87
Good!
306 users: 4.1 / 5
27 experts: 85 / 100
Terrain: Road / Treadmill
Weight: Men 11.9oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 10mm / Women 10mm
Arch support: Neutral

Verdict from 9.6 hours of research from the internet

8 reasons to buy

  • Majority of Nike Joyride Run Flyknit wearers like the cushioning impact of the TPE foam beads.
  • Some users have said that the Flyknit upper provides a secure and breathable fit.
  • According to several reviewers, the Joyride Run Flyknit feels very lightweight when worn.
  • Most runners say that the shoe is the most shock-absorbent Nike running shoe they have had.
  • A notable number of wearers like the fact that the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit has good looking aesthetics, sleek colorways, and functional.
  • A handful of wearers note that the shoe's built loop at the heel makes putting the shoe on a lot easier.
  • Based on some reviews, the shoe's rubber outsole proves to be durable and offers excellent traction.
  • More than a couple of users note that the shoe's cushioning is very responsive.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of runners say the shoe has a low amount of energy return.
  • The shoe rubs uncomfortably against the skin when worn without a sock, according to a reviewer.

Bottom line

The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit is designed to help make running feel easier, especially on recovery days. The shoe is praised for its innovative tiny TPE foam beads. It is strategically placed underfoot, conforming to the wearer's foot. It provides the most personalized sensation that a lot of users have felt in a shoe for a long time. Although a bit lacking in responsiveness, the majority of reviews still recommend the Joyride Run Flyknit for its remarkable cushioning and comfort.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Our reviews

75
/100 by Brandon Law, posted on .

Nike’s hyped up new technologies have been hit and miss. The Epic React is a big hit while the VaporMax is a miss. It is hard, uncomfortable, and definitely not for the purpose of running.

The Joyride Run was one of the biggest releases of the year. It features the latest, most advanced technology Nike has to offer.

 

 

“Thousands of tiny beads working hard, so you don’t have to” is the slogan. It is marketed as a shoe with a conforming cushioning system for short, recovery runs.

Many shoe reviewers have refrained from reviewing the shoe because they don’t see it as a “proper” running shoe. I was too curious to sit this one out.

Appearance

This is a great looking running shoe. It looks as good on a run as it does with a casual outfit.

The two-tone balls can be seen in the cut-out windows of the outsole as well as in the heel section on the lateral side. It’s a really futuristic looking running shoe.

 

The tiny TPU beads offer 14% more impact protection than Zoom Air and React, according to Nike.

Materials & comfort

The upper is flyknit in the forefoot and soft, stretchy material in the midfoot and heel.

The Flyknit is softer and stretchier than the Epic React’s Flyknit. It’s extremely comfortable except for the top of the heel, which digs into your Achilles if you are not wearing long enough socks.

 

The inner section of the heel is not a fan of the Achilles.

 

It’s a really warm shoe and doesn’t let much air in. It may be the warmest shoe I have ever worn.

The midsole is made of a super soft material. It’s the softest midsole ever used in a Nike shoe and can be folded in half with one hand.

 

No sock liner means that your feet sit directly on the midsole.

 

You can feel the ball pockets in the forefoot underneath your foot as there is no sock liner. It feels like you have popped blisters underneath your feet. The balls are soft, so they don’t poke into your foot. I would estimate them to be the same density of Adidas Boost pellets.

Overall, it’s much more comfortable than the Epic React.

 

The thick upper materials are like a sweater for your feet.

Fit

It’s a really snug fit, and I had to go up half a size. I wear thin socks with them because it is so snug. The combination of the thick upper and the bead pockets that push up from the bottom don’t leave much space in the forefoot.

Midsole

There are over 10 000 beads packed into the midsole. The beads are split into four sections throughout the shoe. You can only see three sections when you look at the bottom of the shoe. There are more beads placed in the high impact areas (the heel and ball of the foot).

 

The bead pocket in the midfoot is hidden from view.

Ride

The Joyride does what it is advertised to do. It provides great impact protection. With every foot strike, your feet sink down into the ball pit- like when you run in the sand.

I have run in many shoes in my lifetime, and the Joyride lords overall as the softest I have ever run in.

 

This is the only midsole that can truly be described as marshmallowy.

 

I cannot run longer than 5km in these shoes because it provides a negative energy return. The shoe is for impact protection and not efficiency. It is probably the least versatile Nike running shoe. It is only good for short, slow runs.

The Vomero 14 became firm this year, and I see the Joyride as being a replacement for the Vomero.

Something interesting that I noticed is that the shoe encourages me to strike on my forefoot rather than my regular heel strike. This is because you can feel the cushion pockets in the forefoot while you can’t feel it in the heel.

This is the same situation as the Pegasus 33 and 34, where you can feel the forefoot Zoom air pocket.

 

The midsole conforms by tiny beads pushing up and around your toes and forefoot as you apply pressure.

Flexibility

Flexibility is high. The soft midsole allows the shoe to flex easily without much effort. The flex point is in the forefoot where all good running shoes should flex.

 

The Joyride is as flexible as the Nike Free RN.

Outsole & durability

The window cut-outs look like plastic but are actually thick rubber panels.

The outsole is actually more durable than I thought it would be. The soft transparent rubber has browned slightly, but it shows no signs of tearing or puncturing. Apart from getting dirty, the outsole has held up really well. The navy-blue rubber section shows some fraying.

 

Traction

Traction is not very good. The smooth outsole is slippery on any smooth surface even when it is not wet (concrete, pavement, etc.) There are no protruding lugs to provide “bite” for grip.

Verdict

Is this shoe worth $180? Definitely not.

I can’t recommend this shoe to anyone other than someone looking for a super soft, slow shoe to run in. While the Joyride will not be a hit, it certainly is not a miss because it does what it is advertised to do.

