Monday, December 23, 2019

Nike React Infinity Run Review. A softer, max cushion, stable daily trainer

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit ($160)



Nike joins the non posted light support and max cushion game with the React Infinity. The midsole is a big (33mm heel /24mm forefoot) softer stack of Nike's React foam with no midsole add in elements such as firmer foam medially. Weight for all that cushion is a commendable; men's 9.7 oz / 275g (US9), women's 8 oz / 230 g (US8)  The Infinity gets its support features, and they are light and unobtrusive, from a broad heel and forefoot base modeled on the Next%'s and a gray and black plastic clip extending from the heel to mid foot. This approach combining inherent stability from the midsole geometry and a plastic clip to support at the top of the midsole from rails, guides and such to guide the leg (and particularly the knee) and foot as opposed to stopping  pronation is increasingly the trend in such shoes and already seen in models from Brooks, Altra, and adidas. 


From Nike: 
"Nike partnered with the BRITISH COLUMBIA SPORTS MEDICINE RESEARCH FOUNDATION (BCSMRF) for an external study.

Over a 12 week period, BCSMRF tested the new Nike React Infinity Run on 226 runners who ran a total of 60,000 miles in the Nike React Infinity Run and the Nike Structure 22 to see whether there was a difference in injury rates and pain perception between these two shoes (injury = missing 3 or more consecutive runs due to running related pain).

The results confirmed Nike’s internal findings, and - after 12 weeks of training-  tests showed that the Nike React Infinity had a 52 percent lower injury rate than our motion control shoe with runners confirming that they felt less pain in their knees and feet."

Further Nike says:

"Stability: It isn’t clear if correcting over pronation reduces injury. To create a more democratic solution to stability – without motion control – the running team widened the midsole nets to complement the added cushioning."

Most brands are offering less obtrusive stability options which seek less to control the natural pronating motion of the foot and more to guide from knee to foot in the direction of travel. The midsole nets or on the ground platform is clearly wider than the usual from Nike.

"Rocker Geometry: Finally, to create a more fluid transition from heel to toe, the team borrowed learnings from the Vaporfly and created a rocker geometry that allows for that smooth transition."
The Infinity is not only nicely rockered front and back (which Vaporfly and Zoom Fly is not) but also has a nice snappy not overly stiff single front flex point. I found this is a great combination for smooth transitions. I also find the narrow mid foot waist contributes to a smooth transition from heel to toe. 

Copiously cushion with a 33mm heel / 24mm forefoot for the men's and a conventional, 9mm drop,  they offer a new option in the Nike line of a highly cushioned and softer trainer for more moderate paces for both those seeking some support and in my view also neutral runners and as a more mellow compliment the Epic React, Vaporfly and Zoom Fly.  

The new soft "lofted" Flyknit upper and last provides more room, more stretch, a softer feel on the foot and a more easy going fit than prior Flyknit upper shoes such as the Zoom Fly Flyknit, Epic React, and Vaporfly 4% Flyknit. Weighing 9.7 oz / 275g in a men's US9 and  8 oz / 230 g in a women's US8 they are below my magic 10 oz daily trainer weight line. 

Stats
Approx. Weight: men's 9.7 oz / 275g (US9), women's 8 oz / 230 g (US8) 
Stack Heights: 
Men's 33mm heel / 24mm forefoot, 9mm drop
Women's 30.9 mm heel / 22.5 mm forefoot, 8.4mm drop
$160. Releases Jan, 2020

First Impressions and Fit
Bold and with an almost cartoonish partial Swoosh and vibrant accent colors, the Infinity really stands out! 

They fit me true to size at 8.5 with a more easy going, more voluminous, softer on the foot fit than the Epic React and Vaporfly Flyknit. I was true to size in all of those, just...with the Epic React 1's mid foot notably snug and constricting for me and the Vaporfly Flyknit and Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit  low over the toes. And let's not even talk about the Odyessy React, also a light support shoe, which was very very low over the toes. In all of those I might have considered sizing up in a second pair. Not so here. 
Same size for both React Infinity and Epic React 2. Note the additional length and volume of the Infinity
Those with very narrow feet may find the midfoot to heel hold, where there is no padding, a bit loose in comparison due to the volume here. While wider at the forefoot than earlier Flyknit, the Flyknit upper should snug down enough over the front for narrower feet. It should be noted again that this is a more comfort oriented upper than prior Flyknit in materials and volume. Higher volume feet who have struggled with Nike fit should be very pleased!

