Nike Free 5.0+ Review Facts
The 5.0 model of the popular Nike Free line of running shoes has been the best-selling model so far. In fact, this Nike shoe is one of the top 3 best selling running shoes in the entire US! This was accomplished through the combination of great design and great comfort, securing high marks not only with runners but with the general public as well.
In an attempt to capture that same lightning-in-a-bottle popularity, the Free 5.0+ is a terrific follow-up to the fan favorite. It manages to provide an excellent running experience in the vein of the original by facilitating natural foot movement. It easily integrates with Nike+ technology, making it a great choice for the younger runner. They don’t make much noise and the extensive siping on the outsole make them very flexible. These shoes even help to strengthen the foot and provide excellent cushioning and traction.
The rubber outsole of the 5.0+ has numerous positive qualities. It is soft and flexible where it counts but firm enough to maintain stability. BRS 1000 was added to the heel area for increased durability. The sipings, or grooves, are aligned wonderfully with the pronation of runners, promoting a natural feel. The outsole is commonly regarded as one of the top qualities of this shoe by the majority of runners. There is minimal noise generated when running and the entirety showcases impressive flexibility, generally speaking. However, some runners may find the medial forefoot to be too flexible and unable to provide a solid enough platform.
Nike Free 5.0+’s midsole is characterized by a single density foam construction with an 8mm offset from heel to toe. Judging from previous models, the manufacturers have improved the multi-directional movement of the midsole with their new design choices. The edges are now more rounded, eliminating excessive sharpness, and transition gaps have also been improved. This was accomplished by tweaking pressure points, accomplishing the purpose of providing smoother heel landings. This combination of old techniques and new ideas translates into a slightly firmer midsole that retains the benefits of previous models.
The upper portion of these shoes offers a terrific transition and balance in conjunction with the midsole. This helps to provide increased comfort and perhaps the highest degree of comfort among the Free series. Nike also used a soft mesh material for the upper with synthetic overlays together with the already popular asymmetrical lacing. The patented Flywire
technology is perfect for maintaining the shoe’s delicate balance between low weight and high strength. Combined with the synthetic overlay that drastically improves the hold and looks of the shoe, the end result is a fashionable and functional upper.
There is a minor weight reduction in these shoes when compared to previous versions. This is due to drastic redesigns implemented for the outsole, midsole, and upper portion. Weighing just above 8oz, the new 5.0+ is almost one ounce lighter than the 2014 version. This may sound like a minor change, but this meager weight reduction translates into an increase in the overall feel. Due to the change in construction materials in this version over the 2014 version, this lowered weight for the Free 5.0+ comes at no cost to the shoe’s durability or stability: a true testament to Nike’s innovative design.
Nike has redefined the original Free 5.0’s interpretation of breathability with the use of a softer and more ventilated mesh. The forefoot and the tongue use the same mesh type, ensuring even air flow throughout the entire front of the shoe without sacrificing a tight fit. On the other hand, the upper’s added a synthetic overlay, while helpful for durability, comes at the cost of lateral breathability. This reinforcement is continued up to the toe box of the shoe, causing the ventilation in these areas to diminish further. These tradeoffs are all in the name of durability, and it is simply the price runners will have to pay.
The overall comfort experienced while wearing the Nike Free 5.0+ makes it ideal for the casual wearer, especially thanks to the Ortholite insole. For more serious-minded runners, however, this greater comfort can only mean a loss of control due to the roomier forefoot. When put in perspective, the level of comfort felt in these shoes is still massively improved over previous versions, such as the Nike Free 3.0, as the more traditional tongue helps to relieve excess pressure on the midfoot. Gone is the bootie-type tongue of prior models; all that remains is a comfy ride from start to finish.
As is a tradition for Nike products, one of the best features of the 5.0+ is its impeccable style. In fact, the incredible popularity of the Nike Free series can be attributed to this very feature. Everything needed to be a great fashion accessory is present here, making it an excellent addition to the wardrobe during a track event or for a casual outing. There are many bold and eye-catching colors to choose from, with the bright yellow, in particular, being very striking. The asymmetric laces and unique outsole sipings are also very distinctive and aesthetically pleasing. The only downfall of this shoe’s design is the clumsy combination of a simplistic casual shoe design and a synthetic overlaying material geared toward more experienced runners.
