Nike Free 5.0 Review

Being known as the minimalist and unique running shoe, the Nike Free 5.0 have many wonderful attributes. It is extremely flexible, comfortable, versatile, and fashionable. In the case you are searching for the shoe with the amazing flexibility, this product will strengthen the feet in the most convenient way. Meanwhile, it gives all runners the sufficient time to change and adjust to the minimalist footwear without feeling like running in your full barefoot. This shoe may offer you a taste of how the minimalist shoes are suite for your run.

Nike Free 5.0 - Highlight features and technologies

  • These shoes provide all runners the adequate security, protection, comfort as well as the natural movement. It also delivers underfoot support and lightweight cushioning which is great for anyone who recently starts the running habit. It is indeed easy to use and pick up. With this minimalist shoe, your stride is free in the a possible way.
  • Being made of the breathable material, its upper unit covers your foot in the comfortable yet secure way. It accurately allows the air to go inside the shoe in order to keep your foot cool and dry at most of the time, even with the mode of standing idly. The Flywire cables were integrated dynamically in the shoe, making its fit to be more exact as well as tailored to your specific requirements.
  • Its midsole has the low-profile design so you can enjoy the more natural and flexible foot movement. Besides, its’ foot strike was encouraged by the rounded heel which evenly cushions and supports the landing. The flex grooves are deep enough to ensure that its platform bends in line with your foot.
  • The outsole of the Nike Free 5.0 uses the waffle pattern in order to absorb all impact shock incurred when you land your feet on the surface. Durable rubber can be placed in the critical areas of the shoe to avoid the abrasion and wear which are likely to appear. Protection from abrasion and impact is one of the great features to serve for the shoe’s external unit.

Nike Free 5.0 - Pros and Cons


  • It is particularly great to fit in upper with the flexible ride, and well-cushioned underneath. You can stave off muscle pain or foot instances if choosing this shoe.
  • Its upper unit can be agreeable to your foot shape and stretch well to accommodate your foot well.
  • All the components and these shoes themselves bring the comfort to the users with the general performance.
  • Its upper fabrics have the sufficient breathability to satisfy all runners even the pickiest one. So, you can keep your feet dry and cool throughout your running session.
  • Its underfoot platform was designed to provide you the extremely flexible nature which permitted you to move naturally through your gait cycle.
  • Its cushioning system is springy and responsive and the shoe is suitably lightweight.
  • You may choose the Nike Free 5.0 to use frequently because of its long-lasting characteristic.


  • The shoe has about ½ size less than the average figure.
  • The shoe drop which covers from the toe to the heel is too high for the runners to have the sensitive feeling toward the ground when landing.
  • Apart from its midsole wear off so fast, its shoelaces are too long for you to avoid slipping in its collar.

Nike Free 5.0 description

As a matter of fact, the Nike Free 5.0 properly performed excellently for many runners, including me. Although I often use it for daily training, it still looks endearing. Excluding some qualms regarding its components, many other neutral runners appreciated this shoe.


Firstly, its outsole unit certainly uses the rubber material in order to protect its shoe sole from wear and abrasion. Also, the Waffle Pattern helps you much in absorbing the impact shock as well as ensuring that every step of your own is comfortable. The flex grooves in the Hexagonal shape are deeply divided and cut into its sole unit. Furthermore, they offer 6 points of comfortably and flexibility, letting your foot feel entirely free when you move in all desired direction.


Secondly, the shoe midsole is low-profile so it can maintain its lightweight nature which is considered its primary feature. Besides, its Phylon Midsole has the Material made from Foam Pellets under the name of EVA. Those pellets were placed whole into the mold. It is very comfortable and responsive so I may be able to stay secure and safe and when standing directly on its platform unit.

We should not leave out the rounded heel which encourages the most natural moving and striking of your foot. By this element, your heel is kept in place to provide additional cushioning to your shoe sides. The harmonious combination between outsole and midsole may enable the highlight design of its shock absorption to all wearer.


The upper of the Nike Free 5.0 was equipped the engineered shoe mesh to offer a comfortable and breathable coverage which is also appealing to look at and durable. Because these shoes do not have the heavy weight, you will not feel like your feet are dragged down completely by such material. Furthermore, the shoe upper was not equipped with sewing overlays which provide the structural integrity and stability to it.

