Nike Dualtone Racer

The Nike Dualtone Racer is supposed to be the next step up from the Nike Flyknit Racer. However, many reviewers have cited the Dualtone as being the “cheap version” of the Flyknit; although the Dualtone is meant to be bigger and better, in some respects Nike may have failed. The Dualtone is inspired by the track, but created for the street; as such, it isn’t the ideal running shoe, but it works. Notable features include the breathable two-tone mesh upper; the dual-density cushioning that provides support; and the webbed rubber outsole. The shoe certainly has its cons: the outsole and tongue are not very durable, the shoe doesn’t offer much in the way of protection, it’s uncomfortable, and the traction isn’t quite up to par either. However, the shoe is easy to clean and maintain. It’s comfortable and breathable, plus flexible and responsive. And it absolutely knocks it out of the park when it comes to style. Let’s dive a little deeper into the features of the Dualtone Racer.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Webbed rubber outsole
  • Smooth wide midsole
  • Upper is a breathable mesh
  • Style is simple, clean, and sleek
  • The shoe is very cheap
  • Cons
    • Not very comfortable
    • Outsole and tongue are not durable
    • Does not provide much protection
    • Key Features
      The webbed rubber outsole does wonders in the areas of flexibility and responsiveness. It is meant to have good durability as well, but since it is somewhat thin, this question is still up in the air. However, the fact that the outsole is so thin is by design: it creates much more flexibility. So although the outsole may not be the most durable, it is amazingly flexible and gives you good traction as well. It also provides a good amount of support and is adequately responsive.
      The midsole is smooth and wide—more so than the midsole of the Dualtone’s predecessor, the Flyknit. Another difference between the two midsoles is that the midsole of the Dualtone has more of a smooth finish instead of a wider build, so this makes it easier to walk around in the Dualtone. The midsole is responsive and flexible. The only issue here is the removable insole, which may not provide as much support as some reviewers wanted. And although dual-density cushioning is meant to provide extra comfort, it may not always succeed.
      The Nike Dualtone Racer’s upper is different than that of the Flyknit Racer—the Dualtone features a two-tone mesh upper that offers more breathability plus much more durability. On the side of the upper, Nike added some stitches that are meant to be reminiscent of the typical Flywires; they are secured with Hyperfuse paneling. These stitches are mostly there for style purposes, however; they’re not exactly functional, just aesthetic. The upper also has a dual-shaded finish, adding yet another nice stylistic touch to the shoe. Perhaps the greatest thing about the upper is that, as opposed to uppers with typical multiple-cut materials, the upper of the Dualtone is all in one piece. The minimalist design on the Dualtone helps to reduce waste.
      Overall, the Dualtone Racer is an average shoe erring on the side of lightweight—a size 8.5 weighs 8 oz. The mesh upper package is remarkably lightweight, and the outsole and midsole aren’t too heavy either. While the shoe isn’t necessarily the lightest shoe you’ll find on the market, it’s definitely not the heaviest, either. Because it has such a lightweight build, this makes it a good shoe for walking long distances. If you want a lightweight shoe, you will be pleased with the weight of the Dualtone Racer.
      The two-tone mesh upper of the shoe is very breathable, allowing air to circulate all around your foot—you can wear this stylish shoe all summer and never worry about blisters or overheating because the upper is so impressively breathable. On the other hand, as breathable as the mesh upper is, it also gives a nice warm cover to your foot. So the Nike Dualtone Racer is a shoe that can be worn all year round with no adverse effects.
      Dual-density cushioning is meant to add a lot in the area of comfort. A padded lining on the ankles brings more comfort in that area, and the soles are padded as well. The lace-up closure provides a snug fit, and flat laces come with the shoe as well if you really want that sleek feel. Reviewers have reported, however, that all these features meant to provide comfort didn’t actually deliver. One specific problem they found with the comfort of the shoe is the heel area was uncomfortable. The rest of the shoe, unfortunately, seems to be somewhat uncomfortable as well. Nike failed in the comfort category with the Dualtone.
      The Dualtone Racer is described as being very versatile: not only is it great for running and working out, but it is sleek and stylish enough that it is a good choice for everyday wear as well. The style is somewhat minimalist—color choices for the men include white, different shades of gray, dark blue, and dark red, whereas the women can choose from black, white, dark gray, and “light bone” (a very light pink/coral color). The color choices are simple and understated, and if you’re looking to match your shoes to the rest of your outfit, it will be easy because all of the colors are neutral if not muted. A white “swoosh” is on the side of each shoe, and some stitches on the upper add a unique touch. The overall low-top silhouette is very aesthetic and is the same as that of iconic race-day flats. The only thing that slightly interferes with the sleek and smooth lines of the shoe is the pull tab at the ankle. Style-wise, the Dualtone is a perfect casual lifestyle sneaker—clean, minimal, and subtle.
