Facts

  • Discontinued
  • Terrain

    Road

    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.

    Trail

    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.

    Competition

    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
    $120
  • Weight
    Men: 8.8oz
    Women: 7.3oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Men: 4mm
    Women: 4mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Heel height
    Men: 24mm
    Women: 24mm
  • Forefoot height
    Men: 20mm
    Women: 20mm
  • Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Nov 2015
  • Special editions
Show more facts

Rankings

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

84 / 100 based on 14 expert reviews

  • 89 / 100 | Steve Hakim

    Nike Free RN Distance: The serta mattress of running shoes

    Formally, I feel like it’s important to note that I have been a fan of Nike and the Free RN series for quite some time now. I ran my first marathon in a pair of Nike Free Run +2, way back in 2009.

    At the time, I was convinced of the superiority of the shoe compared to others I had trained in. I was amazed at how light, flexible, and comfortable the shoe was.

     

     

    However, I was 19 at the time, and this was a time when my body could handle the impact of the road while wearing such a minimalist shoe.

    Over the years, my shoe selection changed and I began running in more “robust” shoes with more support, more cushion, that were subsequently much heavier (Asics, Adidas Boost, Saucony).

    Fast forward to 2017 and the last 3 months. I picked up a pair of Free Run Distance off a clearance rack at a Nike outlet store. The clearance was undoubted because of the size (14 shoes sell at a slower rate than the 13 and under sizes). At $50, the gamble associated with testing out the shoe was minimized.

    Performance

    In the beginning, I decided to put the shoes through their paces (pun intended) exclusively on treadmills around my local gym. This decision was made to help cushion my landing, especially at higher speeds.

    Cushioning

    Standing at 6’3” and 183 pounds, my legs and back take a beating during my longer and faster runs. Immediately, what I noticed is the resilience of the Lunarlon cushioning.

     

    Sole

    I expected the sole to wear down after a month’s worth of use. However, the sole is still intact and has maintained its shape admirably.

    Three months in and the shoe still provides excellent comfort. This is surprising considering the weight of the shoe (A size 14 coming in at a little over 9 oz). I expected “wear and tear” to be a more significant problem.

     

     

    When training, my runs fluctuate between 8 and 16 miles at an 8 mile an hour pace. At this pace, the Lunarlon performs admirably.

    The material provides an excellent bounce to each stride, making my runs feel efficient and effortless, which is surprising considering the minimalist heel to toe drop (4mm).

    Outsole's flexibility

    The outsole is also rather responsive, with the flex grooves offering excellent flexibility. While they do not “glide” me to my next step, I never feel weighed down during my runs.

     

    Upper

    The upper, a single layer knit with Nike’s Flywire cables, wrapped the arch of my foot perfectly. After only three runs, the shoe felt as though it was tailored to my foot.

    This leads me to my first complaint about these shoes: comfort comes first. This is particularly obvious when discussing the “deconstructed” mesh heel. Especially on longer runs, the integrity of the heel is challenged.

    At around the 10-mile mark of each run, I would become particularly aware of the heel losing its shape, making me feel as though the shoe was going to fly off my foot at any moment.

     

     

    Furthermore, the comfort of the upper becomes a problem if I lace the shoes up tight. When lacing the shoe tighter for added stability, the laces tend to dig into the top of my foot on longer runs.

    Upon loosening the laces, my foot begins to slide around the inside of the shoe, where the partial inner sleeve does little to keep my foot in place.

    Toe box

    The shoe also runs wide, with a boxier toe than most running shoes I have owned, which is a welcomed change considering the size of my foot.

    I can honestly say, that my toes were never inconvenienced during runs at any distance. However, when loosening up the laces, my foot tends to slide around more than I would like.

    It is also important to note, especially with Nike’s, that these shoes run a little small. In most running shoes, I wear a size 13-13.5. With Nike’s, my general suggestion is to buy at least a ½ size larger.

    Conclusion

    In general, I have enjoyed running in these shoes. Simply put, compared to my $200 shoes, in the Nike Free RN, my performance (speed/time/distance) took a hit, but my recovery time was shorter. Even as I transitioned to road running, my body never suffered.

    The breathable upper also eliminated overheating. Personally, I have started using these shoes for training, subsequently saving the $200 shoes for race day. While the Free RN Distance doesn’t excel in any specific realm, it is comfortable, resilient, and cost friendly. I recommend them.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 87 / 100 | Patrick Lister

    The Nike Free RN Distance: Minimalist comfort that lasts

    Let me just say, "wow" I was blown away by this shoe. See, I have worn basically every Free model since its inception and have fallen in love with many but none like this one.

    After all the years of running and walking around in this line, my one complaint was none of them were daily trainers. Finally, my wish was filled. Let me walk you through the details. 

     

    First impression

    So plain! I never bought these initially because they just seemed very uninteresting. The look is very basic and does not scream "wear me."

    You’ll also see quickly that they are flat — the 4mm drop shoe which is very uncommon in Nike shoe lineup. Lastly, you’ll see the familiar flexibility and lightness that is found in the Free lineup.

     

    Upper

    Nothing extremely notable about the upper in this shoe. Everything is basic, but it works. I absolutely love the idea of keeping it simple and functional.

    The upper is all tight mesh. It’s very durable and never had any tear or breakdown. Also, extremely breathable. If you do not like a tight fit, I would move up a size for sure.

     

     

    The tongue is ok and tends to slip to the side all the time. The lacing system is great. Love the flywire, it allows for a very snug fit which is a must-have for me.

    The toe box is wonderful. Not as narrow as previous Free models. Space in the toe box is a must for healthy foot mechanics.

    Midsole

    This is where it hits the mark big! Starting with the drop, the 4mm drop is something I’ve been hoping for in Nike daily trainer lineup, and finally, they answered!

