Summary

We spent 6.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

8 reasons to buy

  • The upper unit was agreeable to the shape of the foot, stated a runner; it was able to stretch in order to accommodate the foot well.
  • The breathability of the upper fabrics satisfied runners who wanted to keep their feet cool and dry throughout the running session.
  • Many testers used the word ‘comfortable’ to describe this running shoe’s components and its general performance.
  • Some users have been able to use it frequently and they wrote that it was long-lasting.
  • Several consumers noted that the Nike Free 5.0 was suitably lightweight.
  • The cushioning system was responsive and springy, according to many reviewers.
  • A lot of runners welcomed the flexible nature of the underfoot platform, which permitted them to move more naturally through the gait cycle.
  • Wearing this running shoe staved off any instances of foot or muscle pain, reported a number of consumers.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some of the testers felt that the mid-sole of this shoe wore off quickly.
  • The shoelaces were too long for a tester; they ended up slipping them in the collar, which added a bit of discomfort.

Bottom line

The Nike Free 5.0 performed well for a lot of runners. Most of them welcomed the flexible mid-sole unit, while others adored the comfortable fabrics of the upper. Some of them were able to use it frequently, and they were happy that it looked visually endearing. Though a few had some qualms about some of its components, a lot of neutral runners still appreciated this road shoe.

Facts

Rankings

Among the better Road running shoes
A top rated Nike running shoe
A popular pick
It has never been more popular than this May

Expert Reviews

83 / 100 based on 25 expert reviews

  • 87 / 100 | Solereview | Level 5 expert

    The updated Free 5.0 does not feature a gusset, and the tongue is free to go where it pleases, within the confines of a lacing loop. Leaving aside a few functional advantages over last year (we’ll cover that, as usual), it is constructed traditionally.

  • 87 / 100 | Solereview | Level 5 expert

    This is the year for an upper only change, but the extent of improvements turn out to be substantial. The most comfortable Nike Free 5.0 in recent times.

  • 85 / 100 | Runblogger | | Level 5 expert

    The sole of the 5.0 has the characteristic siping grooves that are featured on all Nike Free shoes. The sipes make for an extremely flexible sole that bends and rolls with ease.

  • 82 / 100 | Solereview | Level 5 expert

    The 2014 Nike Free 5.0 is part of Nike's major reset of the Free running line, with outsole design geometry and upper aesthetics taking a new leap forward. These changes translate into a shoe which has a seamless heel-to-toe transition, excellent cushioning and abundant forefoot room. Just watch out for the rogue forefoot seam mentioned in our review.

  • 78 / 100 | Solereview | Level 5 expert

    Flywire loops lead to undesirable degree of midfoot lockdown, underfoot heating, and potential irritation from inner seam.

  • 75 / 100 | Runblogger | | Level 5 expert

    So my rec would be that if you have a wide foot, or a thick foot from top to bottom, these shoes may not work out for you

Become an expert
  • Protection, comfort, security and natural movement. That is what the Nike Free 5.0 has to offer. This running shoe delivers lightweight cushioning and underfoot support that’s great for those who are just starting to get acclimated to running shoes. It’s easy to pick up and use, and it makes sure that the stride is as freeing as possible.
  • The mid-sole unit of the Nike Free 5.0 has a low-profile design to permit more natural movement of the foot. A more natural foot strike is encouraged because of a rounded heel that evenly supports and cushions the landing. Deep flex grooves make sure that the platform truly bends in accordance with the foot.
  • The outsole uses a waffle pattern to absorb the impact shock when landing the foot on the ground. Durable rubber is placed in critical areas where wear and abrasion are most likely to occur. Protection from impact and abrasion is quite a great feature for the external unit of this running shoe.
  • The upper unit uses a highly breathable material that covers the foot in a secure yet comfortable way. It allows air to enter the shoe to keep the foot dry and cool at all times, even when standing idly. Dynamic Flywire cables have been integrated in this shoe, making the fit more exact and tailored to the needs of the runner.

The Nike Free 5.0 is true to its size. The available sizes for this running shoe adhere to the standard measurements for men and women. The width is medium, so it accommodates the runner who has a medium sized foot. Its semi-curved shape follows the natural curvature of the human foot.


The outsole unit uses a rubber material to protect the sole unit from abrasion and wear. A Waffle Pattern assists in absorbing impact shock and making sure that each step is as comfortable as the last. This outsole pattern is also used in other Nike running shoes.

Hexagonal flex grooves are deeply cut into the sole unit. They offer six points of flexibility, letting the foot feel free when moving in every direction that it wants.


A low-profile mid-sole unit maintains the lightweight nature of the Nike Free 5.0. The Phylon, which is also used in the Nike Downshifter 7, is made from EVA Foam Pellets that were placed into a mold. It’s responsive and very comfortable, so the wearer’s foot stays safe and secure when standing on this platform unit.

A rounded heel encourages a more natural striking of the foot. It keeps the heel in place while also providing some cushioning to the sides. The combined mid-sole and outsole designs enable shock absorption to be highlighted to the wearer.


The upper unit uses the engineered mesh to provide a breathable and comfortable coverage that’s also durable and appealing to look at. It doesn’t have a heavy weight, so the runner won’t feel as if their foot is dragged down by the material.

No-sew overlays are placed into the upper to provide structural integrity to the unit. The Flywire cables are connected directly to the lacing system. It offers an adaptive fit that’s well-structured, causing the foot to feel snug yet secure when wearing the Nike Free 5.0.

The sandwich mesh tongue is soft and easy on the skin. It allows air to circulate, thus keeping the skin dry and free from odor-causing sweat.

A removable molded insole gives contoured underfoot support. The arches and metatarsals are cradled, thus letting the runner feel constantly buoyed.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com