Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 review
Since its release, the Odyssey React has always lived in the shadow of its big brother, the Epic React. Being cheaper and only partially Flyknit, many view it as a budget version of the Epic React.
I skipped the first version because when I tried it on in the store, the forefoot felt painfully tight. Even walking around in the store caused the toe box material to dig into my foot.
This year, Nike changed the upper to Flyknit but kept the heel and collar the same.
The Epic React is not the most comfortable shoe. The high knitted collar digs into my achilles and causes chafing. I bought the Odyssey React Flyknit because I craved the React midsole but wanted a more comfortable upper.
Upper of the Odyssey React Flyknit 2
The partially knitted upper of the Odyssey React Flyknit 2 is a huge improvement over the Odyssey React 1. I went up a half size, and the toe box is still snug, yet it is not tight.
The shoe is very pointy in the front and reminds me of a formal Italian shoe. The knitted material used is a harder kind, which is not as soft or stretchy as Adidas’ Primeknit.
The heel is plush and covered with a smooth lining. Moreover, there is no heel slippage.
Meanwhile, the tongue is knitted and thin. A gusset connects it, so it does not slide laterally.
The change to Flyknit from the original mesh version is a welcome change, and it makes the shoe look more premium.
Odyssey React Flyknit 2 midsole
The midsole is unchanged from the original. It is a very stable, “rubbery” feeling midsole with firm undertones. Nike advertises the React midsole with marshmallows and springs.
These are both far from what React really feels like. It feels more like a dense rubber. In fact, it would be more accurate to be advertised with a bouncy rubber ball instead.
There is enough cushioning for a marathon distance. It is also responsive enough for 5km/10km tempo runs.
On a hardness scale, it is about a 6 out of 10, with 10 being the softest.
The Odyssey React 2 is classified as a stability shoe, but the arch is barely noticeable. Moreover, it is suitable for neutral and pronation runners.
Being more stable and firmer than the Epic React, I would recommend this shoe for heavier runners.
Odyssey React Flyknit 2 outsole
The outsole is also unchanged from the previous version. Regardless, I prefer it than the Epic React’s outsole.
There is more rubber, which covers more of the shoe. The rubber also covers the high wear areas: outer heel and under the ball of the foot, which the Epic React outsole does not do.
Rubber under these strike areas also results in a firmer ride over the Epic React, which is about 15 percent firmer. It is a small price to pay for an increase in lifespan.
The area which I see the highest wear is down the middle of the shoe in between the two rubber lugs.
The placement of the rubber lugs forces the shoe to flex further forward (close to the toes) than the Epic React (ball of the foot). This makes the shoe feel snappier and faster.
Tip: see the best running shoes.