What I like about the Joyride is that Nike is trying something new and innovative.

While Puma first came up with the concept of beads in a midsole in their Jamming shoe, nobody took notice of it as a serious running shoe because the technology wasn’t implemented correctly.  With the Joyride, you can actually feel the beads working as the midsole conforms to your foot.

It’s fun to run in but works better for me as a casual shoe.

Brandon Law | Level 4 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Brandon. I have a running shoe obsession and addiction. I spend hours a day on websites and on review sites reading about the latest tech and upcoming releases. I run +-50km per week, and one of my favourite past times is going into shoe stores and testing salesmen on their knowledge of running shoes.

- The most striking feature in the Joyride Run Flyknit is located in the shoe's midsole. It is Nike's proprietary cushioning system made of ten thousand TPE foam beads. These beads are placed inside zonally-tuned pods, which allows a personalized feel by letting the foam contract or expand in all directions. The TPE foam beads adapt and conform to the runner's foot for a more dynamic, stable feel. 

- Nike also uses the Flyknit upper material on this running shoe. It is super lightweight, breathable and helps keep the wearer's foot snuggly in place.

- Working with the Flyknit material is the synthetic material also located in the shoe's upper. It comfortably wraps the medial part of the shoe for a secure fit.

- A one-piece foam collar is also built into the Joyride Run Flyknit. This feature offers smooth, secure cushioning.

- Lastly, the low-cut design makes the shoe feel comfortable around the wearer's ankles and helps in making the shoe easy to take on and off.

The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit is made in standard medium sizing D for men and B for women. The shoe's Flyknit upper hugs the foot giving it a snug fit. That is why it is suggested by most reviews, especially for wide footed runners, to get a half-size to a full-size larger than one's usual go-to shoe size. Besides the Flyknit, the shoe’s upper also has synthetic material that wraps from the inside of the foot to the top for a more secure fit.

The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit is developed using a lightweight rubber material for its outsole. The Joyride Run Flyknit guarantees remarkable traction in varied conditions. The shoe's durable rubber outsole offers a firm grip. It also functions to protect users from losing control and slipping, at the same time while protecting itself from daily wear and tear.

The shoe's outsole rubber is strategically placed on high wear areas such as the forefoot and heel. This placement increases durability and helps in cushioning the foot from the traumas of heel strikes.

The rubber material, however, has been removed from the midfoot area to reduce weight, further enhancing the lightness of the Joyride Run Flyknit.

The shoe also features raised nobs which are located on the high-wear outsole to increase underfoot traction. These nobs improve traction on varied surfaces, ensuring confident and reliable footing on any recovery day.

The Joyride Run Flyknit's outsole is also the same area that contains the visible TPE beads. An additional orange rubber outsole in the forefoot and heel also adds durability and traction, although the tread is quite shallow.

All these outsole compositions proved that the Joyride Run Flyknit is very dependable on pavement roads, may it be wet or dry surface.

The innovative Nike technology found in the Joyride Run Flyknit is developed to give any runner's legs a day off from vigorous competition running.

The shoe's midsole is designed using four zonally toned pods that are filled with ten thousand TPE beads. These beads contract and expand during the run, making the Joyride cushioning technology personalized, comfortable, and responsive. This is often compared to the comfort provided by the popular Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36.

The four strategically placed pockets that house the TPE foam beads are engineered to adapt to the runner's every step. This helps in providing better impact absorption and stable footing. On every step or stride taken, these ten thousand TPE foam beads take the foot's shape and provide personalized cushioning and support. It also offers unique responsiveness that helps propel the runner forward.

To better expose the runner's foot to the TPE foam beads, the shoe's insole is removed and instead replaced with a top cloth liner. This allows additional comfort and better underfoot feel.

Unlike other Nike foam static cushioning systems, the Nike Joyride system is dynamic, it shifts and contours around your foot, delivering maximum performance and support. It offers 14% better impact absorption than Nike alternatives.

Surrounding the pods is the SRO2 foam. This foam material increases the effectiveness and comfort provided by the TPE foam beads. It also works to ensure added cushioning underfoot. It offers a Cushlon sensation that evokes a familiar sensation to that of previous Nike products. The Joyride provides maximum comfort for those slow recovery runs. The Joyride does not just go easy on the feet, but it also helps the whole body feel good during the run.

The Joyride Run Flyknit incorporates the use of the Flyknit material for its upper. It encases each foot in breathable comfort. The perforations across the forefoot and midfoot aids in increasing airflow to create a healthier environment for the feet to thrive in.

The upper's one-piece construction seamlessly integrates areas of high breathability, stretch, and support where it is needed the most. It also adapts to the changing shape of the foot as it moves through the gait cycle. This feature reduces slippage, ensuring smooth, distraction-free strides.

The front half of the shoe's upper is a synthetic material then wraps from the inside of the foot to the top for a secure and comfortable fit. The supportive synthetic creates a second-skin fit that conforms to the shape of the foot to provide stability and comfort.

Another feature in the shoe's upper is a one-piece foam collar that provides smooth and secured cushioning. The collar's softness also allows the wearer to tighten the top eyelet without the risks of chafing and irritation, allowing the runner to enjoy distraction-free strides. 

The upper's low-cut design is comfortable around the ankle and works together with the heel pull tab to guarantee an easy on and off.

Completing the Joyride Run Flyknit's upper is a lacing system that locks down the midfoot to reduce shoe slippage. This also allows an enjoyable, secure, and comfortable fit.

Size and fit

Too small based on 41 user votes
Small (41%)
True to size (56%)
Large (2%)
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Forefoot fit
Narrow Wide
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Toebox
Tight Roomy

How Joyride Run Flyknit compares

This shoe: 87
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $180
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 11.9oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com