I never got to try the first version of the Epic React, although they were on my wishlist. There was quite a lot of hype surrounding them (but isn’t that always the case with Nike shoe releases?) and some even declared them the best running shoes of 2018.
This was the first running shoe that contained the Nike React foam, which is speedy yet supportive. The Epic React also became a very popular casual shoe. So, I had to give the new Epic React 2 a go.
They do look like something in between a casual sneaker and a running shoe. There are multiple colorways, but the main colorway is black with a splash of color around the midsole and on the outsole.
Since the upper only consists of the flyknit and the outsole hardly use any rubber, it is a very light shoe, which only weighs 196 grams. It has an 18 mm stack height in the forefoot and 28 mm in the heel, which gives it a 10 mm drop.
Nike hasn’t made any huge changes to the Epic React 2, but why would you change a winning formula?
The only real changes are the heel counter, which now dips down in the middle and the lacing system which is now split into two parts. The Nike swoosh is also different, it is on both sides of the shoe and it is embroidered onto the flyknit.
The Nike Epic React 2 has a wider midsole than the Pegasus Turbo and thus provides a bit more stable ride. I liked the Pegasus Turbo with the ZoomX midsole, but it worked kind of like a sponge, it’s soft but it temporarily loses its shape when you put weight on it.
This would result in quite a bit of ground feel with the Pegasus Turbo. Nike describes the React foam as being responsive and springy. Well, it definitely is springy, I’ll give them that.
The React foam does keep its shape and therefore provides better impact protection than the Pegasus Turbo. It’s a nice and cushioned ride.
Because of the Nike React foam midsole, I do not really notice the drop that much since it doesn’t really feel like you are being propelled forward. With the Pegasus Turbo, I did have the feeling that I was being pushed forward slightly, something that I didn’t really experience with the Epic React.
Instead, it feels more like you are being propelled upwards. Which isn’t a complete surprise if you consider the fact that the Nike React foam was first used in Nike’s basketball shoes. And for basketball, the upward motion would be more useful.
In the beginning, the midsole reminded me more of a trampoline on which you want to jump up and down on. In the end, I did get used to the midsole, but still didn’t really have the feeling that I was being propelled forward by the shoe itself.
The flyknit upper gives you a snug feeling, but it is flexible enough to avoid any hotspots. In this version, the eyelets are separated into two parts, a lower and an upper part.
This should allow for more flexibility, but the flyknit upper is already really flexible, thus I’m not sure if this really makes a huge difference. But since the upper is made out of one piece of flyknit, the laces don’t have that much effect anyway.
Normally laces tighten two separate pieces of the upper together over the tongue of the shoe, but with the one-piece upper that isn’t possible. You can tighten the laces a little bit, but if you tighten them too much the flyknit will fold in on itself, which isn’t very comfortable.
There also isn’t really a way to tie the laces in any other way, since there are only a limited number of eyelets on this shoe. Which for some runners could be an inconvenience.
Due to the flyknit the sizing label was stitched onto the sockliner, normally it’s tucked in underneath the sockliner and it doesn’t bother you, but sometimes it would come out from underneath the sockliner and I could feel it on the side of my foot. This would eventually become annoying and I would have to put it back underneath the sockliner.
The outer heel counter on the Epic React 2 now dips down at the back and is, therefore, smaller than in the first version, but I’m not convinced it makes any difference, since there is another heel counter on the inside of the shoe which is a lot higher in the back and still gives you the support you need.
Part of the React foam is exposed, while part of the heel and part of the forefoot area of the outsole are covered with rubber. The rubber does provide enough traction on roads and easy trails.
The exposed React foam did start to wear a little bit after about 50 miles in these shoes, but the rubber still looked good, so I don’t think it will be an issue while I put more miles in these shoes.
It is not as much of a speedy ride as the Nike Pegasus Zoom Turbo. The Turbo is more of a fast 5 or 10k racing shoe, while I would classify the Epic React 2 more of a half marathon racing shoe.
Although the flyknit is a bit snug, I had no issues with the sizing and wore my normal running shoe size.
When running in the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2, does the word epic come to mind? Well, calling them epic is obviously quite the claim. I wouldn’t really go with epic, it didn’t completely blow my mind, but I would go with great.
The Nike Epic React 2 is a great half marathon racing shoe. It’s comfortable and springy and adapts easily to different kinds of workouts. I’ll definitely keep these shoes in my rotation and I’m considering buying more Nike running shoes with the Epic React foam.
The Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 is the second iteration of the Epic React Lineup. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to give the first version of the Epic React a try, but I could say I do enjoy the second version.
