Who should buy the Nike Legend Essential 2

Consider the Legend Essential 2 from Nike if you:

  • want a very basic Nike trainer
  • prefer to stay light on the budget
  • are happy with having just one shoe for both gym and casual use


Who should NOT buy the trainer

If you are looking for better quality and durability in your pair of trainers, you may want to consider Nike SpeedRep if you want to stay within the cheaper price tier.

You might as well check out plenty of options under $100 from other brands. For example, Reebok Flexagon Energy.

People with wider feet may find a better option among the cheaper shoes that are also available in Wide width.


Price is the Legend Essential 2’s best asset

With the average price of Nike training shoes hovering around $100 and the premium Nike Metcons reaching $130, the Nike Legend Essential 2 comes with a dirty cheap $60 price tag.


However, despite its lower price point, the reviewers are still happy with the material quality. Some of them mention that it “turned out to be a hidden gem.”

Efficient all around

Reviewers are happy that this Nike shoe can handle multiple activities, be it a gym session, a long day at work, or athleisure.

It won’t get you through a tough WOD or heavy weightlifting. But you can surely do some jumps, squats, light treadmill runs, and other moderate exercises in it.

The trainer breathes

With its mesh upper, the trainer keeps the foot nicely ventilated. So, there is no worry about smelly feet when you grab the Nike Legend Essential 2 for some intensive activity. 

You can see which parts of the upper are the most transparent, and hence breathable, in the video below.

No foot dragging with the Nike Legend Essential 2

Quite a few testers enjoy how light the Nike Legend Essential 2 feels on the foot. And in fact, it weighs 9 oz (255 grams) given that Nike training shoes on average come at 11.5 oz (325 grams).

Holds the foot well but not good for wide feet

Those with average-to-narrow foot size will enjoy a nice foothold from the box. However, with the Essential 2’s narrower toebox design, it won’t be very accommodating for wider feet.


Fact check

Indeed, the toebox of the Legend Essential 2 is narrower than most training shoes. In its widest part, the forefoot is 97.8 mm, whereas the average is 100.1 mm. For reference, an advanced CrossFit shoe like Nike Metcon is 106.8 mm wide in the toebos.


No slipping in the gym

The rubber and treading on the outsole have been appreciated for giving adequate grip.


The shoe flexes along with the foot

Similar to the Nike Flex Control 4, the Legend Essential is a very flexible Nike trainer. It moves together with the foot, bending in all the right places.

Fact check

Based on our measurements, the shoe is 31% more flexible than the average for training shoes.

Fact check

Bending and twisting the shoe in our hands, we assessed it as 2 out of 5 in both longitudinal and torsional flexibility.

Legend Essential 2 is not the best bet for weightlifting

Where the shoe's flexibility comes in handy for jumps, lunges, and agility, it falls short in the lifting department. The problem is that the sole bends too easily to keep you steady and rooted on the floor. Your feet are going to experience too much shifting as you grab onto heavier weight.

Nike knows how to make stylish shoes

“Sharp and attractive,” “simple and clean” - these are some of the words used to describe the visual appeal of the Legend Essential 2.

You will have no problem transitioning from the gym to the street with this Nike trainer.

Complete lab-specs overview


  Nike Legend Essential 2 Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 235 294
Drop (mm) 5.1 4.6
Overall Internal Length 260.4 (men's US 8) -
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 21.8 31.5
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 32.6 42.7
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 49.3 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) 7.2 5.7
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 97.8 100.1
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 73.8 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) 110.5 109.7
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 84.5 89.9
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 20.3 18.0
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 25.4 22.2
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 32.5 25.6
Durometer Midsole - Heel (Freezer 20 minutes) 42.0 36.9
Durometer Midsole - Heel (% of change) (TEST) 29.2 47.1
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 3.9 4.2
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 81.0 83.3
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 4.8 4.0
Insole: removable yes -

Facts / Specs

Weight: Men 255g
Update: Nike Legend Essential 3
Use: Workout, HIIT / Gym / Cross-training
Width: Normal
Features: Lightweight
Collection: Nike Legend
BRAND Brand: Nike

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Nike Legend Essential 2 video reviews

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.