It is more than a “sleeper” hype sneaker
A few weeks back, I decided to take advantage of The Athlete’s Foot restock of the React Element 55 in Black/White. They are pretty hard to find these days, but I’m amazed at their comfort. To test how good they were, I decided to use them as my only pair of sneakers for my business trip in Thailand.
To test them out, I walked an average of 8000 steps a day using them. Aside from long walks around Bangkok, I also used them for a quick workout sesh at the hotel gym where we stayed.
Here are some of my thoughts on Nike’s “sleeper” hype sneaker as my sneaker of choice for my recent trip:
I’ve been a Boost fan for several years because they are really comfortable. When Nike launched their own version with React, I had to try it out and see how it fared with adidas’ offering. Corroborating with Carlo’s initial feedback, React foam is soft and comfortable, though Boost is softer based on my experience.
While they are far from the “stepping on clouds” experience of Boost, React is more comfortable than Lunarlon or Zoom Air. Not to mention, React is more durable than Lunarlon, as it handles wear and tear better than Lunarlon, with the latter having issues about longevity especially with heavy use.
While other React models like the Odyssey React and Epic React are designed for performance, the React Element 55 is made more for walking. The unusually-shaped outsole is actually functional: backed by research and data, Nike mapped specific areas in the Element React 55’s sole where treadwear happens the most. With that in mind, Nike designed the React Element 55’s outsole in a way that you get the best foot-to-ground grip where it is needed the most.
While you can use it for working out, I’d personally choose a different pair instead since it does not provide the same stability needed when you are lifting weights. However, if your workouts involve using the treadmill, the React Element 55 is fine.
What makes them an ideal sneaker for travel is its weight: the Element React 55’s upper is so light, you barely feel wearing them even for long walks. In spite of walking several kilometers exploring Bangkok, my feet were not complaining at all. Weight was not an issue either, as they felt like I was walking close to barefoot while being comfortable at the same time.
The lining of the uppers are thin, but you can wear them with low-cut socks (or even without socks) and not worry about blisters.
Aside from being an affordable alternative to the more expensive React Element 87, the React Element 55 is more than looks: they are a pair of sneakers that you will love to bring along when traveling. They are suitable for long walks, and they are so light that you will most likely forget that you are wearing them.
My biggest problem with the React Element 55, however, is availability. Locally, only Commonwealth PH and The Athletes Foot sold them, with the latter restocking them a few weeks after. There’s no word yet if other colorways of the React Element 55 will be made available in the country as of this writing, and as a sneaker enthusiast, I do hope Nike makes them available in bigger quantities.