The Nike Free has been synonymous with poor decisions in the world of running stores. Someone wants to start running, they love how light and flexible the shoe is, they buy and after a few miles it hurts their feet. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its fans, but Nike has had to adapt the shoe in response to backlash and the waning of the minimal shoe trend.
This year, they’ve dropped the 5.0, 4.0, 3.0 naming system and dubbed their Free models the Distance, Flyknit, and Motion (more or less). The good news is that the Flyknit feels great up top, but once again, the feel underfoot leaves much to be desired. The shoe is flexible as always, and long-time Free lovers will find a lot to love. The new auxetic sole that Nike has been touting doesn’t really feel much different than last year’s hexagonal pattern. The upper, however gives a great locked-down feeling, so you won’t feel like you’re sliding around. However, even with tabbed socks, the heel rub was very apparent. If the sole wasn’t so flexible, this would make a great sprinting shoe.
Oh, and the shoe feels like it runs a tad large, but not so much that you should go down half a size. It’s kind of annoying. On the plus side, the arch is noticeable but natural.
As it is, the Free RN Flyknit offers more of the same, but with an improved upper. If you’re wanting more of a natural feel, you have the Free RN Motion, and if you want something for longer runs, there’s the excellent Free RN Distance. If you were happy with the 5.0 of yesteryear, this will be your jam, but otherwise, the Nike Free has other shoes to fulfill your needs.
Verdict: Not So Hot
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