Best Nike Flyknit Shoes Reviewed & Rated
Criteria Used for Evaluation
While Flyknit is an inherently comfortable material, there are a few other factors that come into play when considering the shoe’s ability to provide one with what they need in terms of comfort. It was important to pay attention to things such as the number of overlays and the flexibility of the overall shoe on top of the fact that the shoe is designed from the Flyknit material. The fewer overlays in the design of a shoe, the more likely it is that that the shoe provides one with a higher level of comfort while actually in use. On top of this, there are also several other features of these shoes which must be taken into account when considering the shoe’s ability to provide one with any level of comfort while in use.
Circulation of air is something that must actually be taken into account when considering the design of the shoe itself. No one likes to walk around in a pair of shoes that effectively stifle the foot and result in the shoes feeling like moving saunas; it’s incredibly uncomfortable. On top of this, the design of shoes should typically be able to provide one with a level of moisture wicking during use. This is another aspect that increases in importance as the shoe is being used. Whatever the case, Flyknit typically provides wearers with these feelings during use; the only thing would be to make sure that the shoes being picked are the best at providing this quality.
Another aspect that is incredibly important when looking at the design of the shoe is the level of responsiveness that the sole unit of the shoe in particular provides. For instance, the design of the shoe must be able to provide one with what they need in regards to responsiveness and comfort during use. Responsiveness typically stems from the materials’ ability to redirect the wearers own energy during use. This redirection of energy typically results from the type of cushioning found in the sole unit of the shoe; the placement of the rubber also tends to play a major part in this quality.
Flexibility is one of those qualities that a shoe can’t go without; I mean, no one wants to walk around in a pair of shoes that feel like bricks. This is also one of the qualities that are inherent in Flyknit; many shoes bend to the will of a wearers foot simply because of the malleable nature of the material itself. With that being said, there are also a few things that work to enhance the feeling of the material itself; things such as the lack of or strategic placement of overlays in the design of the shoe itself as well as the thickness of the foam in the shoe’s design.
Foam density: A dense foam in the sole unit can make or break the shoe’s ability to provide one with a natural range of motion during use. For this reason, it was important to weigh this in the decision-making process of the shoe’s design overall. With that being said, many of the shoes on this list made use of midsole materials which can easily provide one with what they need in terms of functionality during use.
Lack of Overlays: A shoe that lacks overlays can easily become one of the most comfortable and range of motion providing sneakers in your collection. Many of the sneakers on this list were designed in a way that allowed them to provide a range of motion due to the lack of overlays present in their designs.
Finding that balance between a range of motion and longevity actually isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. Paying attention to the way that the shoe’s materials are placed throughout the design will actually give one a great understanding of just what it takes to get what you need from the shoe itself in this respect. This was mentioned in an earlier section in criteria but, the overlays are actually kind of important in providing Flyknit shoe designs with any level of longevity.
They keep the material from being fully-exposed and provide one with a bit of security while doing so. In the effort to ensure that readers are being made privy to only the best of the best, we also decided it would be a great idea to the durability of the sole unit; the upper is important but a few strategically placed overlays actually take care of that. The use of hardened or carbon rubbers in the outsole will do the trick in providing wearers with what they need in terms of security and protection.
On that same note, the foam in the midsole and its ability to compress beneath the weight of the wearer is also incredibly important to pay attention to. The way in which the material is designed actually does affect its ability to cushion the underfoot of the wearer.
Finding a perfectly-fitting pair of shoes can be like finding the holy grail; there are so many brands, styles, models and makes of shoes that it seems like it’s next to impossible, especially when you are shopping online! Fear not, as we’ve ranked each product on our list for their fit and trueness-to-size to help guide you in finding the perfect match for you.
To come up with a score for fit of a shoe, we considered several factors, like the ones mentioned above, in addition to real customer reviews, to help boil down everything into one simple score. For example, Nike tends to make shoes that are true-to-size, meaning that you can buy a pair of 11s one year, and another pair of 11s next year in a different model, and they will usually still fit (unless your feet grown or shrank). A brand like Nike will most likely have a high score when it comes to fit, but the other variables in play, such as make, model and purpose, will also affect the overall score.
Consider that a running shoe, with its thicker midsole and synthetic sole, might fit differently than a flat shoe, with its thinner midsole and hypothetical leather sole. Each of these shoes, even if they are both from Nike, may have similar scores for trueness-to-size, but a size 11 in one might not be the same as an 11 in the other. What’s a reader to do in this case? You must also consider the purpose and type of shoe it is. Knowing what kind of shoe you are buying, and for what purpose, will help you make a better decision. A running shoe might run smaller than a flat because it has thicker materials, so read customer reviews as well to arrive at the best decision for fit, in addition to just our overall score.
