Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 Verdict
The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 is a super soft, max-cushioned trainer with more bounce and energy return than any other max-cushioned trainer on the market. Version 3 has a new strobel lining underneath its insole which gives it a firmer, more stable ride with less energy return. It also has a longer heel clip to improve stability but it may cause issues for runners with wide or flat feet. It’s also much heavier than previous versions.
- More attractive design
- New heel pull tab
- Better stability
- Intrusive heel clip
- Less bounce
- Firmer ride
Who should buy the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3?
If you enjoyed the ride of the first 2 versions of the Invincible Run but you found them too soft/unstable, you should get this new version. It has a more controlled, firmer ride with increased stability.
Who should not buy the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3?
If you have wide or flat feet, the Invincible Run 3 is not the shoe for you because it has a narrow midfoot where the heel clip pokes into the sides of your feet. It’s also not a shoe for runners who prefer a minimal, firm ride with plenty of ground feel.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 Introduction
For the past 2 years, the Invincible Run has been the gold standard when it comes to max-cushioned trainers.
Unparalleled in terms of softness and energy return, the Invincible Run has been a big step forward in running shoe innovation.
What makes the Invincible Run such a special shoe is that it uses Nike’s premier midsole foam, ZoomX, the exact same PEBA-based foam used in their high-end racing shoes. This is the only brand that does this with their max-cushioned trainer.
The Invincible Run series has been hands down my favorite max-cushioned trainer of the last 2 years. No other trainer has this much impact protection and insane level of bounce.
The Invincible Run 2 was a minor, upper-only update but this year’s Invincible Run 3 gets a complete redesign.
Nike not only made the midsole wider but also added foam for a taller stack height. There are some other additional tweaks that have altered the ride of the Invincible Run 3.
It weighs 10.9 oz (310 g) for a men’s US9, which is 1.1 oz (32 g) heavier than the Invincible Run 2. It now has a stack height of 40 mm in the heel and 31 mm in the forefoot, an additional 3 mm in the heel and forefoot compared to its predecessor.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 First Impressions
Last year’s version ran a half size big but this time I ordered it in my true size. When it arrived and I tried it on, I was relieved that the fit was perfect. The Invincible Run 3 is true to size.
My first run was a 9 km easy run and there were a few big differences compared to the last 2 versions.
The most noticeable difference was the new heel clip that now extends in the midfoot- I could feel it on the sides of my feet which was slightly annoying.
The other big difference was that the Invincible Run 3 felt firmer underfoot and not as bouncy, not as fun. It felt more reserved.
Heel lockdown wasn’t as good as in the previous versions and I had to use a runner’s knot. My first run in the Invincible Run 3 was a bit disappointing but it still felt very well cushioned and much softer than any other max-cushioned trainer.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 Upper
It’s interesting that Nike has changed the padded tongue from a fully-sleeved tongue to a non gusseted tongue but I still didn’t experience any tongue slide. The absence of an inner sleeve makes the upper feel thinner and more breathable. The mesh also feels smoother and better ventilated than on predecessors.
The padding on the outside of the collar has been removed and there is still a generous amount of padding inside the collar however heel lockdown is subpar due to the heel cup being low, so your heel sits higher up in the shoe. I can’t cinch the laces really tight to alleviate the heel slip because that creates other uncomfortable fit problems at the narrow midfoot.
The Invincible Run 3 has a less roomy fit than the previous versions and you don’t need to size down anymore. It has a narrow midfoot so it’s not suitable for wide feet but it has a normal-width forefoot and toe-box.
A new addition to the upper is a reflective heel pull tab loop which runs vertically along the entire heel cup.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 Sole Unit
The Invincible Run 3 is a prime example of a brand trying to change too much. When this happens, it strays far from the original product which made fans fall in love with it and made it become such a popular shoe to begin with.
The Invincible Run 3 feels firmer than its predecessors because it has a furry, white strobel lining underneath its insole. This is essentially an extra layer between your feet and the soft midsole foam. In the previous versions, your feet sat directly on top of the foam with just the thin insole in between.
