Nike Downshifter 10 review

The Nike Downshifter 10 running shoe is a cushioned shoe with neutral support. It is for runners who want an affordable entry-level shoe. Its design is classic, minimal, and sleek.

Runners with narrower feet might find that there is too much width in this shoe but the lacing system has enough range to compensate.

During my 75km test, I ran on pavement for approximately 75%, track 5%, and hard gravel trail for 20%. The shortest run was 10K and the longest was a half marathon. The pace varied from 5 to 6 minutes per kilometer. The Nike Downshifter 10 felt light, with plenty of energy yet a cushioned ride. 

Who this shoe is for

The Downshifter 10 is recommended for runners who are looking for an affordable, entry-level shoe that is lightweight and has a classic, minimalist look.

Who this shoe is NOT for

This Nike running shoe is not for you if you need a shoe:

The Downshifter 10 fits perfectly

The Nike Downshifter 10 fits like advertised. My 10.5 size felt correct with just the right amount of toe room. There is no need to order larger or smaller.

(Disclaimer: Sizing is based on the reviewer’s opinion: see our ‘Size Guide’ in the Facts Section to find out how most users find it.)

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Lots of room for the toes to wiggle

The Nike Downshifter 10 is roomy with lots of toe box width. Like other running shoes, such as the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 models, the top of the heel curves away and it can never dig into your Achilles tendon. 

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I wish there was a little more padding in the tongue

The tongue is padded adequately, however, I wish it was a little more padded so that pressure from the laces could be more evenly distributed across the top of the foot. 

After 75km, they still feel bouncy and full of energy

Whether mid-foot or heel striking, the Nike Downshifter 10 will cushion each foot strike well. I really had the feeling of my knees bouncing up as the energy stored by my feet landing was returned. They tend to propel me forward and upwards which is a really good thing.

Perfect right out of the box

There isn’t anything I found that would require any adaptation to stride or strike with this shoe. It’s fairly conventional in that sense. It may depend on the individual but nothing about this shoe would force any adaptation.

No slipping on wet surfaces

With the significant dry spell I had over the past weeks there was little opportunity to test the grip in rainy conditions. There was finally a day when it began raining during a run. This created the perfect test condition as the road grit mixed with the rain causing a slippery condition. TheDownshifter 10 gripped surprisingly well on this surface with no slipping and sliding.

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The Downshift 10 offers excellent breathability

The Nike Downshifter 10 has a mesh upper and has excellent breathability. During some extremely hot days between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius, my feet felt well ventilated and didn’t get overly soaked for those extreme conditions.

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Secure fit with no slipping

The shoe’s tongue is a little thin for my preference, but has wings on the right and left that assist in preventing the tongue from wandering to the right or left during a run. 

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There is one extra lacing hole near the top to help accommodate various foot shapes and adjust the pressure points. The heel is snug and the top of the heel curves away from your Achilles rather than digging in. 

Lace bite is a disappointment

My feet were locked in with no slipping but I felt some pressure points from the laces. It’s the sort of pressure that can feel worse in longer marathon+ distances but won’t bother most on shorter runs.

Nike Downshifter 10 vs Downshifter 9

What got better

  • Cushioning
  • Fit
  • Sizing
  • Toebox
  • Adaptation period
  • Grip

What got worse

  • Looks (personal preference)

The Downshifter 9 offers a more minimalistic feel. Not barefoot, but definitely you feel like you have less support and less material underfoot than the Downshifter 10.

Overall, the Downshifter 10 is a great improvement from its predecessor. It addresses most of the issues from the previous model - from the underfoot feel, fit, sizing, and traction. With its affordable price, one thing is for sure - the Downshifter 10 remains breathable. 

Both versions are recommended for new and professional runners who are looking for a lightweight, budget-friendly running shoe.

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 9.3oz / Women 7.9oz
Arch support: Neutral
Update: Nike Downshifter 11
Collection: Nike Downshifter
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation
Arch type: High arch

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Author
Nick Brindisi
Nick Brindisi

I have run competitively since 1976 beginning with 1,500M and 3,000 M track events, progressing through 10K, Half and Full Marathons and then onwards to ultra distances from 50K to 160K trail events. As a running coach, I love inspiring and helping Kenyan elites and less fortunate kids alike. I’m most content running in the mountains with big climbs and descents.