatically translate that over to the super shoes, noting that the Invincible is meant to be more of a “stable and fluid ride” than a “springy sensation of plated footwear.” All that to say, it seems that the Invincible is likely to fall into a long run/easy day type category with a lot of cushion and comfort for racking up miles.
For a vague quote that sounds like it was spat out by a marketing agency staffed by AI machines, here’s what middle-distance runner Donavan Brazier had to say about the ZoomX feel: “When I first put on the ZoomX Invincible, the sensation was crazy. I was like ‘Oh wow! You can really feel this.’ But I wasn’t even sure what ‘this’ was. It was just a new sensation.”
Our robot overlords will be winning 10K’s in no time.
Aesthetically, the shoe looks quite similar to last year’s Nike React Miler (one of the more underrated shoes of last year, in our opinion). While the shoe was decent for easy miles/long runs, it kinda looked “big box store” cheap (I mean, we tried to make it look good) and the upper was hot as shit. We’re not going to give a consensus on the Invincible until it’s in-hand, but the design isn’t that inspiring.
Since we’re in the “looks” category, we’re not 100% into the late-90’s design of the React Infinity 2 with the faux overlays. But it could grow on us, especially as more colorways come out.
Anyway, we will have the shoes in for testing shortly and full written and YouTube reviews once our miles are in, but in the meantime, we wanted to give a more rounded view than Nike’s press release provides.
The Nike React Infinity 2 is available now for $160 and the Nike ZoomX Invincible releases 2/11/2021 to Nike+ members and 2/18/2021 to the world.Shop React Infinity 2 – Men Shop React Infinity 2 – Women