Updates to Nike Flyknit Racer

  • The Nike Flyknit Racer is a unique-looking running shoe as it has a vibrant and street-ready façade, yet it’s geared for competitions and extended running sessions. The upper unit is made up of Flyknit, a cloth-like material that is soft against the skin. It has a multi-weave construction, though the midfoot and rear have open, see-through designs that contrast the close-knit structure of the forefoot section.
  • Though this road companion looks deceptively flimsy because of its thin upper unit, some of the technologies it employs contribute to the durability and the security of the foot. These features include a stretchy collar that embraces the base of the lower leg and a full set of Flywire cables that interlock with the midfoot section’s Flyknit yarns.
  • Underfoot cushioning is the responsibility of multiple pieces that grace the midsole unit of the Nike Flyknit Racer. The primary element is the Phylon, a full-length foam that doles out bouncy liftoffs and tempered foot-strikes. A malleable plastic cassette filled with air is inserted into the forefoot section to add more energy to every step. A rubber compound with mildly protruding traction nodes protects against wear-and-tear while also doling out surface control.

Size and fit

The Flyknit Racer is true to its size. It’s available in a variety of sizes that adhere to what the runners are most accustomed to. The heel, mid-foot and forefoot areas have medium measurements. The shoe comfortably accommodates those with narrow-to-medium foot dimensions.

The Nike Flyknit Racer was crafted using the regular measurements. When it comes to size, runners are welcome to get a pair using the formats with which they’re most accustomed. The width profiles are D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.

While medium foot dimensions and low-to-average foot volumes are suited for this neutral shoe, runners are still advised to try on the shoe first or research online on the fit and sizing expectations to achieve a pleasing in-shoe experience.


The outsole unit of the Nike Flyknit Racer is comprised of durable rubber. This layer aims to protect against the abrasive nature of the asphalt, especially since more of it is concentrated on the high-wear areas of the forefoot and heel.

Arrow-like protrusions pockmark the external pad. These nodes are meant to heighten surface grip, thus enabling precise movements on the roads. Swerves, brakes, and turns are techniques that can benefit from additional control from the outsole.


Phylon is the technology that’s used for the midsole unit of the Nike Flyknit Racer. This compound runs the entire length of the shoe, aiming to cushion the whole foot-pad at all times. It’s made to be springy and flexible yet also durable and stable.

A Zoom Air unit is placed in the forefoot section of the platform. This plastic cassette has compressed air in its hollow space. It serves as an extra layer of cushioning, giving additional oomph to the performance. This material is also used in some popular Nike running shoes like the Nike Pegasus 35 and Nike Vomero 14

An insole adds a bit more cushioning for the underfoot. The support given by this add-on is subtle, but it removes the unsavory feeling of standing on the relatively firm shoe-last. It can be detached or replaced with a new one if the wearer wants to do so.


Flyknit serves as the Nike Flyknit Racer’s upper unit. This material resembles woven cloth. It is soft, flexible, and able to accommodate the natural shape of the human foot as it bends and swells during the run. It has an open midfoot and heel construction to encourage the flow of air.

Dynamic Flywire cables link the lacing system and the Flyknit façade. These stretchy wires adapt to the tightening or loosening of the shoelaces, thus giving a snug yet customizable in-shoe hug.

A thin yet stretchy collar secures the ankles and the heel. This material has the structure of a sock’s garter opening. It holds the ankles and the heel in place, preventing in-shoe wobbling and accidental shoe removals.

A pull-tab is stitched onto the back of the shoe. This fabric loop is meant to help the wearer when it comes to widening the opening of the shoe and facilitating the foot into, and outside of, the foot-chamber.

Other shoes in the Flyknit family

Nike Epic React Flyknit

The Epic React Flyknit is a product of innovation. This entry into the global roster of shoes for neutral pronators features a technology that Nike is proud of: the Reach midsole. This seemingly bog-standard foam is actually made of a compound that is able to carry the weight of the wearer and still retain its form. It is light, flexible and responsive to movements. Many consumers were happy because they can get their needs from a midsole technology without sacrificing comfort or springiness. Moreover, a thermoplastic polyurethane clip is added to the rear portion of the platform to bolster heel stability and impact attenuation. What’s not to like about a shoe that attends to your foot at all times?

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

One can describe the LunarEpic Flyknit as a running shoe that poses as a sock. This statement isn’t a means of putting a negative view of the product; in fact, the sock-like construction of this shoe’s upper unit is one of the elements that elevate it to the realm of highly regarded shoe-designs. Nike gave the world extreme comfort and freedom of movement with the Flyknit technology, refining it with every iteration of performance footwear that they release throughout the years. The natural evolution of the cloth-like upper would be one that resembles those accoutrements that people wear before donning shoes, a step that fundamentally permits sock-less running experience.