A shoe that breathes is critical to providing the wearer a comfortable and healthy experience when sporting a pair of shoes, sandals or boots. A lack of breathability will create a wet and humid foot, leading to discomfort and possible fungal or bacterial infections that are painful and difficult to cure.
How does a manufacturer ensure their product will allow maximum airflow? There are several ways to achieve this, including using special fabrics in the upper of the product, lining the midsole with moisture-wicking technologies and finally, the good old use of perforations of holes throughout the product.
If a product scores high on this metric, the buyer can rest assured that the manufacturer has used some or all of the above techniques to ensure the wearer a comfortable and dry wearing experience.
Top 10 Picks
1. Roshe Two
The Roshe 2 is a lightweight running shoe. They bring a new design to the full mesh Roshe Shoes released by NIKE back in 2012. With the integration of a Flyknit upper and ribbed design that alternates colors as you move, this shoe really does deserve the 2 in the name. They’re comfortable and flexible, which really is a necessity when running. The Roshe 2 Flyknit is a shoe that offers stability and the natural movement that everyone loves. So now, let’s move onto what makes this shoes unique.
The tread pattern adds more friction onto the bottom of the foot so that while you run, you won't slip as easily. This is important to think about when you’re a runner, or even just like working out. Whether you run on a track, in a gym, or even on the sidewalk, you want to make sure that you are not going to slip when you are taking your strides. The tread pattern helps with this; it’s a solid outsole made of rubber with deep indentations in them that add to the friction, as well as keeping that flexibility that every shoe needs.
Triple Layer Cushioning
The triple layer cushioning adds to the comfort aspect of this shoe. This shoe has more cushioning than the previous NIKE Roshe shoes. The first layer is the insole. It’s made with dual-density memory foam, and pairs that with an outsole that has been designed to enhance flexibility. This shoe also has a tri-fusion IU midsole, and with all three of these elements combined, this shoe shows great durability and compression. Lower densities are for added cushion, while higher densities are for added impact protection. An added benefit of this design is that when running, you have that added comfort and stability that helps you keep going.
Cost and Value
This shoe is actually quite inexpensive, considering that it’s a NIKE shoe. If you think about it, you are actually getting what you paid for; and some extra. For a shoe that has Flyknit in it in the first place, you would be quite surprised at the cost. Also, when evaluating everything that comes together to make this shoe, it’s surprising that it would be sold at a low price when compared with some other shoes.
2. Free RN 2017
Moving on, we will now talk about the Nike Free RN Flyknit 2017 shoe. Like some other shoes on this guide, these are also running shoes. It goes without saying that these are flexible shoes that are meant to really provide comfort to your feet when you run. This is because it incorporates a NIKE Free sole that imitates the motion of your feet. These shoes also have Flywire cables along with regular shoe strings to really make sure your shoes are secure. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what makes these shoes different.
Foot Hugging Fit
The foot hugging fit comes from the fact that this shoe has Flyknit incorporated into the design. It molds to the shape of your feet to give you that secure and close fit. Using the Flyknit material, this shoe is breathable, while also making sure that it doesn’t just fall off of your feet. It helps keep your feet cooled down while you’re running, or walking. It also provides stability on the toes, as well as giving the shoe some stretch for your feet to feel comfortable. It’s something to consider because you want to make sure you have comfort, as well as something that doesn't feel like it’s going to fall off.
Removable Foam Insole
The removable foam inside is there so that if you want that extra comfort, you can have it. Some people may not enjoy having that insole in there, so that is why NIKE has made it removable. This gives you the option of what level of comfort while running you want to feel. If you like shoes that aren’t as soft in the inside, you can have that shoe. If you like shoes that are soft on the inside, you can have that shoe as well. It’s like having two pairs of shoes for the price of one.
Cost and Value
The Nike Free RN Flyknit 2017 is quite inexpensive as well. While examining the price, you could easily tell that it is definitely worth the money. Although, the fact that some people complained that there wasn’t enough ankle support, it’s still a very nice shoe to consider when you want to run. If you look at the pros, they greatly outweigh the cons in this instance.
3. Lunarglide 9
Next on the list is the Lunarglide 9. This, as the name suggests, is the 9th edition of the Lunarglide shoe, and NIKE did not disappoint. This shoe offers breath and comfort to give you the best experience you can have while running. The Flyknit material, along with Flywire cables offers stability and allows air to reach your feet while you run. Also, with the incorporation of a TPU heel counter, this shoe helps with heel slippage and also offers some additional support. Now, let’s look deeper into what makes this shoe special.
