If it wasn’t for the big pink swoosh on its side, you could be forgiven for mistaking the new Nike React Infinity Run for a Hoka One One shoe. It has a large stack of cushioning that’s very reminiscent of Hoka’s maximalist approach, as well as a built-in Hoka-style rocker to speed up your heel-to-toe transition.
However, this is a Nike shoe, which means it also has the company’s React foam in the midsole. Lightweight, springy and durable, the React cushioning offers a better, bouncier ride than the EVA foam in any Hoka I’ve tried yet, even if Hoka’s shoes tend to be lighter.
The combination of the React foam and the rocker makes for a very smooth and comfortable ride, and after two runs I’ve marked the Infinity Run down as a terrific everyday trainer and one I’m looking forward to logging a lot of kilometres in this winter.
Bret Holts, VP of Nike Running, tells Coach the Infinity Run is designed to be as versatile as the Epic React shoe for everyday training. It’s not meant to be a performance shoe like the Vaporfly, he adds, but an option for normal runners to log all their training in.
Despite the fat stack of foam on the sole it’s not too heavy (293g for a men’s size 10 and 230g for a women’s size 8), and it has enough cushioning for easy efforts while still being quick enough for faster running, even if it’s not an out-and-out speedster.
The two runs I’ve worn the Infinity Run for were a progression 10K, starting at 4min 15sec/km and gradually speeding up to 3min 45sec/km pace, and an easy hour-long run commute – and it felt great during both. While I’ve yet to try anything around race pace, I suspect it will come unstuck on shorter interval reps, but I do think it will be a good option for longer tempo runs and races of half marathon distance and above.
That’s mostly down to the rocker, which makes for a silky-smooth ride. I especially enjoyed using the shoe for the run commute, which was done on a cold, dark December morning in the rain – the kind of run you generally just want to be over, but getting to know the Infinity Run made it a lot more fun.
The Infinity Run is also designed to help reduce injuries. According to Holts, the shoe is the first step in what will be a key focus for Nike in the future.
“Our aim was to address the evergreen needs of runners of all levels,” he says. “One need is staying healthy and injury-free. This is our first step in that direction – in trying to reduce running-related injuries not just through products, but also guidance through training that we can offer though the NRC [Nike Run Club] app.
“Injury is something that has plagued runners of all levels for decades, and really the industry hasn’t made big strides in terms of reducing those rates in the past 30 or 40 years, including ourselves at Nike. We see this as an opportunity to really focus on a benefit that can help improve the running experience of all runners.”
That’s evident from the Infinity Run, which has more cushioning than past React shoes – 24% extra foam – and a wide base at the heel and forefoot to make it more stable. It’s not a stability shoe with a guidance bar to correct overpronation, though, just a more stable option for all runners to use.
I’d say that reducing your risk of injury is far more down to getting your training structure right than choosing the right shoe, so the guidance from the NRC app is probably the crucial bit here.
“A lot of it will come from training variation,” Holts says. “Runners do too much too soon, or they do the same run on the same route at the same pace every day, and that is what’s contributing in some cases to the injuries we see. A more holistic approach, helping runners with guidance and education, is more important than any product solution we could create.”
So if you’re just using the Infinity Run for your normal training, and ignoring the don’t-do-too-much-too-soon rule, don’t expect the shoe to save you from injury. It’s not a miracle worker.
What it is, however, is a terrific everyday trainer. Seriously committed runners with two or three shoes in their rotation will find the Infinity Run fits well as a cushioned option that can handle easy runs as well as tempo efforts, although you might still want something faster for speed sessions. Meanwhile, I’d say the casual runner who just wants one shoe for everything will be well served by the Infinity React. I still think Nike’s Pegasus Turbo 2 is an even better all-rounder option, but it’s a little more performance-focused. The Infinity Run will be more comfortable for heavier runners and a better pick for beginners too.
The Nike React Infinity Run will cost £129.95 and will be available from 3rd January for Nike Members and on general sale from 16th January.