Nike has announced its late February release of a running shoe featuring Nike React foam cushioning technology – the Nike Epic React Flyknit.
According to the company, in response to runner’s requests for better cushioning, higher energy return, lighter weight and greater durability in their footwear, it was decided to incorporate the technology into their running line.
Originally introduced in June, 2017, Nike React foam found its base in the brand’s basketball line. To unearth its composition, Nike’s in-house chemists and mechanical engineers at the Nike Sports Research Lab collaborated to discover which ingredients would produce the optimal outcome.
After over 400 combinations of chemistry and processing and 2,000 hours of testing, the foam’s framework was finalized and integrated.
Overall, Nike React’s unique composition consists of soft material for lightweight cushioning, and hard material to provide energy return and durability, the company stated.
Since basketball is a sport that requires players to constantly change direction, switch up speed and jump without notice, the technology was able to meet these needs by providing both cushioning and stability, according to the company.
Nike brought the technology to its running line after determining the needs of runners are comparable to those of basketball players. The foam went back to the Lab for testing and, according to the company, it delivered a 13 percent greater energy return than the brand’s latest generation of Nike Lunarlon foam.
“I want to emphasize [the greater energy return] because we’re not comparing Nike React technology to some no-name foam that fell off the back of a truck somewhere,”
Ernest Kim, Director of Advanced Footwear for Nike Running, said.
“We’re comparing it to our latest Lunarlon and, even with the bar set that high, Nike React technology delivers that much more energy return with each any every stride.”
“Nike React is more durable than any other foam we’ve tested in Nike running, meaning it will keep up with the needs of even the most dedicated runners,”
To fuse the foam into a running shoe, designs stemmed from athlete data on movement collected by the Lab. It was visualized through pressure maps that showed precisely where athletes need support, which allowed full maximization of cushioning and traction, according to the company.
The Nike React technology was then tested with over 17,000 miles of running by elite and every day runners.
“Over that span, our wear-testers consistently told us that Nike React made them want to run more often,”
“My favorite bit of feedback came from a wear-tester who said of running in the Nike Epic React, ‘It felt fun – it makes you want to run.’”
Hence, the technology was incorporated into the new Nike Epic React Flyknit.
This running shoe’s upper, consisting of the forefoot, toe and arch, is composed of the one-piece Nike Flyknit bootie. It’s minimal and close to the foot, but still provides support, flexibility and breathability where runners need it, the company said.
While the upper is minimal, the tooling is exaggerated. According to Nike, the midsole is taller to avoid “bottoming-out” and wider to give runners a more supportive base. To boost cushion and stability, designers extended the midsole beyond the upper’s perimeter and around the heel, Nike said.
The midsole, which is a single piece of Nike React foam, was created through computational design. This method, which enables data-driven ideation, allowed the surface of the midsole to be engineered in a way that provides support in spots that need it and eliminates unneeded material to keep the shoe lighter, according to the company.
This Nike Epic React Flyknit will launch on February 22nd at select retailers and on nike.com.