Nike revealed recently another crazy running shoe.
The Nike Epic React Flyknit is the brand’s latest shoe for runners and the brand claims that it’s light, durable, well-cushioned and offers high energy return on each step. The announcement comes after a year in which Nike released the Vaporfly 4%, an unusual-looking, max-cushioned racing flat. The difference with the Epic React Flyknit – React is the name of the midsole technology – is that it’s targeted for runners of all levels rather than just those looking to run fast.
After speaking with Brett Holts, vice president of Nike Running footwear, below are 10 takeaways of the new shoe.
Tested through and through
Testers, from elite athletes to recreational runners, put in a combined 27,000 kilometres in the Epic React Flyknit, which has been in the works for three years. The React foam went through 400 rounds of various chemistry testing stages in the lab, too.
Nike fooled Galen Rupp
The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and 2017 Chicago Marathon champion was given a new pair of Epic React Flyknit and a pair with 500K already run in them. After going for a run with both of the shoes in the opposite stages of their life expectancy, Rupp, who regularly trains at the Nike headquarters with the Oregon Project, couldn’t tell the difference in the blind test.
Lunarlon has long been the cushioning technology used in Nike running shoes. “It [Lunarlon] will eventually be phased out,” Holts says. React foam is far more resilient than Lunarlon, Holts says. Runners may know the Lunarlon technology from a number of the brand’s trainers and racing flats including the LunarEpic, LunarGlide and LunarRacer, among other lines.
One of the more defining visual features of the Epic React Flyknit is that the cushioning extends past the perimeter of the heel. Holts says it’s because Nike tried to fit as much cushioning as possible in the shoe and that the Nike Internationalist served in part as inspiration for the look.
13 per cent
According to Nike, the Epic React Flyknit offers 13 per cent more energy return (less energy wasted at each foot strike) than Lunarlon, the foam technology used in many versions of the previous Nike running footwear.
The shoe is set to retail for $200.
The release date is Feb. 22, 2018.
You can run long in the Epic React Flyknit
Like the Pegasus, Nike’s most famous and oldest running shoe, or other Nike trainers, the Epic React Flyknit is versatile enough to go long, or short, depending on your day’s training. Nike says testers ran upwards of 24K in the new shoe.
For the first time, Nike is using computational design in the creation of the Epic React Flyknit. Each shoe’s React foam is specific to its size, down to half fits. “We can take thousands of data points from the lab and it spits out an algorithm of the geometry,” Holts says. This means that the energy return will be the same across all sizes.
React is not actually new
React foam exists in Nike basketball footwear already including in the React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit and Jordan Super.Fly 2017. The Epic React Flyknit is the first running shoe to feature the technology, which comprises the entirety of the midsole.