Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 Review: To Infinity and Beyond
THOMAS: Shorts that keep getting shorter, GPS watch tan lines, and nagging injuries — these guarantees are the running equivalent of death and taxes, aspects of the sport that will follow you in your journey.
Of course, injury is the most frustrating of the trio (minus the occasional mid-race ball flop in one-inch split shorts). So, when Nike launched the first version of the Infinity, it wrapped the marketing pitch around the concept of injury prevention.
The promise of an injury-free running career is a carrot on a stick if there ever was one — preventing injuries while providing comfort on the run would revolutionize the sport. How is it even possible?
Nike concluded that you need a stable heel, a rocker-shaped midsole, a wide platform, and ample cushion to help you stay injury-free. During its lab testing, Nike pitted the Infinity against the Structure and found that fewer runners reported missing runs due to injury in the Infinity. If you glossed over it, that was, of course, internal testing done by Nike. No outside researchers have confirmed that the shoe helps reduce injuries. So was it all propaganda, or is the Nike React Infinity Run a miracle healer?
It’s hard to say, but the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit has made it to the third edition and remains remarkably similar to the original (minus the weight, more on that later).
ROBBE: I’ll always start a Nike React Infinity review with public shaming of Nike for engaging the killswitch on the Epic React line. Shame on you, Nike. But the past is the past, and even though it still hurts, I’m willing to move on.
While I never really loved the React Infinity 1 or 2, I still felt it was a pretty good running shoe, primarily because of the full React midsole and rockered ride. In the first version, the lockdown wasn’t great. In the second version, the tongue wasn’t great. Now in this version, the weight isn’t great.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad running shoe, but it doesn’t give me the feelings I once had with the Epic React line, which is really all I want in life. I’m a simple man.
In any case, this version gets a few upgrades/maybe downgrades. The midsole and outsole remain unchanged (not a bad thing), the upper is a bit more supportive and better fitting than past versions, the tongue gets a lot more padding, and the shoe gets a lot more weight. Also, the heel clip (a throwback design reference to some 80s Nike models like the Air Epic and Internationalist) is slightly different in design, but I doubt it affects performance. Other than that? Pretty much the same shoe.
Let’s move on with it.
ALDREN: Nothing is better than a fresh pair of your favorite kicks, and that’s what the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 is for me. As Thomas said, Nike axed the Zoom Structure line when it ran a study that proved (at least as far as any in-house testing can prove) that more people were getting running-related injuries in the Structure 22 than in the OG React Infinity.
Now two years later, we have the third iteration of the React Infinity. This shoe has stolen my heart in the past by winning back-to-back BIG awards for the top stability shoe of the year and has continued to be my most reliable option when picking a shoe for the day. I’ve owned four pairs of the Nike React Infinity Run (two version 1’s and two version 2’s) that have surpassed 475 miles.
All I’m saying is the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 has to keep this tradition running.
THOMAS: I enjoy the ride of the Infinity 3. It lands soft, feels stable, and rolls smoothly. It can gobble up easy runs with ease. The Flyknit upper holds my foot securely and molds to my foot perfectly. The last model had some quality control issues with the tongue ripping, but Nike has addressed that with this shoe, and the tongue won’t be a problem.
If you liked the React midsole before, nothing has changed. The U-shaped stabilizing clip received a little sculpting but provides the same heel support as it has in the past. The arch in the Infinity 3 seems slightly less pronounced than in the previous models but still offers support. During a 10-mile run in the rain, I was surprised by how well the outsole rubber performed. I had no issues with traction on multiple surfaces. The 30mm heel and 22mm forefoot keep this version to an 8mm drop.
ROBBE: You give me a React midsole, and you’re already starting in the green. I love React in pretty much every form. Case in point, I’ve worn the Peg Trail 3 as an everyday shoe for the last week (that shoe is the best usage of React right now, in my opinion). Add a rocker geometry to the ride, and I’ll at least like the shoe, even if I don’t love it.
That’s exactly what we have here — nothing wrong with the ride or the comfort of the React Infinity Run Flyknit 3. It gobbles up miles without issue, and the React midsole goes full Goonies — it never says die.
