SummaryWhen Nike Free's were developed in the early 2000's, the mission was to create a shoe which was as close to the benefits of barefoot running as possible. This came after research found that top college athletes were training barefoot, in order to increase their race running performance.
The technology in Nike's Free range is engineered for your foot to be able to explore its full range of motion, whilst feeling like a natural extension of your body. The range currently includes 3.0 and 5.0 running shoes, with this 3.0 model being the closest to barefoot running with the lowest level of support, and the closest to the ground.
The Free RN Flyknit 3.0 is a running shoe designed for short training runs, up to 5km, or for runners looking to create the sensation of barefoot running, with the protection of a shoe. Released at the same time as the Nike Free RB 5.0, the difference are mainly the upper and the heel drop, The 5.0 swaps the Flyknit for mesh, and laces, and has a bigger heel drop of 6mm, vs 4mm.
In the Free RN Flyknit 3.0 running shoes, changes from the previous models include being lower to the ground by 1mm, and more flexibility through added outsole groves. These outsole grooves aid in the natural flexing of the foot, moving even closer to the barefoot running experience. This update has also reduced the risk of stones getting caught in the sole. The outsole is shaped to look like the sole of your foot, to really mimic the barefoot experience, and work the 52 muscles of the foot.
The distinctive Flyknit upper is manufactured to look and feel like a sock. This Flyknit material uses strong yet lightweight yarn woven into different patterns to offer support where it's needed, e.g. the outer side of the toe box, and flexibility in other areas of the foot, e.g. the section underneath the middle strap. On the Free RN Flyknit 3.0 this upper is a lace free, slip on design, which also looks great as a a casual shoe.
The fit is true to size, and also suitable for a wider foot due to the the wide base, and stretchy Flyknit upper. This upper makes the shoe snug, so my take a little getting used to if you haven't previously worn similar, although shouldn't create discomfort.
The Free RN Flyknit 3.0 come in a wide range of bright, and also more subdued colors, including 'design your own', and comes in slightly more expensive than the similar Free RN 5.0 model. In addition to running, the Free RN Flyknit would make a solid choice for a workout shoe, or one to wear for walking, to aid strengthening the muscles in your feet.
In conclusion, the Free RN Flyknit is a continued improvement on previous models, using the same Nike technology, in a slightly different design for fans of minimal running shoes.
Who is it for?The Free RN Flyknit 3.0 is recommended for runners who are used to minimal support when running. If you are not used to this type of shoe, it it recommended that you wear this for your day to day activities first, to get used to the new foot position and minimize risk of injury.
It can also be used as a workout shoe, due to its stability from being close to the ground, or for a daily walking shoe to strengthen foot and lower leg muscles.
The Free RN Flyknit 3.0 is a great running shoe for an experienced runner to have their locker for lower mileage running days and also gym workouts, but isn't recommended as a daily running shoe.