It uses the popular React midsole foam, which is good if you want a cushioned and springy ride. It has all the things you would want in a daily trainer; it’s light, cushioned, responsive, and looks pretty slick too.
At first sight of bringing this shoe out of the box, I loved this shoe. It was light, had a nice simple design, and the midsole had a cool wavy design which was appreciated too.
For first impressions run wise, there was some bad and some good. The shoe felt pretty firm but felt better as the run went on.
The first thing I noticed was how breathable the upper was, which, depending on the temperature, could be good or bad. But, for the 49-degree weather, it was just right for me.
The next thing I noticed once I started running was how light the shoe was and for the weight to cushion ratio. It was one of the most surprising (and best) features about the shoe.
The upper of this shoe is a one-piece flyknit upper. It was my first time trying a shoe with the flyknit upper, and I did enjoy it and could see why Nike has it on its top racers. It's very breathable and very light. I do appreciate the well-engineered upper.
It also features a very good heel cup, which has no cushioning. It would’ve been better with at least a thin layer of cushion, but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would while running.
One complaint I had was that the flyknit doesn’t do good adjusting to narrow feet. This causes the tongue to fold over itself due to the tongue being attached to everything else, and it’s visually unappealing.
Another little thing is the tongue not having any cushion layer, which could cause irritate from the laces. Those things being set aside, I enjoy the flyknit material and think it is very well-engineered.
At first, I was concerned about the outsole durability because of the exposed React foam. Nike claims the shoe could last at least 400-500 miles, and some sources have said the upper limit is 650 miles. If true, it is a very good thing.
I will say, as the miles went on, the wear of the foam seemed to kind of slow down. Around 50 miles in, there is noticeable wear, but I don’t think it will affect the ride until a couple more hundreds of miles—probably just going to affect the traction.
This shoe is probably one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve had in the sense that it gets more comfortable as the run goes on. The React foam gives a responsive but cushioned ride.
On runs, the shoe feels super light on the foot. And, the best thing about this shoe is the amazing cushion-to-weight ratio, which is a very rare thing when it comes to high mileage trainers.
The Epic React 2 weighs just 8.4 ounces for a pair of US size 10, which is 1-2 ounces less than a typical daily mileage trainer. Of course, that comes with some discrepancies, which, in this case, was less rubber on the outsole.
The shoe does have a break-in period the first couple of runs, and it will cause a little discomfort like how it did for me as it is firm out the box.
One problem I heard about and I believe I experienced was the foam getting firm in colder weather. I believe I experienced on the colder days, which was like below freezing temps.
This shoe might have a little too much cushion for speed runs, but overall this shoe is perfect for a variety of runs form fartleks and tempos to long runs to easy, normal runs.
The retail price is $150, which is a little pricey. But, for a shoe that can last at least 400-500 miles (as Nike suggests it can), then the price isn’t too bad if you truly plan to use it well.
What I like about this shoe
I do like this shoe for so many reasons. It’s cushioned, lightweight, responsive, and it looks really clean too.
Perhaps one of the best things about Nike shoes is they have the most modern looks of every shoe brand. The shoes look fast if you care about that stuff.
The only problems I have about these shoes are the little discrepancies like the wide upper or the lack of rubber. But, I believe the good outweighs the bad.
This shoe is almost everything you would want in a daily mileage trainer.
Why should you buy this shoe?
I believe you should buy this shoe if you are training for anything for a 5k up to a marathon or you're just trying to find a good daily trainer.
Once again, it is cushioned, lightweight, responsive, and it doesn't look too bad. It’s a do it all trainer that will definitely not disappoint you.
TLDR: These springy, stylish, short race-ready shoes fit like a sock, and don’t weigh much. Like other Nike running shoes, Epic React Flyknit 2 fit pretty tightly, so they don’t work for me on longer runs.
As with many Nike shoes that I’ve run in, these run relatively narrow. This is especially noticeable in the toe box with its low ceiling height. The stretchy upper fits comfortably.
The Nike React foam is pretty cushy. Hoops fans out there probably know this bouncy foam was created as basketball shoes. You'll feel that real athletic springiness when you run in these.
The uppers are very light but fit snug like a sock. It makes your foot feel supported and without fear of twisting an ankle.
In my mind, Nike’s biggest differentiator is their design. This is true of shoe style, ergonomics, and of course, their marketing.
These shoes could easily pass as casual sneakers. I believe Nike keeps this in mind when they make running shoes.
The fact that you can wear these out for a run, but also around town on a weekend, is a big selling point.
There are a variety of colorways, so you can go as bold or neutral as you want.
Distance: 5K | Terrain: City sidewalks
Location: New York City | Season: Summer | Conditions: 75 and humid
Compared to my Asics Gel DS Trainer 24, these trainers feel very springy and well-cushioned. It was not what I expected upon first glance since they appear quite minimal.
The protection comes in handy since I’m pounding pavements, full of busy street crossings and uneven cement sidewalks.
The shoes fit snug but comfortable, with the stretchy fabric allowing my foot to strike naturally.
My heel feels secure, with a slight snugness in the midfoot. I can reach down and feel the sides of my foot pressing against the sides of the shoe.
I typically wear a standard width shoe in other brands. So, by comparison, this one fits snug.
I want to try these out on dirt and hills, so I detour into a park and run the perimeter.
The snug fit on these shoes keeps me confident of my footing. However, they offer noticeably less traction on loose dirt than my Asics GT 2000. Still, they provide a pleasant ride for easy trails.
Because they’re light and snug, it makes it easy to maneuver around any obstacles in my way. After a few hundred meters, I decide to stop and tighten up my laces.
With foot-fitting uppers, I realized that I probably didn’t lace them up quite snug enough. As I break back into stride, they feel even lighter.
The Home Stretch
On the way home, it’s getting dark faster than I expected. Thus, I’m thankful for the bright red and gold glow of these shoes. The stretchy fabric keeps my feet cool and comfortable.
I’m curious to try them as the temperature drops. For my foot, the snugness becomes noticeable after a mile or two. They start feeling like they’re digging into my mid and forefoot a bit.
These are fun, bouncy shoes that offer good support despite their lightweight frame. Like a performance automobile, Nike’s running shoes are snug and cater to those who like a very tight ride.
That’s not really my preferred way to get around. I like a smooth and comfortable ride, with a bit more space to cruise down the highway, or offroad when I like.
In terms of style, they have a ton of appeal. Moreover, the foam outsoles do offer way more protection than you could realistically expect from a shoe of this size and weight.
The first installment of Epic React turned out to be the best shoe I had the privilege to run in, which is reflected in my review full of admiration and love.
It broke my heart when I finally needed to retire them after over 700km. I had an additional pair, but I gave them away to justify my purchase of the newest edition.
Again, they were available in many new exciting colour options, but I had my eyes set on a juicy red version. Always wanted to own a red sneaker—that edgy spicy look.
The price didn’t change from the previous version, which was $220 AUS. Sure, they had some discounts on other colorways, but I was already committed to getting that red one.
I got them from the official Nike website. The picture below was taken right after unboxing. It felt like Christmas.
Not much really changed since last year. Nike swoosh is a bit bigger and more defined, although the lacing design looks slightly different. I wonder if that contributes in any way to stability.
Moreover, the heel cup is visibly trimmed. Also, it can be my imagination, but laces look bit wider than before. But, I guess I washed my old ones several times in the washing machine so that could be it.
Other than that, it’s quite hard to spot major upgrades. Weight is still super light, and I guess there was no point in changing much in the visual department as it was flawless.
This shoe's great asset is that it delivers as a performance shoe while maintaining attractive casual appeal.
At the time of writing, I have a bit over 100km in this shoe, and again it is a joy. I am using it in rotation with another light, fast shoe by New Balance.
I learned over the time that with Nike, it is wise to go at least half size up, especially if your foot is on the wider side like mine. Stretchy upper wraps tight around the foot providing a snug fit.
With the previous installment, it took me a moment to mold into the shoe, but this time it felt almost instantly at home. It could be either the case of me being so used to the shoe or upper is bit stretchier.
The bottom line is that if you enjoyed the feel of the first version, you would not be disappointed.
My runs are mostly short, between 8-10km, and I like to go fast 4:10 to 4:30 minutes per km. The fit of Epic React Flynkit seems to be perfect for that type of exercise.
The new version comes with lightly improved upper made out of lightweight, flexible, and breathable fabric Flyknit. One-piece bootie construction molds perfectly around your foot, providing a secure fit.
Also, thanks to updated heel design, the back of the shoe is softer, so it is easier to slide in. Overall, it is more comfortable—just like a nice sock.
It may take several runs for it to adapt the shape of the foot before we achieve that perfect bond. But the comfort that your foot will feel in that Flyknit wrap is divine. I
t is worth noticing that the stretch of the fabric varies from location, which is pretty great. I am guessing that after some constructive feedback from the previous installment, Nike added some extra flex on the forefoot and collar.
Redesigned lacing panel allows bit more movement in the upper's midfoot area plus the Nike swoosh is larger, which may be giving some extra stability on the sides. I couldn’t really tell, but it looks good.