Upper
The upper is a new "lofted" form of Flyknit. It is more open in structure and more 3D with more consistent density of knitting than for example the Epic React 2's Flyknit upper, shown below right.  Breathability, although temperatures have been cooler during my testing, has been excellent.
It is slightly softer and more pliable than Epic React's and overall far more comfortable if not quite as locked down as Epic React's
The tongue is knit as well and is un padded and very similar to Epic React's. It is important to not overly tightly lace this type of tongue upper combination and to play with sock thickness, particularly if you have a narrow foot and heel. Foot hold will be there more loosely tied using the structure of the knit and its slight compression to hold the foot. 

One cannot say the rear collars are padded. They are softly lined below the top of the collars with a suede like material which I assume keeps foot in socks from slipping up. It works quite well for me but this is not a tight rear clutch as the heel counter itself is the pink overlay which while long and of decent thickness is not a hard plastic with the rear gray and black hard plastic clip obviously provides much of the low down heel support. 

I think it is a clever design approach to combine branding the Swoosh into an important functional element in such a prominent way T

Midsole
Lots and lots of React foam here with a copious overall stack height of 33mm heel / 24mm forefoot and a 9mm drop. The midsole flares out at the heel and forefoot for inherent stability. 
The only place it doesn't flare out is at mid foot as seen below. We get very stable landings then a smooth underfoot transition. I say underfoot as the higher support or more accurately guidance from the gray and black plastic clip is for me as a neutral runner a bit overdone particularly on the lateral side. I don't think the shoe would suffer much in terms of support and would be improved with a shorter clip on both sides,  
The cushion is plentiful and relatively soft with a touch of bounce. As always outsole plays a role in cushion feel and response and here the wide landing and toe areas and relatively soft outsole combine for plenty of stability, some bounce, and more moderate stability. Basically an easy going, easy on the legs, stable softer cushion here

Outsole

There is copious rubber here in a pattern and coverage which works well with the midsole. The outsole is in two zones with the rear feeling slightly softer than the front. Traction is very good on dry and wet roads but very poor on any kind of snow or ice unlike say the Vomero 14 and Pegasus 36 on such surfaces with their lugged outsoles.
The notably wide Next% like forefoot rubber provides a broad stable platform for toe off.
Wear at about 40 miles( see below) is for all intents and purposes non existent anywhere. 
The contrast in outsole coverage and overall underfoot design with the Epic React 2 couldn't be more stark. Gone is what I find  stiff crystal rubber patches front and back and the very flat overall mid foot geometry of the Epic React which I found dull. The extra rubber on the Infinity and its flared midsole do come at weight cost compared to Epic React which comes in almost 2 ounces lighter than Infinity at 7.9 oz.
The underfoot contrast with the Zoom Fly Flyknit shown above left is yet more stark. Note how comparatively narrow the heel landing is on the ZFF not to speak of the forefoot platform width. Stable they were not except at faster paces.

The Zoom Fly 3 broadens the forefoot in similar fashion to Infinity but keeps a narrower heel landing. 

Ride
The ride is on the softer side with some bounce. The outsole blends well in feel with the midsole and helps provides decent if not snappy response. While transitions at all paces are smooth, and the medial clip not really noticed by this more neutral shoe fan, the same length lateral clip is a bit to long for my tastes interrupting the lateral crash and roll sensation more than I would like. I guess Nike may be trying to align bow legged runners which I am not! I would see the clip as more asymmetrical in length or shortened on both sides.

The Infinity runs best at moderate training paces but can move along at faster paces as well. Slow paces are easily accommodated with that rear overhang midsole not creating as much of a sense of back weighting at slow paces as say the Vomero 14 has and the narrow waist and quite flexible toe off contributing.to moving things along smoothly even at slower paces. 

