Are nike react good for running?

Nike React technology was launched in 2017 as a new foam cushioning platform designed to deliver a smooth, responsive ride for runners. React foam has quickly become popular and can be found in performance running shoes like the Epic React Flyknit 2 and Odyssey React 2. But is Nike React actually good for running? Let’s take an in-depth look.

What Makes Nike React Unique?

The standout feature of Nike React foam is its unique composition. It contains a high concentration of synthetic rubber along with other proprietary blends of EVA and other polymers. The result is a lightweight foam that feels springy and elastic underfoot, almost like a rubber band stretching and snapping back with each step.

Nike developed React to be durable and consistent over long distances. It resists packing out or flattening over time better than materials like EVA foam. The elastic quality also provides a noticeable “pop” or bounce to help propel you forward with less energy expended per step.

Benefits for Runners

There are several reasons why Nike React delivers an excellent run experience:

  • Responsiveness – the synthetic rubber bounces back with force to keep each step lively and efficient
  • Impact protection – despite being firm, the elasticity helps cushion landing shock
  • Versatile & durable – React maintains its cushioning and responsiveness for up to roughly 300 miles
  • Lightweight – React foam adds cushioning without extra weight
  • Smooth transitions – the foam compresses and recoils smoothly through foot strikes

For many runners, Nike React feels like a sweet spot balancing softness and response. There’s enough cushioning to keep joints comfortable on longer runs but still a lot of trail feel and energy return. The smooth transitions from heel to toe make it easy to settle into an efficient cadence.

Shoes Like the Epic React 2

The flagship running shoe featuring Nike React is the Epic React Flyknit 2. It wrapped the React midsole with an engineered Flyknit upper for a snug, seamless feel.

The Epic React 2 is categorized by Nike as a “run-day shoe” suitable for daily training. It works well for mid to forefoot strikers looking for responsiveness at speeds from casual to fast. The addition of Flyknit material in the upper enhances ventilation so feet stay cooler on summer runs.

Many runners praise the all-around performance of the Epic React line for everyday road running. It effectively replaces bulkier stability or structured cushioning shoes. The energized softness of React foam keeps each step feeling lively yet protected.

Other Models with React

Along with the Epic React 2, Nike incorporates React foam in other running shoe models including:

Odyssey React 2 – Made for longer mileage and easier recovery runs with a wider forefoot fit and smooth heel-to-toe transition
Infinity React 2 – A lightweight trainer/racer featuring a low-to-ground design for speed and freedom of movement
Terra Kiger 6 – Trail shoe with React midsole for cushioning on uneven terrain and Flywire cables for stability
Zoom Fly 3 – Low-profile maximal cushioning and carbon fiber plate to facilitate forward propulsion

Nike frequently fine-tunes the exact density, geometry, and placement of the React foam across these shoes for different running needs while retaining React’s signature responsive attributes.

How Does Nike React Compare to Boost?

Adidas Boost is another popular and distinct cushioning material found in performance running shoes. Like Nike React, Boost foam contains blown TPU pellets fused together into a lightweight midsole. But there are some differences:

React feels slightly firmer and bouncier than Boost with a little more road feel coming through. The elastic sensation also contributes to React feeling more responsive as energy returns propel you forward.

Boost has a softer, more cushioned sensation that attenuates impact very well. There’s less trail feedback and the transitions feel slightly slower getting up on the toe. Boost shoes tend to use thicker midsoles whereas React enables slimmer, lighter constructions.

In practice React better suits faster paces where Boost caters to recovery runs or longer distances where softness is appreciated. Both React and Boost stand out over traditional EVA foam midsoles and both approach cushioning in unique ways.

Considerations Before Buying Nike React Shoes

Nike React isn’t automatically suitable or ideal for all runners. Consider these factors when deciding if React meets your needs:

Weight – React foam adds slightly more weight than racing flats. If chasing PRs, durability takes a back seat to lightness
Foot strike – Heavier heel strikers may still prefer additional shock absorption compared to React
Overpronation needs – React alone provides neutral cushioning without stability elements for overpronators
Mileage expectations – Rotating 2+ pairs helps React shoes achieve 300 mile lifespan. Very high mileage may require more durable builds
Orthopedic needs – Some runners need custom insoles for arch or pronation support. React has room to accommodate most inserts
Terrain versatility – Primarily designed for road and non-technical trail. Lugs and aggressive grip patterns found on trail shoes are absent

While React performs well for many neutral runners, it isn’t the only solution. Try on Nike React shoes, run in them on longer test runs if possible, and evaluate your individual fit and running economy in them. Great marketing aside, it comes down to comfort and efficiency.

FAQs on Nike React Cushioning

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Nike React technology:

Is Nike React good for long distance running?

Yes, the durable cushioning, smooth transitions, and energetic return make React well-suited for handling long miles. Rotating 2+ pairs helps extend their lifespan.

Is React or ZoomX better?

ZoomX is Nike’s lightest, most responsive foam whereas React provides a balance of responsiveness and protection for longer durations. They excel in different areas but come down to personal preferences.

Do Nike running shoes with React require break-in?

Most runners find Epic React and other React models provide a comfortable fit instantly step-in feel without an extended break-in period.

What is the difference between Nike React and React Infinity?

Infinity React incorporates subtle guide rails on the sides for light stability and structure. It has a wider forefoot and heel shape for easier slow paces.

Is Nike React good for walking?

While designed for running, the elastic cushioning in Nike React shoes can benefit walkers needing arch support, impact absorption, and energy return. React generally fits best with a midfoot/forefoot gait.

In Conclusion

Nike React cushioning technology delivers an impressively smooth and propulsive ride for neutral runners. Critical ingredients like its rubbery responsive foam, durable longevity, and lightweight constructions add up to React being well-suited for road running and training.

It fills a nice gap between firm racing flats and heavily cushioned shoes to potentially improve performance for efficient midfoot strikers. React feels bouncy and energetic over a wide range of paces while helping safeguard joints.

As with any shoe technology it isn’t universally ideal so try before you buy. But for many runners Nike React checks all the boxes as an integral part of a regular running rotation.

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