My review of the ultra cushioned Nike ZoomX Invincible 3
The Nike Invincible line of running shoes has been a fan favorite for several years now. First introduced in 2021, this cushioned shoe became a staple of easy runs, long runs and even marathons for thousands of runners. The Invincible 2 was essentially the same shoe, just with a slightly tweaked upper, but the third version is a complete redesign. Upon release, there have been many thoughts, both positive and very negative. To clear things up, I took the Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 for a couple runs and gave my thoughts.
Check out my full video review here:
Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 First Impression
I tried not to read too much into the reviews. My perspective is often different than many of the elite runners and professional shoe reviewers that get their hands on these first. I review running shoes from the perspective of an average to below average runner. While I love running and run about five to six times a week, my marathon PR is right around four hours. That’s not exactly Boston Marathon qualifier territory. I don’t need every shoe I run in to be super fast, light or high-tech. I’m simply looking for something that’s going to be comfortable and stable as I steadily churn through miles.
Outsole and midsole
The redesign of this shoe starts with the outsole, which is now a two-piece construction. It has small nubs on the bottom which provide decent traction, although I would not recommend using these in the snow.
The midsole still has a ton of ZoomX foam, but has a sort of “cut out” design that might help to cut down on the weight of this shoe. Overall, this is still a pretty heavy shoe, but if you are using it for long/easy runs it won’t be an issue. It isn’t a racing shoe, although I did run my marathon PR in the Invincible 1 last spring.
The upper is also totally redesigned. The FlyKnit material on the top appears to be thinner and possibly more breathable than the tightly woven previous versions. It’s 20 degrees F here, so I can’t be sure, but subscribe to my YouTube channel and I’ll report back when the weather get’s warmer. Nike also took out a lot of padding around the heel collar both on the inside (I talk about possible issues with this below) and the outside (for some reason the previous versions had a ton of padding on the outside. Maybe to protect from bear traps?) The laces are back to a more stretchy material and actually sort of short, so hang on to your old laces. Finally, the design looks a bit sleeker, with some sharp contours, as opposed to the smoother look of the previous designs.
Does the Invincible 3 have a heel slip problem?
This is the number one complaint with the Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 – the heel slip. This is basically when your heel slides around in the shoe because it isn’t locked into place by the heel collar. Many runners were complaining about this, and right out of the gate, I noticed it too.
Now, it wasn’t as pronounced as the Nike Infinity React, which made me feel like I was running in sand, but it was enough to make me retie my shoes using all the shoelace eyelets in order to fully secure my foot. After making that adjustment, I can absolutely say the heel slip is not an issue. My shoes are tied a little tighter than I prefer and it took some getting used to, but there is no heel slip. A commenter on my video also suggested a runner’s knot, which is something I haven’t tried, but might help as well.
Is the Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 Cushioned?
No doubt! This is an ultra cushioned shoe, where the entire midsole is one solid chunk of foam. If you’ve never worn an Invincible, it will probably feel like nothing you’ve ever run in. The shape of the shoe also give a slight feeling of running down hill. The shoes are springy and responsive. Now here’s the catch; if you’ve run in the Invincible 1 or 2’s, you might notice a difference. In my opinion, the Invincible 3 is a cushioned shoe, but is a little more firm than the original versions. It isn’t uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have the buttery soft feel right out of the box from previous versions. At the time I’m writing this, I’ve run about 30 miles, so maybe they need to break in, but I would say the Invincible 3s are a more firm shoe.
Is the Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 Stable?
Stability is a huge part of a running shoe, and as a perpetual ankle sprainer, even more important to me. The Invincible 3s midsole is solid ZoomX foam, which isn’t the most stable material for a running shoe. However, Nike compensated by making this a really wide shoe. It isn’t wide on the inside (more on this below), but the surface area that the outsole covers helps to add a lot of stability. I am a heel striker, and my worst ankle sprains have come when I land on a rock or stick. The width and the ZoomX foam’s ability to absorb the difference in terrain makes for a very stable shoe. You will notice some side to side flex, but I have yet to twist my ankle seriously in any Invincible. I noted the firmer feeling above, which I also think contributes to the stability of this shoe.
Is the Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 True to Size?
Yes, the Nike ZoomX Invincible is true to size. I have seen some comments online about getting a size smaller to account for the heel slip, but I wouldn’t recommend it. These shoes seem to fit my size (10) perfectly, both before and after using all the shoelace eyelets. I would say the Invincible 3 runs slightly wide, but I have pretty narrow feet, and didn’t notice any issues. If you know your Nike size, go with that.
- Cushioning: This is a pro if you are totally new to the Invincible line. The plentiful ZoomX foam helps to make a very cushioned ride. I’m not a super fast runner, so I would sacrifice some weight for a more cushioned feeling on my feet.
- Stability: The width of this shoe helps to create a wide surface area, making this shoe surprisingly stable especially for a heel-striker.
- Design: I think this shoe looks a lot cooler. There’s some nice sharp lines and it looks less “bubbly” than previous versions. It’s something that will still catch people’s attention out on a run, but maybe blend in a bit when walking around at the store.
- Heel Slip: I detailed this above, but if I lace them how I have laced every single other running shoe I’ve used in my life, there is a slight heel slip. However, using all the eyelets or a runner’s knot solved the problem for me. It makes the shoes feel a little tighter than I’d like, but I got used to it after a mile.
- Firmness: For those of you who have run in previous versions of the Invincible, I think you will notice a firmer ride. I’m not sure if the ZoomZ foam is different, or theres something else going on with the design of this shoe, but I think the feel of this shoe is a slight downgrade. It isn’t a dealbreaker, but I wouldn’t call it an improvement.
- Cost: At $180 retail this shoe is remarkably expensive. I got about 300 miles in by previous versions before the foam started to lose its bounce. If that holds true for the Invincible 3, you are paying a lot for a shoe with average durability. Keep an eye on StockX for deals on this shoe, as well as some deals right now for the Invincible 2.
Overall this isn’t a bad shoe. I think some of the initial wildly positive reviews (from people who seemingly got the shoe for free…) were a bit exaggerated, as well as some of the wildly negative reviews that mentioned the heel slip. A quick adjustment to the laces should take care of that issue. Now, should I have to lace my shoes in a completely new way on a shoe that costs $180? No, probably not. Is it a bit disappointing that the shoe doesn’t feel quite as soft as the original two versions? Yes, it is.
At the end of the day, I will not be sending this back, but rather running in this for 300-400 miles because that’s what I do with all my shoes. But in the meantime, I will have my eyes peeled for possible alternates, such as the New Balance Fresh Foam X More V4 or the Asics Novablast 3.
Overall, a decent shoe, but it might disappoint diehard fans of the originals.
For the video review and more content, such as weekly running vlogs, reviews and the lighter side of running, subscribe to the Fresh Brew Run Club on YouTube.