Conclusions



I would not call the React Infinity boldly innovative as say the Next% is but it is a very welcome new addition to the Nike line up and to the overall run shoe world as a maximally cushioned, relatively light, inherently stable but not overly so trainer for moderate pace running. 

Despite the flared midsole heel and midsole the Infinity is well balanced and smooth transitioning thanks to the rest of its geometry. I only wish that the gray and black plastic clip was reduced in length on the lateral side to let the upper part of the foot on that side roll a touch more smoothly and that also Nike reduce its length on the medial side but maybe not quite as much to create a yet more neutral version of this shoe. The upper is a big improvement in Flyknit comfort and should accommodate wider higher volume feet than the Epic React and Zoom Fly do. 
The React Infinity is a great choice for moderate pace daily training, long runs, and recovery runs for all runner types but leaning to those wishing a more support oriented platform. It offers those who typically run in posted or more heavy duty support shoes a more modern less obtrusive option. 
Sam's Score 9.3/ 10
-0.6 for  side plastic clip length putting a hitch in transition in landing and over guiding. Can't deduct more as this is intended to be a light support shoe but would like to see the clip shortened on both sides to create a yet more neutral ride
-0.1 for soft outsole rubber. Not a wear issue but wonder what a touch firmer might do to improve response. 

Video Review (3:52)

Comparisons
Nike Zoom Structure 22
I have never run the Nike Zoom Structure so I can't compare from running experience The Structure 22 has a dual density, traditional stability approach focus on pronation control unlike the Infinity's single density inherently stable midsole plus clip approach focused on guidance. It weighs about the same as Infinity and has a lower overall stack height of older midsole foams so would expect it to be less cushioned and bouncy.

Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit  (RTR Review)  & Zoom Fly 3 (RTR Review)
All versions of the Zoom Fly have a notably narrower and less stable heel landing and are completely stiff making them more appropriate for up tempo days than daily training for me and I would say most. At about one ounce lighter in its latest version than Infinity, not insignificant but not a deal breaker. If  the need is for a daily trainer for all paces except up tempo the Infinity is a better and more protective choice.

Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 (RTR Review)
While many liked the React, I have never warmed to its flat dull mid foot, crystal rubber patches and relatively snug upper. It does have a significant advantage in weight but for daily training I lean Infinity,  

Nike Zoom Vomero 14 (RTR Review)
A tough match up. The Vomero 14 was my 2018 shoe of the year for his stable heel and lively thinner forefoot. The Vomero 14, while a daily trainer, shines at faster paces with tons of rear cushion and stability (and is a touch off balance back weighted at slower paces)  and that great fast running toe off. It is less versatile than the more mellow Infinity but way more fun and fast when the pace really picks up.

Nike Odyssey React Flyknit (RTR Review)
A low low toe box height,far lower weight and a firmer ride compare these two light stability options from Nike. Infinity any day.

Brooks Ravenna 10 (RTR Review)
Close to the same weight at 9.4 oz the Ravenna 10 has a similar top of the midsole guidance rails approach to the Infinity over a considerably lower stack (27/17 vs. 33/24) and firmer midsole. The result, the rails get in the way in the Brooks and do far less so in the Infinity. Brooks will be adjusting the rails in the next version but for light stability Infinity all day. 

Saucony Guide 13 (RTR Review)
The heavier Guide takes a different approach to light support with an L shaped plastic plate on the medial side of the midfoot. Its ride is more responsive and snappier but that L shaped piece is far more noticed and leads to a shoe with more traditional pronation control than the Infinity.  Depends on needs but if you think you need somewhat stouter more traditional support and a more responsive snappier ride then the Guide. Want to try something softer and more cushioned in ride and less overt in support then the Infinity. 

