Nike Downshifter 11 review and lab test

This shoe is a steal!

 

It’s extremely affordable, has a cool style, a grippy outsole, and can do a little of everything for the entry-level or beginner runner. 

Nike Downshifter 11 Pieces.jpg

The Downshifter 11 is comfortable on the roads, at the gym, and even just as an around-town sneaker. 

Plus that Nike swoosh had street cred!

Who should buy the Nike Downshifter 11

If you are on a tight budget or just need a training shoe on the cheap check out the Downshifter 11. There’s nothing super fancy about it, it’s just a solid, affordable running shoe with no frills. 

Who should not buy it 

Don’t buy the Nike Downshifter 11 if:

  • You desire something more high performance. Check out the Pegasus 38 instead. 
  • You want a super soft, plush riding shoe. Check out the Nike Invincible Run.
  • If you are not a Nike fan, check out the Brooks Launch 8 or Revel 5, both budget shoes as well. 

Runs wide for a Nike 

Unlike most Nikes, the Downshifter 11 runs a bit wide surprisingly. Normally my wide feet don’t agree with the Nike cut, but these seemed to fit well. 

The upper measures 97.8mm on the forefoot and 74.8 in the heel which is right around the average shoe (98.4/75.4mm). 

Nike Downshifter 11 Width.jpg

My heel had a bit of slip but there’s a second top lace hole for a runner’s knot if that’s a persistent issue.

Nike Downshifter 11 Lacing.jpg

Feels as you’d expect for a low-cost shoe 

The shoes feel fine on my feet, but they are nothing to write home about. They a bit cheap, but at $60 they are low cost and in the end, they are not as poor as I would have expected for this price point. 

There’s plenty of padding in the tongue and ankle collar to offer some comfort, and they breathe well which is usually the main downfall for lower-cost shoes. 

Nike Downshifter 11 Upper Toe.jpg

Nike Downshifter 11 Side.jpg

Nike Downshifter has a simple, flexible ride 

The ride on the Downshifter 11 is adequate. It’s a flexible shoe that flexes through your gait. At 26.2N the shoe flexes more than average shoes (38.8N). This gives it an unobtrusive feeling on your feet, but it also doesn’t have a ton of response or pep because of it. 

These days, lots of shoes have high-tech foam midsoles, and nylon or carbon plates, and this shoe is not as exciting as the newer technology out there. 

The midsole is firm too, at 32HC (average midsole run 22.8HC) it’s a bit dense under foot, and feels a slight bit harsh to run in for longer distances. 

Nike Downshifter 11 Cutaway.jpg

The other thing I don’t like about Nike’s lower-budget shoes is they cram the heel with foam for a high-drop experience. The Downshifter 11 has a 11.6mm drop which is just too much. Their other budget shoe, the Quest 4 has an amazing 13.7mm drop in our tests… Nike, even beginners don’t need this much heel! 

Surprisingly nice weight on the Downshifter 11

Surprisingly the Downshifter 11 weighs in at just 8.8 ounces (249g) which for a $60 shoe is pretty impressive, especially with 31.5mm of foam in the heel, and a padded tongue and ankle collar.

Nike Downshifter 11 Weight.jpg

This is one of the saving graces of this shoe for sure. 

Durability and grip

The shoe is low cost, so I can’t really determine if it will last a long time, but the outsole is super hard at 88.5HC (average outsoles are just 80.5HC) so it should wear slowly, but where this may break down is in the upper if it’s manufactured poorly. 

Nike Downshifter 11 Outsole.jpg

As for the grip, the outsole has mini 1.7mm lugs, which is great on a road shoe since they normally don’t have this much texture. It should be fine on gravel trails and dirt paths and had no issues on our road tests. 

Nike Downshifter 11 Outsole Heel.jpg

Just beware in the cold, as rubber this stiff can become slick when it freezes up a bit.

Nike Downshifter 11 Freezer.jpg

Missing any reflective elements

There are no reflective elements on the Downshifter 11 so be sure to be careful after dark in these if you are out running on busy roads. 

Nike Downshifter 11 Reflective.jpg

Nike Downshifter 11 is priced right

At $60 this shoe is insanely inexpensive and a bargain for anyone looking for a running shoe.  

Conclusion 

Looking for a low-cost, everyday shoe to run and lounge in, the Downshifter 11 may fit the bill. 

Nike Downshifter 11 Front Angle.jpg

Complete lab-specs overview 

  Downshifter 11 Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 249 266
Drop (mm) 11.6 8.5
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 26.2 38.8
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 39.7 50.0
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 51.5 35.5
Lace slip test with the knot (N) 35.7 24.6
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 3 3.2
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 3 3.4
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) 6.0 5.5
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 97.8 98.4
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 74.8 75.4
Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy) 3 2.8
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 3 3.1
Tongue: gusset type Both sides (full) -
Heel: pull tab Pull Tab -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 112.7 112.2
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 92.2 89.2
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 19.9 24.5
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 31.5 33.0
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 32.0 22.8
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 3.6 3.5
Lugs Depth (mm) 1.7 3.0
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 88.5 80.5
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 4.8 4.3
Insole: removable No  

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: 288g
Arch support: Neutral
Collection: Nike Downshifter
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: Walking, All-day wear / Jogging

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Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.