Nike Free Shield 5.0 Review Facts
Nike remains one of the top dogs in the running industry thanks to their unique style and constant innovation. Their Flyknit upper is arguably the best upper on the market, they are constantly looking to improve and evolve, and they have major backing from some of the top athletes in the world. The only complaint about Nike is that sometimes their focus doesn’t seem to be 100% on running (although they took big strides in improving in that area in 2016) and their pricey shoes. Nike loves to promote natural running, and the Nike Free Shield 5.0 promises natural running combined with a protected ride.
Nike uses their Free outsole on the Free Shield 5.0. This outsole features large waffle lugs in the forefoot, most of the midfoot, and the heel combined with multiple cut areas. The outsole is designed to provide strong cushioning along with flexibility. To add in durability, Nike uses BRS 1000 carbon rubber in the forefoot and heel, the two high wear areas of a shoe. The different color rubber on the outsole highlights the high wear and high grip areas. This help enhances the gait cycle as is provides excellent support during your toe off and heel strike. As always, Nike is looking to promote natural running
, and that’s what this outsole does. It has good flexibility and grip along with being protective and durable. I actually wish that they would cut back a bit on the flexibility, and put more into the protective aspect, but again; Nike loves natural running and wants your foot to be able to move freely.
For the first time in the series, Nike uses their Phylite foam in the midsole. This is a 40/60 split between standard rubber and Nike’s Phylon technology. The midsole goes hand and hand with the outsole as the cuts extend to the midsole to continue giving runners great flexibility with added cushioning and comfort. Nike also used a gender specific crash pad in the heel of the shoe, which is a really nice addition and helps differentiate the shoe for male and females. Males will have a little extra padding
in the midsole to ensure cushioning with responsiveness. Females have less padding for those same reasons. If Nike used one crash pad for both genders, it’s possible that the shoe would feel a bit too stiff in the heel for women. This was a great decision on the part of Nike.
The seamless upper fits nicely around your foot and provides great protection. I love Nike’s Flyknit
upper, and while it’s not used on this shoe, Nike always has a well designed upper that is comfortable and looks nice. There is a large breathable area in the forefoot with plenty of ventilation for your foot. Air travels nicely in and out of the shoe, keeping your foot nice and cool during your runs. The Flywire technology, which is another thing I love about any Nike upper, allows you to tighten the upper, giving you a secure, but still comfortable fit. The biggest selling point of the upper though is the H20 Repel Mesh, which fights off water and even snow, and 360-degree reflectivity, which allows you to run in low light areas and still be seen. While the midsole and outsole are the “Free” part of this shoe, the upper is definitely the “Shield” part.
The shoe weighs in at 8.2 oz. Not the lightest shoe on the market, but not heavy either. Runners were actually pleased to find that it felt lighter than advertised. Most of the weight comes from the upper and BRS 1000 carbon rubber on the midsole. Nike’s Flyknit upper weighs practically nothing, but since they went with a more protective upper that features heavy, but durable, protective overlays. The shoe loses weight in the midsole thanks to Nike’s Phylite technology. The outsole is also lightweight with only the BRS 1000 rubber in the high wear areas adding to the weight. This is still considered to be a lightweight trainer
, and runners should be happy with the features tied to the extra weight. Nike offers a similar shoe that is lighter in weight (Nike Free Flyknit 5.0, which weighs 7.6 oz), but doesn’t offer the same protection features.
I typically rave about the breathability of Nike shoes due to the Flyknit upper, and the Shield 5.0 has an upper that features solid breathability, but it is a bit disappointing, all things considered. At first glance, the shoe doesn’t look breathable at all. A closer look shows that there are some well ventilated areas, but it’s definitely an area where the shoe is lacking. The fore foot of the shoe breaths extremely well, but the rest of the shoe leaves a bit to be desired. The protective overlays constrict the airflow a bit, especially on the back end. While the shoe might not be as airy as some runners may like, your foot still remains relatively cool and won’t overheat. For extra breathability, it’s recommended that you go a half size up.
Nike shoes are always one of the most comfortable shoes that your feet will ever experience. Nike has been making shoes for over 50 years and they know exactly what the foot likes. The whole shoe fits comfortably around your foot. The upper doesn’t restrict your foot, it simply rests nicely on the top of your foot. If you want to tighten things up, you can always use the Flywire lacing system to get a tighter fit. The midsole feels good under your foot and has enough cushion throughout your run. Many runners enjoyed the fact that the shoe was comfortable the moment they put them on, meaning they didn’t have to break them in.
