Nike Free Flyknit 5 Review

Nike Free Flyknit is considered as one of the most-loved neutral shoes in the training world. With great combination of an adaptive fit, fair amount of cushioning and a flexible form, these neutral trainers are great alternative for those who plan to experience barefoot running.

Nike Free Flyknit - Highlight features and technologies

Nike Free Flyknit 5 shoes
  • The Phylite is a Nike’s midsole technology, which is created from a combination of solid rubber (40%) and Nike-exclusive Phylon (60%). This helps enhance durability and at the same time offers more flexibility to the shoes.
  • The Beveled heel in the outer sole of Nike Free Flyknit encourages runners pursue a natural gait through promoting better forefoot and mid-foot striking.
  • The Flyknit Upper has a seamless design that provides a customized and sock-like fit. The upper is also made of lightweight material to keep the weight of shoes at a bare minimum and improve breathability and resiliency.
  • The Transtarsal flex grooves of the midsole are integrated into the outsole in order to provide enhanced flexibility and mobility to runners.
  • Waffle lugs designed in the outsole work as additional cushioning and protect the foot from landing impact and the underfoot from road debris and shock.
  • The BRS 1000 carbon rubber weaved through the waffle lugs in the outsole provides excellent traction on both dry and wet surfaces while enhancing durability and wear-resistance of the shoes.
  • The molded sock liner of Nike Free Flyknit is a removable unit made from compressed EVA foam, which adds more cushioning to the shoes. Besides, this molded sock liner also gives a more customized fit as well as assists in absorbing impact during landing.

Nike Free Flyknit 5 review

Upper

Knit uppers are very light, very comfy and fit like a sock. The upper is designed to conform to the foot. Additionally, for ventilation, this part is designed with air pockets in the toes to allow airflows into your shoes and has a Flyknit panel to help dissipate heat.

Midsole

Carved with the same sip configuration as the outsole, the midsole also encourage freedom of movement and a more natural running form. Very durable foam used in the midsole is a blend of solid rubber and the Nike-exclusive Phylon at a ratio of 40/60, which provides not only excellent durability but also an adequate responsiveness.

Outsole

The outsole is made up of a very soft foam-like material with hexagon pattern cuts, which allow for an impressive amount of flexibility. During your run you will notice how the outsole’s pliability allows your feet to achieve a fuller range of motion. Nike uses a beveled and decoupled heel to offer better ground contact, helps with the transition, and isolates shock. Be careful running on gravel roads because rocks occasionally get stuck in the outsole; fortunately, you will be able to remove them easily due to the elastic BRS 1000 carbon rubber used in the outsole.

Heel to toe drop

Runners will be happy to know that the Flyknit Free running shoes have a low heel to toe drop because this feature will encourage a more natural running technique and a barefoot running experience.

Comfort

Generally, Nike Free Flyknit 5s are very soft and comfy. The soft materials and sock-fit design of the upper allow me to feel comfortable in the shoes even without wearing socks. They don’t cause any blisters or irritation to my skin. I've worn them for short distances races and they are comfortable from the beginning to the end. There are no hotspots or blisters, no lost toenails on long runs. I can also put on and remove easily without taking the laces off.

Fit

They fit snugly on my feet like socks. Both the design and material make the shoes hug runners’ feet. When you tighten the laces, the entire shoe morphs to be tighter on the sides of your foot opposed to just having the top part squeezing to walls of leather together. But because of being designed to conform to the foot, Nike Flyknit Free is worn without laces. I was suggested to get a half size larger than my normal size and they fit me well.

Cushioning

The Nike Free Flyknit shoes are neutral trainers so certainly they have lesser cushioning than other stability and motion-control shoes. These shoes provide just enough cushioning to keep me from feeling every little rock on the road and make my feet look nice and comfy during a long run. The heel cushioning is low enough to enhance natural running technique but still provides good shock absorption during heel striking.

Support

Nike Free Flyknit is considered as a neutral shoe, which provides necessary stability and support to control under pronation. They have many supportive features. Flywire cables provide support without adding more weight to the shoes. However, there are not tons of arch support or padding underfoot, so they are probably not the shoes for you if you have bad arches and need a lot of support or cushioning.