ASICS Glideride (RTR Review)
The Glideride relies entirely on its very effective rocker and deep decoupling as an almost completely stiff shoe unlike the much more flexible Infinity. It has 2mm less cushioning at the heel and 2mm more at the forefoot so like the Infinity it is quite massively cushioned, if somewhat firmer. It is inherently stable but has no plastic clip at the rear as Infinity has and this is noticed via its more consistent transition and flow at all paces and its more responsive toe off (it has an hardened EVA propulsion plate. It's upper is a superb engineered mesh and is more comfortable while at the same time more secure if a bit less broad. My clear preference is the Glideride as it handles faster paces better while fine at slower paces while the Infinity leans towards slower pace running for me but if you want a more traditional toe off, slightly softer ride and a bit more motion control support then Infinity, 

Saucony Triumph 17 (RTR Review)
The Triumph has about the same stack of cushion and drop at 8mm vs. 9 mm for the Infinity yet it weighs an ounce more. Much of that weight likely comes from the very plush and secure T17 upper and the crystal rubber in its outsole. With a somewhat livelier bouncier TPU PWRUN+ midsole I find the T17 somewhat held back by its stiff flexing front crystal rubber outsole while the Infinity somewhat held back for this neutral runner by the long plastic rear clip. Both provide some support/guidance with the Infinity's more pronounced. A tough pick. Both for me are easier more moderate pace run shoes. If the clip was shorter the Infinity would be the clear winner for its lighter weight and easier toe off at all paces but since it does not t if you are looking for a highly cushioned neutral trainer I lean towards the Triumph and if you need a touch of support to the Infinity,

Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 (RTR Review)
The Wave Sky is considerably heavier at 11 oz. It too has a knit upper which is non stretch, denser and more supportive if a bit lower over the toes and overall while more locked down and not quite as comfortable as Infinity's. Underfoot, the Wave ride is both more responsive and smoother in transition as unlike the Infinity it has no plastic side rails. The cushion feel is about equivalent at the heel and a bit thinner but also livelier at the forefoot for the Wave. Both have plenty of outsole rubber with the Wave yet more fully covered. Except for the weight, not as noticed as for many its class but there, the Sky Wave is my pick. 

5 Way Comparison Video Review
Salomon Sonic 3 Balance, ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite, Nike React Infinity Run, New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10, Skechers Performance Ride 8


Nike React Infinity Run general release Jan 13, 2020

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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16 comments:

Jeff said...

The sizing disparity picture against the Epic React is crazy! If I'm normally a 10.5, but wear 11 in virtually every Nike, which size would you try?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Jeff,
Pretty amazing but most of that length difference is from the flared heel so not as extreme as it looks. Will also add the full length view so it is less striking. I would go at 10.5 for this one, understanding it it is still Flyknit which does compress over the toes then stretches to fit but a softer variety and here clearly there is more forefoot width.
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

geomaz said...

Hello Sam!
As an everyday training shoe compared to the mizuno wavesky waveknit 3 (which you liked alot if I understood right) which is a better shoe in your opinion.

Which one is more stable, more protective/comfortable for long runs and has a more responsive midsole.

Last ad not least which of the two has a more accommodating toebox.

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Hi, how does this compare to the triumph 17 and the gorun ride 8?

Sam Winebaum said...

HI Anonymous,
Great comparisons which I have added to the review but also here below:
Saucony Triumph 17
The Triumph has about the same stack of cushion and drop at 8mm vs. 9 mm for the Infinity yet it weighs an ounce more. Much of that weight likely comes from the very plush and secure T17 upper and the crystal rubber in its outsole. With a somewhat livelier bouncier TPU PWRUN+ midsole I find the T17 somewhat held back by its stiff flexing front crystal rubber outsole while the Infinity somewhat held back for this neutral runner by the long plastic rear clip. Both provide some support/guidance with the Infinity's more pronounced. A tough pick. Both for me are easier more moderate pace run shoes. If the clip was shorter the Infinity would be the clear winner for its lighter weight and easier toe off at all paces but since it does not t if you are looking for a highly cushioned neutral trainer I lean towards the Triumph and if you need a touch of support to the Infinity,

Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3
The Wave Sky is considerably heavier at 11 oz. It too has a knit upper which is non stretch, denser and more supportive if a bit lower over the toes and overall while more locked down and not quite as comfortable as Infinity's. Underfoot, the Wave ride is both more responsive and smoother in transition as unlike the Infinity it has no plastic side rails. The cushion feel is about equivalent at the heel and a bit thinner but also livelier at the forefoot for the Wave. Both have plenty of outsole rubber with the Wave yet more fully covered. Except for the weight, not as noticed as for many its class but there, the Sky Wave is my pick.

