Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Performance Review
ROBBE: The last couple of years for the Nike running family have been like a cryptocurrency rollercoaster. It started with an early plunge as the much-beloved Epic React line mets its demise, then rebounded with the birth of the OG React Infinity. Then a surprise Olympic Trials Alphafly NEXT% drop sent shockwaves through the market, and was quickly followed by a flat plateau of the ho-hum Nike React Miler (it’s actually a decent shoe, btw). Oh and somewhere in there, the Pegasus Turbo 2 just disappeared because darlings are meant to be killed, I guess.
Hopefully you bought in at the bottom, because things are bouncing back (literally) with the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run. Nothing will drive a price higher than being crowned the only daily trainer in the Nike fam with a full ZoomX midsole – that big, bouncy vanilla milkshake bottom that brings all the boys (and girls) to the yard. Couple that with a wildly wide outsole base, a Flyknit upper, and other stuff, and you have a shoe that is … kind of unlike anything else.
After all, this was a shoe borne out of the desires of athletes testing Vaporfly iterations without the plate. Ask, and three years later, you shall receive.
That said, you take a plate of a thick layer of foam, and you have some issues you need to take care of in the stability department.
But don’t let the ZoomX fool you, this shoe may not be what you think it is. More on that below with Thomas and Meaghan.
ROBBE: Let’s just start with the first step-in. If you saw our Instagram live video, you probably saw me lace these up, stand up, and crack a grin like I just got lit up with a nitrous oxide infusion. The 37 mm stack height (28 mm in the toe) of ZoomX is bouncy AF, like pogo-stick-on-a-trampoline bouncy. It feels ridiculously fun just bobbing up and down on the ZoomX. The closest comparison to the feeling was my first step-in of the ASICS Novablast with its FlyteFoam Blast midsole.
The upper is one of my favorite uppers at the moment. It is comfortable. Like – really comfortable. There’s plenty of padding around the collar, while the gusseted tongue is almost like a thick neoprene. The heavy-duty flat laces secure everything just perfectly.
One thing that a lot of runners will love is that this doesn’t fit like a traditional Nike upper (i.e. narrow, constrictive, etc.). In fact, the fit feels very similar to the React Miler upper, except it doesn’t feel cheap and actually looks good. There’s plenty of width in this toe box, though the wide foot fam still can’t get in on this – the throat of the shoe is considerably narrow.
Moving onto the meat of the shoe – the ZoomX. It is light. It is bouncy. It is soft. And there is a lot of it. In fact, it’s the most ZoomX in any Nike shoe right now. What does one feel running on that thick slab of primo foam? For starters, it picks up and goes quite effortlessly, despite its softness. Now, I need to point out that this is not a fast feeling; instead, it’s just a steady, comfortable feeling with a lot of energy return and bounce.
The shoe feels lighter than its actual weight on the run, likely due to that ZoomX bounce. It’s not a heavy shoe by any means (it’s marginally lighter than the React Infinity), but if you were translating ZoomX to “fast pace” you’d be mistaken.
Long story short, this is a high-comfort daily trainer with that uniquely bouncy ZoomX sensation. I feel like this shoe will hit the bullseye for runners looking for a great long run or easy day shoe that can pick up the pace if totally necessary, but really isn’t meant to. Instead, this is a shoe that’s going to provide loads of comfort for anywhere from 300-500 miles. Of course, that life expectancy is dependent most of all on your weight. A heavier runner will compress that ZoomX a lot quicker, while if you weigh a buck-thirty soaking wet you should get plenty of bang for your buck.
One last thing – I was pleasantly surprised by the outsole. The full coverage rubber helps stabilize the ZoomX, but also grips exceptionally well. I was surprised at how well it handled corners, because the design of the shoe isn’t nimble by any means.
MEAGHAN: I didn’t know the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run was in the works until I had it on my feet. A daily trainer with the same, thick slab of foam as the NEXT% paired with a structured, comfortable upper? Uh, yes. This is the trainer from Nike I didn’t know I needed and now I don’t know what I’d do without. The upper and general fit of this shoe do not “feel” like a Nike. The wide toe box and plush heel/collar give off some serious New Balance vibes and I am here for it. These shoes accommodate my wide feet well and are just generally very comfortable.
