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Finlay McAndrew  •  Running Gear •  29.06.2021 •  7 min read

Nike ZoomX Invincible Run: 500 mile running shoe review

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to test out one of the most anticipated models of the season, the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run. I introduced the shoe in an earlier article Nike ZoomX Invincible Run – Running Shoe Review. The article details the research and development that went into creating the ZoomX Invincible Run. As well as the technical features and initial review of how the shoes felt to run in. While the first impressions were amazing, many runners are interested in how a shoe wears down and how they feel after some mileage has been put into them. So, I’ve now run 500 miles in them (the suggested distance for a shoe of this nature) and it’s time to give the full review of how they performed.

Image of ZoomX Invincible Run on doormat ready for run

Winding the clock back

The ZoomX Invincible Run is a product of Nike's Sport Research Lab and “Project Run Fearless”. The concept behind the shoe was simple, to make longer runs feel easier. Without making it over complicated, Nike set out to achieve this goal with three key product features:

  • ZoomX cushioning - their softest and highest energy returning midsole material
  • Rocker geometry - curved midsole that helps create forward momentum
  • High stack height - significant volume of underfoot cushioning feels ultra padded and lowers stress on joints and muscles

First impressions

My initial review described the ZoomX Invincible Runs as being like pillows under my feet. Exceptionally soft but ultra springy – the trademark sensation that’s delivered by the Pebax based midsole foam. I’m not normally a fan of ultra soft shoes because energy return is usually compromised and I like a springy sensation. Pebax based midsoles buck the trend though. The material feels amazingly soft but with so much bounce. While this shoe has the potential to be used for some faster paced running, I opt for the Zoom Fly 3 in those situations. I decided that ZoomX Invincible Run would be my dedicated mileage shoe and what I would use for any aerobic based runs: recovery runs, hour long base runs and long easy runs. For me this pace is around 4.40-5.00min/km.

Image of ZoomX Invincible Run demonstrating wear on foam cushioning

Did this pillow-like sensation continue?

Absolutely. My fear was that the cushioning would ‘flatten’ out so to speak and that they wouldn’t feel as springy after a few weeks of running. Nike normally combine full-length ZoomX midsoles with a carbon plate. And there was a lot scepticism in the running community about how a plateless Pebax based midsole would perform. However, the soft and bouncy underfoot feel didn’t really diminish, they still feel very cushioned after 500 miles of running. I was genuinely surprised that I had run so many miles in them due to the way they felt.

ZoomX foam will look like it starts to crease after a couple of runs. This is completely normal and is just the foam breaking in. What surprised me is how well the thickness of the midsole lasted. Midsole foams break down and get flatter over time. This will happen in every shoe and it’s why it’s important to change your shoes at a certain distance. One of the main benefits of a high stacked shoe is that it reduces how much joints flex and therefore lowers the stress on muscles. Many models boast about having a high stack height but the question is how long or well does this last? The midsole has flattened out a bit but nothing of note and they still feel ultra padded underfoot after 500 miles.

My one small criticism is that the rocker like sensation has diminished the most. Personally, I really like the feeling of a curved midsole due to the fact I’ve got quite tight calf muscles. A rocker geometry helps take the stress off my legs and helps keep them feeling fresher between the harder sessions. I may have got used to it, but I was really aware of the rocker on the first few runs. I started to feel it less and less over the course of the lifecycle. If I could suggest one update for the next edition, it would be to alter the geometry so that this sensation is maintained for longer.

How did they wear?

This was another point of debate in the running community – how long would the outsole last and would the midsole start to wear away?

The waffle outsole is designed to provide some traction but is mainly there to protect the ZoomX foam. Outsole rubbers are the heaviest part of a shoe and durability comes at a slight weight cost in footwear. Basically, you can’t have it all. Lighter weight shoes will typically have less outsole rubber and more of the midsole foam will be exposed. This ultimately results in them wearing down at a faster rate than models that feature more rubber. There were quite a few comments regarding the weight of the ZoomX Invincible Run as the men’s are 314g and the women’s are 253g. The high degree of durable rubber on the outsole adds some weight but delivers excellent durability.

As you can see from the pictures below, I land on the lateral edge of the heel and there are some visible signs of wear. This started at around 400miles of running and has only started to get more noticeable as I got close to 500 miles. I would expect them to break down at a relatively fast rate if I kept running in them though.

The Flyknit upper was thoroughly impressive. You might think the shoes are brand new if you looked at them from above. I normally wear a hole in the top of the shoe because my big toe lifts up. There are absolutely no signs of this. I’ve also not had a single blister running in them and have never felt any discomfort from the upper. The upper will accommodate a broad range of foot shapes. It offers good width in the forefoot, and can be tightened nicely around the ankle area for a secure fit. The heel clip also adds to the feeling of support at the ankle. This helps maintain the feeling of stability over the course of the run.

Final thoughts

It would seem like Nike have pretty much nailed the design brief for the ZoomX Invincible Run. They have created an ultra cushioned shoe that definitely makes running feel easier. While I predominantly used them for my slower paced runs, I have tested them at some faster paces. They can definitely cope with that too.

Not only do they feel amazing on, they do genuinely last for 500 miles of running and wear down at a very gradual rate. I would expect some runners may get more than 500 miles out of them. As I’m pretty heavy on my heel, that’s led to visible wear in that area. This wear will lead to a significant breakdown in the midsole material.

I can’t stress enough how much I’ve enjoyed running in the ZoomX Invincible Runs. They’ve made a genuine difference to my training. These will continue to be my go to shoe for easier runs and I’ll be refreshing the shoe rack with a nice new pair. There’s never a best shoe, but this is one of my favourite shoes ever.

Image of ZoomX Invincible Runs after 500 miles of running

Other Nike options

If you’re looking for something that’s suited for tempo paced runs or some shorter faster sessions, check out the Zoom Fly. The combination of React foam with a full length carbon fibre plate feels really protective but incredibly propulsive at faster paces. The Zoom Fly 3 can be combined with the ZoomX Invincible Run to cover runs at any intensity.

For those who’d prefer one shoe for everything, the Vomero utilises ZoomX foam in the heel and midfoot alongside a more responsive midsole material in the forefoot. This combination provides a soft underfoot feel for slower paced runs and some additional responsiveness for some brisker sessions.

The soft and bouncy underfoot feel didn’t really diminish, they still feel very cushioned after 500 miles of running. I was genuinely surprised that I had run so many miles in them due to the way they felt.

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