Verdict from 1 expert and 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Several people appreciated the durability of the Nike Free RN 2017 Shield.
  • The color options made the product more visually appealing, according to a few testers.
  • The traction capacity of the outsole was lauded for being agreeable and efficient.
  • The cushioning system proved to be comfortable and responsive, most purchasers noted.
  • Many users are pleased that the shoe is lightweight.
  • Numerous purchasers agree that the Free RN 2017 Shield is versatile and could be worn for activities other than running.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of users observed static buildup from the shoe, which made it uncomfortable to wear.
  • The sole unit started to wear out after only a few months, according to some buyers.
  • Various wearers claimed the shoe gave them blisters.

Bottom line

The Nike Free RN 2017 Shield proved to be an agreeable shoe, according to most testers. They appreciated its comfortable design, its durable components, and its responsive underfoot experience. But several people warned of discomfort and quick wear-out.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Our reviews

/100 by , posted on .

The Nike Free RN 2017 Shield is an extremely flexible runner with a fall/winter twist.

The midsole is segmented, allowing for a full range of motion. The outsole provides grip without the use of rubber nodes on most of the shoe. The mesh upper is treated with water repellent to withstand the elements.



I think the Free RN Shield should have included more rubber traction on the outsoles, considering this is meant to be a fall/winter shoe for slippery conditions.

I have found myself slipping a bit when wearing these in the rain. That being said, this shoe looks great and can easily be worn casually.


The Free RN 2017 Shield fits shorter than usual; I needed a half size up.

At first, the upper material felt constricting but loosened up after being broken in. Width wise, the shoe has adequate space for toe splay.



I believe that the Free RN Shield is well worth the $160 retail price tag. An all-season shoe that can be worn well casually and for performance is definitely a good bang for your buck.


Surprising as it may be, this was my first time trying out a pair of the ever popular Nike Free RN. All of my Nike silhouettes that I’ve tried have been more traditional running models such as the Pegasus or Vomero.

That being said, I expected the Free RN to live up to the standards that I’ve heard my friends and family talk about. I tried the Free RN 2017 Shield out during a tempo run in order to test its responsiveness. The shoe fell short of my expectations and felt very flat.

The responsiveness of the Pegasus that I loved was just not there. I could feel the ground, but the bounce that is present in most running shoes was absent.

The shock absorption is also very minimal, and while being able to feel the ground is one of the main features of the Free RN series, I found my feet hurting afterward. I also experienced some heel slippage which was slightly annoying.


A New Purpose

Considering that the shoes did not work for me despite multiple runs, I decided to wear this shoe casually while at school and during errands. For that purpose, the Free RN 2017 Shield is amazing. Compared to most casual shoes, they are comfortable and fit the natural shape of my foot better.

The weatherproof upper repelled the rain during the fall/winter months in Vancouver, only soaking through once during a torrential downpour. Its weather resistance and comfort make the Free RN 2017 Shield a great daily commuter in any weather. They are definitely my go-to shoe when I commute to and from school.

Back To The Point

While this shoe performs great casually, as a running shoe it falls short in my opinion. It lacks the responsiveness to make up for its thin cushioning, and I am not a fan of how it feels on foot.



It could be that I’m used to more performance oriented shoes, but I would not buy another Free RN to use for running.


The Free RN 2017 Shield is a well-designed shoe that sits at a fair price point.

It looks great, which is in its favor as the shoe did not perform well for me. I would only wear this shoe casually, as high impact activities in them seem to cause my feet to hurt.

| Level 3 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Kyle! I have been involved in Track and Field for 3 years as a sprinter and long jumper, and as a result I have gone through many pairs of shoes. I also collect shoes and have great knowledge on the fit and technology of many shoes, particularly New Balance.

Good to know

  • The Nike Free RN 2017 Shield is the water-repellent iteration of the update, the Free RN 2017. It features almost all of the components that graced its non-water-repellent counterpart, but this one has a coating that lightly staves off splashes of water. It doesn’t sacrifice breathability and the weight of the upper unit.
  • The midsole of this running shoe makes use of an injection molded foam unit which offers lightweight cushioning and protection against impact. Flexibility is encouraged by the auxetic outsole pattern. Rubber nodes in the back and front sections deliver traction and shielding from abrasion.

The water-repellent version of the Nike Free RN 2017 makes use of standard measurements to accommodate the usual choices of runners regarding length. The available widths are D – Medium and B – Medium for men and women, respectively. It has a semi-curved shape that mimics the natural curve of the human foot.

The outsole unit of the Nike Free RN 2017 Shield features the auxetic pattern, a collection of grooves and sipes that encourage the inherent flexibility of the runner’s foot. These cuts in the sole unit are essential when it comes to taking each step, particularly heightening the toe-off.

Rubber nodes are placed in the heel and forefoot areas. They protect against wear and tear. They also provide traction, which is vital when it comes to controlling the movements on the asphalt.

An injection molded foam serves as the midsole unit of the Nike Free RN 2017 Shield. It carries the foot through the gait cycle, cushioning it and guarding it against impact shock. It’s also flexible, so it won’t hinder the foot’s natural capacity to move.

A sock liner adds a bit more cushioning to the underfoot. It’s also designed to provide some support to the arch, thus delivering comfort where it is needed.

A circular knit upper offers a lightweight yet secure coverage. It’s updated to have lesser layers than the fabric from the previous iteration. So, remains light however not at the cost of durability and snugness. It’s also breathable; it accommodates air into the foot-chamber, thus maintaining a cool and dry environment for the wearer.

Seamless construction allows the upper unit to feel like a sock. It does away with extra stitching or seams, thereby preventing blisters or chafing.

A water-repellent coat has been added to the façade. It wicks off moisture and protects against mild water infiltration & splashes.

Flywire cables are incorporated into the fit system. They connect the upper fabrics with the lacing system. They adjust alongside the tightening or loosening of the shoelaces, thus giving a customizable wrap.

360-degree reflectivity makes the Nike Free RN 2017 Shield more visible in low-light conditions. It’s a safety measure that benefits nighttime runners.


How Nike Free RN 2017 Shield ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 46% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Bottom 42% Nike running shoes
All Nike running shoes
Top 42% water repellent running shoes
All water repellent running shoes


The current trend of Nike Free RN 2017 Shield.
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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.