Nike made some bold claims about the new Nike React Infinity Run before we got to review their latest running shoe. According to an external study, it was said, "runners in the Nike React Infinity had a 52 percent lower injury rate than in the motion control shoe (Nike Structure 22)". It was also mentioned that the Nike React Infinity Run will use a similar rocker geometry to the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly 4%, a shoe considered not just one of the best running shoes on the market but potentially so good it's illegal.
After giving the Nike React Infinity Run a try – many tries, actually – I can confirm that most of these claims are true. Naturally, I didn't purposefully try to injury myself, but the way the shoes fit and the construction of the upper makes it almost impossible to misstep.
The wide forefoot platform helps increase perceived safety and from the angle of the wearer, looks a bit like a you are wearing a pair of hooves. The hoofiness is further enhanced by the narrow mid-section of the sole, right around where the swoosh starts, which funnels your foot into the right position. And nothing runs as fast or as sure-footed as a runner with hooves, right?
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Nike React Infinity Run review: tech and ergonomics
Nike intends React Infinity Run to be a dual purpose running trainer, merging the benefits of supportive running shoes with the dynamism of high performing racing shoes.
The main source of support is offered by the new Flyknit upper that closely follows the contour of the foot, acting as an integrated compression sock. The sock-like upper is not only comfortable but also holds your feet firmly, funnelling them into the correct position.
Once you slipped into the shoes, the sole takes over the control. The swoosh on the the side is shoes is not only there to make the Nike React Infinity Run cooler: it also acts as a cradle that holds the key areas of your soles in position.
Both the heel counter and the collar locks the rear of your foot in the correct position and even after ramping up some miles in the shoes, I found no evidence of chafing or soreness around my ankles.
I was a bit concerned about the weight and the running dynamics of the Nike React Infinity Run at first, mainly because it felt like the width of the soles are a bit over the top. The soles are indeed fairly wide, especially the forefoot platform. This is to prevent accidental slipping and to provide additional support and grip. The outsole is also reinforced with a black rubber compound for extra traction.
But thanks to the Vaporfly-like rocker geometry, the Nike React Infinity Run rolls easily and effortlessly.
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Nike React Infinity Run review: the aesthetics
I do like me a nice clean Nike trainer but even I must admit that just like the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit, the Nike React Infinity Run will get dirty, or at least somewhat soiled, after just one run. To be fair, even the original press images show the shoes as something that will get dirty, so we can't really blame Nike for trying to hide this fact.
In line with current running shoe trends, the Nike React Infinity Run looks like a pair of compression socks attached to a chunky sole. Yet, somehow, Nike's found a way to make this combination appealing for a general audience.
This at least partially can be attributed to the colour combination used for the shoes, especially the default Platinum Tint/Pink Blast/Total Orange/Black colourway. The other two options are for more conservative runners, although I'm sure we'll see plenty more colourways being released in the upcoming months.
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Nike React Infinity Run review: the verdict
The Nike React Infinity Run delivers on its promise, delivering support and helping protect you from injury. The new Flyknit upper is comfortable yet firm and there is no sign of chafing around the rear of the foot. the integrated knitted tongue and the lace closure helps the Nike React Infinity Run follow the shape of the foot as closely as possible.
The fast tempo is guaranteed by the Vaporfly-like rocker sole geometry that merges landing and take off into one smooth transition. Very little energy is lost and your legs will feel fresher for longer.
More seasoned runners might find all the extra support a bit much, but even they will appreciate the supreme cushioning and energy return. For beginners, the Nike React Infinity Run will significantly reduce risk of injury, and although this doesn't mean you can just completely forget about correct running technique, it will definitely help you worry less as you run.
Is the Nike React Infinity Run the very best running shoe? For me, it isn't, but it is damn great. For newbies, those recovering from injury and those who worry their running style could cause injury – or who just want a flat-out comfortable run – it's got to be right at the top of the list for their next purchase.
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