When it comes to the best max-cushioned running shoes, it doesn’t get better than the Nike Invincible — it’s a super-comfortable, super-plush running shoe, designed for easy miles on tired legs. Yet as Nike releases the third iteration of the shoe, you might be wondering what’s changed and whether you should shop for the Nike Invincible 2, or the Nike Invincible 3.
Below, we put the two pairs of running shoes head to head to help you decide which is best for you. Both shoes made it onto our list of the best Nike running shoes, but if you’re not a fan of the Swoosh, you can find a list of the best running shoes here.
Nike Invincible 2 vs Nike Invincible 3: Price and availability
When launched, both the Invincible 2 and the Invincible 3 cost the same — $180/£170. The Nike Invincible 3 was released on 9 February 2023 online and in stores, and as it’s a new shoe on the market, it’s unlikely to be discounted just yet. The men’s shoe is available in sizes U.S. 6 - U.S. 15 in four different colorways — aqua blue, black/white, white/football grey, and black/dark grey. It is likely Nike will release further colorways at a later date.
The women’s shoe comes in sizes U.S. 5 - U.S. 12 and also comes in four different colorways — black/gold/pink, pink foam/racer blue, white/blue, and black/dark grey. The shoe only comes in one width but isn’t particularly narrow, so should fit most runners.
As the Nike Invincible 2 is the older shoe, it’s likely to be on sale right now, as is the first iteration of the shoe — the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit. If you’re on a budget, this is definitely the shoe to shop for.
Winner: Nike Invincible 2 — although it’s last season's shoe, it’s still a good choice, especially if you’re a neutral runner.
Nike Invincible 2 vs Nike Invincible 3: Design and fit
Looking at the two shoes side by side, the first thing you’ll notice is that they look slightly different. The Nike Invincible 2 followed the design of the first Invincible running shoe, which had a thick rubber ring of Nike’s plush ZoomX foam around the midsole. Unlike the Invincible 2, the midsole foam seems to be more strategically placed in the Invincible 3. There’s still the same bunion of foam around the ball of the foot, but the rubber-ring design has gone. The heel clip has also changed. Nike says it made the heel clip smaller than the previous iteration and placed it in a more precise location.
This fit won’t be for everyone — I never had an issue with my heel slipping in the Invincible 2 but found the new heel grip in the Invincible 3 took a bit of getting used to. If like me, you have high arches, you really have to pull the laces tight across your foot to get that locked-in feel in the Invincible 3.
Talking of the midsole, however, both shoes still use Nike’s ZoomX foam, which is super soft and super-cushioned. It’s the same foam usually reserved for the more expensive super-shoes in the Nike lineup, including the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, and the Nike ZoomX Alphafly Next% 2. The Invincible 3 has slightly more ZoomX foam than the Invincible 2, but you don’t really notice this difference underfoot. Both shoes have no Strobel lining underneath the insole of the shoe, so your foot sits directly on top of the ZoomX foam, allowing you to really sink into the shoe.
When comparing the two shoes side by side, you’ll also notice that the upper is different. While they both use Nike’s ‘Flyknit’ upper, the yarn on the Invincible 3 feels a little tougher and more supportive. While the foot splays slightly in the Invincible 2, it’s held in place more in the newer shoe.
Finally, the ride feels slightly different in the Invincible 3 — it feels more supportive and almost more grown-up. The newer shoe is slightly more stable and this does take away some of the bounce of the first and second iterations of the Invincible. It’s by no means firmer — you’re still running on the same plush, cushioned foam, but I found the arch support and the tighter upper made the shoe feel a little more protective. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on your running style — if you loved the feel of the previous iterations of the Invincible, but found it a little unstable, you’ll love the Invincible 3. That said if you’re a neutral runner, you might find the support isn’t needed, and almost gets in the way.
Verdict: This is a tough one, but I personally preferred the underfoot feel of the Nike Invincible 2. While the Invincible 3 will definitely be better suited to a wider range of runners, I miss the freedom of the Invincible 2. The Invincible 3 is still a super-fun, super-enjoyable shoe to run in. It feels sleeker than the Invincible 2, and if you’ve never run in the Invincible line before, you’re bound to love the soft, bouncy ride.
Nike Invincible 2 vs Nike Invincible 3: Which should you buy?
Both of these running shoes are excellent choices if you’re looking for a max-cushioned shoe to wear on easy days. Both the Nike Invincible 2 and the Nike Invincible 3 are super plush and comfortable, and most importantly, fun to run in, whether you’re a complete beginner, or you’re training for your next marathon. If you’re looking for a shoe that’ll make you want to go for a run on days you just don’t feel like running, both of these will do just that.
That said, Nike has made some big changes and the Invincible 3 does feel different to the Invincible 2. If you’re a runner who tends to over-pronate in the final miles of a race or long run, the Invincible 3 is more structured and more supportive, so is probably the better shoe to shop. If you’re a neutral runner, looking for a fun shoe to wear on easy days, save your money and buy the Invincible 2.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.