Shoe evolution continues with the Nike Free RN, the latest in the range. Time was a Free shoe meant an impossible low heel to toe number to cope with, but the latest 8mm drop is far easier to get used to. For the price, it’s a shoe worth adding to your collection for shorter summer running. It’s tagged as a distance shoe and the latest version lives up to that billing. You could check out the New Balance Vazee Pace v2 as a competitive alternative.
Runners of a certain age will be wary of the word Free but pick it up and straight away you’ll realise that this can cope with much more in the way of mileage. There’s some cushioning and some support. There’s some shoe under your foot! Think about the Hoka Clifton as an alternative.
Midsole cushioning has increased many times over for this version of the Free and no longer is the run about how the road feels – now it’s how your feet and legs are treated. A big improvement! The midsole expands in a number of different directions meaning stability is taken care of over a number of different surfaces, but not at the expense of natural movement. Free running is all about allowing your feet to move as they would without shoes on and this still provides some – not all – of that
Basically it’s like putting your socks on, such is the comfort offered. As we said, that used to be about it when it came to the support the Free offered but the single-seam Flyknit upper has targeted areas of support. Plus Nike’s Flywire cables give all the lock you need to keep your feet in place. Gone are the days of floating around in the Free, nowadays your feet are kept in position in what is an exciting, breathable, lightweight distance running shoe.
Free running has evolved amazingly and now this shoe works the best of both worlds. We all need to have some biomechanical assistance that takes us back to our roots, but thanks to the modern world, we also need some cushioning. The Free RN deals with these issues in a package that will be far more interesting to a wider range of athletes. Our testers reckon most will be able to get on with these shoes immediately.
Did the Free RN live up to its billing? Let us know your experiences