Nike Flyknit Running Shoes Review
Let me tell you right off the bat...these shoes have the most flexible soles of any that I've tried. And by flexible, I mean it bends, squeezes, squishes, and moves in all directions with ease. For a fairly thickly padded shoe, this auxetic sole design that Nike invented is super effective. I feel that only VFFs can move in a similar manner.
When I first saw the preview for these shoes, I got really excited and hoped that they would be good or better than the Lunarepics. For one thing, Nike is advertising a 4 mm heel drop (20/16 mm) and while I realize that heel drop may not necessarily be such a big factor anymore, I do find that it makes a big difference to me. Additionally, the Lunarepics are on a 28/18 mm high platform, which I find is a touch too thick no matter how comfortable I feel in them.
This Flyknit thing...it can be pretty and it can be pretty ugly. Take the Lunarepics, for example, I really like how they look, especially the Gyakousou colourway. On the other hand, they have made some stinkers in the past with the Kobe 9 Elite and Free 3.0.
I understand that beauty is in the eye of the blah blah blah but in this case, I don't think anyone will disagree that the RN Motion is pretty dull and unassuming. The knit and design is laid out in a straightforward and simplistic manner. The Flyknit is ribbed providing it with a bot more texture without sacrificing its inherent sock-like quality. It feels thinner than what they used for the Lunarepic.
Inside, there is no tongue or any kind of a removable insole so what you see is what you get. The laces are a bit redundant but I suspect they will come in handy during faster paces to prevent slippage.
Nike refrained from embedding any kind of fancy designs or patterning into the knit other than straight lines originating from the base of the shoe towards its laces.
The prettiest thing about the whole shoe also happens to be the most effective: its sole.
Nike applied an Auxetics design concept that allows the shoe to expand at least a size length-wise and cross-wise as the foot moves. The "Free" concept has always been about mimicking the natural movement of our feet but so far, Nike really hasn't come close. Even with flex grooves cut in all directions, the thickness of the sole always made it feel stiff and clunky.
In using this design, they feel that they have stumbled onto the right formula. Interestingly enough, auxetics has already been used in shoes before with the introduction of the UnderArmour ClutchFit albeit on the upper only.
The very first thing I noticed is the narrow fit. I was expecting it to sit on a wider platform like the Lunarepic. It looks fairly wide on the outside but isn't really. On any upper other than the Flyknit, these would be extremely uncomfortable. But because they are, my feet just feel a slight bit of compression, no more or less tight compared to socks.
The knit itself doesn't feel as rich or comfortable as the Lunarepic. It is noticeably thinner and lighter and I am not sure this is a good thing. My first run in these was about 11 km and it felt ok. It wasn't the life-changing run that I was hoping for and the shoes didn't really feel any different from others.
Cushioning was predictably muted and the Lunarlon provided a very similar level of comfort as their other shoes. It can be described as "pillowy", very similar to the Lunarepic. It isn't as reactive as the Skechers Resalyte or the UnderArmour MicroG or as firm as Newtons or Topos. It's pretty obvious that Nike designed these as a cushioned shoe.
These are expensive shoes so I took them out for a lot more runs.
I am glad to report that the more I ran in them, the more I learned to appreciate the sole design. It is pretty amazing to me how the shoe flexes and feels on each step. So much so that I don't even mind the fairly dull cushiony feeling that it provides; I prefer a firmer and more reactive ride.
The narrow midfoot platform still bothers me a bit even though it started to feel progressively better the more I ran in them. The Flyknit is super comfortable as usual and I haven't experienced and blisters or hot spots.
Overall, the RN Motion is a really good shoe. It is comfortable, the ride is soft and smooth, and the application of the Flyknit is very good. As always, the biggest issue with Nike is its cost and the $150 USD price tag (200 in Canada) is higher than most shoes.
Sizing runs large for those with narrow feet (buy a half-size smaller, the front end is pointy) and spot on for those with flat feet. If in doubt, just buy your regular shoe size.
I would use these for long training runs and for longer races. It's a bit too soft and squishy for me for shorter distances (again, my usual disclaimer is I am used to running in thinner shoes to begin with).
Nike Flyknit Lunarepic - this is the most obvious comparison since they both use Flyknit and Lunarlon. Don't let that fool you as these are two entirely different shoes. The Lumarepic is and feels much higher off the ground and provides a lot more cushioning. It also isn't as flexible as the RN Motion but note that I am not saying that the Lunarepic is stiff; it's just that the RN Motions are super flexible. Both provide a smooth and soft ride and both uppers are very comfortable. They are also quite costly.
Skechers GR4 2016 - This edition of Skechers also has a knit upper but they don;t feel as soft and comfortable as the Flyknit. At 23/19 mm, it is slightly thicker than this pair but feels lower. The GR4s are also much more reactive and bouncier thereby offering up a faster ride.
Underarmour Speedform Slingshot - at 23/16 mm, the UA sits evenly with the RN Motion on the forefoot. This is another shoe that feels much lower than the RN despite it being higher off the ground at the heel. The Slingshot, with its MicroG and Charged cushioning combo, is highly reactive and shares none of the cushioning properties provided by Lunarlon. I personally still prefer the UA knit upper with its tri-zone compression levels despite the fact that the Flyknit fabric feels richer and smoother. I also prefer the UA design over the RN Motion.
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For those that like Nike running shoes, what makes the design of Nike Air Max running shoes so desirable over other brands? - Quora
I'm sorry, I know you said people who like Nike, but I could help but stick my nose in.
The whole running shoe industry is a lie. I know this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist, however it was all put very nicely in a book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougell. (It's a fantastic book, you should read it)