6.017 users: 4.3 / 5
15 experts: 85 / 100
Terrain: Road
Heel to toe drop: Men 6mm / Women 6mm
Arch support: Neutral
Pronation: Neutral Pronation

Verdict from 6.9 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • Several consumers felt that the cushioning system was suitably agreeable for short running sessions and urban walks.
  • The cleatie design of the upper unit allowed the foot to enter the interior chamber with ease, according to a handful of testers.
  • Some people noted that the Nike Free RN 5.0 was a solid choice for those who are just starting to get the hang of running.
  • A majority of purchasers reported that the sizing scheme and width profiles followed their expectations.
  • The flexibility was welcomed by those who liked to encourage the natural movement of their feet.
  • The upper unit stretched and acclimated itself to the inherent swelling and bending capacity of the foot as it moved, based on a few reviews.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Several reviewers warned that the Free RN 5.0 was not a reliable shoe for long-distance racing as it didn’t have a supportive midsole construction.
  • A couple of runners claimed that the fit was a bit tight; they recommended sizing up to achieve a relaxed in-shoe feel.
  • The laces were a tad short, according to a handful of consumers.

Bottom line

Neutral pronators and road running fans are the target market of the Nike Free RN 5.0. The shoe was able to receive mostly positive feedback from Nike running shoe enthusiasts and those who like to take to the roads. The cushioning system was highlighted as the element that turned their heel-to-toe transitions into enabled actions. The form-fitting upper was also praised. On the other hand, the sizing scheme received mixed responses because while some people felt that it trailed expectations, others deemed a tightness that required sizing up.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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User reviews:

REI, Jack Rabbit and 17 other shops don't have user reviews

  • The Free RN 5.0 is a neutral running shoe that’s designed for those who like flexibility and style in a single package. The design philosophy behind this product focuses on encouraging and heightening the natural motion of the foot. It has a low profile and an uncluttered look to accentuate modernized aesthetics and the minimalistic approach that is common with the Free RN line.
  • Low-Density foam is used for the midsole unit of this model. The full-length piece is tasked with mitigating impact shock during the landing phase, yet its softness allows the foot to feel the ground effortlessly. Only two rubber nodes adorn the external pad, and they’re only found on the forefoot and heel. The exposed foam exhibits more of the intended proprioception and flexibility.
  • The Nike Free RN 5.0 is touted to be 2 millimeters closer to the ground and 26% more bendable than the Free RN models that have come before it.

The Nike Free RN 5.0 was constructed to be true to size. It is available in full and half-size variants. When it comes to width, the available options are D – Medium and B – Medium for men and women, respectively.

It is worth noting that there have been complaints about the in-shoe experience, with some people claiming that the fit was tighter than their usual fare. The testers have encouraged opting for a size-up since alternate width profiles are not available.

The outsole unit of the Nike Free RN 5.0 is primarily made up of ground-contact foam, which is the same piece that is used for the underfoot platform. This design radically shaves off weight and improves the flexibility of the shoe’s base.

The bending capacity of the platform is the responsibility of the grid-like sipes that adorn the entire outsole. These deep cuts allow the foam to accommodate the flexing of the toe joints as they gear themselves for the liftoff phase. They also smoothen the entire stepping motion by not limiting the anatomical structure of the foot.

Rubber nodes cover the high-wear areas, namely the heel and forefoot. These small knobs have the job of shielding the foam midsole from abrasion, saving it from damage or debilitation of form. Rubber has a natural ability to grip, so the betterment of surface control is possible with such an inclusion.

The midsole unit of the Nike Free RN 5.0 is made up of Cushlon, a compound derived from foam and rubber. This piece runs the entire length of the shoe, offering support to the whole underfoot. It attenuates impact shock when taking each step and retains its form through the miles.

The foam has a low-density construction, which means that the foot is allowed the capacity to feel the ground with each step, thereby heightening the personal sense of equilibrium and quality of performance. Those who like minimalist running shoes are likely to enjoy such an emphasis on proprioception.

A thin insole offers a bit more cushioning for the foot-pad. It can be removed or replaced with a custom insert if the wearer wants to do so.

A single-layer mesh is used for the upper unit of the Nike Free RN 5.0. This material holds the foot in place while also welcoming its natural shape. It has many breathing holes to allow air into the interior compartment, thus sustaining a cool and dry environment for the foot.

A wraparound panel made of synthetic material reinforces the main mesh façade, keeping it upright and looking consistently sturdy. The ends of the overlay link to the lacing system, furthering the supportiveness and adjustability of the silhouette.

A stretchy fabric serves as the receiver of the heel. This elastic cover contours itself to the shape of the foot’s rear, embracing it and keeping it from moving erratically while inside the foot-chamber.

A traditional tongue unit is absent, through a lightly padded instep cover is present. This one-piece-opening design fundamentally caters a sock-like fit as it mimics the seamlessness of a fabric sock. The lack of a separate tongue improves the potential for a secure wrap that is free of hot spots and chafing.

A forefoot cap protects the toes from small debris. This layer also prevents the toes from rubbing against the mesh and causing tears.

The asymmetrical lacing system follows the curved outline of the bridge of the foot. Such a configuration makes sure to lock the foot in its place without pinching areas that aren’t parallel to the placement of the crisscrossing shoestrings.

The back of the collar and the lateral side of the forefoot feature reflective prints. These capsule-shaped add-ons make the shoe more visible at night. It’s a safety feature for those who like to exercise in low-light conditions.

Size and fit

True to size based on 403 user votes
Small (26%)
True to size (71%)
Large (3%)
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Same sizing as Nike Free RN 2018.

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Forefoot fit
Narrow Wide
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Tight Roomy

How Free RN 5.0 compares

This shoe: 89
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $100
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 6mm
All shoes average: 8mm
0mm 11mm+
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.