    The midsole also brings forth excellent cushion. On top of the cushion, it brings forth minor arch support that the other Free models are lacking.

    The flexibility is still there. It's such a beautiful combination of support, freedom, and cushion. Big praise here.

    Outsole

    The outsole is similar to other recent free models. The bottom is missing the tread but is pretty amazing how good the traction is. I never caught myself slipping once.

     

     

    My experience with recent Free models was that the removal of the tread leads to quicker wear. Somehow though, this model does not wear like the others. After 350+ miles the soles are still intact.

    The bad, which many have read, are these just grab all the stones. I have to spend time before each run picking the rocks out — a big annoyance for sure.

    The feel

    This is not your typical Free shoe. I know most of you have tried them, I know they have a bad wrap in the running community. But these are different.

    When you put them on, you’ll notice the 4mm drop immediately. Me, not being used to anything less than 8mm felt very awkward at first. I had to wean myself into these things. The 4mm drop alters your gait cycle and needs to be adjusted to for sure!

    Like most Free models, these fit very snug and feel attached to you. They bring on immediate comfort mixed with stability.

     

     

    They allow for great mobility in the foot and also bring an awesome arch contact. There isn’t necessarily arch support, but these do bring something, which is much more than the traditional Free.

    You will feel the responsive feel on the foot which leads the foot to work as you run. However, your foot will not be as challenged with running as the regular free model. This will allow for further distance without fatigue and breakdown.

    The biggest takeaway is comfort! Wow, they feel so plush and as you run you will just feel cushion. With a minimalist shoe, the cushion is unbeatable.

    Performance

    So when I write on performance in any shoe, I have to think of what it’s made to do. For this model, the name is Free RN Distance. So, with this shoe I expect this to give me a “free” foot run that will allow me to go far. This shoe meets what the name says!

    You will still feel the minimalist barefoot-like run when you throw these things on. With it, however, it brings on the much-needed support and cushion most of us need, in order to run farther. This shoe was money for up to 10 miles which are about double the amount of the regular model.

    The cushion in this shoe will carry you for longer runs, for recovery runs and short runs when you feel like crap. I go to this shoe more than any other when I’m just not feeling the best before I run.

     

     

    These are the first Free model I use for daily training. Nothing fancy, not a specialized trainer for speed work, this is something you can use for an ordinary run every day if you need. Love it!

    Let me just say what? These things last forever! I have put 350+ mile on these things, and they are still alive. I never had a minimalist shoe or a Free model that lasted this long. I am still wearing them. Who knows how long they will last…

    The only bad performance measure is that they don't do fast at all. These things are strictly for a moderate, slow paced run. Whenever I do try to go fast they just don't respond. Way to much cushion type feel.

    Durability

    I have zero complaints about the quality of this shoe. If you are big on buying something that will last long, then buy these.  350+ miles and not much breakdown don’t lie.

    Use

    Daily trainerYeah!! Just keep it under 10 miles

    Speed Work Nah.. You’ll be unsatisfied

    Race Day -  Not excited about it for that

    TrailNo way!

    High

    • Cushion in minimalism
    • Value is superb
    • Free concept that lasts long and goes forever
    • Cushion
    • Excellent daily trainer

    Low

    • Not the greatest style, doesn’t catch your eye
    • Upper is bland
    • Sole catches all the stones in the grooves
    • Poor speedster

    Final thoughts

    So in closing, this shoe is for those looking for a minimalist daily training shoe that brings excellent value and durability.

     

     

    This has been my most used Free shoe and is currently the most used training shoe in my lineup. I have found it perfect for runs 6 or less and use these things multiple times a week.

    If you are a Nike Free fan, get this shoe!

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 92 / 100 | Jons Journeys

    It is a perfect balance of natural feeling and cushioning.

  • 82 / 100 | RockStarRunner

    I recommend this for marathon to half marathons.

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Updates to Nike Free RN Distance

  • The Nike Free RN Distance features the natural-motion outsole that had hexagonal flex grooves with six points of flexibility. It allows the foot to move freely and flex to where the foot meant to. It gives flexibility for a comfortable, long distance run.
  • The shoe comes with a lightweight cushioning that delivers enough support for high mileage runs. The soft foam delivers a great combination of plush comfort and durable support for distance runs.
  • It also features the single-layer knitted upper that delivers maximum breathability, keeping the foot cool and dry. The upper is engineered with the Flywire cables that comfortable wraps the arch for a more adaptive and supportive fit.

Nike Free RN Distance size and fit

The Free RN Distance has a close-to-the-foot fit just like the other Nike Free shoes. The forefoot and the midfoot area are in shallow volume, providing a snug fit for runners with medium and narrow foot shape. This shoe is absolutely not ideal for wider foot. It is available in standard running shoe size.

Outsole

The Free RN Distance uses the BRS 1000 carbon rubber extended in the entire outsole that delivers durable traction. With the aid of the hexagonal flex grooves that promotes maximum flexibility, the foot can move naturally. The waffle-pattern lugs deliver reliable grip on wet surfaces while giving added cushioning.

Midsole

The shoe has a soft cushioning and it delivers a durable and responsive ride. The fused lunar core gives a lightweight yet responsive cushioning and the IU002 carrier system offers a smooth ride while giving the necessary flexibility needed for comfortable and enhanced performance. This midsole configuration is also used in the Nike Distance 2.

Upper

The upper of the Nike Free RN Distance features a one-layer circular knitted upper that delivers an impressive fit while giving plenty of breathability. It also uses the Nike’s Dynamic Flywire cables that provide added support and adaptive fit without adding to much weight to the shoe’s overall weight.


Comparison