As mentioned before, laces seem a bit wider. Overall, the marinating period was way quicker for me this time than with Epic React Flyknit one.
What shines in Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 is a midsole entirely made of Epic React foam.
This foam is made of synthetic rubber blend, developed by some great minds at the Nike headquarters after years of hard work. It is engineered to make sure that what you are putting in on your run is generously released back.
The shoes have great energy absorption and responsiveness. All of that contributes to that smooth heel to toe transition and shock prevention for your joints.
Like in the previous model, this midsole gives you a fast, light, and springy ride—you will be running on the clouds again. I got to admit; it is a joy to be in this shoe.
Comfort is just on another level plus midsole prove to be also very durable. Heel to toe drop remained 10mm, but I just got used to it. I’m a forefoot runner anyway, especially on those speed days.
Majority of the outsole is exposed React foam. It keeps the shoe light and bouncy. We have some additional layers of translucent rubber placed at the front and rear (high wear and tear areas) to improve durability.
These are just enough to get the shoes good traction while still keeping the weight on the minimal side. The rubber maintains the pattern of the foam while having flashy colorway, which looks really good.
Please keep in mind that due to that design, it won’t be advisable to run them on demanding terrains. They are perfect for roads and flat, even surfaces—tracks that will allow you to run fast.
Even though you can quite early notice some wear on the outsole, especially the foam, it took me a good 600 plus km in version one till I started to worry.
They will serve you well for a decent amount of time. I could notice some slipping, but mostly on wet days, so there is no need to panic.
Outsole fresh out of the box
Wear on outsole after 100 km plus (road, sand terrain mostly) where there is barely any difference
- The versatility of that sneaker on different levels. Its appearance is excellent for casual wear and running. While its performance is great for easy long runs and speed runs. Overall, it is great for all round.
- React foam is a technological miracle.
- The upgraded Flyknit upper was amazing, and Nike managed to make it even better. Under this category comes overall comfort and breathability.
- The price for this version is expensive, but the shoe has proven to be worthy. It is also available on crazy sales everywhere so anyone can score a bargain.
- It has insane energy return.
- There is not enough improvement in comparison to the previous installment
- It has a 10mm drop, and for a shoe that I use for speed runs, I would prefer less.
- The design of the outsole (exposed foam) reduces traction and durability.
- It is not a supportive shoe if you are looking for one.
- As for sizing, the design of the toe box requires to go ½ - 1 size up. This is especially true if your foot happens to be wide.
A bit of an action shot
I had a fantastic time in Nike Epic React Flyknit version one, and I retired them by finishing half marathon and beating my previous time on that route by seven minutes. They were great.
I did not hesitate for a second in purchasing the newer release, and I am not disappointed. Everything that worked is still there and more.
Overall, the fit and feel got improved. New colour designs got released. I love my red ones—they are an eye-catcher.
This is a perfect shoe for someone who is looking for a good snug fit, lightweight, and performance. I just like into slip them on and go for a nice fast run.
It flawlessly transitions from that full-on fast day exercise to easy recovery jog. It is definitely not stability shoe but, don’t get me wrong; it provides a certain amount of security, which is enough.
I just appreciate that it has a flexible upper and minimalistic feel. It is not the cheapest option on the market, but what are you getting is a solid running shoe and a flashy casual shoe in one.
Moreover, the number of sales available at the moment will blow your mind.
If you start listing all that technology that was packed in like Flyknit upper, React Foam, and lacing system, it doesn’t seem to be as expensive anymore.
It was my number one choice for a long time until I recently discovered something that blew my mind even more and even from the place I was not expecting. But, that is a story for another review.
The Epic React Flyknit family has a special place in my heart and always will. If you are a running enthusiast, I highly recommend giving it a shot. It may change your life.
I was looking for a shoe where I can do my easy runs with but also wear it when walking through the city, going to work or just hanging around.
So my main criteria were that the shoe looks good and is very comfortable. The Epic React 2 sounded good checking the first reviews and spec of the lightweight trainer.
The main feature of this shoe is the react foam midsole. It is very soft, quite light, and still has a reasonable amount of energy return while running.
Furthermore, Nike claims that this foam is long durable and the newly released Nike Infinity React shoe claims to be injury preventive, which both sounds good as I'm accumulating a lot of mileage during the week.
In my size US 11,5 the shoe weighs 271 grams. It has10mm offset and constructed for neutral running without stability support.
The midsole is built out of the Nike React foam and it's good for both road or treadmill.
My main usage
Indeed the shoe combines being comfortable using it as a sneaker as well as using it as a running shoe. So I’m currently using them for both activities.
