Summary

We spent 6.8 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

8 reasons to buy

  • The Nike Free RN Distance 2 looked very appealing to many of those who have tried it.
  • The weight and feel of this running shoe did not disappoint, according to some people.
  • Several testers commented that though the sole unit was soft and efficient, they were still able to get agreeable ground feedback.
  • A few purchasers lauded the cleatie design of the upper; for them, it effectively staved off skin irritation.
  • The toe box received positive feedback for being wide enough to accommodate natural toe-splay.
  • The breathable nature of the upper gained the favor of many consumers.
  • According to a number of reviewers, the outsole durability was fair.
  • The flexible nature of the Free RN Distance 2 was well-received by runners.

4 reasons not to buy

  • This shoe’s arch structure bothered a consumer; he felt that it disrupted the natural underfoot feel that’s usually given by neutral shoes.
  • Lots of stones got wedged between the grooves of the sole unit, stated some agitated testers.
  • A purchaser complained that the inner sleeve of the upper caused some blistering on the top of his foot.
  • The underfoot platform just felt wobbly under the foot, a runner observed.

Bottom line

The Nike Free RN Distance 2 has received some really great responses from many of those who have tested it. They enjoyed its looks, its breathable façade, and its flexible nature. They were also appreciative of its overall durability and performance on the roads. But some concerns were raised, particularly with how it was constructed. Still, it’s a solid option for many neutral runners.

Facts

Rankings

Among the better Road running shoes
A top rated Nike running shoe
It has never been more popular than this June
Better rated than the previous version Nike Free RN Distance

Expert Reviews

81 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews

  • 95 / 100 |

    Go the Distance with Nike Free RN Distance 2

    More photos

    After putting hundreds of miles on my Nike Zoom Elite 8 sneakers, I wanted a similar shoe with slightly more cushioning for my long distance runs.

    So, I landed in a pair of the Nike Free RN Distance 2. Best shoe I have ever purchase!

     

     

    In the past, I have had recurring injuries in my peroneal tendon (outer foot) and sciatic nerve. After running in my Nike Free RN distance 2 sneakers for four months and about 450 miles, I have had zero pain and no injuries.

    Thanks to the flexibility of the shoe, my running form and natural gait was corrected. When running barefoot, our body will naturally correct our form and gait to protect the body.

    The Nike Free RN Distance 2 gives your foot the freedom and natural movement of barefoot running with sufficient cushioning to run 14 plus miles.

    Midsole

     

     

    The midsole of the shoe is made of foam, which allows for comfort, durability and a lightweight shoe.

    The midsole is made up of two layers of foam, including Lunarlon foam. As a neutral runner with a high arch, the shoe is soft but responsive. I do not feel any extra pressure or uncomfortable stitching on my arch. My foot moves naturally through the midsole, which allows for a natural gait.

    Outsole

     

     

    The outsole is made of the same EVA foam as the bottom layer of the midsole. The outer is almost completely smooth with slits throughout the bottom of the shoe, increasing flexibility. However, the lack of grooves hinders the grip of the shoe.

    The Free RN Distance 2 has adequate grip for the road, but I would not recommend using the shoe on a trail or any off-road surface. Also, the outsole is round and wide. The shape and width are perfect for a run, but the outsole is too bulky for every day walking in the shoe.

    When walking in the shoes, I constantly trip over my own feet. Besides the lack of grip and bulky outsole, the shoe is very durable. I have logged about 450 miles, including a half marathon, and the shoe shows little to no signs of wear.

    Upper

     

     

    The upper is the best-designed part of the Free RN Distance 2. The shoe has a bootie design, meaning the tongue and heel are one piece. Note, the bootie is not a complete sock-like shoe.

    Since the tongue and heel are one piece, you will never experience the discomfort of the tongue sliding to the side of your shoe while running. In addition, the Free RN Distance 2 uses Flywire design, giving the bootie a snug fit.

    My only complaint about the upper is the laces. Most Nike shoes include flat, thin laces that lay naturally with the shoe. However, the Free RN Distance 2 has round, thick laces that don't hinder the comfort of the shoe, but they do not lay naturally with the bootie fit.

    Fit

    The Nike Free RN Distance 2 fits true to size. The toe box is roomy.

    If you have a normal to wider toe width, you will have plenty of room in the shoe. However, Nike does not offer different widths.

    So, if you tend to have a very wide or narrow foot, you may want to go up a half size or down a half size, depending on the width of your toe.

