Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Intro
Running shoe names are funny things. The name “Invincible” conjures up images of a durable, bomb-proof workhorse-of-a-shoe that can handle thousands of kilometres; a shoe without much flare but that gets the job done.
The Invincible Run is not that shoe.
If I was in charge of naming the ZoomX Invincible Run, I would have named it the ZoomX Recoil or the ZoomX Boomerang.
The Invincible Run focuses on high cushioning and high energy return.
ZoomX is not just a super foam. It is THE super foam. It is arguably the lightest, most responsive, bounciest foam ever created.
I was disappointed with the Nike Vomero 15 because it has a ZoomX core inside its midsole but you don’t feel the ZoomX inside the shoe: it felt watered down and very ordinary when combined with another foam.
This is the shoe that runners have been wanting for a very long time: a full length, 100% ZoomX midsole, without any carbon plate or other foams to water down the ZoomX’s super properties.
In the food world, this would be the equivalent of a hamburger with only a large, juicy beef patty in between the buns: no lettuce, tomato, gherkins, sauce or even cheese. Just pure, 100% ground beef.
So will the Invincible Run be too much of a good thing and prove to be too rich for our taste or will it satisfy our ZoomX craving?
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run First Impressions
I definitely wouldn’t call the Invincible Run an attractive shoe. The highly padded outer collar and thick midsole stack height make it look clunky but it doesn’t feel as big a shoe as a Hoka Clifton or Bondi.
I like how the midsole has an iridescent finish that changes colour in the light. The finish reminded me of the FuelCell TC’s midsole.
Sometimes running shoes have such unique step-in feeling that the first time you put them on, the experience gets ingrained in your memory. The moment I put the Invincible Run on and walked around, I could immediately tell that these shoes are something special.
With each footstrike, my feet sank down into the soft foam. People use this analogy a lot but it really felt like I had giant marshmallows under my feet.
There is no strobel lining underneath the insole so your feet sit directly on top of the soft ZoomX, which intensifies the plushness.
My first run in it was 12 kilometres at an easy pace and I had never felt anything like it: it was super soft, very responsive and ultra bouncy all at the same time.
The shoe also felt lighter on the run than its actual weight which is 9.8 oz for a men’s standard US9. On paper, it’s lighter than the Triumph 18, the Glycerin 19 and much lighter than the Ultraboost 21 but in reality, it feels much lighter than most max-cushioned trainers.
The sensation that stood out the most for me was the high amount of energy return. It literally felt like I had mini trampolines under my feel.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Sole Unit
I’ve tested a lot of shoes over the years and the Invincible Run stands out as the softest running shoe I’ve ever tested.
Its ZoomX midsole compresses much more than the midsole of any other foam but what makes it so unique is that it returns back to shape very quickly.
The result is a high level of soft cushioning, higher than even the Clifton 7 and the Nimbus 23 but unlike those shoes that use traditional EVA in their midsoles, the Invincible Run allows your legs to have a quicker turnover and it feels much faster.
Now with a midsole this soft and squishy, logic dictates that the shoe would be unstable right?
To combat the instability, Nike made two sections on the outside of the forefoot bulge out which creates a very wide, stable base.
This setup works really well and I didn’t find the Invincible Run unstable at all.
In my experience, it’s even more stable than Infinity Run because in the Invincible Run, your feet sink down into the soft foam so there’s a cupping sensation.
I took the Invincible Run on my usual 40-kilometre test run where I run all types of paces from recovery up to tempo. The Invincible Run could handle everything with ease which highlights its versatility.
I found the Invincible Run to be peppy and dynamic enough for short distances while also possessing enough deep, non-mushy cushioning for long distances like marathons.
The only thing I wouldn’t use it for is short races that are 21 kilometers or under because its midsole is too compressive and it’s too heavy.
The Invincible can handle a lot of different types of runs and paces but it feels best on easy or steady runs at 5 minutes per kilometre or slower.
The problem with having a midsole made of such a soft foam as the ZoomX is that it is susceptible to stones, and other sharp objects.
I’ve noticed a deep gash on the medial side of my pair which is about 5mm deep and I have no idea how it got there.
I would definitely keep the Invincible Run far away from trails and be very careful while running in it because it’s one of the most delicate shoes on the market.
The outsole is made of thin, flexible rubber with tiny waffle-like protrusions that grip the ground well, even when the ground is wet.
It doesn’t have any flex grooves cut into the outsole so they had to make the outsole rubber really thin so that it doesn’t make the shoe feel stiff.
The midfoot medial part that isn’t covered with rubber starts to show wear first but the ZoomX doesn’t chip off in chunks like it did on the Vaporfly 4%.
On the outer lateral posterior I’ve seen the most wear and the tiny bumps have worn down but it hasn’t worn down to the midsole just yet.
I wish Nike had used some of the durable carbon rubber that is used on the Pegasus 37 and Vomero 15 on just the high wear areas to increase outsole durability.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Upper Unit
I think Nike really nailed the upper of the Invincible Run. It’s plush, comfortable and doesn’t have any major flaws.
Nike states that it’s made from Flyknit but in reality, it feels like more of a soft engineered mesh with a little bit of stretch to it. It has average breathability and I found that it works best with thin socks.
The laces which are thick and wide, remind me of ropes and they are definitely on the shorter side when it comes to lace length, however I still managed to do heel lock lacing with them.
The gusseted tongue is padded and a little too short so it slides slightly downwards during runs but it doesn’t slide sideways. It’s a much better tongue implementation than the thin tongue of the Vomero 15.
The ultra padded heel counter is very comfortable and it does a great job providing a secure heel hold.
I found the fit to be true to size but narrow and form-fitting so I don’t think it will work for wide-footed runners.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Conclusion
As a reviewer, I get to review a lot of good running shoes but very few stand out from the crowd. Every now and again a shoe comes along which is unlike anything else on the market and it leaves you speechless.
The ZoomX Invincible Run is like a breath of fresh air. Never have I had a running experience that was this fun, energetic, and dynamic.
For such a high price tag, it has to offer something really unique- the Invincible Run definitely does.
It’s the softest max-cushioned trainer and by far the most responsive. It excels at long, slow runs but it also handles faster paces with aplomb.
I’ll be using the Invincible Run as a daily trainer because its versatile nature means that it excels at most types of runs.
The Invincible Run does have one big weakness and that weakness is durability. Not only does its midsole feel like a marshmallow but it has the durability of a marshmallow as well.
ZoomX is very susceptible to punctures from sharp objects and its rubber outsole isn’t very tough.
If you’re looking for a durable workhorse that can handle over 1000 kilometres of training, the Invincible Run is not the shoe for you but If you enjoy super soft shoes like the Clifton 7 and the Nimbus 23, the Invincible Run will be right up your alley.
The Invincible Run is a game-changer. It’s a shoe that all the other brands will take note of and try to copy in the years to come.
So far, the Invincible Run is my early frontrunner for the best daily trainer of 2021.
We purchased a pair of Nike ZoomX Invincible Run from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Price Comparison
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