Nike Epic React Flyknit

9.7
9.7 score
[Editors rating (9.7)] = Runnerclick score (9.7)/10

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Editor rating: 9.7 / 10
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Nike Epic React Flyknit Review Facts
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Nike has always been at the forefront of making great shoes even greater through research, design, and testing. The Nike Epic React Flyknit is the product of thousands of hours of testing and research by Nike scientists and the results are awe-inspiring. The Epic React foam in the midsole of this sneaker has been proven to be 13% more responsive than their most responsive midsole material in the past. This will help give you a fast-paced, cushioned, and springy run. The outsole has been designed minimally and does not involve a lot of obtrusive lugs or specialized gadgets. Rather, the outsole is minimal and barely includes any rubber at all. Nike has also made sure to stabilize the lightweight and soft sneaker through the use of a TPU hard plastic heel clip which in many colorways adds a pop of color. These sneakers are lightweight, responsive, extremely attractive, comfortable, and breathable. There isn’t much else to ask for in a neutral running shoe and Nike has definitely raised the bar with this one. 

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Lightweight and breathable sneaker 
  • Technologically-advanced React Foam midsole delivers response like no other
  • Unique exposed outsole helps deliver a smooth heel to toe transition
  • Available in a great assortment of colorways 
  • TPU heel clip and heel counter will stabilize your run
  • Flexible Flyknit upper gives you an adaptable fit
Cons
  • On the pricier side
  • Some say their feet move around in the sneaker so you may have to size down
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of this highly anticipated sneaker is quite unique. It features an exposed midsole with two areas at the forefoot and heel which are reinforced with more durable rubber. There are no lugs per se, but rather there are raised wavy stubbly lines that run across the entirety of the sole. These smooth lines will help deliver grip and traction for the neutral road runner. Additionally, the grooves that are created between these smooth wavy lines differ throughout the outsole. There are deeper, more pronounced grooves on the midsole and medial side of the shoe to provide more cushioning and response, while they are shallower on the lateral side of the forefoot and toward the heel to add more support. The more durable rubber at the forefoot and heel of the sneaker features a gradient color pattern that matches the upper. These two areas of the outsole tend to take most of the beating while running, so that is why Nike chose to reinforce the outsole here. Due to the fact that the outsole is made of Nike’s revolutionary Epic React foam, it is able to resist compression and retain its shape.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Nike has always been at the forefront of sneaker technology and they are always looking for ways to improve performance. The Epic React Flyknit features Nike’s newest foam midsole material: Nike React Foam. The chemists at Nike spent thousands of hours researching and testing this new material to make sure it was up to the company’s high standards. Epic foam has proven to deliver more energy return than any other midsole foam in the past. This foam even delivers 13% more energy return compared to Nike’s own Lunarlon foam. When compressed, the foam delivers excellent cushioning and then quickly springs back to its original shape when the compression is lifted, thus delivering incredible energy return. Nike also claims that Nike React foam is more durable than any other form they’ve ever tested, including their own past technologies. The Epic React Flyknit also boasts another new Nike technology: Fluid Geometry. This technology works by changing the design of the shoes’ midsole by extending the upper around the heel to enhance stability. Fluid Geometry makes the sneaker lightweight because the midsole makes up a large part of the shoe without detracting from support and response. Another feature of this sneakers’ midsole is the TPU heel clip found below the heel cup that gives the shoe even more stability.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The Epic React Flyknit features a single piece of FlyKnit material for the upper which is engineered for support and flexibility. This material has some stretch to it, allowing for a more adaptable fit and delivers a comfortable sock-like feel. The bootie-like construction of the shoes’ upper gives the shoe a non-constricting fit on the top of the foot due to the fact that the tongue is seamlessly merged with the rest of the FlyKnit upper material. The lacing system is pretty unique because it keeps the laces entirely on the outside of the shoe so the laces rest on top of the sneaker rather than being integrated within the tongue. At the rear of the shoe, you will find a firm yet pliable heel cup that wraps around the shoe to keep your heel in place and delivers added support. This works with the TPU piece below the heel cup to add more stability to your runs. The heel also boasts a pull tab to make the sneaker easier to get on and off.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The Nike Epic React is made up of extremely lightweight materials and has an exposed outsole, meaning that there is not a lot of heavy rubber to weigh them down. A men’s size 11 weighs in at a surprising 8.4 ounces while the women’s weighs 6.9 ounces. This shoe delivers an impressive cushioning-to-weight ratio.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Epic React Flyknit is a lightweight and breathable shoe. The seamless single-piece of FlyKnit material on this shoe is different in a couple areas of the shoe. For instance, the forefoot toe box area features a wider type knit, enabling maximum airflow into the foot chamber. The rest of the sneaker boasts a tighter knit that supports the foot with its adaptable yet flexible FlyKnit, all while providing excellent airflow.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Because the midsole of the Epic React Flyknit is made up of such a cushiony and technologically advanced foam, these sneakers are obviously going to be comfortable underfoot. Several consumers have said that the shoe has a great combination of responsive propulsion in its midsole combined with a comfort that proves to be just the right softness. The sneaker has a higher stack so you may think that it will feel super squishy under your feet but many users have commented on how surprisingly firm yet cushy the foam is. The high stack actually works well in delivering a smooth heel to toe transition but is not too obtrusive as to detract from underfoot feel. In other words, the midsole does not feel too cushioned, despite the amount of cushioning. The upper’s seamless construction with its flexible Flyknit material delivers a highly adaptable yet comfortable fit, without constricting you. Many users have said it takes a couple uses to adapt the shoe fully to your foot, but those few uses are comfortable as well.
Style
Style

