Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit Review Facts
The Nike Free line of athletic footwear was introduced by the supremely popular manufacturer back in 2004. The name spoke to a desire shared by running enthusiasts: to move freely without being bound by the limitations of their shoes. Considering that the Nike brand was at the height of its acclaim around this time, they matched this lofty product name with footwear that delivered quality and performance true to these astronomical aspirations. Since then, Nike has made some excellent articles of athleisure with their Free series and the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit is no exception. Nike was inspired by the accounts of Stanford athletes that enjoyed training barefooted when designing these minimalist runners. As a result, these shoes are extremely flexible and responsive.
An interesting geometric pattern was implemented into the design of these outsoles in order to provide decent flexibility. This design feature alone helps greatly in facilitating a naturalistic running stride, feeling almost like a second layer of skin. The tri-star pattern used for this design evokes images of spiderwebs, allowing for a wide versatility in all conceivable directions. The reason for Nike adopting this particular design is to improve the efficiency of ground impact by implementing an auxetic pattern; this is a complicated anomaly of engineering and physics where an object manages to become thicker as it stretches.
The primary intention when Nike designed the Free RN Motion Flyknit
was flexibility. A two-layered midsole similar in style to the kind used for the Free RN Distance
was used to accomplish that feat. Despite being made from two different layers of material, it acts as one solid yet pliable unit. The top layer provides a molded fit for the underfoot. A molded sidewall is also included and contoured to support the foot’s arch. Additionally, the same auxetic properties used by the outsole extend into the lower layer of the midsole, providing cohesion between these two components of the Free RN Motion Flyknit’s lower half.
Nike’s signature Flyknit
material from which these shoes derive their namesake consists of durable fibers stitched together in order to provide strength and breathability with the lightest amount of weight possible. Support is provided thanks to the Free RN Motion Flyknit upper’s form fitting design that facilitates a secure yet comfortable fit. As a result of this lightweight and subtle design, some runners feel as if they aren’t wearing any shoes at all. Since the Flyknit
material is seamless and stitchless, skin irritation can be avoided. The lack of a conventional tongue may confuse some runners but the use of Flywire technology
ensures a snug fit by connecting the Flyknit upper between the sole and laces. Unfortunately, this particular design can lead to some slippage during particularly intense runs. For that reason, runners who require more lateral stability may want to look elsewhere for their running shoe needs.
These Nike runners are extremely lightweight
at just a hair under 8 ounces. This impressive feat is possible due to the minimalist design of these shoes that can be seen from top to bottom. Because of this, runners can even fold up and pack the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit in their gym bag or backpack. As you may expect, such a thin and lightweight design
comes with some drawbacks. In this case, the stability and durability offered by these shoes are insufficient for handling any environments more treacherous than a sidewalk or running track. Also, runners with pronation issues or a predisposition to running injuries will want to avoid these shoes.
Nike’s powerful combination of FlyKnit and FlyWire technology offers a powerful amount of breathability. This considerable ventilation provides comfort in both wet and dry runs. Long distance runners will especially appreciate the sweat and moisture prevention offered by the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit. This dry comfort is guaranteed in all weather conditions
. Although customers have complained about different aspects of these shoes, one thing that no customer has complained about is the shoes’ airflow.
The Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit has an absurdly comfortable fit. Unlike many other Nike products, such as their long-running Air Zoom series, these shoes run a bit larger than average. As a result, some runners may need to purchase a half size smaller than normal in order to ensure a proper fit. Extra space has been added to the forefoot area in order to provide extra wiggle room for the toes, avoiding a common discomfort experienced in many tight-fitting running shoes. Despite having a medium width on paper, these shoes feel considerably wider
as a result of these amenities, making them a viable option for runners with a tendency for swollen feet.
Although this is a given with any product designed by Nike, it’s still worth mentioning that the Free RN Motion Flyknit offer a variety of stylish color options perfect for a variety of settings. The more vibrant colors are mostly available for women’s sizes and darker, more muted tones are mostly available for men. Because of this versatile style, these shoes can be worn in casual social settings as well as on the track. For runners who don’t like the style options available, Nike has them covered too; customers can design their own versions of these shoes through Nike’s website.
Nike designed these shoes for the purposes of feeling natural and weighing as little as possible. Because of this, some aspects of the Free RN Motion Flyknit are different from heavier models. In this case, durability has taken a bit of a hit; due to the use of lighter materials, the standard lifespan you may expect from a pair of running shoes can only be guaranteed on specific low-intensity running surfaces. That isn’t to say that these shoes aren’t durable at all, however. In fact, the high flexibility offered by these shoes make it considerably more difficult for them to fray or tear.
