Nike React Element 87

8.8
8.8 score
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Nike React Element 87 Review Facts
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In March of 2018, the Nike Element React 87 made their way down the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week, turning the heads of sneaker-fans and fashionistas alike. With its unique new silhouette and deconstructed aesthetic appeal, it proves to be a shoe unlike any other seen before. As one of the most anticipated sneakers of the year, this shoe has been a source of extreme expectation as the world awaited their global release in June of 2018. Since their unveiling, these sneaks have gained a lot of hype in the sneaker world and many have wondered if it lives up to all of the publicity. The big feature of this shoe is its upper which is made up of a translucent TPE yarn material like that found on last year’s Nike Zoom Fly SP. However, unlike the Zoom Fly, the Element React 87 offers more of a thorough view into what makes up a sneaker.

Right now in the fashion world, all things see-through seem to be a popular obsession. This, combined with the fact that the shoe is a nod to it’s vintage 1983 running shoe predecessor, the Nike Internationalist, makes for a unique and eye-catching silhouette. One of the shoe’s designers, Jun Takahashi, whose Undercover collection was used to send it down the catwalk in March, is one of Japan’s most well-known fashion designers and specializes in high-end streetwear. Nike and Takahashi collaborated to develop this distinct design that is a great option for runners and walk-everywhere urban dwellers.  With its increased ‘React’ foam in the insole to provide a greater amount of energy absorption as well as spongy softness, its embedded segment rubber outsole, and aesthetically pleasing extras, this sneaker comes out on top in the innovative and coveted-design categories. 

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unique deconstructed translucent silhouette unlike any other shoe on the market today
  • Lots of aesthetic extras like suede embellishments, a nylon taped heel and lots of the Swooshes
  • Pull-on heel tab for easy on and off
  • Lightweight upper and innovative React foam midsole
  • Embedded rubber segments scientifically placed through pressure mapping add traction and durability
  • Translucent fabric upper lends to breathability and all-day comfort
  • Runs true to size so there is virtually no size guessing
Cons
  • Brand new sneaker so there isn’t a lot of information on durability and wear just yet
  • The translucent upper is breathable but not that soft so it’s best to wear socks
  • Due to the thin upper layer’s material, the front of the toe box may crinkle and buckle a little if the shoe doesn’t fit properly on your foot
  • Due to the popularity of its anticipated design, this sneaker is really tough to find and you may have to pay more than regular retail
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of this groundbreaking sneaker was developed with a little bit of AI help. Due to the nature of Nike’s React foam, the company wanted to ensure that the shoe would last a while so they had to figure out a way to make the sole of the shoe stand up to that challenge. How they did that was by drilling holes in a piece of the React foam and then filling those holes with a material to figure out the depths and locations of pressure points that would align with their comfort goals. After a lot of trial and error, Nike came up with a mid and outsole design and filled in those holes with the rubber that is seen on the bottom of the shoe and rear of the shoe. These rubber dots on the bottom offer support and grip where it is needed most. This is sure to extend the life of not only the React foam but also the life of the shoe itself.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

Similar to Nike’s Epic React Flyknit, the midsole of the React Element 87 is made up entirely of the company’s “React” foam. With this shoe, however, Nike chose to add more of the foam in order to calm the consumer concerns that the soft and springy foam material might not hold up over time. Nike also textured the React midsole, adding to its already pleasing aesthetic value. Although scientists have said that there is no such thing as an “energy-returning foam” in a sneaker, React foam is pretty close to that. The fact is, whenever you put something soft under your foot and run on it, it’s going to steal energy. Before React foam, EVA foam was the “it” in the midsole world which robs about 40-60% of the energy that is used to compress the midsole while the React foam takes about 30%. To add to this, the foam material also boasts several of the company’s familiar Swooshes that blend in with the rest of the shoe, giving it a little more oomph in the “cool” department.
Upper
Upper

Upper

This is where this revolutionary sneaker really breaks the mold. Although Nike’s Zoom Fly SP had translucent material built into its upper, it was nothing like the 100% TPE yarn material that graces the top of this pair of shoes. Most of the upper is comprised of this lightweight and breathable material and is, of course, see-through. This simple fact means that the look of the shoe can be changed based on the socks you wear which is a pretty unique sneaker feature. The well-recognized Nike Swoosh is placed on either side of the shoe and interestingly extends underneath the midsole, appearing to tuck behind it. The 3M-adorned eyelets on the top of the sneaker are attached to the upper by way of small reddish-orange flashes of color tucked beneath a faux-suede material that lines the laces. This little pop of color adds an eye-pleasing flair and breaks up the monochrome colors around it. The faux-suede extends to the tongue of the shoe which is asymmetrical, giving it a unique cutting-edge look. There is another semi-secret Swoosh located on each sneaker’s medial toe that can only really be seen when you have the shoe on your foot - yet another little extra.
Weight
Weight

Weight

With its lightweight translucent TPE yarn upper and React foam midsole, the React Element 87 is a rather lightweight sneaker. Although it isn’t considered to be a minimalist shoe, the materials comprising its construction are all rather light and it won’t feel heavy on your foot at all.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

