Nike Downshifter 9 review

The Nike Downshifter 9 running shoe is a neutral support shoe with some cushioning. It is for runners who want an affordable entry-level shoe with lots of styles. If high mileage and top-end performance are required, I  would move up to one of the high-performance models from Nike.

During my test, I ran on pavement for approximately 75% and hard gravel trail for 25%. The runs were typically 10K. The pace varied from 5 to 6 minutes per kilometer. The Nike Downshifter 9 felt light but lacked cushioning.

Who should buy it

The Nike Downshifter 9 is recommended for runners who:

  • want an affordable, entry-level shoe
  • need a lightweight, daily training shoe

Who should NOT buy it

Consider other models if you:

Go half or full size up

The Nike Downshifter 9 fits between half a size to a full size small. My 10.5 size felt slightly short with my big toe touching the end.

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(Disclaimer: Sizing is based on the reviewer’s opinion: see our ‘Size Guide’ in the Facts Section to find out how most users find it.)

The upper of the Downshifter 9 could be improved

The Nike Downshifter 9 is not as roomy as I like particularly in width. The upper feels flimsy and fits really snugly pushing my toes together. The top of the heel dug slightly into my Achilles tendon.

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The tongue is padded adequately, however could use a little more. The tongue lacks the side flaps and had a tendency to creep to the right or left under the laces.

The Nike Downshifter 9 rides like a minimalist shoe

Energy return is adequate but cushioning feels a lot more minimal. If you are a lighter runner who strikes lightly then these entry-level shoes may be for you. 

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Needs to get used to the low-profile cushioning

I found myself trying to minimize the impact as much as possible because the cushioning is minimal. After 2 or 3 runs I was used to how I needed to modify my gait, primarily being sure to mid-foot strike.

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Not for wet surfaces and sharp bend

The Nike Downshifter 9 felt like there was a tendency to slip if the roads were wet due to fresh rain. It didn’t feel slippery like ice, but perhaps a little slip particularly running around a sharp bend.

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Breathability is not an issue

The Nike Downshifter 9 has a very thin and flexible mesh upper and has excellent breathability.

Thin, flimsy upper of the Downshifter 9

While I really like the round laces, I found that the upper, in general, is a little thin and flimsy. Perhaps the idea is to reduce hot spots and blisters, but the reality I found was it didn’t have much shapes to it so whether I tied the laces tightly or loosely, I felt like my toes were squeezed together. This sort of squeeze can result in toe blisters.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Popularity

The current trend of Nike Downshifter 9.
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Author
Nick Brindisi
Nick Brindisi

I have run competitively since 1976 beginning with 1,500M and 3,000 M track events, progressing through 10K, Half and Full Marathons and then onwards to ultra distances from 50K to 160K trail events. As a running coach, I love inspiring and helping Kenyan elites and less fortunate kids alike. I’m most content running in the mountains with big climbs and descents.