- Comfortable in-shoe feel
- Lighter than average
- Very flexible
- Foot feels planted
- Good grip
- Simple aesthetics
- True to size
- Durability issues
- Not for serious workouts
Who should buy the Nike Flex Control 4
Not as minimalist as the Nike Free Train series, the Flex Control 4 has some cushioning to it. You are likely to appreciate this trainer if you are after the following:
- an entry-level shoe for a very low price
- a light and flexible workout shoe for aerobic exercises, plyometrics, and similar
- a no-frills pair of school gym shoes
- footwear that can be doubled for casual, everyday wear
Who should NOT buy the trainer
As one of Nike’s cheapest training shoe offerings, the Flex Control 4 may not live up to the expectations of some people when it comes to durability. If you hope to get a more well-built and lasting shoe, you may want to consider paying an extra £30 for a shoe like Nike Renew Fusion.
Alternatively, Reebok offers a Speed TR model, which is also light, flexible, and great for agile workouts. It is a bit more expensive yet also more durable.
And if you are looking for a shoe that can handle some serious training sessions that involve lots of weightlifting, then it may be better to check out the more premium-level Nike Metcons. Some of their earlier iterations are offered with a generous discount. Also, you can check out the cheapest Metcon, which is Nike Metcon Sport.
For more options, see our guide on the best workout shoes. We monitor the market of training footwear and select the best models in different categories.
Comfortable from the first step in
We are happy with the in-shoe feel offered by the Flex Control 4 from the first step-in. We commend the great fit of the trainer, and we love how good it feels just walking around in it. We even used the trainer for walking around and we experienced no foot fatigue at all.
There are multiple design elements that contribute to the 360-degree comfort of this Nike shoe.
Soft mesh fabric in the upper conformed to our foot shape, giving us a snug fit.
The rounded toe box provided us ample space for our toes to spread out.
Despite being on the minimal side, the Nike Flex foam has enough cushioning that keep each step supported.
The collar and the tongue are both cushioned. What we like about the foam lining is it prevents chafing and blistering, as well as the foot from accidentally sliding out.
Keeps the foot feeling fresh
The trainer's front area is entirely made of breathable mesh. We confirmed that this is very efficient in letting the heat escape from the shoe.
You can also see how transparent the material is when put against a bright source of light.
Flex Control 4 is lighter than the average
Light as a feather - this is a pretty accurate description of how the Flex Control 4 feels on our foot. With its 9 oz (255 grams) weight per shoe, this Nike is significantly lighter than the average 10.6 oz (300 grams) among the workout shoes on the market.
We push this as a great option if you are after a very light gym shoe.
It is really flexible
The Nike Flex Control 4 is aptly named as it features deep furrows at the forefoot section. These grooves facilitate proper foot bending to support quick transitions.
In addition, the edges of the outsole sport a rounded design. This construction allows our feet to smoothly transition from landing to midstance, and finally to toe-off. We noticed that the beveled edges on the lateral and medial sides of this Nike workout trainer also facilitate fluid side-to-side agility.
Generally, we can describe the ride of this shoe to be very smooth.
The Flex Control 4 is indeed one of the bendiest trainers on our roster, being second perhaps only to Nike Free Metcon 4. The Flex Control is 23% more flexible than training shoes on average.
We assessed the shoe's longitudinal and torsional flexibility as 2 out of 5 (1 being the most flexible).
Your foot feels in control of the movement
With the minimal sole and highly flexible design, you can feel the ground much better compared to the more cushioned options.
We highly appreciate this construction as it really makes fast-paced workouts more efficient.
The Flex Control 4's cushioning is significantly thinner than what you normally see across gym shoes. Its heel stack (19 mm) is 3.2 mm lower than the average, while the forefoot (15.6 mm) is 2.4 mm less.
Note: We always measure stack height with the insole included. It is 4.1 mm thick in the Nike Flex Control 4.
Another contributing factor to the surefootedness of this Nike trainer is its fairly wide footprint. The shoe's sole is 111 mm wide in the forefoot and 89.2 mm in the heel. Curious that its forefoot is 1.3 mm and 2.4 mm wider than that of the Reebok Nano X1 and Nike Metcon X respectively.
We felt that the shoe's cushioning was not very soft either. It doesn't compress easily creating a steady platform to rely on.
Based on the durometer measurement, the Flex Control 4 is 20% firmer than the average for training shoes.
Disclaimer: We take 5 measurements with the durometer to ensure the accuracy of the result. The photo above shows one of the takes.
Not a shoe for weightlifting
We found that the highly flexible nature of the Nike Flex Control 4 makes it a poor choice for lifting weights.
It may suffice for working out with dumbells and lighter loads, but this is a no-no for lifting-oriented training. See how much the shoe forces the foot to roll forward.
Hard to find cheaper than the Nike Flex Control 4
With the asking price of £70, you can’t beat the price point of this shoe. It is one of the cheapest models offered by Nike, while on average, their training shoes hover around £110.
But despite belonging to the cheap shoe category, we think Flex Control 4 is good for its price.
But don’t expect much on the durability front
Unfortunately, it’s not the type of shoe that will serve you nice and long. We established the shoe’s frailty when it showed wear after only some time of use.
The bottom of the Flex Control 4, which is strategically lined with rubber, gives traction where it’s most needed. It is riddled with triangular treads that provide a multi-directional grip on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. We discovered that it works great for cutting and other side-to-side movements.
There is no full-length rubber outsole used on the shoe, keeping its weight to a minimum.
Simple aesthetics of the Nike Flex Control 4
It is a sleek one!
We are happy with the clean, athletic style of the Flex Control 4 which is so easy to match with various outfits.
Complete lab-specs overview
|Nike Flex Control 4||Average|
|Overall Internal Length||253.1 (men's US 7.5)||-|
|Flexibility of the shoe (N)||24.4||31.5|
|Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N)||36.5||42.7|
|Flexibility of the shoe (% of change)||49.7||45.1|
|Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||2||2.0|
|Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||2||2.5|
|Thickness - Tongue (mm)||4.3||5.7|
|Width Upper - Forefoot (mm)||99.7||100.1|
|Width Upper - Heel (mm)||77.0||75.5|
|Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest)||2||2.2|
|Tongue: gusset type||none||-|
|Heel: pull tab||none||-|
|Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm)||111.0||109.7|
|Width Midsole - Heel (mm)||89.2||89.9|
|Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm)||15.6||18.0|
|Stack - Heel with insole (mm)||19.0||22.2|
|Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA)||32.0||25.6|
|Durometer Midsole - Heel (Freezer 20 minutes)||41.0||36.9|
|Durometer Midsole - Heel (% of change) (TEST)||28.1||47.1|
|Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm)||4.4||4.2|
|Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC)||85.0||83.3|
|Insole Heel Thickness (mm)||4.1||4.0|