For my easy run, this is at the moment my favorite. Usually, I'm adding some strides at the end of my sessions, and also with speed going up to 3 min/km and the shoe is still comfortable.
For serious tempo or track sessions, I'll change to the Adidas Adizeros or Nike Turbos because I want more ground contact feeling and less cushioning.
As known from the Nike Flyknit series, the upper is very comfortable and fits like a second sock. It is still quite breathable and feels good even under hot weather conditions.
What I also like is that the shoe has no hard heel cap/shell. In the past, I often made the experience that these caps hurt my Achilles tendon. When using the shoe as a sneaker, you don't need that heel support anyway.
Midsole & outsole
The react foam does a great job! It feels bouncy and soft and I really like doing my easy runs with this shoe.
At higher running speeds it is a bit too soft and you lose the direct ground contact feeling. But this is OK considering my main usage aspects.
The outsole is fine. It provides enough grip when running on a dry or wet road. Even dry trails can be tackled with this outsole. Of course, under muddy conditions, you will extremely slip.
I accumulated 400kms with this shoe and I cannot see any type of wear out or lose of cushioning and grip. From my experience, I expect that this shoe will last for at least 800-1000km.
Also, the Flyknit upper does not have any damage and is still fits like a sock.
- Great for easy and moderate pacing (4:00 - 5:30 min/km)
- Very comfortable
- Good durability
- Too soft & less responsive for track & speed workouts
Overall, I'm very happy with this all day trainer and I'm thinking of buying myself a second pair. Even if the midsole/outsole has reached their lifetime, I think I will still further use them as a sneaker.
I’ve been looking forward to trying the Epic React 2 since it was released. I’m a fan of relatively unstructured neutral shoes and minimal uppers and have had good experiences with several of Nike’s recent releases.
Though a very different shoe, I’ve been loving the fit and ride of the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit and but wanted something for everyday use and slower runs (the Zoom Fly is a reserved tempo/progression shoe for me).
I tried on the original Epic React but was not inspired by the step-in feel; I thought the heel cup was too noticeable and seemed too radical.
Nike refined the heel cup, split the eyestay, and increased the size and thickness of the swoosh for the Epic React 2, all presumably to improve the fit. On step-in feel at least, it certainly worked for me!
Initial step-in feel is important, and the Epic React 2 felt great. The sizing was perfect (true to size), and with a medium-cushion sock, the fit was glove-like; the plastic heel counter just worked.
The shoe felt notably lightweight and very comfortable. The white and green colorway was simple and clean; the shoe overall has no unnecessary complexity. I couldn’t wait to take them for a run, which is always a great sign.
The upper is a single piece of Nike Flyknit material with a loose, more breathable weave in the toe which gets denser and more supportive towards the midfoot and heel.
The only real structure is the hard plastic heel counter. The stitched on Swoosh provides a bit of support to the upper, but otherwise, it’s just single-piece of knitting.
I found it a bit difficult to get the lacing right; with a thin sock, my foot was moving around a bit - couldn’t get the heel to lock in. With a tighter lace, I felt uncomfortable pressure on the top of my foot.
Note: there are no extra eyelets to do a heel lock. With a slightly more substantial sock, all the slop was gone, and the shoe nearly disappeared on my foot.
I find it hard to perfect the lacing. I have to re-lace partway into many of my runs, but when done correctly, I experience no movement around the heel and no undesirable pressure.
The midsole is just a slab of React foam, no plates, dual densities, or foot-hugging characteristics. The midsole has a great level of flexibility and stays with tight to the forefoot.
There is little to no arch support. I’m a true neutral runner and not a fan of overly structured shoes in general, so it’s off to a great start for me.
Nike’s advertising for the Epic React 2 showed bouncing “Jell-O” and seemed to promote the React foam as squishy and playful. With a significant heel stack (28mm) and based on my experience with the React foam in the Zoom Fly Flyknit, I expected a springy and soft ride.
However, the midsole was much firmer than expected and though still soft, not really squishy with no “sink-in” feeling. It doesn’t feel like there’s a lot there, but the ride is never hard or harsh.
I get some bounce from the foam, but it’s clean and refined, a less dramatic experience than other high energy return foams such as Adidas Boost, Reebok Floatride, and Nike Zoom X.
Although it’s not what I expected, I think Epic React 2 midsole is great: never a burden to run in facilitates a consistent turnover and provides a smooth ride at all paces.
The clean design of the Epic React 2 continues with the outsole, which is composed of two patches of crystal rubber in the high-wear areas and exposed midsole through the midfoot.
