Nike's Joyride sneakers will make you love running
On a beautiful day in Santa Monica, on a recent trip with Nike, I had a chance to change my love/hate relationship with running forever.
Because, see, it’s mostly hate. I just never saw running for the sake of running as anything more than a chore. Yeah, all those hard-core runners out there will tell you about how runner’s high is the best drug, and how good you feel afterwards. But they’ll also tell you that the first three or four miles are the worst—and three or four miles is about how much I run in a week.
Thankfully, Nike knows people like me are out there: people who are willing to run, but don’t exactly view it as a joyful experience. So the brand decided to make a shoe that’ll help enhance the experience for casual, sometimes reluctant, runners: the Joyride.
The core of the new sneaker is a proprietary cushioning system made of thousands of TPE beads, little orbs of plastic and rubber that sit inside the midsole and create a dynamic footbed that forms to your foot and feels personalized to you. If Nike Air is the OG cushioning system, and its React foam is the new kid on the block designed for serious runners, Joyride sits somewhere in the middle. It’s a modern innovation, but it’s less about pushing yourself to the peak of performance and more about making your feet happy. Because of that, it's suited to people who hate running, but also expert runners on their recovery day after a marathon.
Before even trying on the Joyride, I was excited. As a sneakerhead, I love the classics. But I also think it’s important to move past older models and and think about the future of sneakers. We shouldn't only be rocking the retros from the '80s forever. The look of the shoe reminded me of the Nike Air Presto, which is one of my favorite runners of all time, but the aesthetic also felt like it was beamed in from the future, with a game-changing technology built into it. If you can forget Dippin' Dots for a second, this shoe actually looks cool as hell for a function-first runner.
The first thing I noticed when I slid my feet into the Flyknit uppers was that I’ve never felt a shoe like this before—and trust me, I’ve tried a lot of different shoes. The Joyride-infused midsole was so soft, but also still supportive. In an interesting move, Nike removed the sockliner, so your foot sits right above the beads, separated by just a thin layer of fabric (and, of course, rubber).
The sensation was a lot like stepping into nice, grainy sand, but with a counterintuitive bounce in each step. Once we started moving, I was able to tune everything out and just run down the Santa Monica Boardwalk while I enjoyed the view and the California sunshine. If you’re a reluctant runner like me and want to fall in love with running—or at least give it a shot—picking up a pair of Joyrides would be a good place to start.