Our reviews

/100 by , posted on .

When I first started running, I had some specific criteria when I was about to make my “sporty” running shoe purchase. This includes things like comfort, color, looks, etc.

Nowadays, when I make a purchase, I make sure that the shoe I’m about to purchase has the specific heel to toe drop that I want. It has a weight that falls in the range of what I consider as light, along with other things that I look for.



However, there is a key factor that has stuck to me all those years: budget. A shoe should fall under my kinda strict budget so that I might consider the purchase.

Nike Renew Rival was one of those shoes that grabbed my attention instantaneously with its low price tag, which is usually a good deal considering the ridiculous pricing points that Nike has been putting out lately. But was the renew rival actually a steal?


Specifications & fit

The Renew Rival is one of Nike’s less popular neutral running shoes. It has a classic 10mm heel to toe drop, and it features one of Nike’s less known midsoles called “Renew,” hence comes the name of the shoe.

In the age of carbon fiber plates, react foam and Flyknit upper, it becomes more difficult for a shoe to be under the spotlight. The renew midsole is comfortable and gets the job done. It’s nothing to ride home about, and it also compresses quickly.

My own pair had started showing some compression marks early on, faster than most Nike Lunarlon shoes, which are infamous for having their foam compress early on, especially if the outer sole is not present and the midsole serves as an outer sole itself.

This is, unfortunately, the case in the Renew Rival, which makes me question the durability of these shoes. If you flip the shoes over, you will find one of the most bizarre design decision that Nike might have taken with this model.



When I saw those tiny holes, I got instant flashbacks to the exposed Lunarlon with laser cuts that were put on the LunarEpic and the LunarGlide. 

Both shoes were like magnets for tiny rocks, which was the exact case with the Renew Rival. However, just as the aforementioned models, removing the tiny rocks and gravel wasn’t much of a hassle.


The shoes have a “booty” construction that is super easy to slip on and off. It has a pull tab on the heel which doesn’t have a counter around it. They fit true to size, and the toe box is not shallow and is slightly wider than most Nike models.

They have a mesh upper that is not restrictive and not very breathable. Also, this is not very durable since there have been some minor signs of wear on the sides of the shoe.

I’m not sure if it’s the result of a hard turn that I took with the shoe? I was very disappointed to see that the upper was tearing that early on. I had only put 50 miles on those shoes when the tearing had become visible.



I had also noted that there’s a minor hot spot under one of the lacing holes that I feel after a couple of miles of running, not sure if it’s a lacing issue or not but it’s definitely recurring.

Lifestyle shoe?

I must admit, the shoes look quite decent and they can definitely pass for a lifestyle shoe that you can wear to the office without anyone noticing that you are rocking a running shoe (not that there's anything wrong with that, but some companies have dress codes).

The Renew Rival has some decent “toned down” colors unlike most of the running shoes that have flashier ones (again, not that there’s nothing wrong with that either).



  • Price is cheap
  • Could be worn as an everyday lifestyle shoe


  • Upper is not breathable and tears easily
  • The renew midsole compresses easily and will lose its durability
  • The shoe collects a lot of gravel and tiny rocks


The Renew Rival is an attempt from Nike to make a low budget running shoe that is inspired by lifestyle shoes. In my opinion, I think that Nike had failed to deliver a durable running shoe with the exposed and prematurely compressed foam, as well as the easily torn upper.

I think that the end product was a Lifestyle shoe that you can occasionally use on a short run or to the gym. If you are looking for a running shoe and you have a tight budget, don’t invest in the Renew Rival. Instead, get yourself a pair of a more decent and dedicated model for running that might be on a clearance sale at any reputable online store.

| Level 2 expert Verified
Though it seemed impossible and uninteresting at first, running has grown on me, impacted my personality and became part of my workout routine. I’ve been running the hectic streets of Cairo for over 3 years now and I successfully finished 2 marathons, 3 half marathons, and an obstacles race.

Updates to Nike Renew Rival

  • The Nike Renew Rival is a neutral running shoe that’s designed for those who want to take to the roads. It makes use of modern design to accommodate the tastes of casual shoe enthusiasts and urban fashionistas.
  • The upper unit of this road companion is made up of a breathable mesh. It accommodates airflow into the foot-chamber. A soft interior sleeve hugs the foot and keeps it away from irritation. Printed overlays with stitch-reinforcements encourage a snug coverage.
  • Underfoot support is provided by the Nike Renew technology. It makes sure to provide soft cushioning while also ensuring a steady underfoot experience. It is exposed to the ground, acting as the outsole, as well.


The outsole unit of the Nike Renew Rival makes use of a ground-contact foam. This full-length material is responsible for providing traction and protection against wear-and-tear. There are molded pressure points that add a bit more cushioning for the underfoot.

Shallow trenches zigzag across the external pad. These grooves make the platform more flexible, thereby accommodating the natural bending capacity of the foot as it goes through the gait cycle.


The Nike Renew technology allows the underfoot platform to be soft and responsive, yet stable, as well. A full-length foam embodies such a configuration.

The medial midfoot section has a raised section that contours to the arch. Its purpose is to provide support for the part of the foot that’s not usually given attention.


A lightweight and breathable mesh serves as the exterior of the Nike Renew Rival’s upper unit. It allows air to enter the foot-chamber, thus enabling a breezy and dry running experience.

Thin overlays are printed onto the front and instep. These add-ons serve as reinforcements, bolstering the material and staving off any early damage. They also help in securing the foot and keeping it in place.

A slip-on design facilitates quick and effortless on-and-off. A traditionally separate tongue is not present to evoke a one-piece feel.

The interior sleeve is made of a soft textile. It aims to hug the foot in an irritant-free wrap. It also allows smooth and quick entry into the interior chamber.

Semi-flat laces loop through discrete fabric eyelets. Such a design permits precise yet non-restrictive adjustment of the fit.


The current trend of Nike Renew Rival.
Compare to another shoe:
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.