Nike Epic React vs Adidas Ultra Boost – Which Shoe Is Better?

Is React on the Nike Epic React better than Boost on the Ultra Boost, let’s find out.

Today we’ll be comparing the Nike Epic React to the Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0.

And if you’re interested in Adidas, make sure you read Adidas Ultra Boost ST vs Ultra Boost Comparison.



Nike Epic React

  • 10mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Epic React midsole
  • FlyKnit mesh upper
  • Chevron Square Right translucent and exposed React foam outsole
  • Chevron Square Right better for running

Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0

  • 10mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Chevron Square Rightfull length Boost midsole
  • Primeknit stretch mesh upper
  • durable Continental rubber outsole
  • Chevron Square Rightbetter for lifestyle


Just a few weeks ago, Nike released their first running sneaker with their Boost competitor, Nike React.

This shoe is called the Nike Epic React and it’s the predecessor to the Nike LunarEpic.

Visually, the Epic React is very similar to the LunarEpic. But this time around, instead of using any Lunar or any kind of foam in the midsole, the entire midsole and the outsole tooling is made up of React cushioning.

This isn’t the first time Nike has used React cushioning on a sneaker, they’ve also used it on some basketball sneakers in 2017. Those sneakers are the Jordan Superfly 2017 and the Hyperdunk React 2017. These are both budget but excellent basketball sneakers.

The difference between these and the new Nike Epic React is that these actually have encased React cushioning. These don’t feel bad by any stretch of the imagination, but you really don’t get a good feel for what React is until you try the Nike Epic React.

Moving over to the Adidas side of things, we’ve got the Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0.

Just like with the Nike, the Ultraboost isn’t the first to use the Boost cushioning, but it is by far the most popular.

Nike has designed the React cushioning specifically to be a competitor for Boost cushioning.

For that reason, cushion-wise, the two shoes do feel pretty similar. They’re both premium running shoes, they both have knit uppers and they’re both actually really nice looking as well.

I’m pretty sure you already have a really good idea of what the Ultra Boost is and how Boost cushioning feels. But as you can tell by the title, this is a VS post. So let’s find out with shoe is better, the Nike Epic React or the Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0.

Starting off with one of the most noticeable differences between these two shoes, the price.

Related: Nike Odyssey React vs Nike Epic React

The Price

The Nike Epic React is about $30 more expensive than the Adidas Ultra Boost.

The Ultra Boost starts things out with a $30 premium over the Nike Epic React. So right off the bat, for more budget-conscious people, the Nike React may already be a better way to go.

Check today’s prices here: Nike Epic React / Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0

The Look

Aesthetically, these are both very similar shoes. I’ve heard people saying the Nike Epic React is sort of a knockoff of the Adidas Ultra Boost.

That’s definitely not the case. There have been shoes that have looked like the Nike Epic React since the 90s. For example, the Nike Air Presto looks a lot like the Ultra Boost.

With that being said, you definitely can’t make the argument that the Nike React is a knockoff of the Adidas Ultra Boost aesthetically.

So let’s dive more into the details that separate these two shoes.

The Upper

Starting off with the upper, the Nike Epic React utilizes Flyknit whereas the Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 utilizes Primeknit.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with both and honestly these two knit upper don’t really feel that much different than their predecessors.

The Flyknit on the Nike Epic React still feels like Flyknit and the Primeknit on the Adidas Boost 4.0 still feels like regular Primeknit – it’s not anything too different.

When comparing the two, though, there is definitely a difference between the knit upper on the Primeknit and the knit upper on the Flyknit.

Primeknit is definitely a softer, more stretchy version of knit. It definitely feels like a sock on your foot and it has sort of like a wool or a sweater quality to it, which I actually really like.

Even though it has a lot of ventilation holes, it’s definitely a lot warmer than the Flyknit. Not that it’s a warm shoe overall, but it’s something you would notice.

The Flyknit, although flexible, is definitely a lot stiffer. It’s noticeably stiffer especially when you’re wearing it on the foot.

One thing that I actually like about the stiffness of the Nike React is that it actually offers a lot more support than the Primeknit does, especially Primeknit without a cage.