Its lacing system is directly connected to its Flywire cables. The shoe offers me a truly adaptive fit which is also well-structured. This feature results in my feet to feel slightly secure yet snug when wearing these shoes. One of its favorable characteristics is the soft mesh tongue which is considered easy on my skin. It indeed allows the air to go inside the shoe and circulate. Therefore, the mesh tongue keeps my skin dry enough as well as free from the odor-causing sweat.

At last, the molded insole which is removable gives the contoured support for my underfoot. The metatarsals and arches are cradled to let you feel buoyed as well.

Nike Free 5.0 Review

Nike Free 5.0 Women

Comfort of Nike Free 5.0

In fact, the Nike Free 5.0 did meet my expectations when I wore the shoe at the first time. Especially, I was surprised how cushioned it was and still were it for my daily run. As Nike promotes the mid-foot strike which provides me the flexibility via the lowered heel without using the gimmick. You have to affirm that the change in the shoe upper showed the substantial improvement extent. If you are confused about selecting your running shoe, please set the Asics Gel Nimbus 18, Adidas Supernova Glide Boost or Speedform Gemini aside and try out this shoe to see the difference.

Regarding the benefit term, the shoe indeed brought me the full construction for its own seamless comfort. It is true that you do not expect the bootie design with the attached tongue to its upper, right? In comparison with the Nike Free 3.0, it is considered the ridiculously comfortable product. So, I think such part is what drives the popularity of these shoes. Along with the great look great, a variety of colors they are swoosh on each shoe side. However, sometimes I feel like wearing slippers with my easy-moving feet and it seems not to be matched with severe road running.

Fit and size

Previously, Nike was thought to intentionally make it shorter to let the runners move without socks. But it is not quite right. When I ran in the sockless status, I finally ended up and had some blisters on my skin. The reason for this is its upper was not seamless at all. For me, it sizing option is normally bewildering. There are some available sizes dedicated for the Nike Free 5.0 adhere to all standard measurements which were classified for women and men.

Meanwhile, the width of the shoe is medium and it accommodates me a lot as I have the medium-sized feet. Also, the semi-curved shape of these comfortable shoes strictly followed the natural and impressive curvature of your feet. Now that I mention weight, callout for its’ substantial weight reduce – adequate sincerely thanks to its material swaps. To compare shoes of one similar size, Nike Free 5.0 is about 0.7 Oz or 20 grams lighter than its precedent, the Nike Free 4.0.


Since the Nike Free 5.0 has been marketed as the minimalist shoe, many runners expected to finish shorter runs when wearing them. But the packed cushion of the shoe made up my mind. It felt more cushioned and smooth than both the Skechers GoRun and the Karhu Flow Trainer. If you want to find the same level of its cushion for comparison, I would love to suggest to the Mizuno Precision.

Because I already used it for a long time, the primary advantage added up for the shoe is the cushioning. If it has not been for Nike’s minimalist marketing which comes with the shoe itself, you would easily pass it as the flexible and lightweight trainer. However, the too small size marked the big minus point for the Nike Free 5.0. For this reason, I do not expect to go on the long run with the shoe.


Regarding its upper element, I did have concerns about the heel counter designed with the Huarache style at the first time I saw the product. But once it was on, I felt secure in my heel and have never experienced the heel slippage during the race up to now. As wonderful as its upper is the security and fit, yet it is considered not enough seamless to be gone without socks.

Furthermore, the square lugs of the Nike Free 5.0 have the angular edges while some of them can be felt particularly on the weight loading through their geometry virtue. For example, some areas under the forefoot and heel were determined based on the way the gait went relating to the loading pressure. So, compared to the Nike Free 4.0, the shoe switched the design of the legacy midsole with the hexagonal one. For further reference, the level of support it offers can be equal to the Salomon Sonic Pro.


Its refined layout entirely introduced the midsole movement in multi-directions as well as eliminated the transition gaps and sharp-edge corners. For the Nike Free Train Instinct, the midsole boundaries got even more rounded so it took off all pressure points along with smoothened landings to serve well for all heel strikers. Even the Nike Free 5.0 showed big enhancement in the midsole, its’ upper accompanied the design of its outsole made me feel a bit of incomplete state.

Despite its visually striking situation, there were some design areas which was assessed as being the lack of the functional refinement. It happened in the same way of too many materials placed in the flexed area of these shoes, causing its layers to touch and press on your skin. For me, it is such the tongue design that looked fancy with the split flap. However, the shoe let its lacing pressure come through and slid evenly to one shoe side during the run, just like the Reebok Zone CushRun 2.0. Furthermore, the medial cords named Flywire are particularly in its first row and have the backward slant. By this way, it applied pressure directly on my foot in an intrusive way.


