I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if you sent me to a desert island and only let me pick one shoe to take with me, it would be the Nike Invincible.
When it comes to max cushioned running shoes, it doesn’t get plusher than the Nike Invincible line. Now on its third iteration, this comfortable, bouncy shoe has a huge wedge of Nike’s bouncy ZoomX foam for one of the pillowyest running experiences ever.
Weight: 310g (M), 258g (W)
Neutral/stability: Nike labels this shoe as ‘supportive’
Nike has made some tweaks to its maximum-cushioned shoe from previous generations. It’s a little more supportive, and a little more grown up from the past two versions, which I’ve always described as thick rubber rings of foam around your feet. It’s higher, wider, and heavier than ever before, and the changes between the Nike Invincible Run 2 and the Invincible Run 3 are definitely more noticeable underfoot.
But how does the Nike Invincible 3 stack up against the best running shoes and the best Nike running shoes on the market? I’ve run about 50 miles in the Nike Invincible 3 over a mix of terrains and during a mix of sessions — from long, easy miles, to faster tempo miles. Read my Nike Invincible 3 review below to find out more.
Nike Invincible 3 review: Price and availability
The Nike Invincible 3 was released on 9 February 2023 online and in stores, as well as at third-party retailers like SportsShoes. It costs $180/£170 and comes in men’s and women’s sizing. 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 always, it’s worth sizing up from your regular shoes. Confused? Read our how to buy running shoes guide here.
If you’re on a budget, now is a good time to buy the first or second versions of the shoe, as they are both likely to be discounted now the new shoe has dropped.
Nike Invincible 3 review: Design and fit
Fit-wise, the Invincible 3 is similar in length to the Invincible 2 — there’s still the same wide, roomy toe-box, although the upper and the heel grip in the shoe has changed slightly (more on that below). I’d still recommend buying your usual size in Nike and sizing up at least half a size from your everyday shoes.
The upper on the Nike Invincible 3 is much firmer than the knit upper of the previous generations. I never had any issues with my foot slipping in the previous iterations of the shoe, but agree that both the original Nike Invincible and the Nike Invincible 2 felt more relaxed, and splayed out underfoot. The tougher upper on the Invincible 3 is tighter around the foot, holding it in place over the thick wedge of foam.
With the Invincible 3, Nike appears to have shifted slightly away from all the cushioning and comfort to something a little sleeker and more supportive. There’s still padding around the collar of the shoe, but it’s less exaggerated. The laces have also shifted to a flatter, wider lace. The tongue remains padded and plush across the top of the foot.
The midsole contains more of Nike’s ZoomX foam than ever. The Invincible 3 has a higher stack height than the previous versions too, as Nike has packed 1mm more foam underfoot. The magic of this shoe lies in the ZoomX midsole, which is extremely cushioned. Unlike most of the best running shoes on the market, there’s no Strobel lining underneath the insole of the shoe, so your foot is sitting directly on top of the ZoomX foam, allowing you to really sink into the shoe.
As with previous generations of the Invincible, the ZoomX foam, paired with the rocker geometry, makes for a super comfortable run. Until the Invincible, Nike’s ZoomX midsole was reserved for the faster shoes in its collection, such as the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2, and the Nike Alphafly Next% 2. Both of these speedier shoes have carbon fiber plates, and without the plate, the foam seems to take on a different meaning in the Invincible. Instead of propelling the foot forward, the bouncy, responsive foam reduces the impact of each step for a more comfortable run.
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. I never had any issues with my heel slipping in previous generations of the shoe, but this heel grip does make the shoe feel different — I found I had to stop and tighten the laces a few times in my first few runs in order to help secure my foot into the shoe.
The outsole of the Invincible 3 now has slightly more grip, with a waffle rubber design and deeper lugs to over some extra traction on wet concrete pavements. It’s not a huge change, but a welcome one, as one of the drawbacks in the first and second iterations of the shoe was that it slipped on wet pavements. Still, this is a shoe best suited to road running, or very light trails.
Nike Invincible 3 review: Run performance
I’ll admit, I was nervous when I first saw the Invincible 3 — I’ve been a huge fan of this shoe, and was wondering whether I’d need to start stockpiling the Invincible 2. The changes are definitely more pronounced than the differences between the original Invincible Run Flyknit and Invincible 2. The Invincible 3 feels different underfoot — it’s slightly more stable and supportive, and this does take away some of the bounce. 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.
Of course, this is by no means a bad thing — I often found by the final miles of my long run in the Invincible 2 I’d need a little more support around the ankle, and the Invincible 3 delivers here. That said, it did take me a few adjustments to get used to the new heel grip — I have high arches, and found my heel kept slipping in the shoe until I really pulled the laces tight. The extra support elements make the Invincible 3 more suitable for a wider range of runners, but if you’re a neutral runner, now’s a good time to save your money and load up on the older version.
The shoe is still a super-fun, super-enjoyable shoe to run in. It feels sleeker and perhaps more grown-up than previous versions of the shoe, but if you’ve not run in the Invincible or the Invincible 2, you’re bound to love the soft, bouncy ride. Again, it’s best suited to long and easy runs — while it can pick up the pace, there are much lighter shoes on the marker that’ll do so without as much effort.
Nike Invincible 3 review: Verdict
This is still the best maximum cushioned running shoe on the market. It’s still super plush and super comfortable, and is a go-to for long and easy running. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and marathon runners alike — if you’re looking for a shoe that’ll let you forget about your run and just enjoy the scenery, this is it.
That said, the smaller heel clip and more supportive fit of the shoe won’t be for everyone, and if you don’t need it, save your money and buy the older version of this shoe. The Nike Invincible 2 is likely to be on sale right now and has a slightly more relaxed design.
Compared to other max-cushioned running shoes like the Asics Gel Nimbus 25 and the On Cloudmonster, the Nike Invincible 3 is much softer underfoot. It’s still an extremely fun shoe to run in, especially on tired legs, and for that reason, in my eyes, it’s still a must-have in every runner’s rotation.