Nike Free RN CMTR Review Facts
Nike is no stranger to creating shoes that are both functional, as well as fashionable. At first glance, the Nike Free RN CMTR may look like another minimalist model, the Nike Roshe Run, but the two shoes are very different. The Nike Free run line is aimed at being what a minimalist running shoe should be, trimming the excess fat while still leaving the core running fundamental features that runners seek in a shoe. The second half of the name, RN CMTR, stands for “run commuter,” with the vowels strategically removed to shorten the overall name of the shoe while still effectively alluding to the capabilities of the shoe. This shoe was intended for light competitive purposes, performing it’s best when being used to run in a straight line. Nike’s goal for this shoe was to create a comfortable shoe that was cost-effective and efficient. Depending on your needs, this shoe will either fall under the category of being exactly what you want in a shoe or exactly what you don’t need.
The outsole on the Nike Free RN CMTR is the shoe's most notable feature. The outsole is very similar to a treaded tire pattern found on vehicles with the exception of the material majorly being used is an unspecified foam. This fact alone begins the list of possible deal breakers when it comes to this shoe. There is not a lot of reinforced rubber on the outsole, only a few segmented rubber pads found in the forefront toe region and hind heel region. The outsole is heavily slitted where the triangular tread patterns are located, which allows this shoe to maximize flexibility.
In an effort to be as concise as possible, the entire outsole is basically an extension of the midsole with a few minimal additions such as the rubberized pads that provide some traction. The areas that Nike chose to place the rubberized pads are in areas that typically see the most amount of wear on an average running shoe. This inherently enhances the durability of the outsole.
The midsole of the Nike Free RN CMTR is made from foam materials that allow it to be extremely responsive
. The overall height of the midsole is very low. On top of the midsole sits a very soft mesh infused insole
. Combined together, all of the components that come together to make the midsole a comfortable ride, even during a race.
The midsole and the outsole are one cohesive unit. Due to the actual absence of a separate material that would compose an outsole, the midsole foam makes up almost the entirety of the outsole, except for rubberized pads placed in the toe and heel region. Deep slotted grooves can be found in the foam material midsole that allows for better flexibility.
The upper is made from highly breathable mesh and engineered Nike Flywire
for a superiorly snug fit. The mesh material accommodates any foot, wide or slim, with comfort, freedom, and flexibility, while the Nike Flywire compliments the entire upper with amazing security. There is a separate segmented heel cup section also located in the upper for a more flexible fit and additional stability. The upper features reflective material
for running safety in low light to no light environments.
The Nike Free RN CMTR follows the trend set by the other models available in the Nike Free line by remaining a lightweight shoe. The weight of this shoe is 8.3 ounces. This shoe focuses on becoming less of a shoe, and more of a lightweight shield for your foot, giving credibility to the FREE that Nike uses with this shoe.
The breathability factor for the Nike Free RN CMTR is great thanks to the mesh used throughout the entire shoe. Nike makes different types of mesh for their shoes, and the Nike Free RN CMTR received a suitable mesh that provided adequate breathability and circulation to allow your foot to remain cool during your run.
The foam used for this shoe is not bad, but it isn't amazing either. Nike has many different types of foams available on the market that have a higher comfort and performance rating than the foam used for this model of shoe. Even with an average comfort level foam, the aggregation of the other components and materials make the shoe comfy. The mesh maintained a good balance between grip and comfort, while the Flywire
locked the foot in without any pinching or discomfort.
This shoe is somewhat stylish, appealing to minimalist cues. The shoes do not look "busy" in term of appearance, and to many runners, the aesthetics fall more on the inviting side rather than aggressive styling. The style is very safe with the ability to complement a plethora of color palettes on any running attire
you may own.
The durability factor was addressed in the design of this shoe which is good news if you planned on having these sneakers for a while. The outsole has segmented rubberized hits in high-wear areas that are prone to decrease the overall durability of a running shoe. The mesh used in this shoe, for the most part, passes the test of time with one minor grievance - the heel cup. The heel cup has its own separate section on the rear area of the shoe which has the possibility of deteriorating faster than the rest of the shoe.
The level of protection this shoe offers isn't that high. The main source of protection comes from a Flywire system found in the midsection that does an outstanding job of keeping your foot locked in place. Aside from the Flywire system, this shoe was purely built for responsive, lightweight running as opposed to protecting or correcting problems like overpronation or Underpronation.
The Nike Free RN CMTR has a high rate of responsiveness thanks to the triangular outsole that attempts to replicate a barefoot
full level of responsiveness. The upside of not having a designated rubberized outsole and instead a well-grooved midsole between your foot and the ground makes for great responsiveness. While this shoe doesn't score too high in some areas, it's overall responsive nature is off the charts.
The support for this shoe can be found in two areas: the heel and midsection. The heel provides a malleable mesh cup that forms to your foot and will assist in giving good overall arch support
even with the highly flexible nature of the shoe. The engineered Nike Flywire lace locking system will keep your foot sturdy and upright every time while you're using these shoes.
Due to the limited ability of the outsole, the suggested terrain for these shoes is the pavement. The shoe may have an outsole with patterns similar to tires, but just like some tires, they weren't made for off-roading. That means these shoes won't be the best to take for trail running
or other challenging surfaces that you may come across.
Nike is becoming experts at providing great shoes with great value for a great price. The initial retail for this shoe was slightly over the $100 price point but can easily be found in certain select locations online anywhere from half to a fraction of that price.
The Nike Free RN CMTR suffers from very limited traction due to the entire outsole being made from foam with only a few rubberized pads at the heel and toe area. With regards to most running shoes, the status quo typically tends to only have a portion of the midsole used for the outsole, or none at all with the outsole being made from another separate material. The Nike Free RN CMTR uses the midsole as the outsole. The traction isn't sub-par but has limited capabilities when it comes to grip versus the scenario of the outsole having a more rubberized coating in other areas than just the heel and toe.
Flexibility can be easily found throughout the entire shoe. If you were to hold the shoes in both hands and compress your hands, the shoe would collapse without any reluctance. Depending on your running style and running needs, this may be great news or not. The heel area provides a cup shape in the rear upper for flexibility that adjusts to the shape of your foot. The entire upper is made from a mesh that forms to your foot, while the outsole has deep slotted cuts that extend from the outsole into midsole that open up more opportunities for natural movement while you use the shoes.
The Nike Free RN CMTR never specifically states that it is a stability
shoe. The shoe incorporates elements that make an effort to meet the basic necessities of stability, like including a heel cup and an engineered Flywire lacing system but stability with this shoe wasn't a high priority during the design process. If you experience overpronation
or supination, this is not the shoe for you.
This shoe is a very low shoe with 4 millimeters for the heel to toe drop. The drop height for the majority of running shoe averages at about 10 millimeters and the Nike Free RN CMTR falls very short from the standardized median height. Depending on your specific needs as a runner, a shoe this low to the ground may be enough to not even consider the shoe a valid option.
Key FeaturesFlywire Lacing System
Collapsible upper structure for packability
The Nike Free RN CMTR is a shoe aimed at a specific audience. This is not a shoe to train in or receive multiple other uses for. This shoe was intended to be purely a minimalist running shoe to carry and comfort the user from start to finish. There are about as many benefits to owning this shoe as there are cons due to the lack of features like great support and stability that other competitive shoes offer.
This shoe is not recommended to runners with overpronation or supination, because the adjustments the shoe makes to assist both running styles are nonexistent. These shoes are recommended for runners who need an inexpensive shoe to run straightforward competitions with, not competitive events that require more movement outside of casually running in a straight line.