When the Nike Epic React Flyknit was first launched, running enthusiasts and sneaker heads were over the moon for plenty of reasons, and it was easy to understand. After all, the Epic Reacts were the most eye-catching shoe in stores at that time (who can forget the first time they saw the all-white pair with hints of bright pink and blue), promises enhanced comfort, durability as well as energy as you run, and most importantly, did not come with a price tag that would give you a heart attack.
This summer, Nike is reviving the hype with the release of more Nike Epic Reacts, in Pearl Pink and Khaki Green so naturally, we have to clock in some miles to see if the shoes live up to the launch hype.
FEEL: A LIGHTWEIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Fancy foams, crazy colorways and technical gimmicks can’t help a running shoe if it isn’t, first and foremost, a comfortable shoe to run in. That sounds obvious but plenty of shoes have look good on paper but fail that simple comfort test.
Designed for your everyday runs from 5KM up to a marathon, the React is lightweight, resilient, soft, durable, cushioned and responsive all at once. On paper, the midsole foam maximises energy return to give 13% more responsiveness, increases durability so runners can get 20% more mileage out of a pair of shoes and 30% lighter than some of its closest rivals.
When on the road (we tested out the shoe with jogs in the parks and on pavements), those figures translate into spectacular performance. The Flyknit upper fits snugly the first time you put it on, giving it a custom sock-like fit whilst the heel counter does its job keeping your foot secure.
Getting back into my jog routine after a week of Raya celebrations really was a drag, but thank goodness, running in these shoes weren’t. The springiness of the foam and the overall lightness of the shoe could be reasons why those jogs didn’t sideline me, but even helped with picking up my personal pace. Doing easy runs, I typically clock in high 8-minute kilometre paces, but this time around, noticed low 8-minute and some 7-minute paces. It feels like my feet are spending less time on the ground and the energy return is actually quite noticeable to me. After workouts, my legs feel more breathable and less suffocated.
The Nike Epic React also got tested on grounds it wasn’t that familiar with. For the couple of tennis lessons when I forgot my shoes, the React came in handy. The stability offered by the Reacts surpassed so many of its competitors, even if that’s not where they’re intended to be used. Despite it being soft, it had a good sensation of ground contact whilst side-stepping and running across the courts. Some would say its structure looks slightly bulkier but that was all plus points for me.