From step-in I knew I was going to love the ride of this shoe. It’s bouncy. It’s light, and it is designed to go the distance. Paired with a rocker geometry, I found myself cruising along at a moderate pace and feeling effortless. Yeah, I guess you could say I’m a fan.
Even with that thicc stack height (34 mm in the heel for the women, 26 mm in the toe) and substantial upper, the shoes are pretty light. My W7.5 came in just under 8 oz.
THOMAS: Robbe and Meg covered most of what you need to know about the ZoomX Invincible, so I’ll keep my comments straight to the point. The ZoomX midsole is fun to run on. The initial bouncy feeling you get when you bound through the streets has lasted the entire 30+ miles I have put in on the shoe. Will it last 300? That remains to be seen, but so far, so great.
My size 10.5 fits true to size and the upper feels tailored even though it fits various foot shapes. At least the varied foot shapes of our team. I try not to weigh a shoe or look at the specs before running in it, because I want to feel out the shoe without prior data to sway my preconceptions. In that way, I was shocked to find out the Invincible is only a tenth of an ounce lighter than the Nike React Infinity 2. It runs a good deal lighter than its actual weight. The ride is smooth and easy on the legs.Shop Invincible – MEN Shop Invincible – WOMEN
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ROBBE: One thing a lot of people get wrong about carbon plates in racing shoes is that they purely exist as a “spring” or “lever” to propel a runner forward. While there is a partial truth to that, the carbon plate serves a dual purpose in high-stack, super foam shoes. Those foams, while bouncy, are inherently ultra-unstable (just imagine standing with one foot on a large sponge). A carbon fiber plate counteracts that instability by providing an ultralight but relatively firm layer within the midsole to help stabilize the foam.
So what happens when you remove that plate but keep the monumental stack height of ZoomX? Well, it’s super unstable, like radioactive-isotope level unstable – unless – you deviate completely from the platform geometry of a typical running shoe.
As such, Nike widened the forefoot and heel of the Invincible to previously-unseen proportions (as far as I can tell, anyway). We’re talking five inches across in the forefoot area, almost an inch more than the Vaporfly. The heel is similarly wide. The end result is an almost hourglass design.
A couple other stability elements are thrown in, including a plastic heel clip and what Nike calls a support panel – basically a plasticky film around the heel counter for a touch of extra support.
Even still, the Invincible is somewhat unstable, but … it’s not bad. There is certainly some side to side movement, but not enough to tip you over. It takes you to the edge and brings you back right before it becomes disastrous. Honestly, this doesn’t even deserve to be in the bad, but it needs to be out there if people are expecting the same level of stability of say, the React Infinity.
This shoe is not meant to go fast. I mean, any shoe is fast if you want it to be (anyone who’s been passed in a race by a runner wearing adidas Ultraboost knows this). But the Invincible is a cruiser, not a bruiser. It’s soft, so you are not going to get that pop you want if you’re trying to pick up the pace.
On the run, it seems fine, but the design of this shoe makes it clunky by nature (as opposed to naughty by nature). It’s also loud as hell on the pavement.
Lastly, this shoe is $180, which, for a daily trainer … *low whistle*.
MEAGHAN: I only have 30-ish miles on my Invincibles right now, so I can’t speak to the wear and tear yet. I find the Zoom X has a pretty good lifespan, but I’m used to saving my NEXT% for fast and/or race days, so it will be interesting to see how it holds up as a daily trainer.
Also, I’m not loving the aesthetics of this shoe. Maybe it’s just the boring black colorway, I’m not sure, but it’s not my favorite look.
THOMAS: My first run out the door, I was hoping that the ZoomX bounce would translate to faster paces. If you are expecting the Invincible to be a speed shoe without a plate, you will be disappointed. This is a soft comfy daily trainer that can go the distance. Just not as quickly as its siblings.Shop Invincible – MEN Shop Invincible – WOMEN
ROBBE: Nike is going to pull every golden egg out of that ZoomX goose, and I have no qualms about the existence of the Nike ZoomX Invincible. It’s a pretty good shoe that will provide a ton of comfort over long-haul mileage. Which, honestly, isn’t what I was expecting when I heard full ZoomX. We thought “let’s go fast,” but Nike said “slow down.” And that’s fine.
