Nike React: Another Phase or a Genius Creation?

Nike's new shoe innovation has been created in response to Adidas' boost technology. So how does it stack up?

Free Run, Air Max, Air Zoom, Lunarlon, Vapormax, Tuned Air.. the list goes on for Nike and its groundbreaking shoe soles that have forever changed the way we perceive shoes. There is no doubt that the sportswear giant has dialled down its technology to a precise art that leaves shoe lovers in complete awe - drop after drop.

This time around it’s a little bit different for Nike, with Adidas gaining more popularity across certain markets. Adidas’ unique Boost technology has recently put the industry on notice, with high end shoes featuring the Boost sole helping the brand with the three stripes go from strength to strength.

Adidas were, and still are widely known for the implementations of their boost technology throughout their whole line of sneakers, which also includes different variations for different sports. This has been backed by consumers all over the globe for its ultimate comfort and the ability to perform at your peak for as long as you need to. So how does Nike compete with Adidas, who has well and truly established its line of sole technology? The answer is easy - especially for Nike.

In traditional Nike fashion, it’s been known since day one that innovation has been the key to success amongst their competition, and what better way to win back that lost audience than to not only introduce a new shoe, but also debut new sole technology. That new technology is known as the ‘Nike React’.

The React sole technology has said to be 5% lighter, 11% softer and offers a 13% greater energy return than the previous Lunarlon cushioning. The React was produced after 400 different combinations of chemical and product engineering along with rigorous runner testing, spanning over the course of 17,000 miles.

The Nike React is the first of its kind to be implemented in a running shoe, making vast appearances in Virgil Abloh’s Hyperdunk from the “Ten Series” and Golden State Warriors basketball player Draymond Green was chosen to test the shoe’s technology in various NBA games. This indicates that the React will definitely play a major role on the basketball court.

Nike’s React relies heavily on the influence of runners with the midsole beyond the upper, which sits directly on top of the foam. This sets the bar high for ultimate traction when active, along with increased cushion and comfort. Over the course of three years, Nike has rigorously put its high end technology throughout the foam sole:

“Our big shift here is the foam, most foams on the market are EVA based – some are PU based – but React foam is a synthetic rubber compound”, said Nike Senior Director for Global Running Footwear, Ben Schoolmeester, in an interview with Complex.

One of the main focal points behind the Nike React was the greater energy return promised within the shoe. The react gives the runner a 13% energy return along with a softer experience while running, and can also hold up through long distances. It has been described as the “Swiss Army running shoe” by its creators.

So what does this mean for the future of foam soles? If anything it’s a step in the right direction should we also expect more foam technology to come out of the Nike laboratory, and as far as professional athletes are concerned, it’s what they have been wishing for over the duration of their careers. It is lighter, softer and lasts longer when competing, producing smoother performances and greater results.

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