AKA: Super Special Lovely Magic Birthday Rainbow Shoes (Part 2)
If you write a blog, it’s VITALLY important that you tell the whole world whether any new product you come across is great or if it’s poop. This is partly due to a sense of moral obligation, a need to use your platform to share a little bit of insight with the world. Mostly though, it’s in the hope that companies will send you free stuff. In my house, I have a whole drawer full of gluten-free cabbage flavoured gels, and I’ve had to make all my kids share a bedroom so I could make room for my growing collection of stuffed otters that Asics keep sending, for reasons known only to them1.
I’ve recently become the proud Daddy to a pair of Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit shoes, which boast the most convoluted mouthful of a name since the Adidas Megabongo P1101011001 Alfalfa Speedlizard XPZRL 20062.
I should point out that my shoes are the 2016 model. There is a 2017 version, which has 43% more futuristicness (real word) and is guaranteed brexit-proof to 30 metres, but you’ll have to review those for yourself.
Let’s get this bit out of the way first, because it’s a bit marmite (If you live outside of the UK, please feel free to replace “marmite” with another sticky-disgusting-but-strangely-delicious-famously-divisive foodstuff). Some might describe the design as fresh, innovative or “looking a bit like space shoes”. Others see it as a clear sign that the lovely people at Nike bought a crate of monkeys and then gave them free access to the cupboard where they keep all of the crayons and the mind-altering drugs.
Personally, I sit firmly in the first camp. A few years ago I tried a pair of the earlier Free Flyknits, and it was love at first sight. Year by year, the design seems to have been growing steadily more bold. I’m predicting that the next season will feature sequins, peacock feathers and a tiny LED screen on the side of each shoe showing clips from 1980’s TV show Diff’rent Strokes.
Look, most of you will have been here before, and you should know by now that I really don’t understand the finer points of running shoe technology, or the vast majority of the most basic points. So, I think it’s best if I just list some of the sciencey words I found on the Nike website, and leave you to make up your own minds: Auxetic Midsole, Geometric Tri-Star Form, Something about using heat instead of glue, Flywire Lacing System, 3D Ribbing (!), Marmalade.
I added one of my own. See if you can guess which.
I bloody well defy you to find a comfier pair of shoes. I’d go as far as to say that if you try a pair on, you will buy them. I’ve seen them described as “an inviting tube of cloth that stretches around your foot”, and I think that’s a pretty spot-on analysis. This “it’s just a big sock” design is guaranteed to make a lot of people wrinkle their noses up as though they’ve just had a tiny poo flung at them and it’s landed on their top lip, but regardless of how they look, they really do work. Running in them is a dream. You’d be forgiven for thinking that they might be a bit flakey due to the design being so lightweight and ethereal, like the sort of thing an elf might wear, but they deliver a good solid ride, with ridiculous amounts of flexibility and a much more substantial level of cushioning than you’d expect. They feel like they should be a nippy little 5k shoe rather than an all-rounder, but I’ve found them to be just as happy pounding out the miles on long runs.
The lacing system is snug and secure. Feels like you could kick a thousand zombies in their stupid zombie faces and the shoe wouldn’t budge, which I’m pretty sure is the exact feel that Nike were aiming for.
RRP: This version is discontinued now but still widely available. Expect to pay around £70-£80.
Shoes: Yes. Definitely. I checked.
What sort: Neutral cushioned
Left or right: One of each.
Heel drop: Yes. 4mm.
Weight: 223g (size UK10)
If this shoe were an animal it would be: One of those little Amazonian frogs with the funny staring eyes that, if you lick it, makes your head explode, or something.
So would I recommend these shoes? Well, clearly I would.
Would I cut you if you tried to touch my lovely shoes? Yes, in a heartbeat. No, of course not. That’s just silly. I might though, so probably best not to risk it.
BIT WHERE I EXPLAIN THAT THIS IS A GENUINE, UNBIASED REVIEW (Just in case you thought for one second that Nike would have paid a penny for this nonsense!)
All comments are my own unbiased opinion, and are generally stupid. I paid for these shoes.
Well, actually they were a birthday present.
From my Wife, not from Nike.
Nike didn’t get me anything for my birthday, the swines. If Keith Nike or any of his underlings are reading this, please feel free to send me shoes and clothes and watches and holidays and a robot butler. I’m not 100% sure that Nike makes robot butlers, but I thought I’d ask just in case. Anyway, my point is the shoes weren’t marketing freebies, and even if they were, which they’re not, I’d be happy say that they were crap, if they were, which they’re not.
OH, AND ONE MORE THING
If you want to read some proper stuff about these (or any other) shoes, pop over to Running Shoe Guru. It’s the review I wish I’d written (if I were a grown-up). It’s got some interesting facts about the ethos behind the Nike Free project, and even features a breakdown of that comically long name.
1 Might have made that up.
2 Might have made that up.