Verdict from 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Several wearers stated that the Nike Free RN 2018 Shield has a very good-looking design.
  • A couple of users said that the shoe is very comfortable.
  • The upper is very efficient in keeping the foot dry and warm, said some reviews.
  • A few runners admired the toggle-tighten lace of the Free RN 2018 Shield.
  • Some wearers found the fit to be true to size.
  • Some wearers considered the Nike Free RN 2018 Shield as a versatile running shoe; they wear the shoe on casual walking activities.

2 reasons not to buy

  • One disappointed user mentioned that he needs to stop several times while running to remove the small stones that got stuck in Tri-star outsole pattern.
  • One user cited that the shoe is difficult to put on.

Bottom line

The Nike Free RN 2018 Shield was able to get the approval of the majority of its users. Many runners praised the shoe’s good-looking design, waterproof coverage, and comfortable fit. The toggle lacing system was also positively regarded. Though there are some users that were disappointed, the overall performance of this water-repellent running shoe is impressive.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • The Nike Free RN 2018 gets the “Shield” treatment, now being available as a water-repellent running shoe. Designed for the road, the Free RN 2018 Shield encourages running even during cold, wet weather, as it keeps the foot dry and protected from moisture.
  • The water-resistant coating on the upper efficiently wicks off water and other sources of wetness. Like similar water-repellent variants of other Nike running shoes, the upper of the Nike Free RN 2018 Shield still works effectively as a breathable coverage that does not bulk up the shoe.
  • A responsive foam core platform forms the majority of the sole unit of the Free RN 2018 Shield. It is an injection-molded unit that provides cushioning and protection from impact.

This shield version of the Free RN 2018  uses standard running shoe measurements to achieve a true-to-size fit. Because both men’s and women’s versions are available in medium width, the shoe caters to wearers who have low to moderate foot volumes. The Free RN 2018 Shield possesses a silhouette that follows the natural shape of the foot, which comfortably accommodates runners with high arches.

An ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) ground-contact foam acts as the outsole of the Free RN 2018 Shield, and also extends as part of the midsole. It consists of a tread pattern that is made up of protruding portions and dots, delivering surface traction.

The outsole pattern is formed using a hot-knife cutting technique, which creates a three-star auxetic pattern. The auxetic shapes aids in maintaining a natural foot splay while still providing a balanced underfoot cushioning. Aside from that, the design also helps in making the epicenter of the platform more flexible.

The midsole of the Nike Free RN 2018 Shield has a unique composition: a combination of Phylon and the injection-molded EVA that is also part of the outsole. Because of the lightweight nature of Phylon, it is placed in the center of the structure, as it helps give the midsole a responsive quality.

Meanwhile, the injection-molded EVA foam is designed to provide optimum ground contact and retain the structural integrity of the Phylon core. While Phylon is the responsive area, the EVA foam is the durable area of the midsole.

A foam-based sock liner provides additional cushioning for the Free RN 2018 Shield. It could be removed and replaced with custom orthotics if preferred by the runner.

The woven mesh upper of the Free RN 2018 Shield proves useful, as it is the same material used in the last year’s version. It is designed to seamlessly wrap the foot while remaining breathable, due to the small pore-like openings patterned on the surface. The material also claims to be skin-friendly and irritant-free.

Giving the shoe its water-repelling capability is thanks to the thin coating on top of the woven layer. Like many other water-resistant shoes, the Free RN 2018 Shield uses a synthetic-based film. This feature works by wicking away moisture, as well as preventing water splashes and infiltrations.

Like its base shoe, the Nike Free RN 2018 Shield also gets reflective details that help the runner’s visibility during low-light conditions. This extra feature brings more running opportunities.


How Nike Free RN 2018 Shield ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 49% road running shoes
All road running shoes
Top 47% Nike running shoes
All Nike running shoes
Top 47% water repellent running shoes
All water repellent running shoes


The current trend of Nike Free RN 2018 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.