Nike Zoom X Invincible Run Fk 2 ($180)
The Invincible Run is Nike’s all ZoomX midsole foam neutral trainer. ZoomX is used in the brand’s racers such as the Vaporfly, Alphafly, and Streakfly and is known for its smooth forgiving cushioning and high energy “return”. Unlike the racers, there is no carbon or other plate in the Invincible to provide stability and propulsion beyond the foam. ZoomX stands alone with only the full coverage thin outsole and the geometry to provide stability to the soft foam . For version 2, reviewed here, we see a new more substantial Flyknit upper as the major change. Would the upper stabilize the shoe more, or not, and how does the fit change all potentially affecting the ride as well were the key questions our testers sought to answer in their review.
Unbeatable impact protection – Ryan/Zack/Sally
Stable but highly enjoyable ZoomX midsole platform – Ryan/Derek/Zack/Sally
Exceptional energy return for a high-mileage trainer – Ryan/Zack
Robust heel & upper construction creates a secure fit – Ryan/Derek/Zack/Sally
Smooth transition – Ryan/Zack/Sally
Low responsiveness / lack of turnover – Ryan/Sally
Price – Ryan/Zack
Very warm upper – Derek/Zack/Sally
men’s 9.63 oz / 273g US8.5 (unchanged from v1), 10.5oz / 298g US9.5
women’s: 8.6 oz / 243 g (US W8)
Stack Height: men’s 37 mm heel / 27 mm forefoot
Available now. $180
First Impressions, Fit and Upper
Derek: I own the Nike Zoom Invincible v1 but admittedly don’t use it very much. The softness of the foam and to some extent maybe the construct of the upper creates hotspots for me under the ball of the big toe for any runs over 5-6 miles. This issue completely resolved for me with a stiffer orthotic sockliner but it also changed the ride to something firmer and just not quite the natural Invincible feel. Incidentally, I never use orthotics for any other shoe. With v2, since it’s an upper update, I was hoping for some better support at the forefoot so that I can get away with running it without the orthotic. So that’s why the mindset going into the testing of this shoe.
Step in feel is very luxurious. The upper material is very soft and comfortable but also pretty thick and warm. The stock sockliner is actually quite thin spongy material. I can’t quite recall what the v1 sockliner was as I’ve since ditched it for the orthotic, but I could have sworn they spec’ed a thicker sockliner there. Fit is still true to size as almost all Nike’s are for me, and the Zoom X squish is still very much alive.
Looking at the upper itself, the knit is now a little less perforated but comes with the advantage of being a little stiffer. The stiffness difference is marginal but it does seem to improve foothold for me.
The other big difference is the structure of the heel clip. In version 1, the clip sat more as a C shape around the heel, similar to the construct in the React Miler and the Epic React/Infinity React range. I think the general design premise of the clip is sound, but I am one of the few people who got irritation from the clips, often causing a dull ache in the foot especially if the clip extended too far forward in the shoe as in Infinity React or Epic React.
With version 2 of the Invincible, the clip now extends upward to cup the foot a little more naturally, and I think this is a good step that would eliminate any foot irritation from the clip. Any lateral forces on the clip will now be spread over a larger surface area during the run.
Another minor change is in the area of the internal toe bumper.
Version 1 had a fairly traditional internal laminate lining the front of the shoe. It’s not very visible because the knit camouflages it quite well. I think the laminate was perhaps a little too soft in that shoe. In version 2, the internal laminate is broken up into high stress areas mainly targeting where the big toe and 5th toe might stress the upper. The material feels a little more rigid now. We don’t normally think of the toe bumper as a stabilizing element, but here I think that’s exactly what it does. The Zoom X is so soft without a carbon plate that you do need a little more forefoot stabilization here and the internal laminates seem to help do that.
Apart from that, the rest of the upper is still pretty similar to version 1.
Zack: Based on first impressions, I had a feeling this shoe would give off vibes that weren’t much different than the first version, which is okay with me, as I loved the original one. I used the first version for the bulk of my summer college training, running many 70+ mile weeks and putting 300+ miles in the shoe, so I was quite excited for this second one.