The Cage


Talking about the cage, that’s another difference between these two shoes. The Ultra Boost has a midfoot cage whereas the Nike Epic React does not. Because of that, the Ultra Boost does have such a sock-like fit.

If you’re using the Ultra Boost for running or any kind of athletics, I would definitely recommend you lace up the shoe because even if the cage offers some pretty nice support in the midfoot, it doesn’t offer that much around the toes.

This is probably ok because when you’re running, you’re not going to need too much lateral support. But you’ll definitely notice how the upper on the forefoot stretches too much especially if you’re doing some really tight turns. This doesn’t definitely seem like too big of a deal, but it’s genuinely something noticeable.

The Nike Epic React doesn’t have a cage, but it really doesn’t feel like it needs one. The stiffer Flyknit definitely makes you feel more supported.

The Fit

Both shoes do feel relatively narrow but the Nike Epic React definitely feels more narrow because of the stiffness of the material.

The Ankle Collar

The last thing I want to cover about the upper is the ankle collar.

The Nike Epic React features a kind of raw edge around the ankle. That’s something that may require you wear a sock. Sometimes, this collar area can chafe a little bit which is kind of annoying. When wearing a sock, though, it’s really no problem at all.

In addition to that, there’s no padding around the heel area whatsoever, but the nice thing is it really doesn’t feel like a true one-to-one fit.

So you don’t really feel like you need it, but I would kind of liked it if there was a bit more cushioning around the heel.


Just so for whatever reason my foot doesn’t feel like is slamming into the heel when I hit the back of the shoe kind of hard. It’s usually not a problem at all, but it’s something I would have liked.

On the contrary, the Ultra Boost features a really plush soft ankle collar area that’s actually pretty wide. The entire collar area is heavily padded and the shoe has a sort of plush pillow pull tab thing which feels really great against your ankle even when you’re not wearing socks.

The one downside to that is that it doesn’t feel like you have much lockdown even when you tighten up the shoe as you do with the Nike Epic React.

But honestly for lifestyle wear, I definitely prefer this ankle section.

Moving on to the main difference between these two shoes, the midsole cushion.

The Cushioning System

Right off the bat, both shoes are incredibly comfortable and you really can’t go wrong with either when it comes to midsole cushioning.

However, there are some minor differences that may influence your decision when deciding between these two shoes.

The Ultra Boost, which we’ve all known and loved for years, has this very signature styrofoam look to it.

The reason for that aesthetic is they take these Boost pellets and heat them up until they expand into a mold and create this look. So each one of these little segments is actually heated up and expanded Boost pellets.

As for comfort, up until now the Boost cushioning has been pretty much unmatched. It’s incredibly soft and comfortable and provides a huge amount of impact protection. For lifestyle wear, you just can’t get any better than Boost.

On the Nike side of things, although React feels similar to Boost, it’s actually produced a very different way.

Rather than using pellets that actually expand to a mold, Nike actually pours the foam into a mold itself. This is how they can give it any shape that they want.

In theory, Nike can actually change the design of the React cushioning and you just wouldn’t really know it’s React unless they called it out. This is fun but definitely a great branding win for Adidas that they have this Boost cushioning that looks so unique and so different.

No one is sure yet that this is going to be the standard sort of pattern for Nike React to let people know what it is or if this pattern is just specific to the shoe. I definitely see that they’re going for some sort of Boost inspiration, I’m not going to lie about that.

React definitely doesn’t look like Boost at all, but it’s got some sort of like Boost ‘pellety’ vibes to it.

As for comfort, React is by far the best cushion Nike has ever created. It’s incredibly soft to the touch, which I really like.


VS Lifestyle

One big difference between the construction of the Nike Epic React and the Adidas Ultra Boost is that on the Adidas your foot is actually riding on purely Boost. Of course, there’s an insole and it’s really a thin of like almost fabric, but essentially your foot is riding on top of the Boost.

On the Nike Epic React, there’s actually a stiff sort of plasticky strobel board between your foot and the React cushioning. This definitely gives your foot a little bit more stability on the React cushioning and helps the ride not feel as mushy as Boost can feel.

