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.
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.
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.
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.
The Odyssey React Flyknit 2 is an impressive shoe. It is lightweight, durable and responsive.
Nike got a lot right with this update. But, it is still unsuitable for any runner with a normal to wide foot due to the narrow, pointy toe box.
It is slightly heavier than the Epic React and slightly firmer. But, I would choose it over the Epic React any day of the week.
It is also a fair bit cheaper than its big brother.
Good to know
- The Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 is a road running shoe that is strategically crafted for overpronators. It is designed for runners who want to excel in short and long-distance walks, runs and races.
- The shoe utilizes the Flyknit material in the forefoot area. This component of the footwear offers the right combination of breathability and flexibility to promote a more enjoyable running experience.
- The rear section of the shoe uses more structured materials. This is essential in holding the rest of the platform together to provide an efficient ride.
The Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 comes with an updated upper to enhance the overall fit and feel of the shoe. When it comes to sizing, the shoe runs true to size. The available widths options are D - Medium for the men's version and B - Medium for the women's version.
Lying in the forefoot and heel area is the strategic rubber placement. When compared to the Epic React, this component of the Odyssey React Flyknit 2 aims to provide increased durability without sacrificing its weight. The material also offers the right amount of grip that the user needs in tackling different pavement surfaces.
Integrated into the midsole of this reliable Nike shoe is the React foam. It is designed to provide efficient shock absorption and high-energy return for a smoother transition.
Utilized in the Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 is the Injected TPU Heel Clip. This feature is added to aid in creating a more stable platform.
Built to shed weight in targeted areas of the footwear is Fluid Geometry. This feature of the shoe has a unique design that aims to provide the right amount of support where it is needed the most.
In the upper is the Flyknit material which is designed to provide the foot a breathable and comfortable coverage.
There are also synthetic materials in the upper section. These materials are essential in providing enough support through the midfoot area.
Located at the top of the foot is the Flyknit Tongue. This component of the shoe aims to give a smoother and snugger fit. With the utilization of this type of tongue unit, a more individualized fit can be achieved by the runner.
Nike added the Heel Clip in the upper section. This material is significant in providing a more stable and locked-in heel fit. Possible shoe removal is then prevented with the use of this feature.