The seamless construction of this shoes improves the comfort part of the Lunarglide 9. Instead of your shoes always feeling like they are going to fall apart at any given moment, the seamless construction helps you to have a durable shoe, while also providing you with a lightweight and comfortable shoe. The seamless construction also aids in the design aspect. It gives the shoe a smooth and light look, while also giving you the durability you need to make it while running.
TPU Heel Counter
A TPU heel counter is a piece of strong plastic connected to the heel of the shoe that helps with heel slippage and give you a better fit for stability. Basically, what this means is that while you’re running, your heels will not start sliding around, and you will be able to not worry about your shoe coming off at the back. The heel counter just adds to the fact that this is a durable shoe that really works for running. It’s something that many shoes don’t have, so incorporating it into the design of the shoe along with the Flyknit was a good choice.
Cost and Value
Unlike the previous shoes above, this shoe is a little more expensive, but it’s still not the most expensive NIKE shoe out there. It could be considered midrange in this aspect. But when looking at what this shoe includes into the design of it, you might want to spend a little more on it. It also is the 9th edition Lunarglide shoe out there, so it makes sense that it would be a little more expensive than the shoes above.
4. Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0
Following after the previous shoe is the Nike Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0 Flyknit. Just like the shoe above, this is also another version of the original Air Max 90. What sets it apart from its predecessor is that this (like everything in this guide) has Flyknit incorporated into the design, dual-cushioning foam that offers comfort and stability, while also lessening the weight of the shoe. To add onto the comfort, this shoe also includes a memory foam sock-liner, and Visible Max Air cushioning that adds to the design as well as the comfort. Now, we can get to the different properties of this shoe.
Visible Max Air Cushioning
The visible Max Air cushioning is where you can actually see the extra air. It adds an extra layer of comfort to the foot, and also adds some support to the shoe. The designers of this shoe wanted to introduce something that allowed your feet to breathe, while also allowing your feet to feel comfortable. With this in mind, they included this along with the Flyknit to add what was needed to the shoe: comfort. This makes Max Air shoes unique from the other ones on this guide because they are the only ones with technology like this(there is another Max Air shoe on this guide further down), but there are some that are similar to this.
Memory Foam Sock-liner
Like the Visible Max Air cushioning above, the Memory Foam sock-liner is another form of cushioning. It also adds more comfort to the shoe. Memory foam adds comfort and allows you to stay on your feet longer by helping limit muscle fatigue in the legs and feet. The Memory Foam sock-liner (also called an insole) in this shoe adds to the fact that this is a good shoe, and is made with high-quality materials. It’s a great shoe for running because you can run for longer with the added comfort. You can also just use them for everyday use if you wanted to.
Cost and Value
The Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0 is another shoe that you might consider inexpensive. With everything incorporated into the design, you can probably come to the conclusion that this is probably worth more than they sell it for. With high-quality materials and the fact that it’s durable, you could actually say that this shoe is one to buy that is great for running, while also not being too expensive. The only complaint was that it occasionally ran half a size bigger, but that’s just a small issue.
5. Flyknit Racer
Up next is the Nike Flyknit Racer. This shoe is a lightweight shoe. The reason why is because it has a knit upper that flawlessly joins together zones of stretch, stability, and is breathable. It is made out of Flyknit (Like everything on this list), and the materials used to make it are synthetic and fabric. It offers a custom fit because of this as well as the adjustable Flywire. To add more traction, the outsole includes a waffle skin rubber. This shoe showcases ultralight stability, and adequate cushioning. With this in mind, we can now move onto the things that make this shoe special.
Zoom Air Unit
The Zoom Air Unit is built to provide shock absorbency and comfort when running. Every time a foot goes down on it, the fibers of the air unit press down and then stretch back up quickly to its original shape. This helps you to get a strong response off of the ground for a faster run. This gives the shoe a snappy response time and helps you obtain the feeling of getting off of the ground quicker than ever. It also adds comfort from the shock absorbency. When you land on your feet, the air unit sicks down, allowing some of the pressure to get off of your feet and onto the shoe.
Anatomical Toe Shape and Midfoot Shank
The anatomical toe shape and midfoot shank produce strength and propulsion when running. This helps you by giving you the speed you need for running. It puts some pep in your step where you need it. It molds to the shape of your toes for a good fitting shoe that also helps you run as best as you can. The midfoot shank also reduces the amount of pressure that you may experience from running. This adds to the protective aspect of this shoe, as well as the comfort aspect. This is a good thing to add to shoes for the reason listed above.