      The mesh upper is very durable—much more so than that of the Flyknit. The webbed rubber outsole, however, may not offer good durability because it is thin. Reviewers have reported the tongue is decidedly not durable; for some users, it ripped within only a few days of coming out of the box. Many people were worried that the low price of the Dualtone might mean low quality, and it appears that in the area of durability, this is correct. This is not the shoe for long runs.
      Since the Dualtone is more of a lifestyle sneaker—it’s known for its style, not necessarily its athleticism—it doesn’t offer great protection. There is no toe guard, and the shock absorption is minimal at best. However, considering that the Dualtone is, after all, meant to be a lifestyle sneaker, you may not need much protection since you will primarily be using it on smooth road surfaces for walks and short runs. But wherever you take this shoe, tread carefully in the Dualtone, keeping in mind that the protection aspect of the shoe is not ideal.
      The responsiveness of the Dualtone Racer is fairly good; it has an adequate ground feel. And because many aspects of the shoe are minimal, it allows a somewhat natural foot movement. The outsole is very flexible because it is so thin, and since flexibility and responsiveness go hand-in-hand, this means the outsole is very responsive as well. The fact that the shoe is fairly lightweight helps as well, as does the flexible material of the midsole. Even though the Dualtone was not necessarily designed for running and working out, Nike still succeeded in creating a responsive shoe.
      The Dualtone has excellent support because of its dual-density cushioning located in the midsole area. The webbed rubber outsole is very supportive as well, owing to the fact that the sole is broad and thick. And extra padding around the ankle collar—which feels almost like neoprene—gives you support in the heel area. The arch support is sorely lacking, however, and this has bothered many reviewers. Overall the support of the Dualtone Racer is adequate, but Nike certainly didn’t make much effort to go above and beyond.
      The Nike Dualtone Racer is absolutely not a trail running shoe. Nike seems to have intended it primarily as a lifestyle sneaker; however, it will still work for running if you stay on smooth roadway surfaces. The thin rubber outsole gives tolerable traction, and it will keep you safe on road runs—but keep them short, because of the low durability of the shoe, and don’t try the Dualtone on any terrain that is even remotely aggressive. The Dualtone is also not ideal for running in wet conditions, because the traction is not quite good enough to prevent slipping.
      The Nike Dualtone Racer is definitely on the cheap side, and since Nike typically takes advantage of being a name brand to jack prices up (for instance, the Nike Flyknit Racer is the shoe that came before the Dualtone Racer, and the Flyknit is nearly eighty dollars more expensive than the Dualtone), this is a bit surprising and may make you wonder about the quality of the shoe. It’s true that the durability of the Dualtone leaves a lot to be desired—but it’s also true that nearly every other aspect of the shoe is great. So, keep in mind that the shoe may not last long—but otherwise, treat the low price as an extra added bonus.
      The thin webbed rubber outsole of the Dualtone Racer does not provide great traction. The traction is adequate: for short road runs or for any length walks, you don’t need to worry. But on trails or in wet or otherwise dubious conditions, the traction aspect of the Dualtone should lead you to go for another shoe. It gives good traction, but only on smooth surfaces and in good weather conditions.
      The outsole is certainly the most flexible part of the shoe. It is very thin. The midsole is made of a flexible material, too, and so is the one-piece mesh upper—it will stretch and move with your foot. There are no worries about the Dualtone racer being stiff; by all reports, it is flexible and ready to go even right out of the box.
      The Dualtone Racer is a fairly stable shoe. The midsole’s dual-density cushioning helps your foot feel stable and secure. The sole, which is very broad and thick—much more so than the sole of the Flyknit Racer, which came before the Dualtone—helps with stability as well. Although the Dualtone isn’t meant to be a stability shoe specifically, it is very stable, and this is an area in which the Dualtone outdid the Flyknit.
      The drop difference between the heel and forefoot height) of the Nike Dualtone Racer is not listed on any websites.
      Key features
      • Webbed rubber outsole
      • Responsive and flexible midsole
      • Two-tone mesh upper is breathable
      • The overall shoe is lightweight
      • Color choices are simple and beautiful
      • The entire shoe is very flexible and responsive
      Bottom line
      The Dualtone Racer features a thin webbed rubber outsole that is flexible and supportive, if not durable. The smooth and broad midsole gives good stability, and the two-tone mesh upper reduces waste because of its one-piece design. The shoe has a low price, and because the traction is only good on smooth surfaces and in good weather conditions, it’s definitely solely a road running shoe. The Dualtone seems to be most well-known for its minimalist, aesthetic style. The Nike Dualtone Racer is a stylishly responsive shoe with a breathable upper. It’s not very comfortable and does not have great protection, and the low prices goes along with the low durability. But overall, this shoe is still a good choice for long walks and short runs.
      Where to Buy
      By Hailey Hudson
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

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