Nike Free 5.0

8.9 score
(WalkJogRun) score (8.9)/10

Our WalkJogRun score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.6 / 10
User's rating: based on 11 user ratings
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Nike Free 5.0 Review Facts

The Nike Free 5.0 has been the most popular of the Nike Free range of running shoes so far. The range is always one of the bestselling within the US, the UK and Europe. Needless to say its design, comfort and functionality make the shoe worthy of its popularity and high sale volumes. The Nike Free trainers are designed to allow for a natural, responsive and flexible running experience. The benefits of a more natural running technique, may be a reduction in long-term injuries as we gradually strengthen the muscles of the foot and leg. It is fair to say that this shoe will be popular within the casual running community.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Very comfortable

Hexagonal flex grooves to allow multi-directional movement

Traction pattern on outsole for added grip

Anatomically shaped heel

Low profile quality cushioning

Long lasting durability expected

Lightweight shoe

Desirable image


More suited for casual use than for serious runners

No appropriate arch support

Hexagonal flex grooves may trap small pebbles when running

Some users have advised the shoe is on the small size, consider this when purchasing. (approx. ½ size above might be required)

See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 3.0 hours analyzing a total of 470 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • Although these run small they are my third pair because I just love them. Order a half to full size up and you should be fine. They are so comfortable that they feel more like a slipper than a sneaker. They are easy to clean too.
  • These sneakers are comfortable and I love them for running. I have recommended them to family and friends.
  • These Nike Free 5s fit as expected. I use these for running. The price is good too.
  • I prefer a sturdier shoe for running, I use my Free 5s for walking and working out. Love their look also.
  • My Nike Free 5s have been my go-to for years because they are comfortable all day. I go for extended jogs and my feet can breathe.
  • The fabric has a good stretch so I could have gone with a size 9 instead of 9.5 but the fit is still very comfortable.
  • I always come back to my Nike Frees. I love them. Great minimalist shoes.
  • Great overall buy. These were purchased for my son and he loves the cushion, support, and good construction.
  • Expected a great fit and got it. Very comfortable and lightweight.
  • Got these for my husband and he loves them. I didn't feel the same about mine so had to go a size up and they feel better.
  • These shoes are durable and hold up well. My last pair I had for two years with daily wear and that's about 5 miles a day at work. I hope these will hold up the same way.
  • The arch support isn't much but still a very comfortable shoe. Good for everyday wear.
  • My normal routine is running 20 miles a week and these are the fourth pair that I've owned
  • I used my Nike Free 5s for martial arts and rotation is good.
  • My feet are flat and I can't wear just any shoe because my feet begin to hurt after a few hours. But these are great and I can wear them all day.
  • A little tight around the ankles at first but loosened up after wearing them. These shoes allow my feet to breathe and they are comfortable and lightweight.
  • My son said these shoes fit perfectly without suffocating his feet. He plays volleyball in them and they are lightweight too.
  • I've tried other shoes before these but ended up with arches that ached. These, however, don't hurt my arches and they are comfortable.
  • Other than these being a little tight they are a very comfortable shoe. Very stylish too.
  • Love how they look but just too tight and narrow.
  • Broke open on the side
  • Runs too small
  • These are ripping after only two wears.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 470 reviews we found in total, 13% were negative, and 87% were positive.


The Nike Free range was developed with the concept of creating a shoe which provided a more natural, flexible and weightless experience, similar to how it feels to be bare foot. This is particularly important in the outsole of the shoe, which if not correctly designed can be heavy and stiff. Nike Free technology has been developed using pressure mapping and motion capture to analyse the biomechanics of barefoot running. The rubber outsole of the Nike Free 5.0 has a hexagonal flex groove design, which in contrast to its predecessor’s linear design, allows for multidirectional, flexible movement. The Nike Free 5.0 also has a more rounded, anatomically shaped heel to improve the responsiveness and comfort of heel strikers.


