The Nike Free RN Flyknit 3.0 and Nike Free RN 5.0 join Nike’s minimalist running line.
Why It’s Hot: It’s the next best thing to running barefoot without building 5cm calluses or having to explain those toe shoes.
- More flexibility and movement
- A sock-like upper that’s easy to get in and out of
- Run light and free like your ancestors—plus neon shorts and a cell phone
Price: A$170 (Free RN Flyknit 5.0) A$200 (Free RN 3.0)
Type: Low-mileage running
Available: April 4 at Nike stores
Nike is launching two shoes in its minimalist Free line—the Nike Free RN Flyknit 3.0 and Nike Free RN 5.0. Designed to help you a achieve a natural stride, the new shoes have a low-profile midsole with “siping,” or deep slits, lining the top and bottom for a wider range of foot motion.
The brand first introduced the Free line in 2004 after taking inspiration from Nike-sponsored athletes training barefoot on the track. Hoping to approximate that natural, shoe-less running experience in, well, a shoe, Nike first launched the Free 5.0 V1 and gradually rolled out a full range of minimalist running footwear, from the Free 3.0 having the least cushioning and the Free 7.0 having the most.
The new 2019 line builds on those collections by subtracting foam and fabric. Both shoes in the new 2019 line have firmer, flatter cushioning than their predecessors for a more barefoot-like sensation. Nike says the Free RN 5.0 is 26 percent more flexible and 2mm lower to the ground, while the Nike Free RN Flyknit 3.0 is 37 percent more flexible and 1mm lower to the ground, as compared to 2018 models. The uppers have also been redesigned: The 5.0’s upper is made of stretch mesh with a minimalist cord lacing system, and the 3.0 has a Flyknit upper that slips on and locks down with an overlay.
Nike says the two shoes are also “built on a more anatomically shaped last” than traditional running shoes for better comfort and movement. A mini-swoosh on the side of the shoe indicates that the Free line is designed for lower-mileage runs. Consider yourself warned, as anyone looking for more marathon-oriented Nike footwear will have to seek out a much bigger swoosh.
When they go on sale, the 2019 Nike Free RN Flyknit 3.0 and Nike Free RN 5.0 will cost $170 and $200, respectively.