But one thing I will say though is that I’m kind of disappointed that it’s there. It’s mainly there for performance purposes, but if you’re wearing this shoe for lifestyle, although it’s comfortable, it’s just not as soft and not as cushy as the Boost is.

To be fair, the difference isn’t really that noticeable. So I’m wondering if they didn’t have the Strobel board and your foot sits right on the React, the React might feel even softer than Boost. But as of right now with that Strobel board it’s just not as soft.

However, although the Boost does feel slightly better, especially for lifestyle wear, I would say I would pick the Nike Epic React for performance any time.

The reason for that is the Ultra Boost 4.0 has a sort of cushy, cloud-like, almost mushy feel, which is kind of its downfall when it comes to running.

What makes the Nike React better for running is the combination of the Strobel board and React foam cushioning. This combination really helps the shoe have this really great sort of bouncy feel when you’re running.

The impact protection is excellent in the React and you do actually get this nice subtle sort of bounceback feel and the midsole cushioning never feels mushy.

What’s more interesting about the Nike React is when you wear it casually it does have a ‘Boosty’ sort of feel, but when you’re running in it it almost feels like it stiffens up a little bit, which is amazing for running. It gives you that extra support, that extra bounce which is great for running.

For running on the treadmill or running around the city the Nike React has been excellent.

Moving on to another difference between the two shoes, the outsole.

The Outsole

The Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 utilizes a webbed Continental rubber outsole whereas the Nike Epic React has a little bit of translusive rubber around the toe and on the heel. But the majority of the outsole is just pure React on the ground.

Right off the bat, I think there’s a clear winner when it comes to durability. Although it is thin and doesn’t last forever, the Continental rubber will definitely outlast the Nike Epic React’s outsole.

I was really surprised that the Nike did the outsole this way and didn’t give it sort of a full rubber outsole like Adidas did.

The Continental rubber isn’t incredible because it also wears down pretty fast and the Boost will eventually crack, but honestly I don’t think it’ll wear down quicker than the Nike’s outsole.

The Verdict

Aesthetically, I think both shoes look great.

I think the Nike Epic React has more of a performance vibe to it and I think the Adidas Ultra Boost still has the performance vibe but it’s so popular as a lifestyle shoe. Most people would attribute this to being just a lifestyle shoe, but personally, I also think the lines and the overall silhouette of the Adidas is just a little bit more attractive.

So, aesthetically, I’d have to go Ultra Boost every time.

Over all, I think both shoes are excellent. I think Nike knocked it off the park with the React cushioning and I’m really excited to see what they’ll do with this cushioning in the future.

We already know that Adidas has a hit on their hand with Boost. Boost is an excellent cushioning system and has that sort of unique look to it and it feels great – it’s a winner.

So breaking these two shoes down, the Nike Epic React is definitely the better performance shoe. It’s significantly lighter than the Ultra Boost. The cushion setup is excellent for running.

The Nike React has got a more supportive upper and the price is $30 dollars cheaper than the Ultra Boost. So if you’re budget-conscious, the Nike Epic React might be the way to go.

I’d choose the Ultra Boost for lifestyle because I think it looks better. Its midsole cushioning is a little bit better when it comes to more daily just walking around for more of that pillowy sort of cushiony feel.

As of right now, there’s just a lot more colorways and a lot more options when it comes to the Ultra Boost style-wise.

Like I said, they’re both great shoes and you really can’t go wrong with either. Just know what your use case is going to be when wearing these shoes and use that to help you decide on which shoe meets your needs.

That pretty much wraps up this post. Make sure you leave a comment in the comment section down below to let us know what you think of the Nike Epic React and the Adidas Ultra Boost 4.0 and which one you like better.

If you’re more into working out, check out the Nike Metcon 4 review or these great cross-training shoes for Plantar Fasciitis.

Last but not least, you can read this nice conversation on Reddit about Boost VS React make sure you share this post using your favorite social channel.

Make sure you read our other VS post:

Adidas Superstar vs Stan Smith

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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