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The Nike Epic React Sneaker Has Higher Energy Return To Push You Forward As You Run

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Last Tuesday, Nike announces the release of a new proprietary foam midsole technology called Nike React.

The very first shoe to feature React will be the Epic React Flyknit running shoe. It’s a sleek little number (available February 22), with a simple, knit upper that sits atop a single layer of extra thick React foam.

In a trend that’s been sweeping the running shoe industry, Nike is centering all its attention and fanfare on the properties of the foam itself, rather than highlighting other individual parts of the shoe.

React is our most complete foam ever,” says Ernest Kim, footwear innovation director at Nike. Kim geeks out, praising the ride this new foam delivers.

You not only get great energy return—13 percent greater than Lunarlon—but [you also get] a much softer experience as well,” he says.

For a runner who wants a shoe that feels springy and light, but that can still hold up through plenty of miles, Kim feels that Nike nailed it with React.

If you think you’ve heard a similar tune before, you’re right. Last September, Brooks revealed its DNA AMP foam, also touting a blend of cushioning and energy return.

Last year, we saw the first shoes from Altra made with the cleverly-named AltraEGO foam, which—you guessed it—distinguishes itself by its soft step-in feel and bouncy ride.

Then there’s Reebok Float Foam, Saucony Everun, New Balance Fresh Foam, Puma Ignite. Every major company now has its own hero foam, a trend that can be traced back to a compound called Boost, introduced by Adidas in 2012.

As magical as the new foams feel for many, they aren’t for everyone. “At the end of the day, shoes are so personal,” Harper says.

There’s going to be people who put on a [foam] shoe, and it doesn’t connect with them for some reason—doesn’t connect with their stride, doesn’t feel good underfoot.

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