What this all boils down to is that this is an everyman shoe that should accommodate any type of runner. Weirdly, I couldn’t stop thinking how this would be a fantastic shoe for a first-time marathoner. It’s light enough and the max-cushion will save your legs in those later miles. For seasoned runners, it’s just an ultra-comfortable, soft, and bouncy daily trainer that you’ll be able to stack up miles in.
MEAGHAN: The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is a really great daily trainer. I would put this in the same category as the New Balance Beacon 3 or HOKA Mach 4. It’s versatile, great for recovery day to long runs and even some faster days. While I wouldn’t pick this out for race day, it’s perfect for everything else.
THOMAS: Again, Robbe and Meg cover the bases here. I’ll just add that I wasn’t sure why Nike would release the React Infinity and the ZoomX Invincible at around the same time. I thought surely the Invincible would be my pick and there wouldn’t be room for the Infinity 2 in the category.
Not only are the two shoes very different, I actually walked away thinking I might prefer the React Infinity 2 over the ZoomX Invincible. The weight is similar and I liked the firmer more stable ride of the Infinity 2.
If you’re looking for a comparison shoe, the closest feeling to the Invincible is the ASICS Novablast. The wide platform of the Invincible provides more stability than the thinner width Novablast, but there is a familiarity there.
In terms of Nike daily trainers, if the Pegasus 37 works for you, I think it is a more versatile shoe than the Invincible, but it’s certainly not as comfortable. Final side note: One shoe that has really grown on me is the Nike Tempo NEXT%. The Tempo is Nike’s kitchen sink. It has all the goodies, React, ZoomX, and air pods. If I am going full ZoomX, it seems I like it to have a plate sandwiched in.
You can pick up the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run for $180 at Running Warehouse by using the shop links below.Shop Invincible – MEN Shop Invincible – WOMEN
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How do you compare these with the Novablast? I currently use it for my easy runs as a daily trainer and use the TC elite and Tempo Next% for anything faster. The Nova is tricky on anything other than pavement and was thinking Invincible could work. I love the bounce in the Novablast and Infinity just doesn’t work – no lockdown of course and the hight of the heel rubs my achillies. Its alot of money but id invest for a stable novablast feel!
This shoe sort of seems a lot like the Nike Miler? Other than weight can anyone compare the two?
I’ve run in both and on the surface I get the comparison. The upper fit and last of the shoe is very similar. However, the upper is much better construction in the Invincible and of course the ZoomX is a whole different “bouncy” experience. Softer ride as well. I did always think the Miler was underrated, but this is just a totally different ride.
Hi Robby, I’m a big fan of the Pegasus Turbo 2 with its bounce and energy return but on long runs half Marathon or longer my feet gets pretty beatup. I’ve been using both Novablast and Infinity Run 1 for long runs now and wonder if you can recommend a pair of high energy bouncy shoes similar to Peg2 but with better long dist protection? (I was really looking forward to Invincible but kinda got discouraged by your reviews.)
You’ll probably want to check out the New Balance More v3 when they come out. Will provide tons of comfort, rocker, and bounce (maybe not as much bounce as ZoomX, but the rest is pretty sweet).
Hi Robbe, after reading this I’m caught in two minds. On the one hand this sounds like a great shoe for working on your feet for long hours. On the other hand I’m concerned about how the foam will hold up after 12hrs on concrete.
Any thoughts? Thanks.
Working on concrete you may want something a little more stable but with great cushion. Honestly, you should check out the Nike Pegasus Trail 3, it’s seriously one of the most comfortable shoes I own. You could also check out the New Balance More v3.
Awesome thanks! Hadn’t considered the Nike’s before but I’ll look into them.
would you recommend this shoe for walking and slow jogging?
How do these compare against Vomero 16?