Epic React. Nike has done it again (and not for the first time).
Published on 20/04/2018 23:04
yes, they’ve done it again. and this time it wasn’t easy. after having ,,,gained worldwide acclaim just six months ago with the “sub2h” programme and its corresponding range (nike vaporfly), the brand whose name pays tribute to the greek goddess of victory has an even more difficult mission to accomplish: to maintain itself at the top.
this time the proposal has changed radically, going from “fast” to “endurance” mode. with the boom in resistance sports and the recent obsession of the brands to create ,,,the running shoe with the most cushioning, without going too far over the 200g “red line”, nike was not going to be left behind. its proposal: nike epic react
the first impression of a running shoe always seems to be based on aesthetics. usually, this means it is outstanding. whether for men’s or women’s models, we find bright shoes with details that quickly capture the attention of the “runner”, such as yellow braiding on the back, pink or violet edging above the heel (depending on the model), the propulsion of the sole and the glove-like fit of the uppers giving the sensation that it is holding the foot in place.
on a more technical level, here we have another model from the “epic” range. nike’s standard range since 1985, and endorsed by more than twenty records from the world of marathons (which is easier said than done). so, what makes this model different? basically, the sole, where you will find the technology which gives the model its name: react.
react (reactivity) is the word with which nike wants us to associate its new model. react provides the ability to run well and fast without compromising strike or stability, and maintains the “endurance” style which comes as standard within the epicrange.
moving on to action, nike react is technically very different from everything that we have seen to date. when you put on “endurance” running shoes, you always have a preconceived idea of the sensations you will experience. nonetheless, the first impression is nothing like a model designed for “long” runs, but rather the opposite: a lightness and a sensation of “foot freedom” that motivates us to begin a series of runs rather than one long run.
however, everything rests on the first impression. as soon as you start jogging, your perception of the shoe changes completely. personally, it reminded me of the first pair of “pegasus” i had: a sofa sensation and the ability to run for hours and hours without any sign of fatigue. a ten minute jog was all i needed to know that i was wearing genuine kilometre-devourers: stability, cushioning and a sensation of lightness. the three most searched-for cornerstones for the 21stcentury “runner”. okay, we already know that we are looking at a good pair of “endurance” running shoes. that’s nothing new, as that was more or less what we expected from them. now is the time to ask for a little more speed.
we’ll get right to the point: 10x500 / 3’30’’-km. some “happy” runs acted as the trials for the cotton in our new react running shoes. this is where the surprises begin. having ,,,got used to the standard “sofa” running shoe, which is always clumsy when increasing the pace, we found a totally unexpected reactivity in an “endurance” running shoe. the metatarsal rebounds quickly and with ease, the heel doesn’t drop… awesome! a great and totally new response that makes us realise that we are in the presence of a truly hybrid running shoe which is suitable for a very wide range of users.
and as we are perfectionists and we like to split hairs, we’re going to ask for a little bit more from them. could react running shoesalso be a good choice for triathlons? after testing them on a ten kilometre run followed by three-hours on the bike, we can emphatically say yes, they are. firstly, you can run without wearing socks thanks to the inner lining included within the shoe, which is a good feature for triathletes. the reactivity and cushioning they provide makes it much easier to run when tired, and for this reason, for their use in mid- to long-distance triathlons. for shorter and more powerful distances, perhaps we should focus more on the “flying through the air” type models, but everything depends on the athlete’s pace and objectives.
we can therefore conclude that, after being tested on various terrains and at various paces, this running shoe is ideal for athletes who run medium-long distances, of light or medium weight and who want to go at a fast pace. these shoes can also be very suitable for heavier runners who are looking for performance at shorter distances (5-10km).
weight: 221g size 40.
sole: composed of two parts which are colour differentiated. the toe and heel are blue, using a tougher rubber to enhance reactivity. the central sole is white, and softer, so it provides the required comfort for longer strides. the midsole has a semi-curved shape to enhance the running shoe’s flexibility. as a negative, we could point out that they have little grip on wet surfaces as the sole surface is quite smooth. in so far as its lifespan, this will depend on the person and its use. according to nike, they are made to last for around 550-600km when worn by a person weighing 70kg.
uppers: the model retains the one-piece upper which proved so popular in the epic flyknit range, and so creates more comfort and, as it does not have a tongue, it avoids any potential chafing by seams on a runner’s feet. it also makes the shoe more aesthetically attractive. we also found a more elastic area around the heel and the instep, which makes them quicker and easier to get on and off, with the aid of the strip at the back of the shoe (an element favoured by triathletes).
shape: as this is such a soft shoe, we can choose a size which is totally adjusted to the feet. the thermoseal material feels like a “glove” and the grip at the back in the heel prevents the foot slipping as it leans into a stride, thereby achieving a good grip (fundamental for long distances where fatigue may cause us to abandon technique). it comes as standard with an insole of 2mm, which can be changed, should the athlete require this.
reactivity: the characteristic that gives the model its name. an incredible “bounce-back” sensation is achieved in an “endurance” running shoe. this characteristic also makes the shoe very suitable for running at a faster pace.
cushioning: the other strong point of the react running shoe. they feel very soft as they quickly return the strike and maintain the speed dynamic. there is a sensation of the foot sinking into the foam, but with a rapid return, which is an improvement on the previous flyknit model. a “sofa” sensation without compromising the reactivity of the strike. practically perfect cushioning.
an “endurance” running shoe, which is also fast. designed for athletes of medium weight and neutral strike. a simply perfect cushioning system which is completely different to anything nike has offered to date and which places the american brand within the top ten mid- to long-distance models. an approximate recommended range of distance-weight would be as follows (always for neutral strike athletes):
60-70kg : 21km/42km