I’ve had no issues with grip in any conditions and found the Epic React 2 to be notably good on wet pavement. I’ve also run dirt paths in them and had totally adequate traction. They ran well overall, but there is definitely no real outsole, so I’d never choose them for off road.
At 87 miles (see photo above) there is no significant wear which is great to see. I saw others voice concerns about the durability of the crystal rubber, but it seems to be faring well so far for me.
My first run in the Epic React 2 was an 11-mile chill-out run - no pace goal, no watch checks. After a mile or two, I felt so locked into my pace, every strike was consistent, and the level of firmness was perfect.
Running felt effortless; my feet were turning themselves over. The ride is cushioned but not squishy. Overall, an enjoyable shoe to run in.
The foam is flexible enough to conform to the foot very well and combined with the knit upper and low weight makes for a fluid and unobtrusive experience. These aspects of the ride are a bit reminiscent of the Nike Free RN Distance for me but more responsive and lively.
While I wouldn’t choose them for racing, the Epic React 2 handles faster paces admirably and the feel and response remain largely similar. They don’t encourage speed but hold it well.
I still have the feeling of an easy lock-in to the pace and an enjoyable balance of ground feel and protection. It’s a consistent, smooth-riding shoe.
- Simple slab of foam provides a smooth ride at all paces
- Disappears on the foot with the right sock/lacing
- Midsole is a great balance of firmness and softness
- Good aesthetics and colorways - I’d wear these all day; love the pink accent colorway
- Hard to dial in the lacing
- A bit sloppy with a thin sock, possibly unaccommodating for certain foot shapes
This is now my go-to shoe for runs of any length where the bulk is a steady pace, possibly with uptempo blocks.
There are a lot of shoes that perform a bit better at fast paces, really encouraging speed, but the Epic React 2 can do it all; I’ve done some solid tempo blocks in them and recently took them for an easy 24 miler.
Overall, a lightweight, unstructured, well-designed, everyday road shoe.
Few things in this world could be regarded as “iconic”. These are the things that get recognized instantly anywhere in the world regardless of the cultural differences, like the cross, the golden arches of Mcdonalds and Nike’s swoosh.
That status level in itself is enough to generate hype and push sales forward when compared to other brands. So, what happens when a powerhouse like that consciously puts effort, time, and money into more hyping (or in that case, marketing) of a shoe?
The result is an insanely popular shoe that debuted last year.
It started with a new compound called “React” that eventually had replaced most of Nike’s Lunarlon and Phylon shoes. After the Nike Epic React debuted last year, a plethora of other running shoes followed that had React foam.
It was a strategic move from Nike to provide multiple options with varying price points that had the same outsole compound but different uppers, heel counters, and others.
This proved that cheaper is not always better (yes I’m talking about you Legend React). But does the newer version live up to the hype that the previous version had created?
Let's start with the invention that made it all possible: React. When Nike first released the first iteration of the Epic React, everyone jumped directly into comparing it with the Adidas’s Boost.
This is given that react is basically Nike’s approach to creating its TPU foam, and Adidas had been on the top of the shoe industry with Boost for a couple of years already.
So, it was more of a battle-of-the-titans kind of approach, even though Boost and React do share some differences, which might be considered major; React is lighter and firmer/ stiffer than Boost.
I think that Saucony’s TPU foam, Everun, is more similar to React than Boost. They shared the same level of responsiveness, firmness, and overall lightweight.
This year, Nike had used the same React foam from last year’s model on the Epic React 2. It is a smart business move I guess, although a lot of runners had questioned the placement of their rubber on the outsole.
But, we will get to that later on in the review.
Similar to the previous version, the Epic React Flyknit 2 has a full flyknit upper that has a “bootie” construction. But, it’s a tad more structured and thicker than last year’s upper.
After running many times in it, it’s still durable, but a bit stretched out. This stretching is understandable given that flyknit is marketed as a knit that adapts to the shape of your foot, but it’s still stable and not wobbly.
The upper is very well ventilated with openings on the top of the forefoot part, which is suitable for humid and hot weather but could be a bit “too airy” for cold winters. This can be solved by wearing thicker socks that could provide enough warmth.
The tongue is very thin and doesn’t have any cushioning or padding to it. This tongue might not be suitable to some runners who don’t prefer having the laces put some pressure directly to the top of their feet or their metatarsals.
A slab of React foam that has a stack height of 28 mm and a heel drop of 10 mm, as most shoes do. The midsole is covered by a very thin sock liner that doesn’t offer much support. It also has the sizing tab stitched to it since they can’t do that to the flyknit upper.
