Nike Joyride Dual Run review
The Joyride Dual Run is a much better running shoe than the Joyride Run Flyknit. The Dual Run can easily fit into my running shoe rotation as a daily trainer.
Upper hits all the right notes
The upper of the Joyride Dual Run is made from a thin, breathable mesh which is only slightly stretchy. Its tongue is thin and gusseted, so it doesn't move during runs.
I found the knitted upper of the Joyride Flyknit way too warm and my feet felt like they were wrapped in jerseys. The Joyride Dual Run is much cooler and performs well in warm weather.
The heel counter of the Joyride Dual Run is padded and does really well at keeping your heel locked in so that no slipping occurs. It also doesn't dig into your achilles like the aggressive heel counter of the Joyride Run Flyknit. On the outside is a round pull tab for extra convenience.
There are fused-on overlays on the lace eyelets and on the toe box which don't have much functionality but give the shoe some visual depth to an otherwise bland upper design.
The laces are thin and round and feel a little bit cheap compared to other Nike shoelaces, but they get the job done.
On the Nike website, they advise you to order a half size up from your normal size because the shoe runs a half size small, but I found that they run true to size because the upper is not very padded.
Overall, the Joyride Dual Run upper is a definite improvement over the Joyride Run Flyknit and is a better upper than other recent Nike uppers which have had problems with heel slippage or hotspots.
More joy in the ride of this Nike Joyride version
The foam beads are situated in two different sections in the midsole: in the heel and the midfoot. Nike says that the thousands of beads squish and shape around your foot. This was the experience in the Joyride Run Flyknit but not in the Dual Run.
In the Dual Run, the foam beads are contained in the midsole so there is better energy return as you don't feel like you are running in sand.
The forefoot of the midsole is made from React foam and provides a firm toe-off which feels more efficient than if it were made of foam beads.
The React foam in the Dual Run feels different to React in other Nike trainers. It feels softer and more flexible. A lot of the time, React foam feels firm and lifeless (like in the Pegasus 37 and Miler), but this application of React is springy and lively.
I use the Dual Runs for everyday training runs which are easy-paced. It's not the lightest shoe, nor is it the most responsive, so it doesn't handle tempo runs all that well. It also doesn't possess the pillowy softness that I like for recovery or long runs.
Ride transitions are smoother than the Joyride Run Flyknit because the foam beads don't stick out from the midsole, but transitions are not as smooth as other shoes that have a uniform, single-density midsole.
There is no insole inside the Dual Run so that your feet can sit directly on the foam beads. This makes the shoe very difficult to clean because if you put them in a washing machine, the water will seep into the foam bead compartments.
Stability in the Dual Run is below average because of the convex shape of the heel. It feels like the heel is rounded instead of being flat, so there is some lean bias.
Traction is supreme
There's a lot happening on the outsole of the Joyride Dual Run. There are two large lugs on the forefoot: one under the ball of the foot and a smaller one under the toes. These lugs have small protruding circles to help bite into the ground.
There are transparent rubber windows under the midfoot and heel which display the colourful foam beads and two more rubber lugs on the heel high wear areas.
Traction is fantastic. The Dual Run performs well on a variety of surfaces, both wet and dry.
Durability could be better
The durability of the Joyride Dual Run is average. The exposed React foam is soft, so it scuffs on the road, and the transparent rubber on the outsole will also wear down over time. The midsole will maintain its cushioning though as React foam doesn't lose much cushioning over time.
Nike Joyride Dual Run vs. Nike Joyride Run Flyknit
The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit was not a great running shoe. The Flyknit upper was thick and hot, and Nike spent huge amounts on marketing their new bead conforming technology but running in them felt like running in sand. The midsole also felt really lumpy: like running on popped blisters that I never got used to.
The Joyride Run Flyknit was a better lifestyle casual shoe than a performance running shoe.
Sometimes new technologies like conforming foam beads just don't work and never will work in a running shoe. Other times, they have to be paired up with another technology to get the best out of them.
Take Adidas Lightstrike, for example. On its own, the TPU foam is nothing special but pair it with Boost and the two technologies mesh together to create a cohesive, sophisticated ride which excels at tempo paces.
The Joyride Dual Run is different from the Joyride Run Flyknit:
- It has a mesh upper instead of a knitted one
- There are foam beads in only the heel and midfoot
- React foam is used in the forefoot to replace the foam beads.
- The Joyride Dual Run is also much cheaper and was released months after the Joyride Run Flyknit.
As a shoe reviewer, the most enjoyable type of review to write is one where a running shoe that you didn't have high hopes for completely surprises you, in a good way.
On paper, the Nike Joyride Dual Run looks like a cheaper, watered-down version of the more expensive Joyride Run Flyknit. It only has conforming foam beads in the heel and midfoot while its upper is made of mesh instead of being knitted.
In reality, the Joyride Dual Run shows up big time.
It has a padded midsole with a soft ride, a breathable upper which has good foot lockdown and an outsole with great traction.
For the next version of the Joyride Dual Run, I hope Nike changes the laces to more premium-feeling ones. Making the heel flatter instead of rounded will also make the shoe more stable.
Tip: see the best running shoes.