I’m primarily a road runner, working towards a sub 3 hours marathon, so I was curious to try the Nike React Infinity after hearing the positive feedback from other runners.
A selling point of the third iteration of the React shoe was it’s ability to reduce the chances of getting injured. This was based on a study by British Columbia Sports Medicine Research Foundation (BCSMRF), where a selection runners of different abilities and ages were placed in two equal group’s to train for a half marathon.
One group wore the Nike Structure 22, a traditional motion control shoe, whilst the other group wore the Nike React Infinity Run. The results showed that those wearing the React Infinity had a 52% lower injury rate, than in the traditional motion control shoe. In this study injury was defined as missing 3 days of training or more due to pain.
Detractors will say it’s marketing talk and not substantial enough to be proven science. Regardless if you believe the claims to be true, it does show that the traditional structured shoe needed a rethink to help lower injuries.
What are they like to run in?
They weren’t designed to be racing shoes, or interval or tempo or long runs shoes, they were designed and work best for easy running between three to ten miles. Which makes them a perfect shoe to wear most days. For the purpose of seeing if the injury prevention claims were valid, in terms of less pain to the knee, feet areas etc. I deliberately wore them on fatigued legs for runs which followed my workouts (intervals or tempo) to see if the claims stacked up.
They felt like the Vaporfly Next% but were adapted for easy runs, in terms of the wider toe box, the foam underfoot, the stacked height around 34mm in the heel and 25mm in the forefoot.
The React Infinity Run is not a fast workout shoe, however my typical eight mile recovery run, ended up feeling like a tempo effort run. It was a strange but good feeling to run quicker than I should of in a lightweight everyday running shoe (293g for a men’s size 10 and 230g for a women’s size 8).
In combination with the additional features like the rocker design, grippy sole, it provided me with an efficient transition in strides, and it helped with lessening feelings of fatigue in my legs.
Injury prevention isn’t solely down to your shoes, if you do the right things this will have a significantly higher chance of reducing your chance of injuries such including a structured strengthening workout routine twice a week for example.
Another way to avoid injuries is to not run every training run at a similar intensity or, to run each session faster than the day before. To run fast requires running at varying speeds. My general principle is that I run 80% of my runs at a very easy pace and I save 20% for the workouts and tempo runs.
However I think the Nike React Infinity is a great everyday running shoe for both beginners and seasoned runners who are logging easy miles between workouts. Whilst I can’t verify the injury prevention claims, they offered cushioning in a light weight form, combined with the rocker style which helped me with a more efficient turnover on tired legs.
Click this link to see my review of the Nike Pegasus 36 Trail.
Click this link to see my review of the Nike Vaporfly Next%.