5.187 users: 4.4 / 5
6 experts: 87 / 100
Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 8.4oz / Women 6.7oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 8mm / Women 8mm
Arch support: Neutral

Verdict from 6.1 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • Many users found the Free RN 2017 to be comfortable and lightweight.
  • The shoe offers a running experience that is similar to running barefoot on grass, as commented by a reviewer.
  • It provided a secure fit without constraining the foot, stated one runner.
  • Several runners appreciated that the shoe was very easy to slip on or off.
  • A lot of buyers mentioned that it is sleek and stylish at an affordable price.
  • A majority of users was satisfied with the flexibility of the Free RN 2017 as they were able to run longer miles.

2 reasons not to buy

  • The lacing system was not very efficient as it came undone several times while running, a couple of runners observed.
  • One user felt that the upper, particularly the apparently narrow toe box and flimsy lacing system, is an area that needs improvement.

Bottom line

The Free RN 2017 is recommended for runners who are looking for both cushioning and flexibility. Many users have been satisfied with the level of comfort and flexibility the shoe has provided. With its excellent durability, the shoe has met expectations of standing well to wear, even with daily use.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Expert reviews:

User reviews:

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  • The Nike Free RN 2017 is a neutral running shoe that is designed for interval training or long-distance road running, particularly on smooth surfaces like concrete and asphalt. The features of the shoe make it ideal for short runs, while its compact design allows for easy packing and convenient carrying.
  • Now featuring an updated upper, the seamless circular mesh works by providing more breathability, therefore allowing the foot to endure longer distances. The design of the façade also includes reinforced areas that promote a sock-like fit.
  • With its low-profile cushion, the Free RN 2017 provides the feel of a minimalist running shoe. It has retained the auxetic design that’s present in its predecessor, which works by expanding and contracting in tandem with the foot movement.

The Free RN 2017 has a construction of a traditional running shoe; therefore, its length is expected to be true-to-size. However, it is recommended to go half a size up for runners who have a wide-volume foot or prefer more room for toe-splay. The shoe comes in width profiles of D - Medium for men and B - Medium for women.

The outsole of the Free RN 2017 features an auxetic design with a tri-star pattern. It means that the outsole expands in size as the foot moves, therefore increasing the flexibility of the platform. The outsole is structured with the aim of mimicking the experience of barefoot running as it allows the foot to move naturally with each stride.

The rubber on the outsole is concentrated on the toe and heel area. Its purpose is to provide just enough traction to maintain viable surface control and steady pace. This rubber is also present in the Free RN 2018.

Made from a combination of IU foam and soft IP core, the midsole of the Free RN 2017 encourages the foot’s natural motion of expanding and contracting upon contact and lift-off from the ground. With its low-profile design, the midsole has a lightweight finish that allows it to be more responsive.

It also features a more defined Ortholite sock liner that mimics the curvature of the foot in a much better way than before. The top of the sock liner is lined with mesh as it aims to deliver shock absorption, while the rounded heel allows a more natural gait as the foot hits the ground.

The mesh upper of the Free RN 2017 is more intricate and more tightly knit than the previous version. It also incorporates softness and flexibility. Its circular seamless design includes reinforcements in specific areas so that it wraps around the foot like a sock.

The tongue is integrated within the internal cleatie of the shoe. It wraps the midfoot area and provides a snug and stable fit even before the laces are tied.

The lacing system involves the use of Flywire cables which are attached to the sole unit and the midfoot section of the upper. The laces loop around these wires, causing the whole upper’s fabrics to tighten or loosen in accordance with the preference of the wearer.

Size and fit

True to size based on 498 user votes
Small (23%)
True to size (75%)
Large (2%)
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Same sizing as Nike Free RN 5.0.

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Size comments

Got my normal size, fit as expected.. - Amazon

How Free RN 2017 compares

This shoe: 91
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $100
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 8.4oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
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.