Nike CK Racer

Anyone familiar with running shoes will tell you that Nike is one of the best designers of athletic footwear around. From apparel designed for use in specific sports to general running shoes, Nike has covered all of the bases. The CK Racer is one of their forays into the latter category, an aspect of footwear design they are most well known for. Although it may not appear as visually distinctive as some of Nike’s more radically designed shoes, these are still very appealing to the eyes. Additionally, they offer a high performance to match their style every step of the way.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • High traction outsole
  • A comfortable amount of flexibility
  • Slip-on collar and speed lacing system
  • Even weight distribution
  • Excellent style
  • Cons
    • Limited cushioning provided by the midsole
    • Tight fit around the toe region
    • Key Features
      When observing the underfoot of this running shoe, you may initially mistake it for something designed by Under Armour due to its distinctive pattern. The many small nubs placed along this shoe’s outsole provide excellent grip on various surfaces without overcompensating to the point where it becomes a hindrance to running speeds. Furthermore, the use of hard rubber for its construction ensures that it is more resistant to moisture and can last a long time without deteriorating.
      Nike’s use of foam for their midsole accomplishes some important design feats. These include maintaining a lighter weight that helps to prevent any undue strain on a runner’s legs while wearing the CK Racer. Another positive benefit to using this lighter material is that these shoes feel very flexible and provide a comfortable level of pliability. While this specific midsole style commonly comes at the cost of support and general comfort, extra padding has been added to the insole in order to compensate for this perceived shortcoming.
      One thing that’s abundantly clear when wearing these Nike running shoes is that they aren’t as breathable as their Flyknit line. Instead of using knit fabric, the CK Racer comes in a breathable synthetic material with a more solid construction. While this does come with the consequences of increased weight and limited ventilation, it provides the benefits of increased durability and the potential to withstand colder weather conditions. Other aspects of this shoe’s upper that are sure to please are the easy slip-on nature of its collar, which helps to provide convenience and time-saving in conjunction with its speed lacing system.
      Without a specific weight for these shoes listed by the manufacturer, it’s difficult to determine exactly how heavy these shoes are. However, comments left online by verified customers have stated that the CK Racer feels light on their feet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the shoes themselves are lightweight, simply that the weight is distributed in such a way that it feels lighter. However, the closest approximation regarding the weight of these Nike shoes is that they are lighter than heavier trail shoes but heavier than Nike’s Flyknit racers or a common pair of minimalist barefoot runners.
      The mesh material used for the CK Racer’s upper is designed first and foremost to provide a comfortable level of foot protection adequate for handling common running terrain. In comparison to Nike’s Flyknit material, this form of upper design is much more resilient at the cost of breathability. However, this is not to say that no airflow is possible with this shoe since the upper material is porous enough to allow for a decent level of ventilation. Ultimately, this shoe is best suited to providing a comfortable internal temperature for runners in colder environments, with those in hot climates being better off finding a Flyknit model.
      Not all of Nike’s shoes feature the same level of comfort. It is certainly a priority in their design and a major reason for their long-standing popularity; however, the most important aspects they emphasize in their footwear design is an impeccable fashion sense and high-level performance. The CK Racer is somewhat limited in terms of comfort due to the lack of more absorbent cushioning in its midsole. However, the use of extra padding around the insole helps to offset the discomfort that can result from this design decision while still allowing these running shoes to provide the benefits of flexibility that come with its midsole design.
      This is what put Nike on the map and is their trademark. Anyone with more than a passing interest in sneakers will tell you that Nike is the trendsetter that every other footwear manufacturer imitates. This fashion expertise can be seen in the CK Racer, with its intriguing combination of old and new styles. While the material used on the upper and design on the outsole is novel, the design of the upper and material on the outsole are more traditional, resulting in a remixed sneaker design that offers impressive results. The multiple color schemes offered by the manufacturer for this model further reinforces its status as one of the most visually appealing articles of footwear on the market.
      The average Nike shoe offers a lifetime of around 200 to 300 miles before needing to be replaced. This mileage can vary depending on the specific shoe but it’s an effective estimate for the most part. The CK Racer would fall smack-dab in the middle of that estimate; while the use of more resilient material for its upper helps to extend its lifespan, the use of less absorbent and durable midsole material detracts from its longevity. The best way to ensure the longest possible mileage out of these shoes is to only use them on proper running surfaces and to clean them regularly. However, it is inevitable that they will need to be replaced at a rate faster than more heavy-duty trail running shoes.
      Starting from the underfoot, the Nike CK Racer offers a level of protection that is more or less on par with other mid-range running shoes. The use of a different design for its outsole helps to improve its resilience to the elements but the difference is meager and offset by other parts of the shoe. For instance, the midsole is considerably softer than the standard EVA foam that is often used, resulting in less protection from impact and a greater potential for developing repetitive stress-related injuries. Fortunately, the synthetic fabric used for this running shoe’s upper offers considerable protection on top that will ensure a smooth ride from start to finish.
      Some features present in the Nike CK Racer that contribute to its overall responsiveness include a lighter weight and increased flexibility from the midsole. Thanks to these, runners wearing these should feel relatively quick on their feet. Some aspects of these shoes that detract from their overall responsiveness are a less supportive midsole and a rigid outsole design. Thanks to these features, these shoes aren’t as responsive as they could be; however, the vast majority of customers have stated that they didn’t experience any issues in this department.
      Usually, footwear manufacturers have to make a decision between offering a supportive shoe and a comfortably flexible one. It can be difficult to strike a balance between these two attributes and Nike approached this dilemma in an interesting way. Instead of deriving most of its support from the midsole, Nike went for a dual layer cushioning system where the insole does most of the work. It allows the CK Racer to feel flexible while somewhat compensating for the lack of a more solid foundation. However, this isn’t enough compensation to make this a supportive shoe for those who heavily rely on orthotic support.
      Thanks to an interesting and competent outsole design, the Nike CK Racer is capable of handling a wide range of potential running surfaces. For the most part, just about every form of terrain encountered on a casual running session can be handled in stride: sidewalk, running track, asphalt, grass, and even hard dirt. What’s even more impressive about this shoe’s outsole is that they can even handle some trail running environments, even though the rest of this shoe’s design is ill-equipped to perform in these situations.
      Depending on where you look, the going price for a pair of Nike CK Racers can vary wildly. They can be found on many different online retail sites with limited availability for certain sizes and colors. At its lowest prices, these are some of the most affordable Nike shoes that still offer a reasonable package. At its highest price, these are in the same cost range as a high-end running shoe or an entry-level trail runner.
      As previously mentioned, the outsoles of these shoes perform admirably in terms of traction. For starters, it’s single piece hard rubber design means that highly stable footing is ensured during each foot strike. This construction style also carries the benefit of a greater degree of durability, meaning any traction gained will last longer despite heavy use. Finally, the addition of several small nubs along the outsole’s underside grip to the ground like teeth but not to the same degree as a pair of cleats or running spikes.
      Something that is sure to appeal to a particular breed of runner that is present in this shoe’s design is a high degree of flexibility. This can be mostly attributed to the thinner construction of the CK Racer’s midsole, although the lighter weight of its entire construction is also a significant contributor. This flexibility is somewhat offset by a more rigid outsole but for the most part, these running shoes feel very forgiving in terms of pliability.
      Considering that these shoes are so flexible, it’s natural to assume that they lack in stability as a consequence. This is often the way these shoes are designed, with a balance needing to be struck between these two polar opposites. It’s true that the Nike CK Racer is far more flexible than it is stable but there are a few features that manage to prevent this from being a negative aspect that detracts from the overall running experience. One of these features is the rigid and solidly constructed outsole that helps to make up for some of the midsole’s design shortcomings. The other is a tight fit from the upper, although some extra-tight lacing may be required.
      No concrete information can be found online about the heel-to-toe drop ratio of these shoes. This is disappointing to many runners because a proper heel drop measurement could mean the difference between a comfortable ride and an uncomfortable one. Based on its visual appearance, an estimate would place the Nike CK Racer’s drop at around 9 mm, which is the average for running shoes of its kind. This is substantial enough to provide extra heel cushioning while still providing a decent grip on the ground for the runner’s forefoot.
      Key Features

      • Thinner midsole design provides greater flexibility at the cost of support

      • Outsole made from a single piece of durable rubber with several small lugs for traction

      • Trademark Nike style with multiple appealing color schemes to choose from

      • Price can vary wildly depending on the color and size

      Bottom Line
      When choosing to purchase a pair of running shoes made by Nike, customers can rest easy with the knowledge that they are investing in footwear that is well made and will provide an excellent running experience for a long period of time. These are all positive features that are present in the design of the Nike CK Racer, but little else is present to distinguish it from other products made by its manufacturer. These shoes don’t offer the same sense of style as many other Nike offerings, although it is certainly stylish enough to appeal to fans of Nike, and it doesn’t provide a unique running experience like a pair of Flyknit shoes would. Ultimately, these shoes are in the middle of the road as far as a pair of Nikes go but still a decent purchase.
      Where to Buy
      By Mike Valverde
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 02. 2021

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