Anonymous said...

Hi, great review!

How's the infinity on long,runs slow runs?

I'm training for an ultra Tri, where day 3 is a double marathon and playing with my shoe options. Currently running in Hoka Clifton.

I will be fatigued from start after 2 long days of biking and swimming which will only get worse. Pace will be slow 10+ min miles including some walking but I'm wondering if light support may be beneficial as my form breaks down? Generally mid foot strike, but who knows after 50 miles.

Any other suggestions to try would be highly appreciated too!

Anonymous said...

Love the review!
Quick question though, do you have anyone on the team that requires stability shoes (severe overpronation, collapsed arches, & flat feet) to put these guidance rails and supportive medial posts to the test?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Ultra Tri Anonymous,
The Infinity might be a good option for that race as they have so much cushion are light enough not to be burden and have some support. Another to consider if you don't have a very low volume foot the Arahi 4 see review at links below. And 2 runs in I may surprise you but the Saucony Xodus 10 while on the heavy side and a trail shoe might be an excellent choice. Super cushioned, bouncy, stable, and with a nice easy flex. Truly outstanding for a heavy duty shoe.
Also check out our recent video covering 5 10 oz or less new daily trainers here:
https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2019/12/video-5-best-new-daily-run-trainers-for.html
The Infinity is compared to 4 others and of those I think the Skechers Ride 8 and Salomon Sonic 3 Balance or its more supportive sibling Confidence might be good to consider. Best of luck on what sounds like an epic race!
Sam,Editor

Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for the kind words. None on our team have severe pronation issues as you describe and describe well as pronation is natural, we all do it, but it is turning out a relative few actually need heavy duty pronation control or really much of any pronation control. It is over prescribed in my view and many who are in heavily posted shoes could benefit from lighter support as in the Infinity.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Hey Sam, could you please compare the Infinity to the Glideride?

Many thanks and all the best, Nils

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Nils,
Thanks for asking! I added the Glideride to the comparisons in the article.
Happy New Year and have a great 2020 of running!
Sam, Editor

sobrnola said...

How would you compare these to the Ultra Boost 19? Thanks!

Francis said...

Hi RTR crew and thanks again for the great work !

Do you know if these are planning to replace the vomero ? or is there any Vomero 15 that should release soon ?

Thanks in advance

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Sobrnola,
I have not tested UB 19 but did run earlier ones which I found overly soft and heavy for much running. Plenty of cushion and soft cushion here but very runnable.
Hi Francis,
Haven't heard anything about a Vomero 15 but Nike rarely discloses much ahead of time. The React Infinity actually an exception and for good reason!
Sam, Editor

Greg S said...

So these still brick up in Temps 20-25 or lower like the Flyknit react shoes. They end up feeling like long boards on your feet.

I also found the Flyknit to be too large and bunch up when you need lockdown. It is even more volumous than the next %s.

Lastly the stupid guide rail is a pain and bothersome for neutral and supinators. You just keep feeling it and if you heel strike it starts to cause pain.

Outsole is great though. Bummed on these shoes and still prefer the zoom fly fk.

Luis said...

Hi
When comparing it to the Glideride you mentioned above that the Infinity has more motion control and more stability. How can that be if the Glideride is much stiffer? It is very hard to twist the Glideride where the Infinity can be twisted sideways and towards the toe very easily, except from the mid foot back where the section of clutch/rails sit. So I assume than on landing and takeoff the Glideride maintains its form whereas the Infinity is more flexible. After one run in the Infinity I can say that it allow for a more natural toe push of and may load your metatarsals a bit more, so coming from the Glideride I would recommend a bit of adaptation time.
Regards
Luis

Luis