Last year Nike launched its React Infinity Running shoe, which cut injury rates in runners by 52 percent in one study. And motion-control sneakers—those that pack the mid-sole with foam to help correct pronation (your foot rolling inward with every stride)—kind of lost their appeal as a result. After all, who wants to wear a clunky, heavy model to alter foot form when newer kicks even out your cadence and are lighter and comfier to begin with? This advanced stride-smoothing technology created a whole new category for the brand, which recently introduced the next-gen iteration, the Nike React Infinity 2 Running shoe, solidifying it as the one to beat.
The thinking behind this family of sneakers is that what often prevents people from learning to love running—or upping their distance or speed—are repetitive-use injuries caused by incorrect form like the aforementioned pronation, as well as heel striking and the stress of pounding the pavement. The fear of being sidelined by any of these issues looms large over the sport, “and no one, ourselves included, had really been able to find the right solution,” Bret Holts, VP of running footwear at Nike, previously told Well+Good. “Really, this shoe is not about controlling motion, controlling pronation, it’s just helping to guide that foot through the transition.”
There are a few ways the React Infinity addresses these pain points: “This shoe provides increased shock absorption, with runners reporting less foot and knee pain,” says Miguel Cunha, DPM, a podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare. Plus, the latest model also has a stiffer upper, which helps to provide a little bit more structure to the shoe. And as Dr. Cunha points out, “the increased height of the sole helps smooth the changeover from mid-stance to toe-off. By doing so, it helps manage forward linear motion to prevent injuries such as ankle sprains or shin splints.”
Because the first generation was my favorite pair of running shoes in a long time—they got me through plenty of pandemic stress-burning runs—I was eager to test out the latest React Infinity. When I lace up, I find that they minimize action in my ankle, which I like a lot, and I still find that my foot sits deep in the shoe so that I feel secure and ready to tackle multiple miles. And on those longer runs, I get some ventilation so that my feet don’t feel hot and sweaty (read: stinky) on the go. The new React Infinity still fits like the first generation, for the most part, but I like the tiny bit of added support that I get without feeling like I’m weighted down in a stability shoe. 10/10 would recommend.
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