Style

Another thing Nike is known for is their exceptional styling. There have not been many bad-looking Nike sneakers out there and the Epic React Flyknit is no exception. Like many Nike running shoes, the Epic React comes in an array of colorways so you can choose anything from an exciting bright colorway to a more subtle black. There are not a lot of running shoe companies that can put out a great performance running shoe that would look great while racking up the mileage and also while you are out on the town. The Epic React Flyknit will look great anywhere you wear it.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The Nike Epic React Flyknit is made up of a combination of several different lightweight materials, it is not a “rugged” type sneaker. With that said, if it is used for the purpose that it is designed for, neutral road running, then they should hold up just as well as any typical road running shoe, if not better. The main concern for durability lies around the unique outsole which is mostly made up of the exposed React Foam midsole with reinforced rubber on the forefoot and heel areas. These two areas take the brunt of the abrasion when running so the reinforcing materials are a great addition. React Foam has been engineered to be soft yet strong and is extremely responsive so there really is no basis for concern other than the fact that the design is one-of-a-kind and it is unknown as to how well it will hold up over time.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Unlike most running shoes, the Epic React Flyknit does not have a full rubber outsole so the amount of protection against underfoot debris and sharp objects is lessened. The forefoot and heel areas are better protected from such things because of the reinforced rubber. The TPU heel clip and pliable heel counter help to protect your feet and ankles from rolling as well. The shoes’ midsole is made up of an advanced foam material that is designed to absorb shock and deliver excellent response so you shouldn’t feel your joints ache from wearing these sneakers.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

When it comes to responsiveness, the Epic React Flyknit will not disappoint. Nike spent a lot of time developing the React Foam and they broke the mold with it. The material is specifically designed to pull in the energy applied to it and return it right back. This results in a springy and forward-propelling run. There aren’t any rubber lugs on the bottom to push you forward, but with this incredible midsole, you won’t need them.
Support
Support

Support

Most of the support you will get in these sneakers will come from its technologically advanced React Foam midsole. The React foam is designed to absorb energy on contact and return it quickly. This will support your feet by absorbing impact and delivering a smooth transition from heel to toe. The TPU heel clip, in combination with the more flexible heel counter, will help to anchor your feet in place and support your feet as you navigate corners and multi-level surfaces. The flexible Flyknit upper will hug your foot in such an adaptable way that the shoes will feel sock-like. This supports your foot by allowing no negative space within the sneaker.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

Due to the makeup of the outsole of the Epic React Flyknit, these are ideally suited for running on solid terrains such as roads and sidewalks. The exposed outsole and reinforced forefoot and heel areas will easily carry you over these types of terrains but they are not good for trail running because they lack a rubber lug system.
Price
Price

Price

We all know that great running shoes can cost a pretty penny and that proves to be the case with these shoes. With a price tag of $140, they cost more than many other running shoes on the market designed for neutral running. However, they are extremely well made, comfortable, technologically advanced, and sharp looking. Nike is known for engineering excellent shoes the Epic React and although the price is a little steep, it may be worth it for such an excellent sneaker.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The unique outsole on the Epic React Flyknit is not necessarily built for high traction. However, the groove system on the exposed midsole and reinforced toe and heel areas will help deliver a decent level of traction if you are using these shoes for what they are designed for. Users have said they have been surprised at how well they can grip in wet conditions but they aren’t meant for muddy or extremely slippery ones.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

One look at the Epic React’s outsole and you’ll see why these sneakers are extremely flexible. The outsole’s exposed midsole makes the shoe able to amply bend and flow with your foot as you run. The React Foam in the midsole is also pretty soft and flexible and that works with the seamless Flyknit upper as you run. These features combine to make a very flexible and lightweight sneaker.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Epic React Flyknit is not a stability sneaker per se, but it does offer some stability features. The TPU heel clip at the rear of the shoe helps to stabilize your heel as your run. Because the Epic React Foam is soft and the upper is flexible, this heel clip will keep your foot steady within the sneaker and as you run. This shoe is designed for the neutral runner and has an average level of arch support.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The Epic React has an average drop of 10mm. This may seem a little high but it is necessary because the React Foam is jam-packed into the midsole. Many runners have commented on how much they like the responsiveness and cushioned comfort of the full-length foam and feel like the drop of the shoe works with the technology included.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

- Technologically advanced React Foam midsole is proven to deliver more energy return than any other of Nike’s midsole materials in the past
- Exposed midsole and reinforcing rubber on the heel and forefoot of the outsole make this shoe lightweight and responsive
- Flexible and breathable Flyknit upper gives you an adaptable and comfortable fit
- Lacing system entirely on the outside of the sneaker for added comfort
- TPU heel clip provides stability and support
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

There is no doubt about it, the Nike Epic React Flyknit is a one of a kind sneaker. It can be used for the casual runner or even for racing events. This great-looking shoe can be worn out on the town, out running errands, or out racking up miles on the pavement. So all in all, this shoe is highly versatile and stylish. On top of that, it features some pretty awesome technologies in the React Foam midsole, a unique outsole, heel stability features, and a flexible upper. The shoe is also extremely lightweight, especially considering the layers of awesome features. Even though the sneaker is priced in the upper echelon of running shoes, the fact that it delivers comfort, style, performance, and response all in a lightweight package make these shoes an excellent purchase.