Price: $100Type: RoadWeight: 6.8 oz (W)The Right Shoe For: A fast split and a full wallet
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The Nike Legend React reminds us a lot of the Epic React Flyknit, another highly-praised Swoosh shoe that debuted this past February. While it lacks the Flyknit’s stretchy, one-piece construction, runners who liked the React foam may find themselves quite impressed with the Legend. Both shoes share a full-length midsole of Nike’s bouncy foam, and are impressively lightweight—with Legend actually leading slightly in energy return. But the Legend runs a cool $50 cheaper than the Epic, making it a much more affordable option. It has a more basic construction that isn’t quite as breathable, but it still performs—and saves you some change for a few good pairs of socks.
One of the best things about the Legend is its versatility. Our wear-testers picked the shoe as a great everyday trainer, as well as a lightweight, springy partner for the track. Ample cushioning at the heel, and stability that outranks both the Pegasus 35 and Winflo 5, also means this underdog can deliver for long runs.
“I ran at least 10 miles each week for my long run and they had plenty of cushion for these runs,” vouched one tester. “And they were great for track workouts, too—very responsive and had a nice spring to them.”
Springy React Foam
“Most Nike shoes are too soft or squishy for me,” one estranged Nike tester explained. “But this cushion is great—pretty firm.”
The Legend’s midsole tapers off in areas underfoot where you don’t need it, which helps eliminate the clunky feeling that sometimes accompanies thicker platforms. But the carved out midsole doesn’t sacrifice support. Our testers reported that the shoe provides solid stability for neutral feet, but also acknowledged that over-pronating runners may want something a little beefier for motion control.
The Legend doesn’t offer much material on the outsole, but the grip is more than sufficient for the roads. Nike places two rubber sections at the heel and forefoot for more traction during launch and landing, which our testers said performed well in the wet conditions with good durability. “I did multiple runs in the rain and never slipped,” one tester confirmed. “After 100 miles, the outsole is barely worn down.”
Is Nike’s New React Foam the Holy Grail for Cushy Shoes?
Is Nike React Foam the Holy Grail for Cushy Shoes?
A snug, stretchy inner sleeve wraps the foot securely and keeps you centered on the Legend’s midsole foam. According to our testers, the comfort and fit of the shoe’s sock-lined upper couldn’t be beaten. “This is the most comfortable shoe I’ve worn since the Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 2, which featured a similar booty construction around the midfoot,” one tester reflected. But while comfort was on point, the shoe’s one-piece upper didn’t feel especially breathable.
If two things ran a bit short in the Legend, they would be length and laces. Several testers recommended going up half a size to avoid squished toes, and said that the shoe definitely had a snugger fit overall than the Pegasus. The only remaining request for the Legend was longer laces for smoother double-knotting.
4 Great Energy Gels for Long-Distance Running
GU Energy Gel, 24 Count
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CLIF SHOT Energy Gel Double Espresso, 24 Count
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Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel
Organic, gluten-free ingredients you can actually pronounce.
Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel, 21 Pack
$28.49 (29% off)
The slightly thinner consistency is easy to get down.
All the Stats You Need!
Weight: Light | 6.8 oz
Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Moderate | 9.0 mm
Heel Height: Low | 27.7 mm
Heel Cushioning: Soft
Forefoot Height: Very Low | 18.7 mm
Forefoot Cushioning: Firm
Flexibility: Very Flexible
Stability Features: Some
Energy Return: Most
We put each shoe through real-world usage and a battery of mechanical tests in our lab to provide you with objective—and exclusive—data. In addition to a shoe’s weight, we measure sole thickness (everything that sits between your foot and the road), how well the foam cushions your stride, and the flexibility of the forefoot. All this is taken into account in our reviews of each shoe.
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