In terms of the upper, in all honesty, there are things I like more than the original one, but also things I like significantly less. A major difference I noticed right away, was that the upper seemed significantly warmer and thicker in the forefoot area, with visibly fewer perforations. Being that it was the beginning of August, which in Indiana is one of hottest months, I was not fond of this.
On the other hand, the overall stability and hold of the upper seems to be slightly improved when paid attention to, but for someone like me who had no issue with the first version’s upper lockdown, these changes seemed meaningless to me when not giving thought to it. With that being said, those who experienced upper issues in the original one might really enjoy the changes in this second version. Another small change to the upper that I had caught, and one which Derek stated above, is the toe bumper change. I agree with him that it adds a more stable feel in comparison to the first version, and it could also add structural integrity to the upper which increases longevity.
Derek: The midsole feels exactly the same as in version 1. Very soft, energetic Zoom X foam in a single density layer that doesn’t bottom out even when you slam down hard on it on a downhill. Vibration dampening is excellent as expected. The platform is the same as version 1, so still using a large footprint to further enhance stability for this shoe.
Zack: I definitely agree with Derek that there is no difference between the first version and this one, which is a very good thing in my opinion. The ZoomX midsole foam is very responsive, as well as extremely soft, which are two things that most would want in their daily training shoe.
Derek: The outsole is again unchanged from version 1. There is a lot of rubber here and it is very durable and grippy. Fully expect the rubber to outlast the midsole on this shoe.
Zack: The outsole is exactly the same as the first version, which is fine with me, as the full-length rubber outsole performed well for me. It has great traction and seems to have pretty good durability.
Derek: The ride is soft and bouncy and very cushioned. The hotspot issue I alluded to earlier is still there for me, but much less obvious. In version 1, every step would hurt when it came on; here it is vaguely noticeable but not something that would make me have to adjust my stride or stop running. So it’s definitely an improvement for me. I think the shoe is best used for recovery runs for me. With the geometry and the softness, transitions are a bit sluggish and I enjoy it for recovery runs where I’m more focused on listening to apodcast than the pace or distance.
When I try to do anything closer to moderate paces, I find myself having to put in more effort than I’m used to. I would personally prefer a higher drop for a shoe of this softness, and maybe a little more rocker to the forefoot to help keep things rolling along. Bottom line: excellent recovery shoe. Maybe the best on the market in this regard. My main gripe with the shoe is the warmth of the upper. It is incredibly warm and while it would be great for winter easy miles, it is not going to be any fun for running in the summer for most people.
Zack: I personally really enjoyed the ride of this shoe. It was really soft and bouncy underfoot, which is something I really strive for in a daily training shoe. I personally would use it for primarily 7-9 mile daily training / recovery runs, and some 14-15 mile long runs here and there, though that wouldn’t be my top shoe for a long run just due to the weight. With that being said, I have taken this shoe on some tempo runs (5-7 miles @ 5:30-5:40 min/mile), and it got the job done, but it was just too soft and I wanted some more spring and responsiveness underfoot, so it worked but required a lot of extra work. So overall, I would recommend using this shoe for daily training runs primarily, some occasional long runs if need be, and tempo runs if you have no other shoe for that sort of run.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Zack: I definitely think this shoe is one of the best daily trainers to own. If the last version was a shoe you loved, or at least liked, I think this will be a great option. It is very cushioned with a soft and bouncy midsole, as well as an outsole that grips really well on most surfaces.
In terms of the upper, there were some changes, but none of them were significant in terms of actual running, except the upper being slightly stiffer and less breathable, but having slightly more lockdown. With that being said, I could have personally done without an upper update, but ones who struggled with the previous iteration of the upper might genuinely enjoy it.
Overall though, it is a very great shoe to own and run and surprisingly I think the $180 is worth it- not taking into account the previous version would be less now and in that case go for the first version. Withmost shoes I cannot say I would say that.
