Are Nike Free Run 2 Good for Running?

Nike Free Run 2 shoes have been a popular choice for runners since they were first released in 2011. But are they actually good running shoes? Here is an in-depth look at the Nike Free Run 2 and whether they make a good running shoe.

What are the Nike Free Run 2?

The Nike Free Run 2 is one of Nike’s lightweight, flexible running shoes that are meant to mimic barefoot running. Nike Free shoes have a minimalist construction with a flexible sole and lightweight mesh upper. The Nike Free Run 2 has a seamless soft upper for a sock-like fit and lightweight phylite midsole for cushioning.

The outsole uses deep flex grooves that allow your foot to move more naturally. By separating the outsole into segments, your foot can flex and bend as you run. The overall goal of Nike Free shoes is to strengthen muscles in your feet and lower legs by promoting a more natural running motion.

Benefits of the Nike Free Run 2:

  • Lightweight and flexible – The Nike Free Run 2 weighs just 7.3 oz, making it one of the lightest running shoes. The flexible sole allows your foot to move naturally.
  • Breathable mesh upper – The soft, seamless mesh upper provides ventilation to keep your feet cool. Some runners found the upper fits like a sock.
  • Minimal cushioning – With a low 4mm heel-to-toe offset, the Nike Free Run 2 have minimal cushioning to encourage a natural gait.
  • Durable outsole – The grooved Phylite midsole and rubber outsole holds up well for high mileage runners. The outsole also provides traction.
  • Wide toe box – The wide toe box allows toes to splay naturally for stability.
  • Smooth ride – The Phylite cushioning absorbs impact while the flex grooves encourage a smooth heel-to-toe transition.
  • Affordable price – The Nike Free Run 2 have an affordable price point compared to other running shoes, starting around $80.

Downsides of the Nike Free Run 2:

  • Not enough cushioning for some – With minimal cushioning, the Nike Free Run 2 may not provide enough comfort for runners used to more padded shoes. The ride can feel harsh at times.
  • Poor traction – Some runners found the waffle pattern outsole didn’t provide enough traction in wet or slippery conditions.
  • Durability concerns – Because of the minimal cushioning, some runners found the midsole materials broke down quicker than expected.
  • Loose fit – The wide toe box and sock-like upper resulted in a loose fit for some narrow-footed runners. Heel slippage was also a complaint.
  • Not ideal for heavy runners – With the lightweight design, the Nike Free Run 2 may not withstand high mileage running for heavier runners.

Who are the Nike Free Run 2 good for?

The Nike Free Run 2 can work well for certain runners:

  • Runners with good running form – The minimal cushioning performs best if you have an efficient stride without overpronation.
  • Lightweight runners – The lightweight, flexible design is ideal for runners with lower body weight.
  • Short distance runners – The natural ride is best for shorter runs up to 5K or 6K rather than long distances.
  • Runners wanting to strengthen feet – The Nike Free promotes strength in the feet and lower legs.
  • Beginner barefoot runners – The flexible sole helps condition your feet for minimalist shoes.
  • Gym training – The Nike Free Run 2 makes a good training shoe for CrossFit, HIIT workouts, and strength training.

The Nike Free Run 2 may not be the best choice for:

  • Heavy runners – Heavier runners need more cushioning for knee protection.
  • Long distance runners – The minimal cushioning can’t withstand the constant pounding of long distances.
  • Overpronators – If you overpronate, look for a stability shoe with arch support.
  • Runners with flat feet – Those with flat feet or collapsed arches may need more arch support.

Tips for running in the Nike Free Run 2:

  • Take it slow – Gradually ease into running in the Nike Free to strengthen your feet and muscles. Don’t immediately run long distances.
  • Use proper form – Running efficiently in a midfoot strike will help you handle the lower cushioning. Avoid heel striking.
  • Try the shoe on – Make sure you get the right size for your foot. The mesh upper should fit like a sock without being too loose.
  • Add supportive insoles if needed – Runners needing more arch support can try supportive insoles.
  • Run on softer surfaces – Stick to track or grass rather than roads to reduce impact.
  • Replace once worn out – Don’t run in Nike Free shoes once the midsole loses its cushioning.

The bottom line

The Nike Free Run 2 can be a good choice for efficient, lightweight runners who want to strengthen their feet and muscles. The minimal cushioning provides ground feel many barefoot runners will appreciate.

But the shoe may not work if you need stability, have flat feet, or are a heavier runner. Try the Nike Free Run 2 to see if the natural flexibility suits your running needs.

FAQs about the Nike Free Run 2

What is the weight of the Nike Free Run 2?

The Nike Free Run 2 is very lightweight, weighing approximately 7.3 oz for a men’s size 9. The women’s version is about 5.6 oz.

What is the heel drop of the Nike Free Run 2?

The Nike Free Run 2 has a heel drop of just 4mm from the heel to the forefoot. This encourages more of a midfoot/forefoot strike.

Are the Nike Free Run 2 good for walking?

While designed as a running shoe, the flexible sole and lightweight feel of the Nike Free Run 2 can work well for walking. They allow for a natural walking motion.

Are the Nike Free Run 2 good for CrossFit or HIIT workouts?

Yes, the Nike Free Run 2 is a popular training shoe for high intensity workouts like CrossFit. The flexibility allows for agility exercises while the sole provides traction for lifting.

Do the Nike Free Run 2 require a break-in period?

Most runners did not need an extensive break-in period for the Nike Free Run 2. However, gradually increasing your mileage in them can help your feet adjust to the minimal cushioning.

What is the newest version of the Nike Free shoes?

The Nike Free Run 5.0 is the newest model, building on the flexible sole design of the original Nike Free. It has an updated knit upper and more cushioning than previous versions.

Are the Nike Free Run 2 good for overpronators?

No, the Nike Free Run 2 lack support features to help overpronation. Overpronators would do better in a stability running shoe with features like a medial post.

Are the Nike Free Run 2 true to size?

The Nike Free Run 2 tends to fit according to standard running shoe sizing. Some runners felt the mesh upper fit a bit loose. Trying them on is recommended. Order a half size smaller if you have narrow feet.

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