Nike Aims to Reduce Common Running Injuries with Its Latest Shoe Launch
The Nike React Infinity Run is designed to keep you on the run.
On the heels of the New York City Marathon, Nike has announced its next moonshot: an effort to create a future where no runner suffers sport-related injury. With that, the brand announced the launch of the Nike React Infinity Run, a shoe designed to prioritize cushioning, help reduce injury, and keep runners, well, running.
The process behind creating the Nike React Infinity Run was about more than just the shoe, says Brett Holts, vice president of Nike Running Footwear. "It was also about how we were working with athletes and taking a step back before working on the product itself," he tells Shape. (Related: The New Nike Free RN 5.0 Shoes Will Make You Feel Like You're Running Barefoot)
"We spent hundreds of hours obsessing over the details of this shoe and the kinds of features we thought would really move the needle on reducing injury," says Holts.
When consulting runners on the design of the Nike React Infinity Run, experts at Nike's Sports Research Lab (NSRL) noticed a pattern: People wanted more cushioning, specifically to help prevent running-related injuries, says Matthew Nurse, vice president of the NSRL's Explore Team.
"[That's] kind of odd when you look at protective elements that are typically put in place through footwear like motion control," he explains. ICYDK, motion control is meant to limit excessive foot motions by decreasing pronation (aka inward, rolling movement of the foot). "Motion control works for some people, but it's definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution for general running injuries," explains Nurse. "So that's what we're searching for: What's a better solution for general running injuries?" (Related: How to Prevent the Most Common Running Injuries)
The Nike React Infinity Run is designed with improved foam cushioning for optimal impact absorption, wider midsole nets to complement the cushioning for better stability, and a rocker-like bottom that creates a more fluid transition from heel to toe. Together, these features offer a holistic solution to chronic running-related injuries, says Holt. "It's something that we feel hasn't really been solved by the industry, including ourselves," he explains. "There have been a lot of theories and attempts to get after this problem, but nothing has really moved the needle. So we're going after it in a pretty big way."
To test the shoes, NSRL teamed up with the British Columbia Sports Medicine Research Foundation (BCSMRF) for an external study of 226 runners. Over a 12-week period, the BCSMR tested the Nike React Infinity Run on these athletes, who ran a total of 60,000 miles in the new Nikes, and the Nike Structure 22 (a traditional motion control shoe) for comparison. The goal was to uncover differences in injury rates (injuries were defined as missing three or more consecutive runs due to running-related discomfort) and pain perception between the two shoes. (Related: How to Determine Your Running Gait—and Why It Matters)
After 12 weeks of training, the BCSMR's results showed that the Nike React Infinity Run had a 52 percent lower injury rate than the Nike Structure 22. Runners in the study also confirmed that they felt less pain in both their feet and their knees, according to Nike. "It's been incredible to see the impact this has had on runners of all levels," says Holt.
The Nike React Infinity Run will retail for $160 when it hits stores in January—just in time to tackle your New Year's running resolutions.