Nike Renew Fusion review

The Nike Renew Fusion is a versatile and supportive training shoe designed for a variety of workouts. It’s a reasonably-priced model that nonetheless packs a serious punch, with features that are well-designed for the fitness enthusiast. It is competitive with other budget-priced performance cross trainers in the market today.

Who should buy it

The Renew Fusion is recommended for everyday athletes or seasoned gym rats who are looking to incorporate a varied cross-training routine into their fitness regimen. 

Who should NOT buy it

This shoe is not recommended for:

  • those who perform very heavy weightlifting exercises regularly, especially standing exercises like squats and deadlifts (the Nike Metcon 7 is a good shoe for lifting)
  • people with wide or flat feet (see this list of Nike wide running shoes)

How I tested the Nike Renew Fusion

Here is a detailed look at the activities on which I tested my pair of Nike Renew Fusion. I perform at least some of the following exercises, on a rotating basis, during my workouts:

  • Lower body: Kettlebell squats, bodyweight squats, kettlebell swings, hip raises, weighted or unweighted lunges, wall-sits, jump-squats, and deadlifts.
  • Upper body: Chest press, shoulder raises/overheads, lat pulls, bicep curls, pull-ups, farmer’s carry, kettlebell shoulder raises.
  • Full body: Jumping jacks, burpees, push-ups, planks, ab-roller, medicine-ball crunches.

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Superb support and foothold

The Nike Renew Fusion offers absolutely superb lateral support. A hard rubber cage wraps around the midfoot of the shoe, preventing unwanted side-to-side foot motion from occurring during a workout. The cage extends from the shoe’s midsole to the lace area on both sides of the shoe. 

My feet felt locked-in and stable for every exercise from squats to shoulder raises. This kind of support is also very useful for interval training or HIIT-type workouts. It is probably the shoe’s very best feature.

The Nike Renew Fusion also sports a plastic wedge under the arch of the foot, which provides ample support in this area. This worked well for my high-arched feet. However, those with flatter feet might find the degree of support offered by these shoes to be uncomfortable.

True-to-size but narrow width

I found the Nike Renew Fusion to be true to size for me. I measure a 9-to-9.5 (medium width) on a Brannock device, and this shoe fitted as I would expect in this size length-wise. 

However, I did find the shoe to be just a bit narrow in width. This wasn’t a problem for me, since I don’t have wide feet and prefer a snug fit. But those with wide feet are advised to avoid this model. 

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Exceptional cushioning in the Renew Fusion

The Renew cushioning system used in this shoe provided exceptional cushioning for training routines. This cushioning seemed very springy, yet also firm. I found that the balance between energy return and support was just perfect for a variety of activities from standing exercises like squats or kettlebell swings to dynamic moves like jump squats or lunges. These shoes would also perform very well on cardio equipment like an elliptical.

Sloped midsole limits use for heavy lifts

The Nike Renew Fusion is built on a sloped midsole platform, with the heel being higher than the forefoot. This sloped design is not as stable as a flat-soled shoe for heavy lifting. I found that I felt less balanced on deadlifts and squats in these shoes than I do in my Nike Metcons or even basic Converse.

If you are a heavy lifter, I don’t recommend these shoes for standing lifts that require your feet to be sturdily planted. 

No break-in period in the Renew Fusion

This shoe was comfortable from moment one through every workout I performed. It required no break-in. There were no hot spots or areas of uncomfortable chafing anywhere on this shoe.

Stable and grippy outsole

The Nike Renew Fusion boasts an outsole that is wider and longer than the upper of the shoe. This provides a feeling of grounding and stability during workouts. The outsole is also sufficiently grippy, with areas of traction on the rearfoot and forefoot. I felt very surefooted during all of my exercises with this well-designed outsole structure. The outsole is also quite flexible at the forefoot, which proved helpful for lunges.

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Breathable and tough upper

The upper of the Nike Renew Fusion is one of this shoe’s best features. The upper is perforated for breathability, which really kept my feet cool through some intense workouts during the heat of the summer. 

However, the upper is also reinforced with a tough material called Nike Skin, which has been added in high-wear areas over the forefoot and toebox. This material does not restrict the shoe’s flexibility or breathability, yet it makes the shoe very resistant to scuffs or tears. For this reason, I found the Nike Renew Fusion to be very durable.

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The shoe tongue is gusseted and padded, holding my feet in place and not slipping around at all during motion. The collar area of the shoe is very comfortable and soft, preventing chafing.

The Renew Fusion has a sturdy heel

The Nike Renew Fusion boasts a firm, rigid heel cup that locks the foot into place for a great support. The heel area of the outsole also extends back beyond the shoe’s heel cup. This prevents any rearfoot wobbling during all types of exercise. The combination of these two features makes these shoes feel very sturdy to create a solid foundation for the body during exercise.

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Weight is not an issue in the Renew Fusion

This shoe weighs 11.75 oz., making it a lightweight option for exercise. My feet did not feel overly weighed down during any type of fitness activity, including jumps. This shoe is definitely not a brick.

Contemporary style

The Nike Renew Fusion is very contemporary-looking, with a thick midsole and a sleek profile. It is clearly a gym shoe but could work for casual wear as well. It is a far cry from the bulky white leather “dad shoes” of the 1990s but retains just a hint of retro styling. The modern design of this shoe adds to its versatility. 

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Good value for money

The Nike Renew Fusion retails for around $80 but can easily be found for less. Given the many great features that this shoe offers, this model is truly a terrific value for the money. It is one of the very best budget trainers I have ever tried and is competitive with much more expensive models in terms of overall performance.

Tip: see the best hiit training shoes.

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Author
David Cooley
David Cooley

I’m Dave Cooley, a forty-something father of two and a fitness enthusiast living in the suburbs outside of San Diego. I have been able to maintain a good fitness routine since I decided to begin running in 1998. I run about 10 miles per week as well as lifting weights, hiking and practicing yoga. My focus has always been on maintaining a sustainable fitness routine which can be incorporated into my busy life, and I also want to model for my children that adults can be fit and healthy.