It’s been more than 10 years since the original Nike Free technology was released, which was a large contributor to minimalist shoes winning their place in the spotlight. The recently-unveiled Nike Free Rn Flyknit is the latest in the line’s rich history and is one of four shoes included in Nike‘s latest release.
Canadian Running has had the Free Rn Flyknit and Free Train Force since the shoe’s public release on April 7 and put the two to the test on the roads, on turf and in the gym.
The four shoes that are now available online at Nike stores across Canada
The Free Rn Flyknit is in line with what Nike Free’s have looked like in the past but with the added Flyknit technology on the upper and unique cushioning on the sole. It feels like a sock with no rigid heel structure and with minimal seams throughout to limit the risk of blisters.
The Free Rn Flyknit and Free Rn can be used for running like previous models of the Frees.
The Force and Transform, on the other hand, have rigid heels that act as a stabilizer and should be used in the gym or when strength training. Imagine you’re doing squats or dead lifts and you need some heel support– these are the go-to shoes. The Train Force (men) and the Transform (women) provide stability and for that reason, they are a lot better to wear during strength sessions versus regular running shoes.
The Force and Transform models also features stiffer cushioning than the Free Rn Flyknit counterparts.
Runners can try out the shoes for 30 days (if purchased through Nike online or at an official Nike store), put the Frees through the toughest of tests and be able to return them for a full refund if necessary. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The new line of Frees takes into account how one’s foot expands and contracts through landing and takeoff with the use of a multi-directional outsole. Whether you’re moving laterally, likely in the gym, or out on a run, the shoe can handle it.
The landing and takeoff process is outlined below:
The Nike Free Train Force Flyknit is similar to the LunarEpic Flyknit‘s upper and is easily noticeable because of its sock-like feature that surrounds the ankle as well as the absence of a tongue. The women’s equivalent, the Transform, is low-profiled and wraps around the ankle like a traditional shoe.
Because the Nike Free line generally limits the cushioning between one’s foot and the ground, it’s important to transition them into your routine at a slower pace if you’re used to more stability-based footwear. That said, the Free line can provide a great way to strengthen lower leg muscles as it aims to replicate barefoot running.
All four shoes are available with Nike iD, which allows customers to fully customize the shoes including laces, the upper, the foam and the colourway, for an additional cost.
The Nike Free Rn Motion Flyknit, which is the friendliest to those looking for a longer distance running shoe, is expected to be released on May 5.
With appearance from runners Allyson Felix, Mo Farah, Dafne Schippers, Su Bingtian, Matthew Centrowitz, Patrick Casey, Sammy Silva and Amy Cragg, the shoe can be seen in action below: