Article by Michael Ellenberger
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 ($160)
The React Infinity is a highly cushioned road trainer with some inherent stability provided by its dual sided heel to midfoot plastic clip with the stability approach more about stabilizing the knee than more classic foot pronation control. Version 3 gets a new Flyknit upper with Flywire and a redesign of the heel clip. It gains about 0.7 oz / 20g to come in at 10.3 oz / 292g US8.5.
Pros: Upper, Nike React foam, durability and comfort.
Cons: That heel clip, if you mind it (it’s basically the same but reduced in height)
Approx. Weight: men’s 10.5 oz / 298g (US9)
Sample Weight: 10.3 oz / 292g US8.5
Infinity 2 : 9.6 oz. (272g) US8.5
Stack Height: men’s 34mm heel / 26mm forefoot, 8mm drop
Available now including at Running Warehouse here and our other partners below. $160
First Impressions, Fit and Upper
Michael: Something about the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 (I am going to be calling this the “Infinity React 3” or “React 3” or some variation thereof, so just bear with me) just makes you want to go out and run. I know, I know, Nike makes all sorts of shoes for all sorts of sports, and there are still those who think Nikes can’t be “real” trainers – but when it comes down to it, the Infinity React 3 is something really cool, and different, and though it’s not perfect, I did have a lot of fun running in it.
Zack: I have a lot of experience with the Infinity lineup from Nike, well, actually all of the Infinity shoes. The first one was terrible and had left me with upper foot pain with weeks, but the second iteration was very good, and made racking up miles a pleasure. It definitely made me excited for a 3rd iteration, which i am pleased to say performed quite well and matches it’s predecessor very nicely.
Michael: First off, the upper – it’s right there in the name, but the Flyknit material here is as good as ever. A look through my previous RTR reviews will tell you I’m a fan of knit uppers, and Nike has nailed it here. Even on an 85° “spring” day, I didn’t find the material to be too hot, and it’s really quite stretchy – “sock-like” is the go-to adjective here, but I don’t have any socks with quite this much plush to them that still maintain elasticity. It’s a weird mix, I admit, but it’s done well here. There’s a mix of directionality to the weave – I didn’t find that to make a difference in terms of fit or lock. There may be some difference in elasticity based on the orientation of the knit, but I couldn’t discern it. Last year, I thought the upper was a bit “baggy” in spots – that’s definitely fixed, and I’m a big fan of this year’s offering.
For the little things – the tongue is now slightly more padded and comes up higher on your foot (which is generally a bad thing, but in this case a non-issue). The heel collar is conserved from version 2, though the heel collar gains a little bulk.
Michael: The midsole is Nike’s React foam (again, described in the name, if you can sort out all the words). It’s good (you may be sensing a trend here), but it is quite firm. Devotees of Nike’s ZoomX material (say, coming from the Invincible Run) may be disappointed at the lack of bounce, but for me, the firm React cushion has a really pleasant feel. It’s definitely “next-generation,” and provides adequate energy return, but it doesn’t go as far as to enter “mushy” territory. As with V2, I found the forefoot to be adequately wide, but with the really nice upper, it was in one way sloppy.
As with the Infinity Run 2 is a stability shoe, the Infinity 3 forgoes the more traditionally-platformed medial posting, and instead uses a medially and laterally-mounted, and long, plastic clip and arch insert.
React Infinity 2 with straighter heel clip shown above
You’re going to notice it – it’s plastic, after all – and I don’t think I could tell a difference between it and the version that was in v2, with the slight exception that it seems to be a bit shorter (which is, to my feet, a good thing).
As before, this is the sort of posting that you notice when walking or standing, but really fades away on a run.
Zack: I pretty much agree with everything Michael said, so I will try to give my thoughts while not being too repetitive. This shoe uses Nike’s React foam, which is rather firm, but fairly durable and somewhat responsive. Personally, I really enjoy React in daily training type shoes. As well as that, in the midsole is an injected TPU heel clip, which is integrated for stability. It was slightly lowered and cut out in comparison to last year’s version, but I personally did not notice a difference this makes in the ride. The midsole is also constructed with a rocker geometry, which allows for a much smoother transition while running at the toe off phase. Overall, wearers of the Infinity line won’t find much of a difference between this midsole and the previous versions midsoles at all, so if they enjoyed it then they will most likely enjoy this.
