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Road Running Shoes • March 13, 2019

Nike Odyssey React Flyknit 2 Performance Review

The first Odyssey React was an above average shoe with some issues that made it an average shoe for me. The upper was the main issue; it was tight and hot (not in a good way) on account of the neoprene booty. So when I saw versions of the Odyssey React Flyknit 2 (ORFK2) with a Flyknit vamp popping up on the interwebs, I got excited.
Odyssey React Flyknit 2

The Good

The Flyknit upper on this is form-fitting and will stretch a moderate amount to fit your foot, and it breathes. Good news! As a result, the upper fits well and holds the foot securely in the shoe.

The midsole/outsole is the highlight for the Odyssey React 2, and it is unchanged from the previous model. What makes it good?  The plastic support under the heel paired with more rubber on the outsole turns the React into a firmer and more responsive platform than you have in the Epic React. The extra rubber on the outsole is noticeable on this shoe. For runners that don’t like the cosmetic roughing-up on the exposed Epic React outsole or the slipperiness in wet conditions, the rubber on the ORFK2 takes care of both of those issues.

In size 11, my Odyssey React 2 weighs 9.38 0z/265 grams. Under 10 oz for a daily trainer is the sweet spot. The trainer runs very smooth underfoot and is quite versatile. I would have no problem doing daily mileage and speedwork in the Odyssey React 2. Ideally, I would race in something even lighter for race day, but for the runner on a budget, you can get a lot out of the Odyssey React 2.

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Nike Odyssey

The Bad

I am not sure why the Nike team wants the shoe to be unbreathable from the heel counter to 80% of the saddle. If it is a structure issue, there has to be a material that is porous and breathable that they can use. It is still chilly here on the East Coast, so I don’t have an issue with the shoe overheating, but my guess is that when the humid summer days get here, my feet will sweat buckets in these. I could be wrong and will have to pull them out later this year to see.

The second gripe, I had to return my usual size 10.5 after running a 10-mile run that almost took my toenails off for a size 11. The 11 fits just about perfect with less than a full thumbnail between the “big guy” and the tip of the Odyssey. GO A HALF SIZE UP FROM YOUR REGULAR TRAINER SIZE.

Even with a half size up, the Odyssey React 2 feels squeezy on my narrow feet. Wide feet suckas may be out of luck with this shoe. The look of the Odyssey React 2 is a step down from the hotness of the Epic React 2. Maybe that is what Nike is going for to create the different levels of price and desirability. If it were one of the Jonas Brothers, it would be Kevin.

Shop Nike Odyssey React 2

odyssey react 2

Odyssey React Flyknit 2 Conclusion

I like the Odyssey. It feels a little firmer than the Epic React, you still get the same energy return for a lower cost ($114), and the Odyssey has better traction. I prefer the Epic React over the Odyssey (it’s more breathable, lightweight, and better-looking), but Nike makes it a tough choice. As long as you have a narrowish foot, I can confidently recommend the Odyssey React Flyknit 2. Who knows, you may end up loving Kevin the most, even if he isn’t as flashy.

One last note, while Nike has labeled this shoe a “stability” shoe, the ORFK2 feels more like a neutral shoe. At best the heel feels slightly more stable than the Epic React. However, if you are a runner that wants a stability shoe, this ain’t it.

Shop Nike Odyssey React 2

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