Back in early 2020, Nike made a bold claim to help every runner “Leave Injury Behind” by introducing the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit. It was regarded by many during its time of release as a game-changer, a versatile, durable and max-cushioned daily trainer that would help solve every runner’s worst nightmare: Injuries. The shoe instantly became a hit, and Nike’s successful moonshot project left runners everywhere asking for more. Fast forward today, Nike is back with a new version of the shoe that retains all the good bits from the original, with small yet significant design tweaks to improve its performance.
Curious to learn more on Nike’s latest attempt to help runners “Leave Injury Behind”? Read on to get a closer in-depth look on the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2.
The biggest updates in the second iteration are mostly found in the shoe’s upper unit, and is quickly visible in its lacing system. A shift towards Nike’s Flywire Lacing System provides a more secure and locked-down feel, as compared to the predecessor’s more minimal lacing structure.
Minor tweaks in the shoe’s tongue and heel collar also offer more support and comfort, enabled by an additional lofted foam padding which reduces tension and blisters in the achilles region. The overall upper features a different mix of coarse and durable knit patterns, offering more support and breathability this time around but increasing the shoe’s weight a bit.
Finally, the outsole receives a generous amount of rubber improving both road traction and overall shoe durability.
The overall midsole and outsole unit of the React Infinity 2 is very identical to the original. React foam technology continues to deliver a smooth and responsive ride, with the rocker shape providing support to the 3 phases of every runner’s stride: Flexibility at toe-off, a smooth ride at mid-stance, and cushioning at contact.
Combined with a wide base at the toebox and heel area for extra stability, and a high-stack cushioning of 33mm (under the heel) and 24 mm (under the forefoot), the soft React foam complements well with the overall platform. The result is a true support shoe with a plush feel that is well suited to both Neutral runners and overpronators. To further aid the latter, a TPU clip is also inserted under the arch to control ankle movement, creating a more natural running form.
The outsole gets a ton of strategically placed rubber, speaking volumes to the React Infinity 2’s high-mileage friendly design. A lifespan of 400+ miles can be expected from it, with the presence of exposed flex grooves improving traction and flexibility for all types of weather conditions.
The durable Flyknit upper is dense and provides all around ventilation, while giving a secure fit across the middle of the foot through the back of the heel. The Flywire lacing system reduces notions of the shoe getting loose when running unlike the original, and a convenient pull tab makes slipping into the shoe a breeze.
Feel and Performance
To help us provide a more in-depth look on the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2, we invited runnrs Kenneth Abidal and Patrice Quiday to try on a pair and share their insights on the shoe’s overall performance. Here are their takes.
Kenneth is a Sub 3:18 marathoner who has raced 36 full marathons including the Mt. Fuji 5 Lakes Ultramarathon and Tokyo Marathon, and is currently an active member of Team RIOT Philippines.
Kenneth: I consider the Nike React Infinity as one of my favorite daily training shoes from those released last year. As an avid runner with a current weekly mileage of around 60-80km/week, the shoes have supported me through countless miles, putting them at the top in terms of overall mileage covered. So when Nike officially announced a new version of the shoe earlier this year, I looked forward to scoring a pair. I managed to do so a few days after its public release, and I must say, the shoe has impressed me once again!
My initial fitting with the second React Infinity went very well. Instantly, I noticed the new padding and cushioning around the heel section. These are welcome additions to the new version and provides more all-around comfort. Given its intended design to be a daily trainer, covering long distances comfortably without sacrificing performance is key, and Nike did a great job here with the small yet vital update. Upon lacing up, the new Flywire technology also gives a nice locked-in feel at midfoot up to my heel. This further secures my foot despite the Flyknit upper already being very durable enough. Similar to the first version, the forefoot has also remained very wide giving my toes a lot of breathing room.
I did an 11K run as a way to break-in the shoes. Similar to my experience on initial fitting, the shoe remained secure, breathable, and stable. I found it a bit more comfortable than the first version, and was also right away greeted by that same old React foam. The ride felt extremely smooth, aided by that rocker design which prompted me to lean forward while supporting my posture. That instant pop upon foot landing was very evident, highlighting the shoe’s focus on cushioning. Though I did not run on any wet surfaces, the outsole also fared well to the pavement. Much better even as compared to another Nike daily trainer, the Pegasus 37.
I found myself finishing the run with a pace of 4:42 (km). I wanted to test and compare the shoe’s performance when incorporated with some speedwork, as I occasionally run at tempo pace in the original React Infinitys. Doing so, I found my legs exerting more effort than usual the longer my run went. This is not something unusual as the shoe again is not designed to be fast. However, the first version managed to perform well enough for me at a much faster 5:05 pace. It might be due to the added weight in this newer version, or the fact that I just broke in the shoes, but there is a lack of responsiveness that becomes visible starting at tempo pace. The shoe still remains highly effective though when used in its intended purpose as a daily trainer, workouts that actually carry a bulk of any runner’s weekly mileage. Which is why I still would recommend the Nike React Infinity 2 to any runner looking for a new addition to their shoe rotation!
