Nike’s marketing pitch: Keep running with soft and stable support.
Upper: Non-stretchy mesh, Flywire-assisted lacing, firm heel clip.
Midsole: Single-density React foam, 8 mm heel drop, supportive frame.
Outsole: Carbon rubber with exposed foam sections.
Weight: 303 gms/ 10.7 Oz for a half pair of Men's US 10/UK 9/EUR 44/CM 27.1.
Widths available: D - regular (reviewed).
Previous model: Nike React Infinity Run 2.
Country of origin: Made in Vietnam.
In this review:
We’re in 2022, so making a fun and engaging running shoe has never been easier. There’s a veritable arsenal of high-performance foams and other clever tricks available to most brands. Look no further than different cushioning platforms like ZoomX, Floatride, Lightstrike Pro, Fuelcell, Pwrrun PB, and Carbon plate variants.
The Nike React Infinity 3’s biggest crime is being a boring shoe that reeks of mediocrity. As you begin reading our review, you’ll realize that the React Infinity 3 isn’t a bad running shoe, but it lacks personality.
We would have a more charitable opinion of the Infinity 3 if it weren’t a $160 shoe. However, there’s a lot one can get for $160 these days, so this Nike shoe struggles to present itself as an attractive proposition.
Supposing that you had $160 to spend on a do-everything running shoe, would it be the React Infinity 3 over the less expensive Pegasus, Asics Cumulus, or the Brooks Ghost? Or something more high-tech, like the Nike Zoom Fly 4?
And if it’s just a React-powered running shoe you want, wouldn’t the $40 less expensive React Miler 3 be a better value proposition?
In the React Infinity 3’s defense, it’s got a comfortable ride with plenty of support, and the quirky upper passes muster. The React foam midsole isn’t without its shortcomings, but it delivers a smooth cushioning quality that’s good for maintaining a consistent cadence.
In that context, the Nike React Infinity 3 is a decent daily trainer that’s best used for medium to slow paces of 5:00 min/km (8 min/mile) or slower.
Though its ride lacks the springy softness that runners now expect from shoes in this class, the wide midsole and generous outsole coverage make the Infinity 3 very stable and neutral.
Like many other Nike running shoes, many people will use the React Infinity Run 3 as a casual sneaker. If that happens to be you, we recommend waiting for the updated version of the React Phantom – the slip-on upper is more user-friendly than the clumsy lacing of the standard Infinity 3.
When we first saw the pictures of the Infinity V3, we were concerned about the hard midsole rim that curves under the arch. We assumed, wrongly, that this would create a pressure spot like the Infinity V2.
As far as we can tell, this wouldn’t pose a problem for most runners. In fact, the redesigned heel clip is an improvement over the React Infinity 2.
THE NIKE REACT INFINITY 3 COMPARED WITH REACT INFINITY 2
The midsole and outsole are shared with the Infinity V2, so the React Infinity 3 is very similar to the previous model.
Except for the improved sensation under the arch, the ride quality is almost identical. The firmer and thicker section of the heel clip is shorter on the V3, so it’s not as intrusive.
There are a couple of notable changes on the upper. The React Infinity 3 no longer has the Flywire lacing loops on the first two eyelets, so the forefoot has a more accommodating fit.
We also like the tweaks made to the molded eyelets in the back.
The Infinity 2 had an overly thick molded eyelet that resulted in a visual bulge. The V2 shaves off the extra bulk on the molded section so that it blends in better with the rest of the upper.
Other than that, the upper fit and feel is very similar to the previous model. We miss the heel pull loop of the V2, though.
THE MIDSOLE DESIGN AND RIDE EXPERIENCE
Many running shoes that cost north of $150 have a defining element that sets them apart from the rest.
Unfortunately, the React Infinity 3 isn’t one of those shoes. For the lack of a better word, the ride experience is bland. The React foam core isn’t particularly responsive, nor is it soft. Even the forefoot outsole is made of a firm rubber compound – as opposed to soft blown rubber as is the norm.
Even less expensive Nike shoes like the Pegasus 39 and Structure 24 have a unique ride signature. The Pegasus and Structure combine the midsole foam with embedded Zoom Air bags to deliver a recognizable blend of snappy cushioning.
The Infinity React 3, on the other hand, offers a muted ride experience.
At summer temperatures of 30 C (86 F), the React foam has a medium-soft density. And we all know what happens during freezing winters – the React foam turns stiff. While that’s good for midsole stability, it has a detrimental effect on ride comfort. Nike trail running shoes with a React midsole also suffer from this quirk.
It doesn’t help that the removable insole is thinner than most shoes in this class. We’ve seen that the footbed can often make or break the sensory aspect of the ride character, and this is one of such cases.