Breathability

The revolutionary fabric used to make the upper is very light and cool. Knit-in ventilation holes designed at the quarter panel enhance breathability of the shoes. Airflow is allowed to come in the shoes for better ventilation. Moreover, a Flyknit panel helps dissipate heat to prevent foot from getting hot. Thanks to these great breathability properties, Nike Flyknit Free 5s are the perfect summer sneakers!

Flexibility

The Nike Free Flyknit shoes are very flexible to give you natural range of motion in any distance. The sole is firm and supportive yet due to the segmented honeycomb cuts, they still allow a lot of flexibility.

Stability

Nike Free Flyknit 5 is a flex shoe instead of a stiff one. Therefore, stability rating of these is lesser than other stiffer shoes. More stability could affect flexibility and natural gait of runners. Although there is a small amount of stability, it is not too bad. Because the shoes are neutral runners and used to encourage barefoot running experience so a lot of stability is not essential.

Also read: Best stability running shoes womens

Quality and durability

I walk a lot on concrete and was a little concerned that they may not last long. And after several months of usage, they are still working well without any sign of wearing out. You can probably just throw them in the washer without any problem. Nike enhanced durability of the Free Flyknit through a rubber outsole. You will be surprised by its resilience. Although it feels very soft, it doesn’t break down easily. But if you compare these to other running shoes of Asics or Brooks, they are not solid ones and their durability seems to be less.

Terrains

Nike Free Flyknit has flat under surface that is suitable to be used on roads, tracks and gravel terrains. The rubber outsole with waffle lugs seems to increase cushioning against slight road debris and pavement impact. They also have superb traction and grip to perform well on both dry and wet surfaces thanks to the BRS 1000 featured in the outsole.

Weight

Weight is usually a determining factor of shoes in running. In other words, this factor determines what kinds of activity the shoes can be used for. No one wants to run in heavy shoes. Caught this tendency; Nike produced a lightweight model like Nike Free Flyknit. They are rated as one of the lightest neutral shoes in the market. The weight of men’s version is 215 grams while the women’s weighs 172 grams. They indeed make me feel like wearing nothing at all. With a cloud like running experience, these will make you want to run faster and farther than ever before.

Look

Nike’s shoes look pretty awesome. They have a sleek design with vibrant color combinations. Whether you are looking for flashy colors or just a simple black and white pattern, I think you’ll find what you are looking for among numerous options. With a cross-marked design and pebbled color scheme, you will not have to worry if you get these shoes dirty. The dirt blends in with the dark color scheme making these great new look last longer.

Use

I use them for work and cross fit, walking and even speed training or a road marathon thanks to the soft and lightweight features of the shoes. The softer sides offer little support to keep your foot on the sole during more active sports; so don't use these shoes for anything that requires firm shoes. They have less cushioning so they are great for practicing a natural gait. They can also serve for barefoot running. However, because of little support, these are not good for sports/activities with lateral movements. Besides, I would not suggest using them for hiking in the woods because the mesh can be easily torn if scraped against branches or rocks.

The shoes come in a bit expensive. People had to think very careful before deciding to purchase a pair of these. And after using, all of them feel satisfied with their investment. Read the information above and determine whether the shoes meet your needs. If they provide all the properties you are looking for, don’t hesitate to buy a pair immediately.​

Nike Free Flyknit Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very breathable and comfortable thanks to soft and lightweight materials used to build the shoes
  • The weight is very light and can be used for speed training
  • Designed to conform to the foot for a sock-like fit
  • Enough cushioning to protect foot and absorb shock

Cons

  • The shoes are too stretchy
  • Durability is not high
  • A slightly expensive price

Similar running shoes to Nike Free Flyknit

Base on design, features as well as benefits that the shoes bring to runners, I think that Nike Free is the most similar model to Nike Free Flyknit. The price of these is a bit cheaper than Nike Free Flyknit but they are still packed with similar minimal features. BRS 1000 carbon rubber is used to make the outsole that enhances durability of the shoes and provides great traction to deal with tracks, roads and gravel terrains. Besides, these shoes also have other same features that you can find in Free Flyknit such as the Dynamic Flywire, waffle lugs, Transtarsal flex grooves, Phylite foam and so on. If you are mild pronators and looking for training shoes that can provide excellent protection and shock absorption while promoting a natural gait, The Nike Free will be surely the best option for you.

