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Nike Free Runs vs. Nike RosheNike has long been a one of the leading brands in the athletic apparel industry, and their lines of running shoes are no exception. In addition to their standard running shoes, timing gear, and numerous clothing lines specially designed for runners, Nike has developed different types of running shoes to suit different styles and preferences, all of which are available at both traditional brick and mortar stores as well as online at retailers such as eBay.

One of the difficulties runners face when purchasing a pair of running shoes is determining which pair is best for them. This guide is designed to help runners understand what Nike Free Run and Nike Roshe shoes are, and the differences between them, in order to make the most informed decision possible.

What are Nike Free Run Shoes?

Nike Free Run shoes are a line of running shoes first released in 2005, and have seen numerous iterations since that time. The concept behind the Nike Free Run is based on barefoot running. Barefoot running has been scientifically proven to provide several advantages over traditional running shoes, including stronger leg and foot muscles and faster running times. However, running completely barefoot is also fraught with risks, such as accidentally stepping on something dangerous laying on the track and getting a serious infection. As a result, Nike developed a line of running shoes that is designed to closely resemble barefoot running without many of the associated risks of doing so.

Types of Nike Free Run Shoes

Nike Free Run shoes are broken into several different categories on a 0 to 10 scale. A rating of 0 is comparable to running completely barefoot, while a rating of 10 is comparable to a typical running shoe. The original Nike Free Run was rating a 5.0, and since that time Nike has released shoes ranging from 3.0 to 7.0. Nike further distinguishes older versions of the same number from newer versions by using V1, V2, etc.

What are Nike Roshe Shoes?

Nike Roshe shoes are another attempt by Nike to create high-performance non-traditional running shoes. Nike Roshe were developed by designer Dylan Raasch. The idea behind the Roshe was to create a running shoe that was as simple and effective as possible, using Zen philosophy and design elements as one of the primary sources of inspiration. The result of this design focus is apparent throughout the shoe design, from the super-lightweight materials to the highly breathable mesh top.

The Nike Free Run or the Nike Roshe?

The choice between the Nike Free Run and the Nike Roshe ultimately boils down to which line has the specific features needed by a runner. The following are a few of the most significant characteristics to consider:


Both the Free Run and the Roshe are surprisingly durable considering how lightweight they are and the heavy-duty nature of their expected use. Both lines have been reported to last for well over a few hundred miles of running. However, the Roshe shoe line is considered somewhat more durable thanks to its mesh material. The Free Run shoe, in comparison, ultimately begins to degrade after a few hundred miles, due in part to the highly flexible nature of the shoe itself.


The Nike Free Run wins outright in the flexibility category. The Free Run is specially designed to be as non-intrusive as possible, which means it is far more flexible than a traditional shoe, and is lightweight enough to fully realize this advantage. While the Roshe is more flexible than a traditional running shoe thanks to its mesh top, it still pales in comparison to the Free Run in this category.


Both lines of shoes are considered more comfortable than traditional running shoes, and it is not uncommon for runners to wear either their Free Run or Roshe shoes outside of a competition or training. When choosing which line is more comfortable for actual running, the decision ultimately boils down to the priorities of the runner. If wearing the most flexible, lightweight, and quiet shoe are the most important factors, than the Free Run is the better choice. If foot support, balance, and airflow are the most important factors, than the Roshe is likely a better choice.


Ultimately, runners can't really go wrong choosing either the Nike Free Run or the Nike Roshe. Both lines have undergone extensive design and engineering, and will help a runner maximize their ability to train and compete at the highest levels. When choosing one or the other, simply determine which design characteristics are most important, and decide from there.

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