There as been a lot of hype around the first version of the Nike Epic React Flyknit. But let’s be honest, there is ALWAYS a lot of hype around the Nike running shoes. That’s partially because of the brandname, but also because once in a while Nike comes up with really innovative shoes.
I never got the chance to run in the first version of the Nike Epic React, but it was on my wish list to try, since I love a cushioned yet springy shoe. I did try the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo last year and although I did enjoy that shoe, I probably just don’t have the right running gait for it. The Pegasus Turbo is a speedy and cushioned shoe, but a bit of a sponge like cushion. Once you land on it, there isn’t that much cushioning left. It also didn’t provide much medial stability. The Pegasus Turbo is a bit more suitable for forefoot strikers, rather than heel strikers like me.
From what I’ve heard and seen of the Nike Epic React, this should be a shoe that fits me a bit better. It has a bit of a wider base and it has a different cushioning material than the Pegasus Turbo (Nike React foam versus ZoomX foam). Some have even claimed that the Nike Epic React was the best shoe that they’ve ran in in 2018. So all in all, I had quite high expectations of the new Nike Epic React Flyknit 2.
I do really like the Nike React foam. It’s quite springy and initially I felt like I just wanted to jump up and down in these shoes as if I were on a trampoline. That seems to be one of the differences compared to the Nike ZoomX foam. With the ZoomX foam of the Nike Pegasus Turbo I had the feeling like I was being pushed forward slightly, while with the React foam I do also feel the energy return, but the energy seems to return in an upward motion rather than a forward motion. Which isn’t completely surprising if you consider the fact that the React foam was first released in Nike basketball shoes rather than their running devision.
There are a few differences compared to the first version of the Epic React: they have changed the lacing system by dividing each side into two sections. This is supposed to help with the flexibility of the shoe. But since it’s a Flyknit upper it is already a very flexible shoe anyway. They have changed the heel counter, instead of a full piece of plastic to support the heel, it now has less plastic in the middle of the heel counter. Since I’ve never worn the pervious version, it is hard to tell if this makes any difference. But although the heel counter now has less volume, I do still think it provides enough support. Another change they’ve made is the Nike swoosh. It is now embroidered onto the flyknit on both sides of the shoe. I don’t think they’ve made any chances with regards to the React foam in the new version.
I think the Nike Epic React 2 is more of a half marathon racing shoe. The React midsole is soft and responsive. The outsole consists of a little bit of rubber on the heel and toe area of the shoe, but the middle of the outsole is just exposed React foam, this in order to keep the shoe as light as possible. It provides enough traction on the road and on very easy trails. Thus, this shoe is comfortable enough for longer runs, but it is also responsive enough for faster workouts. The flyknit wraps around your foot and has quite a snug feel to it, but I had no issues with hotspots while wearing my regular size.
More extensive review will follow.