All of my previous Nike shoes have been models which utilized Nike’s Zoom technology. For this reason, I have been keen to try out the React technology for a while to see how it compares. I was originally looking at the more popular Nike Epic React model. However, after reading a number of reviews, it seemed like both models were similar. The main difference was that the Epic React utilizes a flyknit upper. There is, however, more rubber on the outsole of the Nike Odyssey React. This means that they should have slightly better traction outdoors. They may also be a little more durable as the React foam is better protected. Price also played a key role in my ultimate decision as the Odyssey React were £20+ cheaper.
Depending on how the Nike Odyssey React fair, they may become my half marathon and perhaps even my full marathon shoe of choice. Previously I used the Nike Pegasus 34 model for my longer distance runs, and then replaced them with a pair of the newer Pegasus 35s.
When I first saw these online, I was immediately drawn to the red and black colour scheme. There are two variants of this; one was red with a black heel cup, black Nike tick and then a pink plastic part on the heel, and the other was the one that I purchased. These are red with black mixed in towards the bottom, with a black heel cup, white Nike tick and orange plastic part on the heel. I was torn between the two, especially as I preferred the black Nike logo on the other pair, but ultimately I really hate pink! I’m not sure why they included the orange and pink plastic parts on either design as they look a bit out of place.
It’s not very visible on the photos, but I love the black heel cup with the black gloss Nike writing. The pull tab on the back is also handy for getting the shoes on. Adding the model, “Odyssey”, to the tab was a nice touch.
The tongue is quite strange in the sense that it is attached to the shoe and isn’t freely movable. It has some wiggle room but isn’t detached. I find that it makes putting the shoe on a little harder than having a standard detached tongue, however this is where the pull tab helps.
Like many other Nike models, the shoe lacks reflective features. There is a reflective part on the back of the shoe, but it is quite small. In this sense, it isn’t much of an improvement on the other Nike models, such as the Pegasus range.
My last few runs in the Pegasus 34 saw me getting blisters on my big toes. Now that I am starting to get a little faster I am feeling more friction inside my shoe. As such, I decided to go up half a size larger than normal to a 6.5. I hoped that this would give myself more room in the toe box area. I was also concerned about the upper mesh not being as flexible as my usual flyknit uppers so I wanted a little extra room to counter that. To be truthful, I may have been better suited going up to a size 7! Like a lot of other models, the Nike Odyssey React are a bit narrow in the toebox.
I took these out for the first time to my local Parkrun. I ran at a moderate but not all out effort and finished in a time of 31:40, with an average pace of 10:06. The Nike Odyssey React felt great! They were responsive but cushioned. In comparison to the Pegasus 35, they felt softer but without feeling mushy or non-responsive. They are also lighter and feel like less shoe, but without feeling unstable. My foot was locked in and I was confident in my stride, despite the lightweight nature of the shoe.
I actually took a risk with the Nike Odyssey React. I opted to wear them for a half marathon after only previously completing a 3.1 mile run in them. Of course, I had some doubts about whether they would still feel comfortable past the 3.1 mile mark, but took the chance. The half marathon in question was the Gloucester Half Marathon. This had been a target race for me as I really wanted to break sub-2:30.
Luckily, the Nike Odyssey React held up well and I finished in a blistering (for me) time of 2:11:02. My feet felt fine throughout the run and the Nike Odyssey React had offered more than enough cushioning for my needs. They overtook the Pegasus 35 in my book for my favourite half marathon shoe.
Despite knocking over 22 minutes off of my personal best, I still felt fairly fresh. Even Chris commented on how well I was walking afterwards as I usually end up hobbling home. The next day I had some tightness in my quadriceps, as to be expected, but my feet and calves felt fine. I had no blisters, black toenails or any other foot related nasty!
Since racing my half marathon in the Nike Odyssey React, I don’t really look forward to lacing up my Pegasus 35s!
These felt fine for a 5k with an average pace of 10:06. With that being said, even when I picked up the pace the shoes kept up. Due to the lightweight nature, these could be a good race day option for people who only want to purchase one pair of shoes. I do like the Pegasus range, however I prefer the React cushioning and lightweight feel of the Nike Odyssey React. I find that the Zoom cushioning of the Pegasus can feel a bit stiff after 12 or so miles. This wasn’t the case for the Nike Odyssey React. They held up for the entire half marathon distance, plus a 3k walk to the start and then 3k walk from the finish. I think that the Nike Odyssey React would be a fine marathon day shoe.
The Nike Odyssey React feel really adaptable. Whether you are running a 5k Parkrun or a full marathon, the shoes will keep up. They feel light and soft underfoot, yet offer enough stability and responsiveness regardless of your pace. Despite being slightly lighter, they are more cushioned underfoot than the Pegasus. This cushioning is nice when out on a slower long or recovery run, yet increases in responsiveness when the pace is picked up for a 5k race.
My current shoe rotation is as follows:
- Nike Pegasus 35 – easy paced runs on the road, medium tempo runs, treadmill easy runs (over 12 miles)
- Nike Odyssey React – half marathon and marathon distance races
- Nike Zoom Elite 8 – treadmill runs (up to 12 miles)
- Nike Zoom Elite 10 – 5k and 10k events, track training sessions
- Nike Vomero 12 – long distance outdoor slow runs, road to trail runs, recovery runs after a tough session if running outside and feel I need more protection
- Adidas Galaxy Trail – trail runs
- Nike Revolution 3 – cross-training
- Nike Pegasus 34 – walking
The Nike Odyssey React model has really impressed me! If the Nike Epic React hadn’t been some £20 more expensive, then I would have opted to try those instead as I do prefer a flyknit upper. With that being said, the Nike Odyssey React has a better outsole design as it utilizes more rubber, so it should be a little more durable and have better traction. In comparison, the Pegasus 35 also has a non-flyknit mesh upper, however the entire outsole is covered in rubber with small lugs for traction.
I had been waiting to try the React cushioning for a while, but never really bought into the hype enough to purchase them when they were first released. With that being said, the Nike Odyssey React have certainly impressed me! Looking at the Nike website, they have an RRP of £114.95 compared to the Nike Pegasus RRP of £104.95. Still, it seems easier to find the Nike Odyssey React on sale than it does the Pegasus 35.
Moving forward I think that I will be opting for the React line over the Pegasus Zoom range. For me personally, the Nike Odyssey React is above the Pegasus 35. They are lighter and softer, but still feel just as responsive, if not more so, than the 35s. The added weight of the Pegasus doesn’t seem to give you anything more; they don’t feel any more stable or secure. Some people may prefer the stiffer feel of the Zoom cushioning system, but I personally prefer the softer React cushioning. The Zoom technology will still have a place in my rotation for shorter distances where cushioning isn’t as important.
I’m going with a 4.5 out of 5 here. I like the design and the colour, however I’m not a fan of the orange bit of plastic on the heel. In addition, I imagine that these will be warm in the summer months as the shoe uses a thick upper mesh material. Overall though, I really like the Nike Odyssey React. Nike have recently released the Odyssey React 2 Flyknit, along with the Epic React 2. I’m curious to see how the two compare. Previously, the main separation between them had been the lack of flyknit material for the Nike Odyssey React. Now that these are available with a flyknit option, it will be interesting to see which model is the better shoe.