Once upon a time, I happened to borrow a pair of Nike Free RN from my brother-in-law for whatever reason. They got me by the looks, and the comfort was uncanny.
They are one of those shoes that just can be taken anywhere. Big minus that I discover pretty quick that the heel or ankle part would not hold your feet inside the shoe even while walking due to the flex.
However, I tried to run in them, and it was a disaster. Not sure how, but I manage to convince my mate to let me keep them. They were still great shoes. While browsing on the internet in a search for a potential new purchase, I came across Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018.
They upgraded it with already great visuals. I couldn’t resist and get myself a pair in full black in size US11. My main reasoning behind the $180AUS buy was the fact that I wanted a training short distance runner that I could also use on casual occasions. An all-rounder so to speak.
They look so good that sometimes I would wear them with jeans or chinos to the office and no one would raise their eyebrow. They have that minimalist design that will allow you to match it with anything. Classic Converse shoes come to mind as a comparison. Nice, simple, and timeless. In fact, I am wearing them while writing this very review.
True to size and fits perfectly
Normally with Nike runners, I usually go a half size up. But in this case, people were recommending the opposite. I decided to go true to size and it fits perfectly.
The reinforced heel solves my issue with their predecessor. Teamed with improved lacing, it locks your foot nicely giving this sock kind of feel. It's like running barefoot except the pain factor is eliminated.
Exceptional upper of Free RN Flyknit 2018
The Flyknit upper makes this shoe really comfortable. It is also extremely lightweight. We are talking here approximately 190 grams give or take for my size. That is just another level.
If you look closely at the upper, especially on the sides, it is literally see-through. The Flyknit breathability on this sneaker is exceptional. However, it is a plus and a minus at the same time, depending on the weather.
You would appreciate it while running in the summertime, cursing the feature during the colder times. If you wear them casually, you may consider wearing socks. The holes in the Flyknit are also quite big.
In terms of support, there is not much of it as you can see below, you can basically flex down all upper without any resistance. Easy to pack when you are traveling.
Dynamic Flywire cords and improved heel cap combined with extreme flexibility of the Flyknit keep you snug and comfortable no matter what you are up to.
Regardless of what shape of foot you have, it will adjust for that perfect glove fit. As soon as I tried that beauty in the store, I just felt an instant connection.
Flexible, minimalist feel
The Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018 midsole uses a newer version of Phylon which is softer than before yet firm providing flexibility for that minimalist feel.
From what I experienced in the past, the foot is not well supported. But the improved midsole gives you a decent amount of protection. The Phylon foam can also handle a certain amount of impact.
Nike is honest about this shoe in advertising that it is a great short distance performer. The design, however, is not meant for extreme terrains and conditions. It would only suit best on roads and flat surfaces.
I like to think of them as an easy-going casual shoe that you can have a short run. The versatile shoes have an 8mm drop, 22mm from heel to 14mm at the forefoot.
They will last for a long time
The outsole is made from durable rubber featuring a Tri-star pattern that provides a very nice grip and allows this shoe to be twisted in any direction. However, lots of rock get stuck in the holes, but for me, it is not a big issue.
I had a similar situation with the Nike LunarEpic, but it never bothered me. If you won’t use them as every day running on the trail they will last for a long time.
Meant for short-distance road running
We are getting two types of cushioning here. One a bit softer, located just under your foot for the comfort and the second, stronger and firmer for that bounce giving the shoe better performance and durability.
At the end of the day, it is a great shoe, as long as you don't put too much pressure on them. They are meant for short road runs. Be gentle with them and they will serve you well.
I would not go longer than 10km myself. It would just be hard on your foot and the shoe. It is no doubt one of the most comfortable my feet were exposed to. It would give you a great ride but probably won't win you a race.
I live in Sydney where it is hot and humid so breathability here is highly appreciated. I would place it in my rotation as a steady training shoe for a relaxing run or gym training.
You can run fast in them as they got a nice bounce and are light as a feather. If you are traveling, this is also the pair to bring.
Tip: see the best running shoes.