As you can properly expect, the Nike Free 5.0 can be very flexible and unstructured. I am able to roll it up into one ball as well as twist it completely around. Believe or not? Get one and try by your own. Of course, my feet does not bend much but I intended to prove that it may not provide the structure for your flexible foot. Also, its heel counter can rely on the overlay which looks definitely like a strap of the Huarache sandal which is able to hold your heel down.

Unlike the Adidas Pure Boost X, the shoe underwent the massive process to makeover last year with the basis to redesign the radical outsole and midsole. During the past ten years, the basics to form the midsole of Nike shoes stayed unaltered. Then, we could witness the deep flex grooves to form the colony of many foam squares in this shoe. The Nike Free 4.0 and 3.0 might not have the guest appearances relating to the outsole rubber in the shoe forefoot and heel.

The above features gave it the unprecedented and free flexibility because the sole can splay out if needed. This can be defined as the fundamental design of all Nike Free versions. That design allows my foot the greater movement range as completely opposed to moving or running on the stiff midsole.

Quality and durability

So yes, the upper of the Nike Free 5.0 require several tuning-up while it has been redesign with the intentions in its right place. Sometimes, it is very hard to distinguish the difference arising between great and good aspect. With the solid design for its upper, the shoe was improved with the attempts to shorten and bridge such chasm. In the Nike’s year of meaningful and progressive upper upgrades, we may realize that the Flyknit Lunar 3 did correct some previous shortcomings.

While the Nike 4.0 Flyknits and the Nike Free 3.0 now come into a stage with the improved fit for the upper, the refreshed and new Nike Free 5.0 smoothens out all of its past problems. Now, the insides of these shoes are gentler on its skin than the previous version felt. You also should prefer its’ upper with the fused overlays made of synthetic, soft mesh, and the Flywire lacing having the cord base. With the single-density foam, its midsole has the 8 mm line from toe to heel offset. The durability of the shoe is presented by the outsole with rubber and foam pieces in the heel and the forefoot.


The shoe was tested on the road surfaces under the ambient temperature of 71° F or 22° C. If you want to distil its extent of the upper updates by dividing into 4 different areas, then the forefoot, heel design, Flywire placement, and tongue would be my choices. Its thick upper was wrapped around entirely with the synthetic leather. From my point of view, I feel that these shoes did not have the adequate breathability, with my feet becoming extremely sweaty and hot after several miles. This is a reason I recommend you not to log the miles with the Nike Free 5.0. Because I found that it is the smelliest shoe I have ever tried before.

Grip and traction

There are a downside and an upside to the cushioning amount of the shoe. Its’ upside may appeal to the wider runners. If you are looking to change to a minimalist shoe, the Nike Free 5.0 can be used as the transition shoe. It may be appealing for all runners who might not want the design of the midsole feature to promote the mid-foot strike, which found in Sketchers and Karhu.

However, the Nike Free 5.0 is indeed suitable for all biomechanically efficient users who are searching for the flexible trainer. Especially, the lower heel-to-toe function of the shoe is differential with the 9mm length.


Frankly, we have to conclude that the Nike Free 5.0 has a wide appeal. The shoe can serve well as the transition shoe if you are looking to change to minimalist shoe type. The downside of the shoe is that I found that it was too cushioned to serve for my purpose of looking for the barefoot experience. After Nike puts the EVA foam under Phylon brand name in the shoe midsole, it made me feel much firmer than other shoes of Nikes. For instance, both the Nike Air Zoom Vomero and the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus were equipped the Cushlon in their midsole. However, such firmness might not be sufficient to give me the feedback I seek.


The Nike Free 5.0 has the upper which was newly designed. It typically resulted in the savings for its lightweight characteristic. In details, the shoe with size 9 can be listed at the weight of 8.2 oz. However, more significant than the marginal savings in its weight is the stunning overall fit of the shoe. Its mid-foot has placed the Dynamic Flywire in order to create the secure fit but it is not too restrictive to you to move. That implied, it was far changed or removed from its barefoot slogan. Rather, it can be a padded shoe in an adequate way because it offers a high flexibility level without the common burden of excess weight for materials.