Here’s a look at my current shoe rotation to help you figure out how the Nike React Infinity 2 might fit in yours.
Daily/Easy/Recovery – Nike Pegasus 37, (2) Nike React Infinity 1s, (now) Nike React Infinity 2
Tempo/Threshold/Hills - Nike Vaporfly Next%, Hoka CarbonX
Racing/Marathon Shoe - Nike Alphafly, Nike Vaporfly Next%
Having the right shoe rotation is essential to every avid runner. As listed above, I categorized my runs into 3 sections with a list of corresponding shoes to run them in. With a wider variety of shoes to choose from when completing my weekly target mileage, my shoes are able to last much longer because just like any runner, they need to recover as well. Rotating multiple shoes designed for races, speedwork and easier runs ultimately allows me to stay healthier by reducing my risks to getting injured. So, lucky for me, I have already welcomed my latest addition to my line up. Are you looking for a new daily trainer? Look no further, the Nike React Infinity 2 is here!
Patrice was the 2019 The Bull Runner Top Womens Finisher with a finish time of 3:38. She is also a Simple Hydration International Run Team member, a Raceyaya athlete, and a member of the Ayala Triads Running Club
Patrice: The Nike React Infinity Flyknit was one of the biggest running shoe releases back in 2020. I first ran in them late last year and since then have been using it regularly for my steady long runs. It’s one of the most comfortable trainers I’ve ever owned, so you can only imagine how excited I was when Nike announced a new version of the shoe with enhanced features!
I had high hopes for the Nike React Infinity 2 upon scoring a pair! At first fitting, the first thing I noticed was the big difference in the upper unit. It’s still the same breathable Flyknit material but this time more durable, with a unique knit pattern combination. A small issue I had from the first version was that there wasn’t enough foot lockdown due to a lack of structure in the Flyknit upper. For this updated version, the Flyknit feels much thicker so my feet feel more secure. It’s also a bit heavier now probably due to this update, yet doesn’t give off a bulky feeling. I also love how the shoe tongue and collar are now padded for my heel to stay locked-in! Previously, I sometimes found myself getting annoyed experiencing a loose heel midrun which can cause heel blisters, but the React Infinity 2 solves that issue. The new stylish Flywire lacing system also helps with that, unlike the more minimalist laces from the original. Other than these changes in the upper, the shoe is almost identical to the first one. It’s still highlighted by that wide toebox for extra comfort and forefoot pain reduction, impressive React foam for softness and responsiveness, and that thick rubber outsole for durability.
Let’s now talk about the shoe’s performance. Overall, running in the Nike React Infinity 2 was still a smooth ride as I tested them out through a 10K tempo run, a 15k easy long run, and some short runs in-between. In some runs, I experienced a strange poking arch sensation, lasting all throughout the 1st km. Though bothersome, it’s not a complete deal breaker as the irritation completely wears off by the 3K mark and my legs felt more comfortable. There are also no more heel slippage issues unlike the first version so the runs felt much easier. The further I went starting at around the 5K mark, the shoe really starts shining! The React foam, wide toebox and shoe’s light weight complement each other well. My legs and feet still felt fresh as the shoe effectively bounced off the ground, pushing me to run at a much faster pace. Though highly responsive, I must say the shoes are too soft and high to perform well when running fast. Compared to say my Nike Pegasus Turbo 2, they occasionally felt awkward and unstable especially when going around tight corners due to its high stack height. Then again, the React Infinity is not designed for speed but for durability to help runners avoid injuries. I can say that it is truly more well-suited for easier, steadier distance runs due to its resiliency, instead of faster paced, interval workouts, more ideal for a Pegasus Turbo.
I was also able to test the shoe’s traction during my long run as it rained prior to it. Overall outsole grip was impressive as I ran a steady 11km on wet pavement without any issues, but had to slow down a bit on wet grass as I found the shoes a bit more slippery on them. The shoe remains highly breathable though without too much water getting past the upper, which is a big plus! Post-run, cleaning and removing the dirt underneath the outsole’s deep hole design may also take some effort. However, with the solid workout you’re bound to get from the shoe, it really wouldn’t be a concern.
As a long distance runner, I tend to be choosy in finding the right shoes as they play an integral role in my running performance. The Nike React Infinity 2 did gain my trust though after several runs, as it helped stimulate fatigue and prevented my legs from feeling heavy and tired. I plan on having it be part of my regular shoe rotation, specifically my go-to for longer distances. It’s definitely an aid to help improve my endurance and performance, especially now that I’m slowly preparing for some virtual races and an upcoming half marathon time trial.
Looking to #RiseUpAndRun and leave injury behind? Run today with the Nike React Infinity 2 Flyknit! Head on over to your nearest runnr store to score a pair, and shop here at www.runnr.com.ph for your other much needed running essentials! Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as well, for more shoe reviews and to stay up-to-date with all the latest on anything and everything runnr, the leading running specialty store in the Philippines. Happy running!