Nike Zoom X Invincible Run – a shoe designed for long training runs
Men’s 10 // 314g (per shoe)
Women’s 8 // 253g
Men’s 10 // Forefoot 27.6mm, Heel 36.6mm
Women’s 8.5 // Forefoot 26.7mm, Heel 35.4mm
Buy now – men’s, save 30% with code SUMMER21
Buy now – women’s, save 30% with code SUMMER21
Don’t let the ZoomX foam (the same as that in the Alphafly and Nike Tempo Next%) deceive you; the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is designed to help prevent injuries and improve running economy, not make you run faster.
Built for the long, easy-paced training miles that make up most marathon plans, these shoes were designed with knowledge gained from the experience of creating the Nike React Infinity Run – a shoe designed to help keep runners injury-free.
To find out more, we sat down (virtually) to chat with Bret Holts, Vice President of Nike Running Footwear, and Nike Sport Research Lab footwear research director Jay Worobets.
The Nike ZoomX midsole
The Nike ZoomX foam is designed to return more energy than other Nike foams on the market. The foam in the Invincible Run is much softer than that in the React Infinity Run 2, creating a softer ride underfoot and returning more energy to the runner as they move.
‘It is a completely new shoe from the ground up, but it’s based on a lot of the same learnings from the Alphafly,’ Holt tells Runner’s World. ‘The Invincible features full Zoom X foam underfoot, giving runners a softer but also a more responsive experience in terms of running economy and energy return.’
The midsole incorporates the same rocker geometry we’ve seen in a number of Nike shoes recently and the wider nets in the forefoot create a comfortable, cushioned ride that helps you get a smooth toe-off.
‘We’ve removed the carbon fibre plate, which is in the Vaporfly and Alphafly to accentuate the running economy and propulsiveness, so this shoe is actually meant to be that training partner for the Alphafly or Vaporfly; this is meant to be an everyday training shoe, a high- mileage shoe that helps athletes of all levels get to the start line of that marathon feeling happy and healthy.’
The Flyknit upper
Nike describes the Flyknit upper of the Invincible Run as ‘robust’, built to accommodate the bouncy sensation of the ZoomX Foam, while helping the runner feel stable and contained in the shoe. There’s a similar guide rail to that found in the Infinity React, but it doesn’t wrap around the shoe as much and is focused on the heel. Nike has also added a moulded tongue and padded collar for extra comfort as you clock up the miles.
Who are they designed for and how do they feel on the run?
These shoes aren’t just for marathon runners. ‘I wouldn’t limit it to any distance or any level of runner,’ says Holt. ‘I think this shoe is special in ways that putting on your first Vaporfly or Alphafly is special. It just feels different and it’s very intuitive – the second you put it on your foot you know that there is something there keeping you protected. There’s something really keeping you cushioned, but not at the expense of weight or a smooth transition; it’s still extremely high in its efficiency, which is really that magic balance that ZoomX foam provides.’
After logging some miles in the shoe, we’d say these are designed for easy miles, whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner. You wouldn’t wear them for your speedwork, but they’re a comfortable shoe for steady running.
Underfoot, the foam does feel extremely soft and plush as you clock up the miles, and not at all like either the Alphafly or Nike Tempo Next%. Yet for a shoe with such a wedge of soft foam, these don’t feel as heavy as, say, a Hoka and they still feel remarkably responsive.
One thing you’ll notice as soon as you get these out the box is the silhouette, something Nike says ‘creates an entirely new underfoot experience’. This is a wide shoe; the wide toebox has what looks like a bunion of foam coming out around the shoe and there’s a chunk of foam built up around the heel. Despite all the heft, you do feel extremely stable and supported, but for faster, lighter runners it might take some getting used to.
We’ve tested these on a couple of long, hilly runs over the holidays and found them to be a comfy, easy shoe. We’ll be updating this review once we’ve had a chance to log some more miles in them.
Tried and tested – Air Zoom Alphafly Next%
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