Michael: “Impressive, durable, and boring” is how I’d sum up the outsole here – it’s pretty much unchanged from its predecessor. I’ve only put about 30 miles on the pair, but have no wear whatsoever. I expect it to last somewhere between 300 and 500 (but also hope I can come back and update you on that, now that I’m finally back into the swing of training!). Without any deep grooves, this is very much not a rock-magnet, and for that I am thankful.
Zack: The outsole of this shoe is exactly the same as last years, which is a very good thing. In last yeras version i had ran ~300 miles, and the outsole had little wear to be seen.
Michael: Whether it’s that my scale has changed, in trying more trainers, or the composition has shifted, but Nike’s React came across slightly firmer and denser this year than last (at least to my memory!), but the bounce remained nonetheless. The React Infinity 3 blissfully maintains some serious energy bounce at speed, and with the improved upper keeping you firmly locked in place, is not a bad tempo-day option at all. In comparison to the Hyperburst-toting Skechers Ride 10 that I’m testing (which, I should be clear, is not a stability shoe), I was actually quite happy to return to the shored-up underfoot ride of the Nike compared to the slightly-too-mushy Skechers.
As I think I wrote last year (and probably every reviewer has written for each of the past 3 years), you’ll need to get back to the heel clip. Ultimately, if I’m being honest, it’s not a big deal, but it is there, and as I recommended last year (and, for what it’s worth, need to keep recommending) – if your local running store allows for try-on in whatever COVID wave you’re reading this during, I’d recommend at least wearing them around the store before you buy. You’ll notice the heel clip during a try-on, but if it doesn’t bother you then, it definitely won’t bother you running.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Michael: For one thing, trainers are harder to review than racers, because ultimately, the curve is much less steep – it’s comfortable and fun, or it’s not. I’m not too concerned about eeking every second out of the Infinity React compared to, say, the newest RC Elite or Endorphin Pro. The other problem we run into is that, really, the React Infinity 3 isn’t all that different from the React Infinity 2… which wasn’t that different from the React Infinity 1.
Now, that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to like (or love!) here, because there is. The upper is improved, bar none. The stability clip seems to be improved, or at least isn’t made worse. The outsole is the same, which is a great thing. The midsole is the same, if not better. We do have a gain in weight.
At $160, I’m not screaming at you to go out and buy this shoe. There are other great trainers for $20 (or $40) (or $60) less. But if you like the Infinity React line, or you like Nike trainers, or you just want to try a really darn good shoe, you won’t be disappointed here. It’s fun, it’s dynamic – it’s going to be in my rotation for a while!
Michael’s Score: 9.2/10
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
Nike React Infinity 2 (RTR Review)
If you read the review, you’ll know – the 3 is better, but not like, way better. The upper is more comfortable and goes a long way in making the shoe feel snappy and engaging. The slightly shorter heel clip gets out of your way, and just generally runs a little easier than its predecessor. If you find the React 2 on sale, you’ll be happy – if you buy the 3, even better! Can’t go wrong here.
Skechers Go Run Ride 10 (RTR Review)
I mentioned this in the review, so I’ll bring it up here – both shoes have cool and interesting midsoles, but they really tend differently. The React is firm and snug, the Skechers is really mushy and loose (and I mean loose literally, because you have to yank the upper tight to get it to fit). They’re not direct competitors, so it’s not an obvious head-to-head, but I like the Nike much better.
Skechers Go Run Forza 4 (RTR Review)
This is another stability shoe, but with a more traditional, dual-density setup. The Forza is a shoe I thought I would not like, and it took some legitimate breaking in, but I ended up really enjoying (like the React Infinity, it’s sneaky fast – I think I ran like a 1:15 half in training during the pandemic in the Forza 4!). Still, I think, by everyday trainer standards, the Nike is just more refined and certainly a more comfortable fit. The Skechers is great – but pick the Nike.
New Balance Fresh Foam X Tempo v2 (RTR Review)
The NB Tempo v2 is a shoe that really surprised me; I didn’t think I’d like it at the onset, and while I think it wore down a bit too quickly, I really enjoyed it in its prime. The New Balance is ever so slightly less springy than the Nike, but still plenty fun and bouncy. If the heel clip on the Nike bothers you (or you just want a slightly lower-profile, more “performance” trainer), I’d look at the Tempo v2.
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’
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