The blown foam footbed barely has any thickness, so it does not create a layer of step-in softness. Also, the lasting isn’t made of foam, but fabric. We bet that the overall ride character would have been markedly elevated with a high-performance insole.
There are a couple of things we like about the Infinity 3’s ride character.
The first, as we mentioned briefly before, is the ride stability.
The firm heel clip on the midsole cups the foot in place over the wide midsole; the broad footprint of the midsole and full-contact outsole layout creates a planted ride. When viewed from the top, the React foam stack flares outwards under the forefoot and heel to create a wide base.
As we said, the React core isn’t overly soft, so that too, adds to the stability.
The ride quality is also very neutral – the midsole sidewalls have a balanced design. These traits make the Nike React Infinity Run 3 a good trainer for in-gym use. This blend of cushioning and stability makes it suitable for mild weight-training and short treadmill runs.
Even though there’s quite a bit of heel overhang, it’s compensated with a generous bevel. In other words, the React Infinity 3 works for forefoot and midfoot strikers as well – all while making the rearfoot landings smooth and gradual.
The other aspect we found appealing about the Infinity V3 is its smooth and consistent ride. With a thin insole and lasting, nearly all the cushioning comes from the React midsole. And that’s a good thing.
The smooth and consistent cushioning allows you to settle into a steady rhythm during runs. This is an 11-ounce shoe, so by no means is the React Infinity 3 a speed shoe. It just doesn’t feel bottom-heavy, as the bulk is distributed nicely across the upper and sole.
It feels at home during running speeds of 5:00 min/km (8 min/mile) and can manage 4:30 min/km (7 min/mile) when pushed harder.
The Infinity may not be a very soft shoe, but cushioning is never in short supply. The thick and wide React midsole delivers sufficient ride comfort for daily runs of varying mileages – be it a 10K or half marathon.
Most of the outsole surface area is covered with rubber; no area of the midsole comes in direct contact with the road.
The windows between the lugs expose the React foam to make the outsole pliable and easier to blend into the midsole. The forefoot outsole grips reasonably well on dry roads, but has average traction on damp roads.
Unlike most neutral trainers – and that includes the Nike Structure 24 – the React’s outsole is made of firm rubber rather than a softer compound. The surface is also flat and lacks a distinct lug geometry. As a result, the outsole lacks the bite under less-than-ideal surface conditions.
The React midsole and outsole haven’t changed since the Infinity V2, but the firmer rim under the heel has.
The stiffer part of the rim (in black) no longer extends under the arch. That’s an improvement over the V2, as the previous rim created a pressure hot spot under the arch. While redesigned rim still isn’t perfect, we did not sense any discomfort.
Our theory is that the wide waist of the midsole leaves a comfortable margin between the bottom of the arch and the curved edge of the heel clip.
Flat-footed runners with wide feet may have a different experience, though. Let us know if you find the curved rim pressing into your arch.
The Nike React Infinity Run 3 performs well as a daily neutral trainer, so a cushioned marathon racer and lightweight tempo trainer add rotational value.
For reasons described in our detailed review, the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2’s levels of ride comfort and plate-powered responsiveness make it an excellent marathon shoe. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 (or the Pro) is an alternative to the Vaporfly.
The adidas adios 6 is our pick as a 5K racer. Its firm ride and grippy outsole make it the near-perfect running shoe for short-distance runs.
The Nike ZoomX Streakfly is the more comfortable than the adios 6, but doesn’t feel as quick. Our review explains why.
IS THE NIKE REACT INFINITY RUN 3 DURABLE?
We expect a lifetime mileage of 450 miles from the Nike React Infinity 3. Nike’s React foam – a synthetic rubber blend – has proven fairly durable based on the shoes we’ve reviewed.
The Flyknit upper doesn’t feel flimsy, so it should hold up over several hundred miles.
THE UPPER DESIGN AND FIT
The Nike React Infinity Run 3 fits true to size, but some runners may feel that the upper runs a half size short.
The toe-box is fairly pointy, so while there’s room in the front of the toes, there’s not a lot of space on the sides.
Also, the upper lacks a proper internal (or external) toe bumper, and the toe-box ceiling is shallow. These factors make the upper feel like it’s a half size smaller. Nonetheless, we recommend going true to size if you decide to get the Nike React Infinity 3.
The Flyknit upper isn’t very elastic, so don’t confuse this with the adidas Ultraboost’s Primeknit upper. The fit is fairly narrow, and there’s only a single width. There’s some inherent stretch built into the mesh, so that prevents excessive tightness.
The insides aren’t very breathable. The mesh is fairly thick, and while that’s good for fit security and long-term durability, it doesn’t do any favors for ventilation. If you’re looking for an ultra-breathable alternative, our product guide offers recommendations.