The new strobel lining prevents your feet from sinking down into the soft ZoomX goodness. The result of this change is a higher level of stability and a more controlled ride.
It feels to me as if the energetic ZoomX has been watered down and I wish I could cut the strobel lining out of the shoe.
The Invincible Run 3 feels most comfortable when you’re doing easy paces slower than 5:30 minutes per km (8:52 mins per mile). If you do want to pick up the pace for portions of a run, the high-energy return from the midsole allows you to do so with ease. I wouldn’t recommend it for entire runs at speeds below 5 minutes per km (8 mins per mile) because it’s far too heavy and bulky.
The Invincible Run 3 is now at the maximum 40 mm allowed for World Athletics races and even though they added an extra 3 mm of foam in the forefoot and heel, it doesn’t feel more cushioned than the Invincible Run 2. This is again the result of the strobel lining making the ride firmer.
Nike says on the product page that the heel clip on the back of the Invincible Run 3 has been made smaller and while it has been made thinner, the clip now extends further forward into the midfoot so it’s longer (similar to the heel clip on the Infinity Run 3). This makes the back of the shoe more rigid and gives it more structure so it doesn’t twist as much.
I find that because I have flat feet, I can feel the heel clip of the sides of my midfoot. This heel clip is designed to guide the foot through the gait cycle but in reality, it’s too distracting. On long runs, I find this poking sensation so annoying that I have to loosen the laces a lot so that there’s more space in the midfoot of the shoe.
The midsole has a redesigned geometry which bulges out in the forefoot even more than the previous versions. This geometry creates a wider, more stable base but it also makes the forefoot stiffer. When combined with the new strobel lasting, the forefoot of the Invincible Run 3 has less flexibility in the forefoot and this leads to transitions which feel more snappy.
There is a protruding orange “stamp” with the full name of the shoe on the medial side of the rearfoot midsole and it looks like it could be a medial post to prevent excessive inward ankle roll. This is however not the case and it’s just a design feature so it doesn’t affect the ride.
The outsole still uses very thin, very soft rubber to keep the ride soft. There’s less rubber on the outsole of the Invincible Run 3 on the midfoot section compared to previous versions which had full outsole coverage so the outsole of the 3rd version is less durable.
There are small nubs that protrude from the rubber but they are very soft and don’t grip wet surfaces very well. I went down a small, wet slope, slipped and fell because the grip was so bad.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit 3 Conclusions
If you previously found the Invincible Run too soft and unstable, I think you’ll be very happy with this new version which has a firmer, more controlled ride due to the extra strobel lasting underneath the insole. It also has a stiffer forefoot so it feels slightly more snappy.
If you loved the unadulterated energy return and extreme bounce of the first 2 versions, you’ll be disappointed with the Invincible Run 3. I fall into this camp. For me, the Invincible Run 3 feels less special in the ride department and not as comfortable. The new, longer heel clip pokes into the sides of my feet and the heel lockdown isn’t as secure.
I don’t think the Invincible Run 3 is a good update. Not only is it firmer but it is also over an ounce heavier than its predecessor. I think what Nike was trying to do with this update was make it more practical, to appeal to a wider audience but the result is a more ordinary, less fun trainer. The only thing I like about it is the sleeker, more modern design.
If you want a firmer, more stable Nike daily trainer, there’s already the Infinity Run 3 and Pegasus 39 so it doesn’t make sense to make the Invincible Run more similar to those other React-based neutral trainers.
The Invincible Run 3 feels like a missed opportunity to make an already great shoe, perfect. All they needed to do was cut some of the bloat from the upper and make it lighter.
The Invincible 3 is still the softest shoe on the market but it isn’t as comfortable as other max-cushioned trainers such as the Triumph 20, Glycerin 20 and even the Ultraboost 22 so it has fallen down the pecking order for me.