Cost and Value
Like some of the other shoes mentioned above, the NIKE Flyknit Racer could be deemed inexpensive as well. And if you look at everything this shoe has to offer, I think it’s safe to say that – also like a previous shoe – you will probably end up paying less than the shoe really seems like it’s worth. Although there were some complaints about durability issues, you just cannot ignore what the shoe has to offer and the comfort that comes along with it.
6. Metcon 3
Next up is the Nike Metcon 3. This is a shoe that was made for training. The Flywire cables offer support, and the flat platform and firm rubber heel offer even more stability that you would need for your lifting. The ankle and heel have mesh on them so that your feet can stay cool. They’re strong enough for extreme training but lightweight enough to keep you going fast. This shoe is flexible enough to let your feet have some natural movement, and the drop-in midsole adds more support. We can now move onto the different aspects of this shoe.
Flywire cables are basically strings that can be used to keep the shoe on your foot instead of shoe strings. Some shoes have them attached along with shoe strings, but this shoe does not. However, that fact does not take away from the fact that this shoe still works for various activities for training. The flywire cables keep this shoe secured onto your feet while you train. Now, you don’t have to worry about your shoelaces coming loose, and you can just slip them onto your feet without any hassle involved.
Cushioned For Training
This shoe is cushioned for training. It helps with running, and also with cardio drills. It has an improved drop-in midsole that is more flexible, and softer in the forefoot. This gives you the change up you need when doing your exercises. This also adds onto the comfort aspect, while also protecting your feet from the damage of training. This is a great thing to have when jumping rope, rowing, or even just running because it protects your feet when you land or push off of them.
Cost and Value
The pricing on the Nike Metcon 3 shoe would be considered a midrange. It definitely has a reason to be as well. This shoe basically screams support. It also runs true to size and works really well for when you want to train. Some people complained that it has durability issues, but when considering that it works for such a wide variety of training activities and actually looks nice, you could still enjoy this shoe.
7. Free TR 6
Along with the other shoes, there is the Nike Free TR 6. They are made out of a mesh material with a lace-up closure and a rubber sole. The mesh lining also gives a great in foot feel that just cannot be ignored. These shoes are made breathable by the lightweight material, and the mesh upper. In order to allow for more traction and durability, Nike has calculatedly added rubber pods in the forefoot and heel. These are considered great training shoes by many. Down below are some things that really make this show stand out.
The mesh upper adds onto the breathability and comfort of the shoe. It also adds some style to the shoe. This makes the shoe lightweight and allows your feet to cool off while you train. It’s made of synthetic material. Adding this to everything else that makes this shoe special, it’s actually quite a steal. You can workout without the bulk of regular gym shoes, and you don’t have to slow down because of the weight of them. Also, you don’t have to worry about all of the feet sweat that usually comes along with working out.
The PhyLlite midsole gives the foot some more cushioning. It adds to the comfort of the shoes while offering support as well. The PhyLlite midsole is not heavy – in fact, it’s actually quite lightweight – and it is very responsive to your feet. Adding this to the fact that the shoe has a mesh upper really makes it difficult to decide which shoe you would want to pick for your training endeavors. When training, you want a shoe that I comfortable enough, and with the addition of the PhyLlite midsole, this shoe does not disappoint.
Cost and Value
The Nike Free TR 6 is in the inexpensive range when you’re looking at pricing. This is probably is a shoe you might want to consider if you’re looking for something that’s not too expensive, but still lasts long while also being comfortable. One could actually say you are getting more for your money in this shoe. The only thing that you would have to be careful of is that sometimes it’s too narrow or wide. But the pros of this she definitely outweigh the cons.
8. Flyknit Lunar 3
Next is the NIKE Flyknit Lunar 3. This is a shoe that can be used for running and training. This is a comfortable shoe that includes some different aspects of its design. It’s breathable, comfortable, and also allows your feet to move freely and naturally. In the outsole, for instance, there are rubber pieces (made of carbon) that are under the forefoot and heel. This just adds to the comfort aspect, as well as the natural movement aspect. Now, let’s get into the different properties of this shoe.
The foam incorporated into this design is meant to add comfort, stability, and some bounce to your step. The strong yet soft foam also adds to the lightweight factor of this shoe, as well as reducing some of the shocks your feet get from running or training. With the addition of this to the Flyknit Lunar 3, NIKE has improved the overall weight, and feel of them as opposed to previous Flyknit Lunar shoes. So, when running or training, having Lunarion Foam really helps in the shock absorbency and to add comfort and stability.
