Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit
This Nike is a deceiving little bugger. The slipper-looking Flyknit shoe is not so minimal. Meaghan and I put some miles on the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit and found this running shoe to be more complex than its simple form.
Thomas: The fit is sick. Nike is really getting the knit thing down. While running I never thought of making any adjustments, the upper just disappeared. Besides the great fit, I love the way the shoe looks, it is very modern. This was my first go in a Nike Free of any kind. The segmented honeycomb midsole becomes customized to your foot. When I took the Nikes off after a few runs I noticed the shoe was no longer flat across the bottom, it became curved up at the toe. Taking corners, the flex grooves let your feet dig in for some really good traction. So far, thumbs up on the upper, the style, midsole, and outsole, so what about the weight? The Nike Free 4.0 weighed a scant 7.85 oz. for my size 10.5. That is just light enough to give you that fast turnover mile after mile. The shoe was smooth through the stride and I was able to pick up the pace without too much effort.
Meaghan: The Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit is a slipper-like running shoe. Within the Nike Free lineup, these fall right into the middle (between the 3.0 [most minimal] and the 5.0 [more shoe]). The upper of the Free 4.0 Flyknit is a one-piece mesh that wraps around the foot like a glove. What’s nice about this construction is the stretchy mesh will fit just about any foot type. The only structure in the upper is the Flywire technology which helps keep the foot in place. For those not familiar, Flywire is basically a set of strings that function like cables on a suspension bridge to offer support. They do a nice job of taking the pressure off the top of the foot where the laces are tied. The midsole and outsole are pretty much one and the same. The midsole is made up of Phylite (a mix of Phylon and rubber), so it’s light and flexible, but durable enough to act as an outsole. Nike added some rubber pods on the outer heal and below the big toe, but they aren’t very noticeable. These shoes really give you that minimalistic feel, with some nice added cushion. My favorite aspect of this shoe is the weight. My W7.5 came in just under 6 0z. (5.95).
Thomas: The Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit isn’t quite structured enough for me to feel confident on runs over 13 miles.
Meaghan: The only real complaint I have with these shoes is their lack of structure. I was hesitant to take them out for long runs. While I think they offer enough cushioning for the marathon distance, I wanted something more secure and stable fitting through the upper for my long training runs.
Thomas: This shoe was an unexpected treat. I am pretty much over minimal shoes at this point. My love affair with them waned after I broke my foot a couple years back. I thought the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit was going to feel and ride like a minimal shoe. It doesn’t. There is plenty of midsole cushion and even a 6mm drop from heel to toe. I would recommend this shoe for a runner that keeps the regular runs under 10 miles and likes crosstraining.
Meaghan: The Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit was a nice surprise. This is a shoe I would compare to the Skora FIT (a shoe I am not so fond of) so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the miles. It’s a flexible, super light shoe that has a really nice amount of cushioning. As for durability concerns, I don’t have any. The Phylite outsole may not be as durable as a shoe covered in rubber, but it’s also what makes the shoe (in my opinion). I wouldn’t recommend this shoe as an everyday trainer, but if you’re looking for something to add into your rotation (for the shorter, easy runs), I would definitely recommend giving these a go.
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