One look at this shoe and you may ask yourself, “With that see-through stuff, will my foot become a sweat-factory?” Much to the surprise of many, the answer to that question is no. The translucent material making up most of the upper is alarmingly breathable. To add to this, there are perforations located in the upper part of the shoe near the ankle, giving your foot a little more breathing room. Perforations can also be found on the sneaker’s cork insole, something that is rarely seen as a feature inside shoes.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Due to the nature of the TPE yarn material that makes up a majority of the React Element 87’s upper, it is not really suggested to wear these shoes without socks. Not only would it look a little odd, but the material itself isn’t the softest thing in the world. With that said, there is padding where you need it on the inside heel and on the back of the tongue. These sneaks are also manufactured to be a little wider than Nike’s Epic React Flynit, making them more comfortable for a greater variety of consumers. These features, combined with the Uber-softness of the React foam, is sure to be comfortable on almost any foot.
Style
Style

Style

Nike has knocked it out of the park in the style department with the Nike React Element 87. This sneaker is revolutionary in performance design, but it also is one of a kind as far as looks go. While the translucent upper may not appeal to every buyer, this sneaker is a hot item right now because it combines the technology of lightweight React foam with fashion’s current obsession with all things clear. All of the little design subtleties Nike added to these kicks give it a super-fun flair that is second to none. One thing is for sure with these sneakers, if you wear them, make sure you’re also wearing a pair of awesome looking socks.
Durability
Durability

Durability

These sneakers are brand new to the market, making it difficult to ascertain whether or not they will be considered ‘durable’. However, after consumers raised concerns about other React foam shoes possibly not holding up very long, Nike attempted to quell those fears in the React Element 87 by adding more of the React foam to the midsole and by strategically placing rubber in high-traffic areas of the outsole. The sneaker’s heel also boasts TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) that adds to its strength and durability.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The rubber pods on the outside and heel of the shoe help reduce impact with the ground and will protect the wearer’s foot from objects underfoot. Unlike minimalist sneakers, the React Element 87 is designed to eliminate any harsh pounding contact with the ground through its react foam insole. With that said, the outsole isn’t necessarily “rugged” and shouldn’t be worn for trail running.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

This sneaker’s midsole provides an excellent level of responsiveness. Nike’s React foam is designed to dispel 30% of the energy that is put into it. This is less that EVA foam’s 40-60%. Landings in these shoes should feel soft and supportive and take-offs should feel light and airy.
Support
Support

Support

The Nike React Element 87 is not considered to be a “stability” running shoe but is more supportive than a minimalist shoe. The foam midsole and specially designed outsole are designed to withstand long hours of walking or standing and are supportive enough to keep you comfortable on a short to mid-length run.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

These eye-catching sneakers were designed with the ‘urban-dweller’ in mind. This means that they were made for people who walk a lot in their daily routines or stand on their feet for hours on end. With that said, they would also be a decent choice for light runs on treadmills or relatively smooth surfaces. Trail-running in these stylish shoes isn’t really recommended.
Price
Price

Price

The retail price for these bad boys is pretty steep but many consumers say that, due to their revolutionary design, the price is totally worth it. With that said, right now the availability is extremely limited and if you can find them for retail price, then you are definitely getting a huge deal.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The outsoles of these shoes were developed strategically with the rubber outsole being designed in such a way as to provide the best traction and grip where it is needed most. If you look at the bottom of the sneaker, you’ll notice that the rubber doesn’t spread throughout, rather, the rubber is placed in specifically designed spaces to ensure grip and traction.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

These sneakers aren’t really meant to be the most flexible cross-trainer around but because of their constructed materials, they certainly aren’t heavy and stiff. The React foam and lightweight upper lend to flexibility simply due to the materials. You won’t have to worry about feeling like you’ve got lead weights strapped to your feet in these.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Nike React Element 87 runs true to size and if you buy the correct size for your foot, you should feel fairly stable. The lightweight upper doesn’t lend itself to supreme stability, but you should feel stable enough to go for a light run in these. However, if you buy a size that is too small for your foot, the translucent material will most likely crinkle up around your toe.
Drop
Drop

Drop

At the current moment, the exact heel and toe stack measurements of the Nike React Element 87 aren’t really listed anywhere so the drop is difficult to determine. With that said, just by looks, the drop in this shoe appears to be someone standard meaning that it would be ideal for almost any type of foot-striker.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

-Groundbreaking translucent upper gives this sneaker a one-of-a-kind style
-The 3M reflective material runs throughout the eyelets and the heel loop
-The aesthetically pleasing red tape runs diagonally up either side of the heel, adding support at the heel as well as an exciting pop of color
-Perforated cork insole is another unique design feather that will aid in breathability
-Scientifically designed React foam midsole provides a soft and comfortable step
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

There has been an awful lot of hype surrounding this sneaker and for good reason. The Nike React Element 87 is not only fashion relevant with it’s translucent upper, but it is also extremely innovative. Nike did one of the things they do best and fashioned this revolutionary sneaker after their vintage 1983 Internationalist running shoe and combined it with scientifically designed functionality in the modern day fitness world. In partnering with Japanese designer Jun Takahashi, Nike unleashed a sneaker that has people around the world clamoring for a pair. Its unmatched design may not be appealing to every buyer out there, but because of the many exciting features and innovative allure, it is proving to be one of the most talked-about sneakers of 2018. With all that said, as far as a functional running shoe goes, it may not be at the top of the list seeing as it was engineered to be a shoe for urban-dwellers and appeals to the more fashion-focused consumers out there. However, because of it’s responsive React foam midsole, it can most certainly be worn for a light to moderate run on a treadmill or relatively smooth outdoor surface. With all of the hype and publicity of the Nike React Element 87, it is most likely going to remain a collectible fashion shoe for now. As for the future of this model, Nike plans on releasing more color-ways but the anticipation for this unique sneaker will have to continue on for a while longer, seeing as those are not due out until 2019.