First Impressions: Running with the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit

Nike may be synonymous with all things sports, spanning across disciplines from football, golf to fencing, but running has been core to its offerings from its very beginning and their latest innovation, the cheerfully named Joyride, is a testament to that commitment.

Joyride isn’t the only proprietary technology in Nike’s arsenal of running soles, but it might just be their most important.

Photo by The Playbook | Daniel Lim

Nike’s Zoom line was crafted for elite runners, the very best of human existence, and was used in the shoe that attempted to break the world record of the fastest marathon.

The React, on the other hand, is made for serious – but recreational – runners in need for a bit of bounce and energy return in their step, while looking good on the streets.

Enter Joyride, the cushioning tech that has the potential to capture the biggest possible running market in the world: non-runners.

Photo by The Playbook | Daniel Lim

Let’s be real, as common as running is as a form of workout, there are more non-runners than runners in existence. And it’s easy to understand why. Running is tough.

While I’ve recently become somewhat of a running enthusiast – I’ve unwisely set a goal to finish a marathon at the end of the year in spite of my lack of fitness – running is a difficult activity to pick up. There are weird pains that show up on your joints, muscles, and everywhere in between. And running can be quite harsh on your feet, especially against solid pavement.

I’ll be honest, the marketing did oversell the comfort levels of the shoe by a little bit, but with that said, on my 5km test runs, I had no complaints. The shoe absorbed the impact of every step and it actually made running feel good.

The Joyride, then, is engineered and marketed towards people who hate running, with the goal of making running easy, as painless as possible and hopefully, a little bit fun. Its most unique quality comes in the form of thousands of multi-coloured beads making up for a solid chunk of foam.

Photo by The Playbook | Daniel Lim

When you first place your feet in them, it’ll feel like unfamiliar territory due to the elevated pods that house the beads under the feet, but something you’ll get used to within a couple of hundred metres in. In fact, after a while, it almost feels like reflexology.

For serious runners, the shoes are also particularly good for recovery runs, particularly when it feels more natural to lie in bed as every part of the body hurts.

Style-wise, the Joyride Run Flyknit looks great, borrowing certain aesthetics from the Presto series, which in my opinion has a very well-balanced design.

Photo by The Playbook | Daniel Lim

The shoe is slightly heavier than the Epic React Flyknit, but the difference is negligible. What’s more, Nike did away with an insole altogether, so your feet feel as close to the beads as possible, which is a good thing.

All in all, they are easily in my top choices for runners, and although I wouldn’t take them on my long runs – I’ve got the Epic React for those – the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit as easily my first pick for any run under 5km.

The Nike Joyride Run Flyknit launches worldwide on August 15, 2019 and will be available in Singapore at Nike Jewel and Paragon.

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