Zack’s Score: 9.43/10
Smiles Score: 😊😊😊😊😊
Derek: The Nike Zoom Invincible 2 for the most part is very very similar to version 1. I think people who loved v1 are going to enjoy this shoe. There is better structure around the heel, and a little better forefoot stability provided by minor tweaks to the upper. The new upper is a bit warmer than before but this should really only matter to people who run in warm conditions a lot.
Overall, I think the shoe is headed in the right direction and as it is an excellent easy run and recovery shoe. I do struggle to go fast in the shoe. A better forefoot rocker profile and maybe a more aggressive heel to toe drop would, in my opinion, greatly improve the versatility of the shoe without changing the underfoot feel too much. Something for Nike to consider there.
Derek’s Score 8.45/10
Ride 8 (50%) Fit 9 (30%) Value 8.5 (15%) Style 9.5 (5%)
Smiles Score 😊😊😊 (In a cold country, it would probably get the full 5 smiles but I live in one of the muggiest warmest climes in the world)
Watch RTR Editor Sam’s Invincible Run 2 Fk Video Review
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run 1 (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. The changes are subtle here, but v2 has a more supportive heel and a touch better forefoot stability for me. V2 also has a noticeably warmer upper for me. I think for people who had no issues with version 1, there is very little incentive to get version 2 if version 1 is available, usually for some discount. For people like me who had hotspot issues with version 1 under the big toe, version 2 is definitely worth a try.
Zack: I definitely agree with what Derek said in that there is so little difference between the shoes that unless the second version is cheaper than the first, there is really no reason to pay extra for the small detailed differences. However if the upper of the first presented issues, then of course try the second one, as the upper changes could be quite significant. However, the second version does get quite hot, so watch out for that. Other than the upper though, the midsole and outsole are identical.
Skechers MaxRoad 5 (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. The MaxRoad 5 has a denser spring to its foam and a somewhat more grounded underfoot feel, despite having higher measured stack heights. I find the denser foam of the MaxRoad 5 gives it a more versatile ride, though it is definitely no match for the Invincible in the cushioning department when it comes to vibration dampening. If you are looking for a max cushion, max comfort type of recovery shoe, the Invincible is the better option. If you want more of a daily trainer, then the MaxRoad 5 is the better shoe.
New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models. The Invincible is the softer and more forgiving shoe, but the SC Trainer is the more efficient shoe with its deep and early stage rocker profile. I think most people will find the SC Trainer is the more fun shoe to run in, with a more versatile ride. Both shoes are special in their own way. The SC Trainer is not as soft and bouncy, but has a smooth rockered ride, while the Invincible has a pillowy, bouncy feel that veers toward the other extreme of making fast transitioning tedious for me.
Adidas Prime X (RTR Review)
Derek: I went a half size down to US9.0 in the Prime X. Despite what i consider to be a poorly executed upper, the midsole/outsole and ride of the Prime X remain one of the most enjoyable I have had in recent years. On non-technical routes, the smooth and springy ride make easy runs truly enjoyable and faster than they have any reason to be. The Invincible is softer, but the Prime X, with its combination of rods and blades, is the more energetic and springy ride. I prefer the overall package of the Prime X.
Unpause Atlas (RTR Review)
Derek: I am fine with both TTS and a half size down in this model. For a more performance fit, i recommend a half size down. This is truly the dark horse of the bunch. Unpause hails from Thailand and sells their shoe exclusively through their Facebook store. With a PEBA midsole and midfoot stabilizing plate, this very affordable super trainer has garnered a lot of interest in a short period of time. At a measured stack of 36/26, it is near identical to the Nike Invincible, but instead of a knitted upper, they have gone with a super thin nylon mesh. If you have ever been to Bangkok, you would know why. I once did a 10 mile race there and it was 36degC at 5am! I find the Unpause Atlas to be a very fun and easy going shoe, with all of the bounce but in a no frills package. I prefer the Unpause Atlas here. Smooth, stable and quite durable at a price point that is really easy on the pocket.