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Previous versions of Nike Free Flyknit 5

Nike Free Flyknit 4

Neutral pronators will fall in love with the shoes on roads, tracks and gravels because of the comfort and flexibility they provide thanks to their BRS 1000 carbon rubber outsole and the Transtarsal flex grooves. If you want to transition into minimalist experience, it is very difficult to find the shoes that have perfect mix of cushioning and flexibility. But Nike Free Flyknit 4 can meet your demand. The Nike Free Flyknit 4 offers a well cushioned running experience, which leans toward a barefoot-like motion.

Nike Free Flyknit 4

​In terms of fit, these shoes fit better than their predecessor. They have a more relaxed feel than the predecessors’ tight compression. The shoes are also designed with a right amount of support to control under pronation. Neutral pronators can also benefit from these if they want to have closer ground contact without affecting the cushioning. Other good features employed in the shoes are the asymmetrical lacing system, Molded Sockliner, Strobel Last and Flyknit construction in a seamless design, the Phylite foam functions as both midsole and outsole with the Nike Free Sipes and additional beveled heel in the midsole. Because of all of the above features and design, the Nike Free Flyknit 4 is a great neutral trainer for speed workouts, cross training and daily running.

Nike Free Flyknit 3

Compared to their previous versions, the Flyknit 3 shoes are much more minimal with a big amount of similar technologies and small changes from other versions. An excellent combination of breathability, comfort, ultralight support, stability and flexibility are found in the Flyknit 3. The upper is ultra-lightweight to give the best upper support to runners. The ultralight support of the upper creates significant improvement in terms of snugness. Most users warmly welcome this new feature.

The outsole plays an important role in providing durability of the shoes. The flat undersurface of this unit allows runners to run well on terrains like roads, tracks and gravels. Additionally, the outsole is also designed with non-aggressive pattern that offers superior traction to deal with wet and slippery conditions. The weight of this version is also reduced which is very ideal for speed work and improving performance.

More specifically, the heels of shoes have the ability to mimic the heel shape of runners that is very useful for those who want to pursue barefoot or minimalist-inspired running. The molded Sockliner also complements this feature, which conform to every curve of the foot to encourage more natural running styles and practice techniques. Most of the minimalist running shoes don’t have a lot of supportive cushioning in them. However, The Flyknit 3 has enough arch support and needed stability to decelerate pronation, especially, to cater runners who have under-pronation.​

Nike Free Flyknit 2

This version is well known for its sock-like fit and lightweight. Compared to their previous model, they don’t have big changes but some upgraded features to keep comfort and performance at a high level. The upper’s seamless design is improved to offer better overall fit and comfort. In terms of fit, the asymmetrical lacing and beveled heel allow a good adjustment. The Phylite foam - one of the exclusive cushioning technologies of the Nike is used in the midsole of to ensure a lightweight and low profile model, which are necessary for speed racing and training.

The Transtarsal Flex Grooves and the Nike Free Sipes still present in the 2nd version to provide and enhance essential flexibility. Like other Nike running shoes, BRS 1000 carbon rubber is used to make the outsole of Free Flyknit 2 for improved durability and traction to run well on roads, tracks, pavements and gravel terrains. This minimal outsole helps the foot have looser contact with the ground for a more natural running movement. This model is designed for runners with medium or high arches who can run well without arch or medial support. They are also called neutral pronators and supinator. Moreover, Nike Free Flyknit 2 is indeed a versatile shoe because it can be used for many purposes such as speed workouts, daily running, cross training, fun racing or marathons or other casual activities.​

Conclusion

I was extremely impressed with the nice comfort and fit, stylish and durability Nike Free Flyknit 5 delivers to me and I highly recommend these shoes for runners of all skill levels, especially for runners who plan to do the transition from traditional shoes to minimalist ones.

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