At Run4It, we understand that lots of runners benefit from additional support in their running shoes. This understanding stems from seeing how stability running shoes perform on customers' feet during our +runlab process. It’s not only that, customers regularly feedback how much the right support has improved their run. As a result, we’re always excited when there’s innovation in this category. Step forward the Nike Infinity RN 4.
It’s fair to say there has been a greater level of progression in neutral running shoes in comparison to stability running shoes over recent years. A lot of this has been driven by changes to cushioning and softer underfoot experiences. While it’s trickier to make stability running shoes softer, we hear some feedback from runners that suggest they’re looking for a softer and lighter sensation. However, they don’t want to compromise on support.
This is why there’s plenty of excitement around the Nike Infinity RN 4. The stats and updates suggest these are going to feel soft, bouncy and supportive underfoot. For clarity, we classify the Nike Infinity RN 4 as stability running shoes. That’s because they feature additional support that should actively reduce greater ranges of pronation and internal joint rotation.
What has Nike changed in the Infinity RN 4?
One of the main changes is the composition of the midsole. It’s the first Nike running shoe to feature ReactX foam. For the technical enthusiasts, this returns 13% more energy than React foam. Producing ReactX foam also reduces the carbon footprint of the midsole by at least 43% in comparison to React foam. Ultimately, this means the Infinity RN 4 cushioning is very likely to feel softer and bouncier than before.
While plenty of runners liked the previous versions of the Infinity RN, some found the additional support slightly intrusive. To elaborate, we had some feedback that the guide rail support structure was slightly too narrow in the arch area. This led to some unwanted pressure in the midfoot. In our eyes, the updated support system appears quite different from the last version. The tuned support and intentionally placed cushioning should feel more natural and provide more stability than before.
Considerable changes have been made to the Flyknit upper. However, before we go into this, it's worth highlighting that Nike are actively communicating that you should opt for a half-size up on your normal Nike running shoe size as they are a snug fit. Onto the changes. With a new internal Flyknit fit band, the midfoot lockdown should be better than in the past. An adjustable Flyknit tongue and padded heel collar should feel supportive and yet comfortable. The final update includes a water-repellent liner in the toe area that provides protection in wet weather conditions.
Lastly, you may have noticed the updated outsole. With more rubber, traction on wet pavements should be better. You should also expect the outsole to last longer. Our 500 mile running shoe review of the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run 3 highlights how durable Nike’s outsole rubbers are.
What support does the Nike Infinity RN 4 have?
The React Infinity RN 4 support should suit a range of runners. That’s because they offer a holistic style of support that adapts to different foot movements and varying degrees of instability.
Firstly, a curved outsole helps rock your feet forward. Not only does this reduce the stress on your calf muscles, it can reduce pronation too. That’s because some runners find it difficult to dorsiflex (move your knee forward over your ankle, towards your toes), normally due to tight ankles and calf muscles. If this is the case, the foot may roll inwards as it’s moving through the path of least resistance. The ‘rockered’ midsole can overcome this limited range of motion and therefore reduce how much the feet roll in. Ultimately keeping your feet in a more neutral position.
Extra cushioning then wraps up around your feet. This means your feet sit into the cushioning as opposed to on top of it. This form of additional support is used by other brands, and is a proven way of keeping your feet and legs in better alignment. One of the main benefits of this support is that it doesn’t inhibit you, but stabilises you when required. For example, if you start to fatigue in the later stages of a run, this support should hold you in place. This type of support is also likely to feel good on the days when you’re feeling tired in general and need a bit of extra help.
A wider midsole is also inherently more stable than narrow based running shoes. Our experience of this geometry supports this idea. While it’s not exclusive to stability running shoes, a broader based running shoe generally feels stable.
The upper of the Infinity React RN 4 also provides extra support in comparison to neutral running shoes. As the midfoot band secures your arch area, it should keep your feet in a more stable position. While this alone doesn’t add lots of stability, it’s the cumulative effect of all the design features that produces the desired effect. As Nike states: 'Support Is All Around You'.
What type of runs are the Nike Infinity RN 4 best suited to?
In terms of pace, the cushioning is probably going to feel best for slower to steady paced runs. That’s because the underfoot experience is likely to be one of protection, padding and comfort. Pretty much exactly what you’re looking for when you’re trying to take the impact out of landing.
The high stack and ‘rockered’ geometry should also roll your feet forward at this type of intensity. This usually reduces the load on your calf muscles and makes it easier to cover more miles.
It’s not always possible to say that certain running shoes are best for longer distances, because runners have such varying preferences. However, the Nike React Infinity RN 4 have all the attributes of running shoes that should make the ‘long run’ feel more comfortable. The holistic support is the most notable feature. As we’ve mentioned, you may start to get tired towards the end of endurance runs. It’s possible that your form could worsen and your legs could rotate internally to a greater degree. Having that extra support when you need it, can make you feel more stable and prevent your legs from feeling as sore afterwards. Of course, this support isn’t just for long runs. If you are prone to knee discomfort during your runs, of any length, this holistic support should help.
We pay particular attention to the long run as it’s such an important component of your ability to get fitter and stronger. The adaptations that come about from long slow paced endurance runs can’t necessarily be achieved through other workouts. We understand first hand how demanding these runs can be - even if they’re being performed at a sustainable pace. The right support and cushioning in your running shoes can make these sessions less impactful. Hopefully the Nike React Infinity RN 4 can help you on your most challenging workouts.
Other Nike running shoes
If you’re looking for more propulsive feeling Nike running shoes for faster runs, we highly recommend the Nike Zoom Fly. While they feel incredibly cushioned and protective, they also feature a full-length carbon fibre plate. This midsole construction makes it easier to run at faster speeds and improves the likelihood of you hitting your target times.
For clarity, you could definitely switch between the Nike React Infinity RN 4 for your easier effort runs and the Zoom Fly for your faster paced workouts. Lots of runners prefer to use different running shoes for specific workouts. You may also find putting a specific shoe on for a certain workout puts you in the right frame of mind. For example, putting a plated running shoe on for a faster-paced run may enhance your feeling of readiness. On the flip side, putting on a softer feeling running shoe may prepare you to take it easy.