Serving as the midsole unit of this running shoe is a full-length Lunarlon, which is mainly a soft center that’s encased in a Phylon carrier foam. Both elements contribute to an energized and well-mitigated step. Traction pods with flexibility-enhancing laser siping make up the outsole unit.

Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018

The Free RN Flyknit 2018 aims to encourage the natural capacity of the foot to move through the gait cycle. The underfoot platform supports the foot, but it is not stiff. One can fold the shoe or twist it, and the entire thing will just spring back to its original form. That’s the flexibility that the Free RN Flyknit 2018 boasts. The much-lauded Tri-Star pattern graces the outsole unit. This design is made up of hexagonal sipes and three-pronged holes that make the platform as flexible as possible.

On the upper of this running shoe is Flyknit that’s interlaced with stretchy yarn. These elastic strings cause the façade to envelop the foot, tracing its shape and motion as it rests or goes through the running cycle. ‘Free’ is a name that indeed describes this road companion.

Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit

The Zoom Fly Flyknit is considered to be a reimagining of the well-regarded Zoom Vaporfly 4%. The difference between the two is the former’s use of the Nike React foam. The technology replaces the ZoomX, a similar-looking cushioning unit that isn’t as durable or as full-bodied as the touted ‘counterpart of the boost™.’

The ghillie lacing system employed on the upper staves off any hot spots while maintaining a secure and accommodating fit. It complements the minimalistic design of the one-piece Flyknit upper by being discreet and simple to look at.

A lot of people say that the Zoom Fly Flyknit is a one-for-one mirror-image of the Vaporfly 4%. Yes, it is. But it has incorporated significant improvements that allow it to be a cut above the prior models.

The history of Flyknit

Before the year 2012, the world was okay with the elements that were featured in their running shoes. Breathable mesh became the industry standard as it is durable and breathable. But people mostly required a soft inner lining and some padding to stave off any potential skin irritation as traditional mesh has a grainy texture. The interiors of the shoe-façades were also usually stitched, thereby adding to the risk of discomfort.

Then 2012 arrived. Nike decided that it was the year to unleash their newest innovation—one that would change people and their expectations for shoes forever. The Olympic Games in London became the theater for this new release as it’s an event that grabbed the attention of the globe. Nike’s confidence and marketing strategy led to the worldwide debut of the Flyknit, a thread-based upper that causes performance shoes to be lighter, more flexible, and less hazardous than the typical components. It was like wearing a sock without actually wearing a sock.

The Nike Flyknit Racer is one of the athletic shoes to feature the Flyknit. It’s sporty-looking, yet it has a future-proof design that handles both running and fashion. Its multiple color schemes certainly helped runners when it came to mix-and-matching clothes with it. One can argue that the trend of minimalist shoes invading the masses came with the release of the Flyknit Racer.

Flyknit is still used years after it was initially shown in London. It had undergone many iterations (e.g., a lighter version, a stretchy variety, etc.) but it’s still touted as a highly reliable material that started the popularity of the ‘true fabric upper.’

Running shoes from different brands that are similar to the Nike Flyknit Racer

Asics Gel Quantum 360 Knit

The popularity of the Flyknit caused many companies to make their own version of an upper that is cloth-like and seamless. Soon, many already-released shoes came back into circulation with re-engineered uppers. The Gel Quantum 360 Knit is one such product. This running shoe is beloved in the industry because it features the much-lauded Gel® technology, a silicon-based cushioning unit that attenuates impact forces during the landing phase. But instead of sparingly placing it in the forefoot or the heel, the whole platform is graced with Gel®, thus enabling complete comfort and protection from shock. The upgrade to a knitted fabric makes sense for a well-regarded offering from Asics.

Adidas Pure Boost

The Pure Boost neutral running shoe from Adidas is one of the shoes that has evolved over the years. It doesn’t need a name change as it’s a product with a name that is instantly recognizable. It’s a premier offering from one of the most prominent athletic companies, but it caters to casual shoe enthusiasts and runners alike. It utilizes the boost™ foam technology, amalgamated thermoplastic urethane (TPU) pellets that cause extremely bouncy and well-cushioned steps. The knitted fabric on the upper is seamless and mostly free of any add-ons, save for stitched-on heel cups and a ghillie lacing system. A one-piece opening ushers the foot inside the interior chamber. However, the fabric on the instep is folded like a burrito to heighten style and to evoke the feeling of having a traditional tongue unit.


How Nike Flyknit Racer ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 38% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 40% Nike running shoes
All Nike running shoes
Top 39% neutral running shoes
All neutral running shoes


The current trend of Nike Flyknit Racer.
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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.