Free Flyknit 5.0 combines the Flyknit upper with the outsole of Nike’s Free series. Nike wanted to use their most natural cushioning outsole to go along with the flexible, tight-fitting upper. Nike chose to use a more natural motion platform to hook everyday runners. It’s a smart move that really pays off.
The upper already makes the shoe extremely flexible
, so using a more cushioned, but still flexible outsole, gives the shoe a more complete feel. The outsole is made with BRS 1000 carbon rubber in high wear areas, which adds to the durability of the shoe. One look at the outsole and you can tell that it’s going to provide great grip and flexibility. The colored areas are your “grip points” as you go through your gait cycle, and the dozens of cuts show off impressive flexibility.
The midsole is designed with Nike’s Phylite technology. This is a 40/60 split between standard rubber and Nike’s Phylon technology
. Like the outsole, Nike went with a midsole that adds to the flexibility but is mainly there to provide durability and cushioning. The cuts that you see on the outsole extend up into the midsole and help further the flexibility experience. The midsole is essentially an extension of the outsole as Nike used the same technology throughout both areas of the shoe. While the midsole doesn’t look thick or well cushioned, it’s a very responsive midsole that has some give to it and encourages a natural running motion without limiting your freedom to move.
The Nike Flyknit upper
remains my absolute favorite upper on the market. I wish every shoe had the same design. It’s a seamless upper that is flexible, durable, and breathable. It may fit tight around your foot, but it’s not restrictive. It fits tight around your foot the same way a sock fits tight around your foot. A sock still allows your foot to naturally move and bend while providing extra comfort, support, and cushioning for your foot. Well, that’s what the Flyknit upper does as well.
The Dynamic Flywire lacing system allows you to tighten things up a bit, but the chance is you’ll be satisfied with the fit once you put them on. My only complaint is that the Nike logo is still a screen print and isn’t sewn right into the upper. I’m not sure if Nike will ever make this change, but if they do, they’ll have a flawless upper on their hands. Until then, it’s still perfect.
The shoe weighs in at 7.6 oz. As you would expect, these shoes are extremely lightweight. Any Nike shoe with the Flyknit upper is automatically a contender for “lightest shoe on the market” because the Flyknit upper weighs virtually nothing. Most of the weight comes from the BRS 1000 carbon rubber that is used on the outsole. There isn’t much weight in Nike’s Phylite technology, which makes up a good portion of the midsole and parts of the outsole, but the standard rubber in the midsole and the carbon rubber on the outsole add the weight. Nike tried to make this shoe as light as possible, and they did, but a shoe has to weigh something, right?
Once again, if you’ve got a Nike shoe with the Flyknit upper, you’ve got a breathable shoe. At just about every single point in the upper is a knot hole that gives the shoe excellent breathability
. And since the upper is one piece and contains no overlays or high protection additions, there is breathability throughout the entire upper. Airflow is constant throughout the shoe and things never get too hot. While the upper is a bit tight, it’s not suffocating in the least thanks to all of the ventilation areas. The Flyknit
material is not only breathable, but it helps scatter the heat, leaving your foot comfortable and cool. I can’t enough good things about how breathable any Nike shoe with the Flyknit upper is.
The Flyknit upper remains the most comfortable upper I’ve ever experienced. The material wraps nicely around your foot without constricting it. There’s also no worry about an itching or irritation after long runs. If just feels like a sock on the top of your foot. Since Nike went with the Free midsole and outsole, they designed the shoe to have some cushion for the bottom of your foot. This cushion adds to the comfortability of the shoe.
The flexibility of the upper, midsole and outsole allow you to run with a natural motion. At no point does your foot feel stiff during your run. The Free Flyknit 5.0 is designed to be worn without socks. As mentioned, it’s essentially an extremely comfortable sock with great protection on the bottom of your foot. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more comfortable shoe on the market.
As with any Nike product, it looks sleek and there is no shortage of colors. Amazon offers over ten different colors options for the shoe. It’s a pretty straightforward design, which may disappoint some runners, but the simplicity gives it some charm. Most options only feature two colors. The upper unit is one color while the Nike logo is another. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. I’m still disappointed that the Nike logo is a screen print and not sewn into the Flyknit material. It doesn’t take away from the overall style of the shoe, it’s just odd that Nike wouldn’t make that change given their reputation for producing flawless designs. These shoes aren’t necessarily going to stand out on the road, but they get the job done.
