Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit Performance Review

Find out if the Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 is a revolutionary model in this performance review.

Nike React Hyperdunk
Image via Nike
Nike React Hyperdunk

Max Air, Nike’s best-known technology, was introduced back in 1987 as an update to the standard Air that it had been cushioning sneakers with since the late '70s. Zoom Air, a lower-profile and more responsive take on Air, made its debut in 1995. More recently, Lunar foam was introduced for the 2008 Olympics.

Together, these roughly 30-, 20-, and 10-year-old​ cushionings can be found on the majority of Nike’s performance footwear today. They’ve all gone through multiple iterations and tweaks, but the underlying concepts have remained the same.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as these technologies each have their fans. That longevity doesn’t necessarily imply that they’re no longer relevant. But it’s easy to see why a brand that prides itself on innovation would want to offer something new in terms of cushioning when we live in a world where you need an app to cop hyped sneakers via geo-tagged locations. (Not to mention a world where Adidas’ Boost is handily beating it in the hyped cushioning game.)

Enter Nike’s new “cushioning revolution,” which includes the highly visible VaporMax (an Air-based cushioning), ZoomX, and React—the latter two of which are foam-based technologies that aren't particularly distinct to the naked eye.

React (the foam, not the Converse version from the ‘90s) is the only new cushioning to make its way to basketball thus far. And while a clear story can certainly help move units at retail—if it works, it works—the confusing and contrived nature of this “revolution” isn’t necessarily telling of its performance. So, does it work? The answer lies in the React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit, the first shoe to use the cushioning.

To find out if you should join the revolution, hover over the dots for a full performance breakdown of the React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit.

Nike React Hyperdunk - Fit

Nike React Hyperdunk - Ankle Support

Nike React Hyperdunk - Cushioning

Nike React Hyperdunk - Traction

I’d say the React Hyperdunk was disappointing, but based on the halfhearted rollout—the tech was first mentioned in passing in a piece on Draymond Green's Finals footwear and wasn't further explained until weeks later—I didn’t have particularly high expectations. Still though, Nike is a brand that takes innovation seriously, so I expected at least some marginal improvement over what’s out there. Instead, the approach has the feeling of throwing things against the wall to see what sticks in effort to stop Nike from losing market share to Adidas.

The React Hyperdunk is a hard shoe to recommend when better options are available at all price points. It has some positives for sure. It’s probably my favorite fitting Flyknit basketball shoe yet, and I’d love to see its traction and outsole shape used on future models. But a "cushioning revolution"? This is not even an evolution (in the right direction, anyway).