    Pros

    • Lightweight
    • Durable
    • Flexible
    • Minimalist shoe for long distance runners
    • Reasonable price

    Cons

    • Round, bulky laces
    • Outsole causes tripping when walking

    Conclusion

    Overall, the Nike Free RN Distance 2 is a flexible, lightweight, durable, and comfortable shoe that will meet all of your long distance training and racing needs. Half and full marathoners should seriously consider this shoe.

    If you are a neutral runner that prefers a very flexible run, buy this shoe. Maybe even two pairs. You will not be disappointed!

  • 74 / 100 | Solereview | Level 5 expert

    The Free RN Distance 2 comes with a surprisingly high number of updates, right from the changed quality of the upper fit to the overhauled outsole geometry. That said, it remains the cushioned Nike Free it was last year.

  • 87 / 100 | Gear Institute | | Level 4 expert

    The Nike Free Run Distance 2 is a shoe for efficient neutral runners who love the natural feel and motion of the Free series, with more substantial construction that accommodates everyday training. True to its Free series roots, this model is an outstanding option for midfoot strikers who want a minimalist feel without compromising speed or mileage. Its primary drawbacks are underfoot grip and durability due to the lack of any outsole rubber.

  • First look | 59,065,215 views

  • First look | Pavan Nadella

Become an expert
  • The Nike Free RN Distance 2 is a road running shoe that’s meant for people who have a neutral pronation. It features a smooth and consistent look that’s reminiscent of its predecessor, the original Free RN Distance. But this new one has a new design because it now employs a cleatie design, one that doesn’t have a traditional tongue structure.
  • The upper unit has a knitted fabric. It serves to keep the foot comfortable and free from irritation. Thin overlays are present, including an extra layer of the knitted upper material that runs from the mid-foot to the heel. The Dynamic Flywire cables carry over from the previous iteration, bringing with them the signature fit that’s prominent in many Nike shoes.
  • A carrier-and-core design is assigned to the mid-sole unit of the Nike Free RN Distance 2. A springy foam unit is placed in the middle of a more resilient yet equally responsive full-length carrier. This ensures consistent cushioning that won’t easily sag.
  • There is no traditional outsole layer in this running shoe. The carrier foam is exposed to the ground and it is also the one that’s responsible for traction and protection from impact, abrasion and wear. The Auxetic Tristar Flex Pattern accommodates the natural flexibility of the foot as it goes through the gait cycle.

Regular measurements were used for the length of the Nike Free RN Distance 2. Runners are given the opportunity to get it in the size that they’re most comfortable with. The available width for the men and women’s versions is medium. It accommodates runners with medium feet. The shape of the human foot is mimicked by its semi-curved shape.

The Auxetic Tristar Flex Pattern is comprised of a series of grooves that are designed all over the surface area of the external sole unit. These narrow channels are meant to encourage natural foot flexibility. They also help with traction since the Nike Free RN Distance 2 doesn’t have a traditional rubber unit.

The heel section of the platform is rounded, which means that a smoother rolling of the foot through the gait cycle is encouraged. It also makes each heel landing much smoother.

The Fused Lunar Core is a lightweight material that’s wedged inside a carrier unit. It offers responsive and long-lasting cushioning to the foot of the runner.

The IU002 Carrier System is the full-length material that holds the Lunar Core. Aside from maintaining the structural integrity of the foam that’s in its middle, it also serves as the outsole of the Nike Free RN Distance 2. So, it’s sturdy and resistant to wear and tear.

The upper unit of the Nike Free RN Distance 2 makes use of a knitted fabric. The smooth construction of this material makes it feel like a sock. It’s breathable, so it’s able to accommodate airflow into the foot-chamber.

A cleatie construction is employed in this shoe. This basically means that there is no traditional shoe-tongue because it has been fused with the upper collar, making a single opening. Such a design makes the fit smoother and more cohesive, potentially preventing hot spots and irritation.

A layer of knitted fabric serves as a saddle that goes from the mid-foot to the heel. It helps the rest of the upper unit when it comes to hugging the foot and keeping it secure.

The Dynamic Flywire Cables connect directly to the traditional lacing system. They adjust along with the tightening and loosening of the shoelaces, thus giving a custom fit. This element has been used in some Nike running shoes as well.

A pull tab in the rear section of the upper makes it easier for runners to wear and remove the shoe.

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