Like the React Infinity V2, the lacing is strange and clumsy. The Infinity 3’s follows the V2’s upper design by combining the thick laces with ‘Flywire’ cords.
There’s one minor difference, though. The first two rows no longer have the Flywire cords – something that the previous version had. This opens up some room in the forefoot, but only just.
The cords are embedded inside the midfoot panel and extend to the midsole edge, so they function as advertised. When cinched tightly, they make a difference in how the shoe fits.
The cords do not chafe or rub against the skin; there’s a Swoosh-shaped lining backer that helps make the fit smoother. The upper isn’t fully sleeved, so nearly half of the tongue works independently. That makes the Infinity Run 3 an easy shoe to slip in and out of.
We used the word clumsy, because the laces take some effort thick to thread through the upper.
The laces are also narrowly spaced, so slim-footed runners may not get the quality of fit they desire. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that a narrowly-spaced lacing keeps the top-down pressure low.
The tongue design is somewhat unusual. Only the top flap is padded, so it contrasts with the rest of the minimally-quilted upper. The flap isn’t very wide, so it does not extend inside the upper, but rather sits awkwardly over the instep.
Last year, we called out the bulky eyelets of the Infinity V2 in our review. We’re happy to report that the eyelets have been fixed for 2022.
The last two eyelets are still molded, but they’re nowhere as thick and stiff as the ones on the React Infinity V2. But not all is well; the thick tongue padding pulls on the heel collar and causes it to apply pressure on the foot.
We bet the heel fit would have fared far better with a flat tongue. And the disinterested intern who designed this mediocrity need not have worried about the top-down pressure – because the lacing is narrowly-spaced anyway.
Unlike the padded tongue flap, the heel collar is nearly bereft of foam quilting. The internal counter makes heel fit supportive, but it’s not exactly comfortable. Though the heel doesn’t slip, the sparsely padded collar doesn’t inspire a sense of confidence.
The collar edges are also a bit higher than they need to be, so they make their presence felt during runs. It doesn’t chafe or irritate, but you know it’s there.
The upper lacks any reflectivity – a feature that the $40 cheaper React Miler 3 has.
We wonder if it makes more sense for Nike to drop the laced-up React Infinity and focus on different variations of the Phantom React instead.
The slip-on version of the last year’s React Infinity V2 has been extremely successful. Though the shoe is used by most people as a lifestyle sneaker, it offers all the performance benefits of the standard model.
PROS AND CONS
The ride stability and smooth cushioning are among the things we like about the Infinity V3.
As we said, the ride quality isn’t impressive or engaging. The React Infinity 3’s strength is its consistent and supportive ride character which also happens to be comfortable enough for everyday runs and distance training.
However, the Infinity 3 won’t win any prizes within the neutral trainer universe. The ride lacks the pep and life that runners now expect from a $160 shoe, and the upper quality is mediocre. The lacing area is overcrowded, and the heel lacks the locked-in feel.
The React foam turns harder at temperatures below freezing, so the level of ride comfort and stability depends on the running season. And if you’re looking for high-visibility elements, you won’t find them – because there are none.
COMPARISON: THE NIKE REACT INFINITY 3 VERSUS NIKE REACT MILER 3
Since the $40 less expensive Nike React Miler 3 exists, it’s hard to make the case for the React Infinity 3 – unless you’re going for the slip-on version.
Like the Infinity, the Miler 3 has a full-length React midsole with a smooth ride. The heel clip is also smaller, so there’s zero risk of it pressing against the arch. The React Miler 3 targets the same use case as the Infinity – which is being an everyday trainer with a comfortable ride.
And though the upper lacks a sleeve or Flywire cords, the reflective bits make the Miler 3 a better shoe for running in low-light conditions. You even get a plusher heel collar with the Miler 3.
SHOES SIMILAR TO THE REACT INFINITY 3 FLYKNIT
Besides the React Miler 3 and slip-on version (Phantom) of the React Infinity, here are some other options to consider. We’ll be honest with you – the React Infinity 3 should be low on your shopping list, as there are superior (and lower-priced) alternatives.
The Nike Pegasus 39’s dual Zoom Air bags – one each under the heel and forefoot – add a nice snap to the React midsole. It’s a strong contender as a versatile trainer and costs less than the Infinity 3.
A slightly tangential option is the Nike Zoom Fly 4. The high-volume React midsole is paired with a Carbon plate, and that results in a lively blend of supportive cushioning and responsiveness. To know more, here’s our Zoom Fly 4 review for reference.
For a higher level of ride softness and responsiveness, we recommend the peppy Novablast 2 and Nimbus Lite 3. The Nimbus Lite 3 uses the same midsole as the V2, so our in-depth review of the latter is worth reading.
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