The midsole of the Nike Free 5.0 has also been designed to provide a more natural wearing experience. The shoe is constructed using an ultra-lightweight Phylite midsole, which is made of 60% Phylon and 40% rubber. As Phylite is a very durable material it also doubles as the outsole too, this ensures that the shoe is very lightweight and flexible, but still sturdy. Phylite provides low profile cushioning and shock absorption throughout the midsole as well. The design of the midsole has a rounded heel which adds greater protection to the foot and encourages a natural flow to your stride.


The upper style of the Nike Free range remains consistent, constructed using an engineered mesh material. The Nike Free 5.0 has a full bootie construction to ensure a seamless, comfortable sock-like fit. The mesh upper is also reinforced by Nike Flywire technology. This consists of straps placed along the sides of the shoe, which act like cables on a suspension bridge, providing stability and support where it is needed and allows the foot to breathe through the meshed design.


The Nike Free 5.0 weighs in lighter than its predecessor, at 9oz for a men’s size 11.5, and 6.5oz for women’s size 8. Some may consider this to be “heavy” for a minimalist running shoe but the comfort and support benefits ensure that they are never awkward or cumbersome. This improvement in weight over standard shoes is largely thanks to the use of the dual purpose Phylite as a midsole and outsole material. Nike has gone for a fashion statement rather than a true lightweight runner, but the balance struck here certainly pays off.


The light weight, woven upper mesh of the Nike Free 5.0, allows for air circulation to keep your feet cool and refreshed during use. The shoe also has a roomier fit, enabling more space for the feet to breathe. There have been some concerns raised about the shoe in warmer climates with some claiming the opposite that feet became sweaty within just a few miles, with this came added concerns about the shoe becoming smelly over time. This will vary per user but it’s certainly something to bear in mind.


Comfort is something that the Nike Free range does very well. These shoes have been extensively researched and designed to give the most natural wearing experience. Even, though these shoes give the illusion of a barefoot experience, they also have the benefit of good cushioning and support to ensure the foot remains comfortable at all times. The full bootie construction, ensures that seams don’t get in the way of comfort, while a padded tongue limits pressure on the top of the foot.
The Nike Free 5.0 has been described as feeling like a slipper on your feet. The roomy fit of the shoe is uncommon in running trainers and helps to ensure the foot has some freedom of movement, while remaining adequately supported.
It is fair to say that the Nike Free 5.0 excels at being a comfortable shoe, they are excellent for day to day usage, as well as comfortable for high mile runs. They require minimal wear time to “break them in” and comfort is consistently rated an extremely high quality of this trainer.


As much as the Nike Free 5.0 is popular as a comfortable and functional running trainer, it also has popularity as a fashion trainer and casual wear shoe. This is largely thanks to its good looking design and wide choice of bold and bright colours. In fact, you can purchase the Nike Free 5.0 in a choice of 31 different colours! These include the standard choices of black, grey and white, but also the more adventurous neo turquoise or orange and red. Many of the fashion conscious own the Nike Free 5.0 in several of these colour choices.


The Nike Free 5.0 has been designed with an additional solid section of rubber under the toe, to give enhanced durability where it is needed most. This is a BRS 1000 carbon rubber, which is a synthetic rubber with added carbon, to ensure it is very robust. The mesh upper of the shoe is also very durable, despite being a lightweight material.


The hexagonal flex groves on the sole of the shoe, act as shock absorbers to avoid any injury or discomfort following heavy impacts. The lightweight cushioning of the Phylite midsole also provides some protection against impacts. However, the cushioning is low-profile and not as protective as that in other running trainers, so if you prefer a more cushioned shoe then these will not be a good choice.
As the Nike Free 5.0 shoes simulate barefoot running, you will need to adapt your running mechanics to achieve the most from them and to avoid any injuries from occurring.