Foot protection is a very high priority when designing a good running shoe. Nike understands this, so they designed the Free RN Motion Flyknit to offer solid protection despite its modest weight and thickness. A combination of materials are used to accomplish this task, including Nike’s Flywire and Flyknit upper technologies. In addition to providing excellent support around the entirety of the foot, these woven fabric materials are highly resistant to piercing or tearing from small debris. What’s most impressive about this aspect of the Free RN Motion Flyknit’s resiliency is how it manages to maintain a low profile on the foot at the same time, feeling more like a sock than a running shoe.
As much as the unconventional design of these Nike road shoes contribute to a responsive feeling, there are still some aspects that detract from it. The aforementioned auxetic outsole design ensures terrific energy efficiency but providing a spring-like underfoot platform. However, the lightweight and highly flexible design used for the rest of the Free RN Motion Flyknit leads to a questionable stability
while running. The benefits ultimately outweigh the negatives but it is still worth noting that these are not the most responsive running shoes out there.
Adaptive cushioning is how Nike manages to make the most out of a very minimalistic design to ensure decent support in the Free RN Motion Flyknit. This support is mostly felt during the act of running, as it is mostly derived from the cleverly engineered outsole and midsole. On the upper half, a tight-fitting yet comfortable FlyKnit upper provides ankle support and prevents foot slippage. As a result, these Nike road shoes
provide a level of support that will likely take many runners by surprise.
These are far from what runners might expect from a casual running shoe, even though they can function well in similar environments. Due to the diminished protection and cushion caused by a lighter design, the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit isn't recommended for use by beginners or for exceptionally long runs. However, short jogging
sessions and speed work are certainly viable when wearing these minimalist runners. It should go without saying that trail running is completely out of the question with these shoes.
The original price for these shoes has dropped slightly due to age, meaning that frugal customers can find a pair for a discounted rate if they search online retailers like Amazon. However, even the base price of the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit is reasonable when considering the quality of its design. This price tag may seem unjustified to some runners who are disappointed with the seemingly flimsier construction of these shoes when compared to ordinary runners. However, the ingenuity of its design, particularly through the use of auxetic outsole materials, more than justifies the wholly reasonable asking price for this footwear.
While these shoes provide an amazing level of responsiveness thanks to the mind-bending design of its outsole, they aren’t as impressive when looking at their traction Enough grip is provided for runners to wear the Free RN Motion Flyknit on basic running surfaces such as dirt, concrete, tracks, and grass, but anything tougher than asphalt is going to cause problems. For this reason, it’s best for runners to use these shoes in controlled environments such as a gym or running track and avoid trail running or particularly intense road running.
Aside from being incredibly responsive, the next most noticeable feature of the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit is their incredible flexibility. It’s because of the low-profile construction and lighter weight that these shoes manage to be pliable enough for runners to compress and store them easily. A thinner heel pad and unconventional outsole design are how these shoes manage to be so flexible while still meeting the requirements of a competent road runner. However, the most impressive aspect of these shoes’ flexibility is that it manages to also be incredibly durable at the same time.
Unfortunately, the incredibly low weight and surprising flexibility of these Nike road shoes means that their stability takes a bit hit. Runners have noticed that while these shoes are effective for shorter sprints and speed work, there simply isn’t enough control for the Free RN Motion Flyknit to function adequately during longer running sessions. Some jerry-rigging may fix this issue, such as implementing an orthotic insole, but the far easier option for stability-oriented runners is to simply find a different shoe.
A 4 mm elevation has been added to the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit with some minor foam padding on the rearfoot. This is in addition to some extra height discrepancy from the midsole, resulting in a rough estimate of 8 mm for the heel drop. Despite this significant difference in elevation, the rest of this shoe’s design makes it feel flatter, making it more comfortable for neutral runners
. The extra foam material manages to provide some extra cushion for heel strikers but they should still expect discomfort over longer runs; after all, there isn’t much cushion to go around in the first place.
- Flyknit and Flywire upper
- Auxetic tri-star outsole design
- Molded foam midsole
- Low-profile cushioning
- Rounded heel with extra foam padding
The best possible application for the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit is a casual running session. Because of their lightweight and highly portable design, they can be easily donned for quick jogs, errands, or embarking on casual social outings. They are surprisingly comfortable despite their lack of significant cushioning due to the fact that they have such a low profile. It really does feel like you’re wearing no shoes at all. As a result of these design decisions, the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit is a terrific introductory shoe for runners looking to adopt a more minimalist running style, similar to the ancient art of barefoot running. These shoes certainly won’t hold up on a trail or particularly debris-ridden road but will definitely suffice for most other low-intensity environments.