Soft Non-Gusseted Tongue
When you’re looking for a shoe, you want one that doesn’t cut into your skin. That’s what previous Flyknit Lunar designs were doing. NIKE added the soft non-gusseted tongue to relieve some of the pressure from the top of the foot, and to make the inside of the shoe be able to hold more. This adds to the comfort of the shoe, and also the increases breathability. The addition of this is a huge improvement from previous designs.
Cost and Value
The Nike Flyknit Lunar 3 can be considered an inexpensive shoe. This 3rd edition to the Flyknit Lunar collection is a big improvement from the previous ones. It’s more comfortable, and breathable. And, when looking at prices, these are in the same range as previous Flyknit Lunar shoes as well. This means that if they are better than before, and you are paying for a shoe (that really improved from previous designs) that is probably worth more than what you think they are. Some people say they run half a size small, but that’s an easy fit, and it shouldn’t really be that much of a concern.
9. AF1 Ultra Low
Second to last is the Nike AF1 Ultra Flyknit Low. This is a low-top basketball shoe that gives off an old-school vibe. It has a thick rubber sole, and to produce dimension, NIKE has added panels with traditional design lines. With the Flyknit incorporated into the design, this shoe is more lightweight than other basketball shoes. Though this isn’t a typical high-top basketball shoe, it still is a good shoe to pick for any of your basketball endeavors. Let’s get into some of the properties of this shoe.
Encapsulated Air-Sole unit
Sort of like the NIKE Ari Max shoe, this shoe also has an air unit that adds comfort and stability. It cushions the heel from when you are running on the court (or not, depending on if you play basketball)so that your heels will not get messed up from the running and jumping. These are great additions to the shoe both on and off of the court. It also probably works to absorb some shock that goes to your heels when running or jumping (or training in general) as well.
When an outsole is made of rubber, there are some advantages that go along with it. It absorbs the shock from running and jumping easier than shoes that don’t have rubber outsoles. It also offers more traction because it’s rubber. This lowers the chance of you slipping while you’re running. The rubber outsole also adds to the durability of the shoe, as well as the flexibility. It’s a great thing to consider when picking out a pair of shoes that you want to wear when playing sports like basketball.
Cost and Value
The Nike AF1 Ultra Flyknit Low is a shoe that would be considered midrange in terms of pricing. Combining everything that makes this shoe unique, you could possibly say that this shoe is definitely worth the money. Especially since it’s a Nike shoe that’s not really the most expensive. While it may or may not be a little narrow for some, you cannot deny that when looking at the shoe as a whole, it’s worth it to pay the price they give for it.
10. Air Max Thea Ultra
Last, but definitely not least, is the NIKE Air Max Thea Ultra FK. This shoe, like most of the other shoes on this list, is a running shoe. It’s a lightweight shoe that has comfort written all over it. It can be worn for everyday use, and still, keep that fast-paced look. There’s stretch, stability, and it’s breathable where you most need it and fits the shape of your foot. To limit weight, the Ultra sole has been hollowed out in certain areas. This also allows for there to be no sacrifice in durability. Now, let’s talk about what makes this shoe distinct from the rest.
The lightweight cushioning comes from the Ultra sole being hollowed in certain spots (as mentioned above), and combining that with the Max Air unit in the heel. Nike has figured out how to add comfort without sacrificing the durability of the shoe almost perfectly. This also helped reduce the weight of the shoe so that it could actually be considered lightweight. The lightweight cushioning also helps add some comfort when running by absorbing some of the shock experienced when running.
Minimal Rubber Sole
The minimal rubber sole gives way to the delicate traction that you can use in your everyday life. This helps you move on through your busy day without you slipping up. The minimal rubber sole also allows for the shoe to feel lightweight as well as comfortable. Flexibility is also a plus when we are talking about this aspect of this shoe. Likewise, this type of sole helps your feet move easier and do not weigh down your feet when you’re running(or even just walking). They’re a great thing to have whether you use them to run, or whether you’re just going through your busy day.
Cost and Value
The Nike Air Max Thea Ultra FK is an inexpensive shoe. With the integration of everything that makes this shoe comfortable and durable, it would be difficult to say that this shoe is not worth the money. When comparing this to other shoes, it’s probably the most inexpensive one on this list. This shoe would also be a good choice if you’re looking for a shoe that’s not expensive and provides you with comfort. The only downfall would probably be that many complained that it ran half a size small, but once again, the pros greatly outweigh the cons.