In regards to the Nike Free 5.0+’s durability, a distinction needs to be made between the top and the bottom. The upper portion is made with durability specifically in mind, thanks to the synthetic overlay and more traditional tongue. This portion of the shoe was built to last more than one running season for sure. On the other hand, the outsole showed signs of degradation for some runners after a disappointingly short amount of time. The BRS 1000 carbon-infused rubber is the first thing to deteriorate based on statements made by runners who’ve tried them out. Depending on the running style and intensity, it will be guaranteed to last for a single running season at the very least. Mileage of around 600 miles for runners and double for the casual wearer is a reasonable expectation.
The overall protection of the 5.0+ is above average but far from perfect. Although the upper has the extra synthetic overlay it is highly unlikely these shoes will be taken to trail running
to protect against the elements. They have better dust protection, however, due to the overlay. Things get complicated with the rainy weather as the same overlay could retain humidity and make the whole process of drying much longer. On dry days, however, the Ortholite insole is proving to have a fantastic, sock-like feel keeping the foot well protected.
When evaluating responsiveness for the Nike Free 5.0+, runners are split fairly evenly down the middle. Some find the responsiveness to be great, with the new outsole geared toward proper pronation feeling like a step forward from previous iterations. This isn’t to say that there are no downsides since the increased forefoot flexibility can create problems for a significant portion of runners. These shoes also exhibit a disappointing amount of elasticity in the upper toe box, which can cause issues for long distance runners. Marathon runners, in particular, have reported being disappointed with this aspect of the shoe’s design.
The support provided by these shoes is decent but not the best. A heel counter is absent from its design, but overall heel support remains unaffected as the ankle is secured tightly and comfortably. With all things considered, the 5.0+ is the most supportive among the entire product line of Nike Free shoes. This impressive achievement is possible with the aid of Nike’s proprietary Flywire technology: soft and durable cables that wrap around the midfoot and arch. This results in an almost glove-like feel, adapting easily to the runner’s stride.
The Free 5.0+ is primarily intended to be used for track and road running. Daily wearing in a casual setting is also easily accommodated, provided it involves walking on flat and hard surfaces. The design and flexibility of these Nike shoes’ outsole will provide an excellent connection between the wearer and the surface they run on, but this can become a negative when running on any rougher surfaces. The outsole’s diagonal cuts in conjunction with the flex grooves might be designed for comfort in some environments, but the lack of additional durability and padding make these shoes a poor choice for trail running or hiking.
The 5.0+ is very competitively priced, costing far below the average for most running shoes of its kind. It offers a lot in terms of comfort, traction, and style, but this affordability was only achieved through some cutbacks in durability and support. These Nike shoes are versatile enough that they can serve as daily drivers for the majority of casual runners. When considering this price point and the quality of the product behind it, it really is no surprise that these are one of the three most popular running shoes in the US.
This is where the 5.0+ really shines. The included waffle sole pistons on the outsole provide terrific traction, even when striking the ground at different angles. Furthermore, the added BRS 1000 rubber on the heel and toe area gives even more grip when needed. Sprinters will appreciate this added rubber the most, considering a high amount of responsiveness is needed from their shoes. Fortunately, that responsiveness is present in these Nike shoes thanks to its impressive traction.
Flex grooves running alongside both directions of the outsole offer a level of flexibility that is difficult to find in other running shoes available for purchase. This is an aspect of the Nike Free 5.0+ that contributes to its unique feel. A pleasant combination of a soft outsole with high flexibility makes these shoes feel like slippers.
As previously stated, the stability present in these shoes is fine for short and mid-range running sessions. However, runners are likely to run into stability issues in situations involving anything longer than a half marathon. The increased flexibility in the medial forefoot can be too much in these situations, resulting in problems for heavyset runners
The low profile midsole gives these running shoes a natural impression nearly emulating the style of more minimalist barefoot running shoes. However, one design aspect the Nike Free 5.0+ does not share with these shoes is the neutral drop, choosing instead to feature an 8 mm height difference between the heel and forefoot. This elevation provides excellent cushion at the cost of a more natural stride.
Key FeaturesWaffle outsole pistons adding responsiveness and impact absorption
8mm heel drop
Diagonal cuts through the arch emphasizing pronation
Phylite midsole doubles as an outsole
Synthetic overlay upper for increased durability
Abrasion resistant rubber on the heel and forefoot
The Nike 5.0+ is a terrific running shoe that provides a smooth running experience thanks to its amazing outsole technology paired with a modern upper design. It’s a terrific choice for individuals looking for a running shoe that can function in competitive and casual environments. It’s the most comfortable of the Free series, supporting different forms of pronation
and providing additional focus on midfoot support. If you have a tight budget and need to pick only one shoe, the 5.0+ is a safe choice. It will serve you well both on and off the track, guaranteed.