ALDREN: Starting at the top, Nike used a flyknit-based upper that looks like it was taken straight off a pair of good old Nike Roshe 1’s. It does a great job of molding around my foot to provide a very structured sock-like fit. Nike also removed one of the flywire cables closest to the toe and lowered the number of eyelets to allow the forefoot material to stretch around the ball of the foot. The upper just straight-up works. It’s the most significant update to the shoe because everything else about my baby is perfect.
A major downfall of the React Infinity 2 was all the defective models that had an easy-to-tear tongue. On the whole, Nike added a lot more padding and fixed the stitching in the area. I didn’t try ripping it, but I also didn’t try ripping my pair last year. (Personally, I think people shouldn’t try ripping their shoes? That may be a personal thing, though.) But yes, the upper is still a one-piece knit that feels like butter.
I also didn’t love that last year’s model took so damn long to break in. The rubber horseshoe-like ring wrapped around the foot’s lateral side to the arch was almost too rigid. It broke in eventually, but who likes breaking in their trainers?
The newest version somewhat cradles the arch a lot better and helps caress my foot when it attempts to naturally overpronate. This, along with the 34 mm of React in the heel and 26 mm of foam at the toe, creates a wide, rockered base. All I’m waiting for is for the React midsole to start softening up more and more with every run.
Before we talk about some issues, I need to defend how gorgeous this colorway is. It’s loud, bold, and not your mom’s favorite colors. As Nike puts it, Siren Red/Green Strike is a bad influence. These colors are opposites and should intimidate you. The shoe outshines everyone’s blue and orange shoes (I’m calling out Brooks, Saucony, and Asics). The shoe looks sour. I’m in love, to be honest.Shop React Infinity FK 3 – Men Shop React Infinity FK 3 – Women
THOMAS: The shoe gained over an ounce compared to the original React Infinity and now weighs 11.7 oz./332 grams. Oof! That’s up there with the Adidas Ultraboost. The original Infinity weighs 10.6 oz./301 grams, but this shoe is headed in the wrong direction. The FlyKnit upper is thick, too. I ran on cooler days — the warmest was around 50 degrees — but I’d imagine the Flyknit will be a sweater in the summer months. The laces are also chunky and awkward. It’s weird to say, but the upper and laces don’t feel good to the touch, making the shoe feel less luxurious.
ROBBE: I thought I just had some dead legs on the week I ran in the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3, but it turns out it’s just a pretty heavy shoe, as Thomas already covered. It probably doesn’t feel as heavy on the run as it actually weighs, but if you’re looking for any semblance of agility that was left from the Epic React (even the React Infinity had a bit), it’s not there. This is a straightforward mileage eater at this point.
Since the midsole and outsole are unchanged, the weight must be coming from the upper. Not great news, considering that we skipped spring and went straight to summer here in Baltimore. Your feet will be toasty/swampy.
ALDREN: This could be a me issue, but the padding around the Achilles seems to be a bit sharper. I felt this only twice, but once my feet were in the take-off phase, the area around my Achilles would dig and cause a hot spot. Also, Nike removed my pull tab. Give it back, please.Shop React Infinity FK 3 – Men Shop React Infinity FK 3 – Women
THOMAS: Despite the weight gain, I like the shoe. The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 delivers a fantastic cushioned ride. We’ve had reviewers put up staggering mileage in the Infinity 1 and 2 (yes, Aldren, I’m talking about you). The shoe is a tank, and the React foam doesn’t die. You will be able to count on this shoe for more miles than you probably want to run in it. It’s fun to get new shoes, right?
ROBBE: I feel the same way about this shoe as in the last two versions. It’s a fine shoe, but I can find a ton of more than fine shoes at the $160 price point or less. I guess the good thing is that while everyone else is jacking their prices up by at least $10, the React Infinity has stayed the same.
ALDREN: I couldn’t sing enough praises to this shoe. Like any daily trainer, this shoe will only get better with more mileage. Hit me up once this shoe hits 150 miles (maybe around the middle of June?), and we can talk again about how buttery the shoe has become.
Also, if I get any slander on this shoe, we’re throwing hands.
You can pick up the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 for $160 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop React Infinity Run FK 3 – Men Shop React Infinity Run FK 3 – Women
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I’ve been hanging on to (and wearing through) my last pair of Epic Reacts, but as they get harder and harder to find for resale online, I’m looking to switch shoes. I was really hoping the Infinity Run 3s would be it.
@Robbe – as an Epic React enthusiast, is there anything you recommend right now?