Along with being comfortable and breathable, the Flyknit upper is also durable. While it has gotten great reviews from the majority of runners, some have been disappointed that the upper began to fall apart a little too quickly.
While I think that’s more the exception than the rule, it is definitely something to keep in mind. Despite the lightweight, the shoe is still durable. I find that flexible shoes are just as durable as any shoe on the market because they are meant to bend so much. A company can’t design a flexible shoe and have it fall apart after just a few toe-offs. The BRS 1000 carbon rubber in the high wear areas (the toe and heel) of the outsole add to the overall durability of the shoe. Generally speaking, you should get at least 250 miles out of the shoe and potentially upwards of 300.
Any shoe that can be worn without socks must deliver solid protection, especially underneath your foot. While socks aren’t the greatest layer of protection in the world, they still help with adding to the protection of your foot compared to walking around barefoot. The midsole and outsole are just thick enough to make you feel like the bottom of your foot are protected from the road. That said, due to all of the cuts in the midsole, tiny pebbles can get stuck in them and there is a chance that you’ll feel them during a long run. And because the shoe promotes natural running, there’s no heel counter of midsole grip to hold your foot in place, thus protecting you from any twisting or rolling of the ankle and foot.
This is where the shoe really shines. As mentioned above, the Free Flyknit 5.0 is well cushioned and flexible. This makes for a highly responsive shoe. You’re going to feel the upper on the top of your foot. You going to feel the midsole absorb the shock of your foot as you strike the ground. And you’re going to feel it pop back up as you bring your foot off the ground. Then there is the flexibility. Nike has a video on their website that shows the shoe being rolled up like a sleeping bag. I know Nike didn’t go with their most flexible outsole as they wanted to provide some cushion, but this outsole is still as flexible as you’re going to find. Nike wants you to run barefoot, but they still want you to know that there is a shoe on your foot.
The shoe features an 8 mm heel to toe drop. The low heel to toe drop is designed to promote natural and barefoot running. The shoe is considered a neutral shoe that is going to help those over under pronation, which is the insufficient inward roll of the foot. The Flywire cable system adds a little extra support as they allow you to tighten the shoe just a bit. That said since the shoe promotes natural running, the support features are a bit lacking. There is very little arch support and, while the cushioning is decent, it’s not the plushest ride in the world. If you are a runner with less than ideal arches or need a supremely cushioned ride, you may want to avoid these shoes.
With a flat undersurface
, the shoe is designed for the road and tracks
. You can use them on gravel, but be weary of small rocks potentially getting lodged in the outsole and feeling them underneath your foot. The BRS 1000 carbon rubber provides great grip on the road, including wet surfaces. Keep the shoes off the trail at all costs. They won’t perform well and will definitely decrease the durability of the shoe.
The shoe is no longer available through Nike’s website, which means you’ll have to order them through Amazon or find a different outlet. On Amazon, they are typically priced in the $100-$120 range depending on what size and color option you order. This is slightly above the average price of most running shoes. As with any Nike shoe, a lot of the times you’re paying for the name. Nike can overprice their shoes because they have such a loyal fanbase who will pay those prices, knowing they are getting a quality shoe from a brand that they can trust.
•Flyknit Upper that provides extreme comfortability and breathability.
•Phylite midsole that is a 40/60 split between standard rubber and Nike’s Phylon technology.
•BRS 1000 carbon rubber high wear areas of the outsole.
•Flywire lacing system that adds support.
•Lightweight at only 7.6 oz.
I love any Nike shoe that utilizes the Flyknit upper and the Nike Free Flyknit 5.0 is no different. If you’re looking for a shoe that is comfortable and allows you to run naturally while still offering decent protection, then you’ll love the Free Flyknit 5.0. They are great for your speed runs and can also be worn for daily use and workouts. However, if you need a well-cushioned and highly supportive shoe, these should be at the bottom of your wishlist.