Ever since the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% was introduced in 2017, runners have asked Nike for a daily trainer featuring ZoomX. The requests only increased when the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% came along in 2019 and Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% in 2020. In 2021, Nike is finally giving the the people what they want. A daily trainer with a thick ZoomX midsole named the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run.
And after at least two release date delays (stupid pandemic), those excited runners are getting anxious. To hold you over until the official release of the Invincible Run, here’s our full performance review.
At $180, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is the same price as the beloved Nike ZoomX Pegasus Turbo 2. Many hoped it was a replacement. But it’s a much different shoe. Not worse, just different. Keep reading or press play about to get all the details.
Let’s start with the star of this shoe, the full length ZoomX midsole. The exact amount of ZoomX varies in proportion to the size of the shoe, but a Men’s size 10 has a heel stack height of 36.6mm and a forefoot stack height of 27.6mm. So not Vaporfly or Alphafly levels of ZoomX, but close to what the Nike Air Zoom Tempo Next% measures in the heel.
And all that ZoomX does work. The Invincible Run is super bouncy. This should put to rest the dumb theory that the carbon plate is the sole source of the bounce in super shoes. It helps, but the main source is Pebax aka the super foam Nike calls ZoomX.
The ZoomX midsole is also curved with Nike’s rocker geometry. Rocker geometry creates a smoother heel to toe motion so I’m glad they’re using it on more shoes. One thing to note is you’ll get a lot more ground feel on toe off without a plate bisecting the ZoomX. Pushing off on your toes bottoms out of the lesser amount of ZoomX at the tip of the shoe. It’s not a problem, and even helps when picking up the pace, but it’s an odd feeling in such a well-cushioned shoe.
The cushion is the marketing star of this shoe and lives up to the hype. The only complaint on the cushioning is the mediocre insole. But with all that ZoomX, Nike didn’t really need an insole to add more cushion, so I see why they did what they did.
The Invincible Run sports a full length waffle-like rubber outsole. I say waffle-like because the lugs aren’t as close as a traditional waffle outsole and they’re more of rounded rectangles and ovals than waffle squares. It’s great coverage. I only experienced slippage during a torrential downpour over certain sections of slick road. It’s not perfect traction, but good enough to handle most conditions.
And while the outsole is fully covered by rubber, it has two thinner more pliable pieces of rubber at the lateral toe and medial heel. I asked Nike why they put those there but didn’t get an answer. My guess would be weight savings in non high wear areas but I’m not 100% on that. I’ll update this review if I get an answer.
As for durability, I’ve hardly worn the outsole down while wearing them on a ton of runs and casually. We already know ZoomX is resilient. Combining it with this outsole is likely to result in a shoe that lasts 300-500 miles.
The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run fits true to size. There’s good room for toe splay in the toe box, a narrower midfoot (though not as narrow as the Tempo Next%), and a very traditional running shoe heel. This is the first ZoomX shoe with a traditional heel and it feels luxurious by comparison. I think most wide footers will be good with their normal Nike running size. It’s a lot more accommodating than something like the Nike Pegasus 37 and reminds me of the Nike Vomero 14’s fit.
Nike knows ZoomX is super plush so they beefed up support to counteract the natural instability of the foam. Your ankles will still have work to do to keep you completely stable in the Invincible Run, but what Nike’s done is helpful.
Specifically, Nike exaggerated the midsole. The forefoot extends beyond the footbed quite a bit by running shoe standards and thus feels like it’s got integrated outriggers. The heel is also exaggerated all the way around including in the rear where you’ll get a thumbnail of extra backend that makes me think of some of the recent Hoka models.
Finally, Nike tops off the support with an integrated heel clip similar to the React Infinity Run and Infinity Run 2…but maybe even beefier. The heel clip connects with two extra side heel counters that help keep the heel on the footbed. With a regular internal heel counter still included, Nike was clearly cognizant of rollover potential. They really focused on making this shoe a lot more stable than their racing models.
Comfort was clearly the driving force in the materials used. A Flyknit upper with an extremely plush half neoprene, half mesh gusseted tongue just feels great on foot. Nike likes to make their running shoes super cool looking. Sometimes they do it at the expense of upper comfort. They avoided that urge here and went the more traditional running shoe route. And it worked. It’s my favorite Nike upper since the Vaporfly 4% Flynit.
For some serious runners, the Invincible Run’s 11.1 ounces in a Men’s size 10 and 8.9 ounces in a Women’s size 8 will be too much shoe. They’ll likely relegate the shoe to easy days. However, the majority of the running population will easily trade the extra weight for the upgraded support, cushioning, and durablity.
If you wanted a ZoomX daily trainer since the Vaporfly Next% released, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run is here, and it’s everything you hoped for.
It’s not a particularly fast shoe, but it does everything well including handle tempo runs and fartleks. At $180, it’s worth the price. All that ZoomX and outsole rubber make it a supremely comfortable, bouncy, and durable shoe. You’ll get plenty of use out of this one and be comfortable all along the way.
How to Buy the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run
The Nike Invincible Run is currently available on Nike and its app in Europe. With the US release delayed, I expect the Invincible Run to hit Nike in early March. Retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods will follow on March 11, 2021.
Thanks to Nike for sending a pair to test. Nike was not given any editorial control of the review. This review is based on our weartesters’ experiences using the shoes for speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.