The ride is very cushioned with almost no ground feel. The React is firm and gives a propelling kind of step when you run in it.
I don’t particularly feel fast or “speedy” in them, but they are perfect for easy runs or daily training for medium or slow-paced runs in general.
Most of the midsole is exposed directly to save weight and make this shoe as light as possible. Thus, Nike added some very small and strategically placed rubber on certain parts of the midsole that would be easily worn out: heel and upper part of the forefoot.
I would have loved if they had placed the rubber the same way as they do in the Odyssey React. In Odyssey, they cover some parts of the midfoot that might actually get worn out faster than the parts that they had chosen to cover.
A lot of runners prefer to have a midfoot stride instead of a heel one. Even though most of the midsole is not covered, the shoes had good traction and didn’t feel slippery.
Nike Epic React was a very narrow shoe. This year’s model is still narrow but a bit more relaxed due to the minor changes in the upper.
I went up half a size from my usual size, and they fit perfectly. The toe box is fitting and not narrow nor shallow.
If you have a wide foot or a high-volumed one, I advise you to size up a full size. On the other hand, if you have a narrow foot or an average one, going true to size might be suitable.
A new rigid heel counter is added to the shoes, replacing the heel counter that was found on the first version that extended higher than the current one.
Nike had shed some part of the heel counter (the outer plastic part), not sure if it was in effort of saving weight or for cosmetic purposes. But, it didn’t disappoint, and it kept my heel in place.
There’s always a certain limit of stability that you can ask from knit upper shoes, and flyknit is no exception, while my feet stayed in place most of the time, I might get a slight “wobbly” feeling when I’m taking a very sharp turn.
The swoosh sign doesn’t offer any lateral stability. It would be interesting to see Nike experimenting by adding flywires back in a future release.
Due to the lack of rubber on the outsole of the shoe, some parts of the foam on the outsole got completely whipped out. Regardless, it’s more of a cosmetic thing.
From the sides, the foam looks compressed a little bit. But, so far, I don’t think that it had affected my runs at all.
That being said, having exposed foam means that there is generally a greater risk for it getting damaged (from the road itself) or worn out quicker.
Meanwhile, the flyknit upper is still intact and doesn’t show any holes or tears in it.
The shoe is really comfortable. I remember when I laced it the very first time, I felt that my foot was pulled a bit “upwards”.
It didn’t have a significant effect on my runs, but I think that Nike might had it designed that way to establish and infuse the “spring” effect that they market the React foam with by having the foot in a certain shape that would further support that idea.
I should also mention that the shoe looks really good. It could completely pass as a lifestyle shoe that could be used for almost everything on a daily basis. Nike offers a lot of colors, and you can customize your pair if you want.
I can’t get a good lockdown, like at all. Since the shoe is made from a flyknit upper that has a bootie construction, the laces are a bit useless?
Flyknit already adapts to your foot, but lacing the shoe didn’t really give a good lockdown feeling, no matter how I lace it. What makes things worse is the absence of the extra eyelets, so you can’t do a runners knot.
Durability still remains as a question. Despite having it in my rotation for six months, I still have this feeling that they might break at any time now.
After six months from its initial release, Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 proves that good sequels do exist. I recommend you to give them a try and add them to your shoe rotation.
Right now, some sellers might offer them discounted at a good price, which would help with the bit-steep MSRP of $150.
- The first Epic React Flyknit model has become one of Nike’s popular running shoes. The model features an appealing design, lightweight cushioning, and breathable coverage. After a successful release in early 2018, Nike has released the upgraded version of the Epic React Flyknit. The latest iteration, the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 features a similar design to its predecessor with minor enhancements in the heel counter and Swoosh logo element.
As per Nike’s official website, the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 fits true to size, just like the Nike Strike 2 running shoe. However, it is also recommended to purchase half-size up if runners prefer a slightly bigger fit.
The shoe has a narrow volume in the heel and midfoot sections, and the forefoot area offers a medium fit. The toe-box also offers enough room for toe splay.
The Epic React Flyknit 2 comes in standard D-medium measurement for men and B-medium for women. Half sizes are also available for men’s and women’s versions.
In the outsole of the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 is a rubber material strategically placed in the forefoot and heel area. The purpose of the rubber placement is to give the outer sole durability. It also provides a good amount of traction for road surfaces.
The rest of the outsole is the exposed React foam. The fluid geometry design of the foam offers flexibility and a smoother ride without compromising cushioning. It also reduces weight in targeted areas.
The Epic React Flyknit 2 features the popular React midsole foam. It is built to give runners responsive and springy cushioning. It delivers a high level of shock absorption during landing and encourages a smoother heel-to-toe transition.
