If the coronavirus pandemic has been good for anything – and this is a very short list – it’s that it’s forced us to pay attention to our health and encouraged us to exercise more. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Many of us have taken closed gyms, locked leisure centres and a ban on team sports not as an excuse to stop training, but as an opportunity to train in different ways. According to the training app Strava, between March and May last year its members logged 82 per cent more outdoor activities than were predicted for that time of year, while 172,000 new (virtual) clubs were created on the platform in 2020.
While all that extra exercise is welcome, it’s also come at a cost. Eager pandemic exercisers suffered last year because, and we’re sure this will come as no surprise to you, running, if you’re not careful, can lead to injury. That isn’t necessarily down to load or running more, usually it has more to do with either the way that people run, putting too little time into supporting runs with strength and flexibility exercises or because of their kit, which is where Nike’s new ZoomX Invincible Runs come in.
The first thing you’ll notice about the ZoomX Invincibles is that they’re fitted with a significant amount of foam underfoot, which according to Bret Holts, vice president of Nike Running Footwear, Is there to give runners “a softer but also a more responsive experience in terms of running economy and energy return”.
Nike has used this ‘ZoomX foam’ before, both its Vaporfly and Alphafly Next% silhouettes have it too, but whereas those trainers are designed for racing and are fitted with carbon fibre plates that practically propel you forward into your next step, the Invincibles have been designed with mileage and injury prevention in mind.
“This shoe is actually meant to be that training partner for the Alphafly or Vaporfly; this is meant to be an everyday training shoe, a high-mileage shoe that helps athletes of all levels get to the start line of that marathon feeling happy and healthy,” said Holt.
And can they actually protect you from injury? Yes, if a study commissioned by Nike is anything to go by. The study found that the ZoomX Invincibles reduce injury at a similar rate as the Nike React Infinity Run, which, in a separate study, was shown to reduce injuries by 52% compared to the Nike's traditional Air Zoom running shoes.
What Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Are like to Run In
It’s impossible not to put these trainers and feel secure. The size and heft of the Invincibles makes it feel as though your feet are wrapped in a Nike-emblazoned protective bubble, while the ZoomX foam underneath feels extremely soft and plush.
Once you get outside, you’ll notice that the Invincibles are an incredibly easy shoe to run in. Although, running economy and energy return aren't easy metrics to measure, it was obvious that both received a major boost, so much so that in my first run in the Invincibles, I took a minute off my average pace, while my heart rate remained at a similar level to previous runs.
While the sheer size and the width of the Invincibles (have we mentioned it’s a big shoe?) mean that you probably wouldn’t want to wear them for faster runs or speed work. For everything else, or as Nike puts it, "to get you to the race line", these are ideal.
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