I really like the look for this shoe. It looks like a typically running shoe with the protection overlays on the upper, but it has the Nike flare to it. There’s nothing fancy or overly done. It’s just a straight forward, but still sleek and stylish shoe. Nike is great at mixing colors and tones and delivering a shoe that really pops and looks good on the road. Everything flows together, especially the Flywire upper, and it’s a good long and well constructed shoe. Unfortunately, because this shoe is no longer available through Nike’s website, your color options are very limited. There are around ten different color choices floating out there, but you’ll be hard pressed to find them. Amazon offers an olive version, which looks nice, but the limited options is very disappointing.
Thanks to a well-made upper and a strong midsole and outsole, the Nike Free Shield 5.0 is a durable shoe. They are great for long runs and you’ll be able to get between 250 and 300 miles. Many runners have also used these shoes for their cross training workouts and every day use. The outsole holds together well, especially in the high wear areas, but some runners did express concern that it began to fall apart too easily. This might be due to the amount of cuts and inlets in the outsole. Due to these cuts and inlets, tiny rocks can get stuck in the outsole, leading to it falling apart quicker than your typical outsole. While the shoe is great with flexibility, Nike could benefit from tightening up their outsole just a bit. It would lead to more durability and less protection issues.
When your shoe is named “Shield” then protection is a must. The shoe hits all the protection marks on the upper. The entire forefoot is a protection overlay that prevents anything happening to your toes. While the heel houses these same overlays. There is no heel counter, which would certainly help with the protection as it would help keep the back of your foot in place a little better, and prevent any twisting and rolling. That said, Nike did use H20 Repel Mesh to protect your foot from any rain
or snow, which only increases the protection of the shoe. And if you’re that worried about twisting or rolling, you can always tighten the Flywire laces for a tighter fit. While the upper gets high marks in the protection, and the midsole does a fantastic job thanks to the gender specific crash pads, the outsole falls a bit short. As mentioned, all of the cuts in the outsole can lead to an uncomfortable push off or landing if there happens to be some rocks around.
Runners rave about the responsiveness of this shoe. The flexibility is outstanding thanks to an outsole that features seven flex points in the forefoot, three flex points in the midfoot, and another three in the heel. You can feel the midsole underneath your foot as you run. The cushioning is great and the gender specific crash pad adds to the responsiveness as there is a nice springy feeling when your heel strikes the ground. The midsole has some very nice give thanks to Nike’s use of their Phylite technology. The upper doesn’t move as well too well, but it’s not designed to do so. The upper is more for protection than responsiveness and flexibility, and it definitely achieves that goal.
The shoe sports an 8mm drop with neutral arch support. The shoe caters more the over pronators, but all runners have complimented the support in the shoe. Whether you’re a heel striker or a midfoot striker, you’ll likely enjoy the support of these shoes. While Nike loves to promote “natural running,” they’re not dumb. They know that they have to design a shoe that is still supportive enough for your run. Since the shoe is designed for long runs and marathons, it has to have enough support to hold up over those long periods of time. And, thankfully, it does just that.
The shoe is meant for the road, but will hold up on multiple surfaces. The colored outsole grip points do a nice job of gripping the road, including wet surfaces. Thanks to the strong protection in the upper, you can even take these shoes on well-designed trails. The outsole durability will decrease, and the grip may not be as good as you’d like, but at least you know that the top of the shoe will hold up against the elements. Be wary of any pebbles and gravel surfaces as they could become lodged in the outsole.
The shoe is no longer available through Nike’s website, which means you’ll have to find another outlet to purchase them. Through Amazon, they go for around $115. That’s a bit pricey, but as always with Nike, you’re essentially paying for the name and the style. While the Free Shield 5.0 is a comfortable shoe that offers good protection and responsiveness, I’m not entirely sure that it’s worth the extra money that you’d be paying.
•BRS 1000 carbon rubber on the high wear areas of the outsole.
•H20 Repel Mesh on the upper that fights off rain and snow.
•Phylite midsole that is both responsive and comfortable.
•Multiple flex points on the outsole and midsole that provides major flexibility.
•Flywire lacing system that gives you a unique fit.
The Nike Free Shield 5.0 is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, the shoe is comfortable, responsive, and protective. The upper is extremely well done and sure to please just about any runner. On the other hand, the midsole and outsole leave a bit to be desired when it comes to the “shield” part of the shoe. I wish Nike went with a different midsole and outsole combination than the free series, but it takes away from the protective elements of the upper. That, along with the price tag, has me looking at other options.