We put the Nike React Element 55 and Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit to the test, and here’s what we found.
24 hours, two pairs of shoes.
We wore both the Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit and the Nike React Element 55 in a day. Here’s our review of the shoes.
Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit
We start the day with the Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit and head to the gym for a workout. A note on sizing: with Nike shoes, this writer usually goes half a size up to accommodate to a broader forefoot, but these would work true to size for most who don’t share the same misfortune of having wide feet.
First reactions: having worn its predecessor, the Nike Epic React, for the longest time, an immediate plus point of the Phantom is that it’s laceless. With just a slight tug of the heel tab, the shoe glides on, and you’re ready to go.
On-feet, the Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit do not feel much different from the Nike Epic React. It’s cushiony on the soles, with a snugness in the mid-foot for support. The Flyknit upper is stretchy and flexible, and great for HIIT drills that include quick switches of the feet, shuffling, bends and squats, having to tip-toe, and so on.
On a separate occasion, we’ve also put the Phantom React Flyknit to a 5km run test. The squish factor is there, but the stability is not lost – giving a fairly comfortable ride the entire way. We suspect, though, that a longer distance run may require something less squishy and more stable.
Nike React Element 55
Heritage-wise, Nike derived inspiration for the Element 55 from Nike runners like the Internationalist, but the Element 55 also comes with reflective graphics and sits atop React technology.
At first blush, the Nike React Element 55 and the Nike React Element 87, which have come in collaboration (with Japanese fashion label Undercover) and non-collaboration options, look so much alike that an untrained eye would barely be able to tell the two apart.
Thankfully then that we spend all our time staring at sneakers to be able to say that the difference lies in the material of the upper. While the Element 87 is delivered in a translucent upper, the Element 55 is fitted with an opaque one that’s smooth, almost velvety to the touch.
Overall, the React Element 55 offers a sporty and futuristic aesthetic, which works whether you’re headed to the office or intending to run errands after. Key features of the Element 55 are undoubtedly the unique lacing system and the off-center shoe tongue. The fact that this all rests on React tech means you can be kept on your feet all day long and not feel exhausted.
Our take is that if you work in an office that you can wear sneakers to, then the Nike Epic Phantom React Flyknit alone is enough to take you from the gym to the streets. If you’re more fashion-conscious and don’t mind spending more, then go for both pairs by all means.
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