As with other minimalistic shoes, the Nike Free 5.0 has been designed to allow your foot to move in a more natural way. The hexagonal flex grooves of the sole provide a multidirectional movement, which gives the wearer great control as to how their foot moves. As mentioned before this may take some getting used to and you may have to adapt the way you run to compensate for this. The anatomically shaped, rounded heel also encourages a natural foot strike, while the waffle grip pattern adds responsiveness to the outsole.


The Nike Free 5.0 offers lightweight cushioning and support which helps to aid a more natural running experience. Some runners may be surprised at first by this lightweight support, particularly those that are used to a more rigid fit. However, this design gives the shoe enhanced durability, and there is more than enough support for the majority of the running public. The Flywire design smothers the foot with strategically placed nylon fibres displacing your weight in a comfortable and clever design. The Nike Free 5.0 also has a moulded sock-liner, designed to mimic the shape of the foot, adding extra support inside. Given that the forefoot of the shoe is very flexible, it is not really recommended for over-pronators.


This is another Nike running trainer which is definitely not an all-terrain shoe. It is really designed for road running in fair weather conditions only. The Nike Free 5.0 is water resistant but not water proof, thus great for most casual settings but make sure you avoid muddy wet fields on your next walk home. The Nike 5.0 is designed to be a great road runner and indoor trainer, but definitely not a cross country trainer. The soles are quite thin, which means rough terrain, stones and the feel of hard surface can penetrate the sole of the shoe and this is likely to get worse the more the shoe is worn in. The hexagonal pods on the sole may also pick up small debris.


As there are many different buying options for the Nike Free 5.0, for example, the trainer or running shoe, the price is variable. However, the Nike Free 5.0 is relatively inexpensive compared to a lot of running trainers on the market. You are looking at around $50 for the basic designs up to around $100 for the more vivid colours and styles. All things considered that is a very reasonable price for a quality trainer.


The addition of a solid rubber section at the toe of the sole, enhances the traction of the shoe. Also, the waffle grip pattern on the sole helps to prevent slips. The shoe is designed to be anti-slip on a variety of surfaces. If the majority of your running is on roads or pavements, then you will have absolutely no issues with grip and traction.


The Nike Free 5.0 is a very flexible shoe, after all this is how it manages to mimic the wearer being barefoot. The flexibility of the shoe is what helps to create a natural flow through the gait cycle. The Phylite midsole material is able to move fluidly with the natural movement of the foot. Likewise, the hexagonal flex grooves of the outsole offer flexible movement in all directions.


Flexibility is the main selling point of the Nike Free 5.0, therefore, stability takes a bit of a back seat. The main technology which creates stability throughout the shoe is Nike Flywire. Flywire cables, integrated with the lacing of the shoe, provide stability, by securing the shoes upper to its midsole. This prevents the foot from moving out of position, providing stability where it is needed.


The Nike Free 5.0 has a heel to toe drop of 8mm, which is slightly lower than the universal standard of 10mm. Having a slightly lower drop, with the foot closer to the ground, helps to reinforce the minimalistic style of the shoe. The drop is kept lower, with the use of a combined outsole and midsole and low-profile cushioning.

Key Features

• Waffle pattern on the outsole for added traction
• Low-profile cushioning of Phylite midsole
• Hexagonal flex grooves on outsole for multidirectional movement
• Flywire cables for added stability
• Removable moulded sockliner
• Solid rubber section under the toe for added durability

Bottom line

The Nike Free 5.0 are great minimalistic shoes, which has all the flexibility needed for natural running, whilst still being comfortable and supportive. This shoe is ideal for runners who are looking to try out natural running for the first time as it is one of the more cushioned minimalistic running trainers. It is recommended that you transition slowly to a natural running trainer, to enable your muscles to adapt to the differing biomechanics of this style of running. The shoe itself is surprisingly durable, given its lightweight structure, mainly thanks to its clever use of strong, yet light materials and the combined Phylite outsole and midsole. Overall it is a quality shoe, highly desirable and one which should absolutely be considered if you are looking for a natural running trainer.