It comes with a fluid geometry design in the surface of the foam to reduce weight and further enhance the performance of every runner.
In the upper of this neutral shoe is a one-piece Flyknit material. With a cleatie design, the Flyknit upper offers a glove-like fit. This material also delivers lightweight stretch and support.
The inner sleeve of the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 facilitates easy entry and the contoured collar, which is designed to sit right below the ankle, aims to deliver a more comfortable fit.
The modified heel counter continue to provide runners with a secure and stable feel.
Lastly, the large stitched Swoosh logos in the lateral and medial sides offer additional midfoot support.
In choosing the best running shoe, there are many factors that a buyer should consider - the price, the running technique, and the materials used to name a few. The most important component that would make the shoe standout is the technology used. In the case of the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2, the winning technologies are the React foam and the Flyknit upper.
The React technology is the newest midsole foam from Nike. It is first launched in Nike’s basketball division in June 2017. The first two basketball shoes to use this technology are the React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit and the Jordan SuperFly 6. This midsole technology aims to deliver lightweight support, high energy return, and responsive cushioning.
The overall concept of this material is to provide a minimalist upper design with maximum benefits. Nike formulated the Flyknit to provide wearers with seamless, featherweight, and form-fitting foot wrap. It also offers lightweight stretch and breathability.
This material has been used in various Nike products including sneakers, soccer cleats, and basketball shoes.
The first Epic React Flyknit was released in February 2018 and after a year, the 2nd version is ready to impress the fans again. It featured the new React foam technology and was designed for serious and casual runners. Just like the Pegasus 35 and Revolution 4, it has become one of the popular Nike running shoes to date. But what really makes the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 popular?
Comfortable and street-ready design
Aside from being a lightweight and high-performing road running shoe, people like the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 because of its all-day comfort and stylish design. Thanks to the Flyknit upper that delivers proper ventilation and seamless wrap.
The overall design of the shoe has received positive feedback from wearers because it is stylish and looks good even with jeans and other casual outfits.
Responsive and bouncy cushioning
Responsiveness and high-energy return are the two things the React foam offers to its users. The midsole technology of the Epic React Flyknit 2 offers long-lasting and consistent performance, miles after miles. Its lightweight design and springy feel do not compromise comfort and durability.
Lightweight and breathable coverage
The Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 is a lightweight road running shoe. It is as light as its predecessor and runners love to use the shoe for competition and long-distance runs. Thanks to the Flyknit upper and React midsole technology that still offers reliable performance without being heavy.
Users have been a huge fan of the Flyknit material. Aside from being lightweight and stretchable, the Flyknit upper offers unmatched breathability. Even on warm running condition, the foot remains sweat-free and cool.
The Epic React Flyknit 2 is a running shoe for everyone. It is built for runners of all levels and the design is meant to provide impressive performance for men and women. Below are few Nike shoes with React technology on its midsole.
Nike Legend React
The Legend React is a lightweight shoe meant for daily running. Along with the React midsole is the textile upper, which gives breathability and comfortable fit. In the outsole of the shoe is the rubber material with grooves, which are design for durability and traction.
Performance-wise, the shoe is average. It does provide runners with comfortable cushioning for short runs and the overall ride quality is comparable to other affordable shoes in the market. Since it uses the React technology, just like the Epic React Flykni 2, the shoe is responsive and offers high energy return.
Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2
The Flyknit version of the Odyssey React is on its 2nd version as well. The design of the Odyssey React Flyknit 2 is as eye-catching as the Epic React Flyknit 2. Both shoes come in a lightweight and durable construction.
Aside from the React midsole foam, the upper of the shoe is a combination of Flyknit and synthetic material which offers a blend of flexibility, breathability, and support.
Overall, the shoe delivers breathability, flexibility, responsiveness, and durability. This shoe is a good option for runners who are looking for lightweight runners with a street-ready design.
Nike Rise React Flyknit
The Nike Rise React Flyknit has a lace-less, high-cut design. It is very different from the Epic React Flyknit 2 but the shoe still delivers a good combination of flexibility, responsiveness, and breathability.
The lace-less design offers comfortable lockdown and the high-cut design offers added ankle support. The thin collar remains stretchy and comfortable.
The outsole is made of exposed React foam but rubber placements were added into the forefoot and heel sections for traction and durability.
- The Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 was debuted by LeBron James, wearing the “Pixel” colorway.
- The shoe is released in “8-bit”, “Pixel” and other colorways.
Size and fit
Same sizing as Nike Epic React Flyknit.
How Epic React Flyknit 2 compares
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