After choosing the Nike Free 5.0, my shoes came in fluorescent yellow and bright blue, making the surprised striking impression. The immediate impression came to my mind is that it retains the apparently lower of the Free Run 3 when introducing updates and improvements in its upper. These shoes currently offer you different color including Game Royal, Black, Light Retro, and Neo Turquoise.

And yet its design was not quite perfect. The deep and wide channels running for both sideways while its’ length-wise had the tendency to make more gaps. This direction was not great for the transition. By such design, I mean that one can feel some square lugs individually as well as the gaps as he or she went toe to heel or vice versa.

Previous version of Nike Free 5.0

Nike Free 4.0

The Nike Free 4.0 is known as the fast, reliable, and lightweight running shoe which is designed especially for neutral movement of the foot. It is dedicated for the runs with long distance and competition. In fact, the 4th iteration of the Nike Free models delivers the very natural and comfortable ride because it was created to offer the running experience with the feeling like barefoot. Therefore, it is responsive to each movement made with your feet. However, one of its ‘issues laid on the way its forefoot overlays made you feel intrusive and bend inwards while flexed. Differ with the Nike Free 5.0, its whole toe bumper owned the synthetic layering as well as 2 opposing ends for the first row of the eyelet which were bridged by the synthetic piece.

Nike Free 3.0

Like the Nike Free 5.0 and the Nike Free 4.0, this shoe is the most minimal yet free model with the new configuration for its midsole. Although the platform is particularly more rounded, with the curving from one side to another side. So, it will give you the unbalanced sensation if you stand still. But that symptom will disappear right when you move. The shoe may disappears on the feet, as its highly stretchy upper wraps around the foot. Such tight cover makes the laces be almost unnecessary.

Similar running shoes to Nike Free 5.0

We have synthesized and chose the following five shoes which is the most similar to the Nike Free 5.0. They are Adidas Pure Boost X, Reebok Z Belle, Salomon Sonic Pro, Nike Free Train Instinct, and Reebok Zone CushRun 2.0.

Adidas Pure Boost X

Whether for casual treks in the urban areas or daily running, the Adidas Pure Boost X will deliver durable and comfortable service to you. Featuring the specific design for women, it is the neutral shoe which offers responsiveness, support, and sock-like security for running sessions in the long term. It was constructed to support the women’s feet with the optimum comfort. Its color-schemes and appealing design also make it be more endearing, especially for anyone who require a shoe to serve the need of daily exercises.

Reebok Z Belle

With the comfortable features and endearing design, the Reebok Z Belle turned out a must-have item for women. They could use it to run and serve for their other daily activities. But the shoe back somehow irritated my skin. It was designed to make you feel comfortable on women’s feet. The scheme of light-toned colors also add up to its particularly endearing. In addition to its visual presentation, the shoe has the lightweight nature that is beneficial if you do not require to feel dragged by your chosen footwear.

Salomon Sonic Pro

The Salomon Sonic Pro is the reliable running shoe which is best for the narrow-footed runners. Furthermore, it is enough lightweight for the up-tempo training. The shoe was equipped with necessary technologies to serve for the short and long-distance running. It features the enhanced upper as well as the air mesh to deliver the breathable and lightweight upper coverage. Therefore, you can enjoy your comfortable ride. You also may be interested in its added support and given flexibility. At last, the performance combination of the Sensifit and Endofit technology which provides the more comfortable and secure fit even you run without or with socks.

Nike Free Train Instinct

The Nike Free Train Instinct is great for a plenty of athletic activities. It was made from the high-quality elements to deliver flexible support, protection, and cushioning to all runners. It is the solid choice dedicated for anyone who keeps the active lifestyle. Besides, flexibility is indeed afforded to its sole unit through its tri-star outsole structure. These are several triangular-shaped cuts in the shoe to allow your feet to move naturally. Also, durable rubber was placed in the critical heel and forefoot sections to ensure that it is indeed safe from tear and wear.

Reebok Zone CushRun 2.0

The Reebok CushRun 2.0 provides the cushioned and comfortable ride with sufficient pop to maintain training sessions efficient and dynamic. There is the wonderful arch support as well as surprising flexibility right on the top of its remarkable features which will allow you to enjoy your runs. In fact, Reebok brand seems to put priority in their shoes’ breathability so it is the best fit with this shoe. Its new mesh upper that includes the tongue part will make every of your runs cool and breathable.

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