Nike Flyknit Racers – early thoughts

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EDIT – It’s taken me a few months but I finally have a full review for the Nike Flyknit Racer elsewhere on this blog – simply click here to read it.

You’ve got to love Nike and their innovations in the world of running. I’ve been a Nike running shoe wearer for years, from Nike Air all the way to Nike Lunar. Lunar was a remarkable development for support and low weight in a shoe but there’s a new contender that has everybody in awe. Let me introduce you to the Flyknit Racer.

Flyknit is a new weaving technology Nike have patented after working with elite marathon runners for 4 years. Asking them what they would like from a marathon shoe, they all replied wanting footwear that was lightweight and moved with the contours of their own feet leading Nike down the path that less is indeed more.

This is a collection of early thoughts, a proto review if you will. I can’t seem to find any decent reviews online from proper runners so perhaps this will become a good resource for anybody looking to take the plunge.

Almost the entire upper is made from a one-piece weave of polyester yarn and Flywire for a truly customised fit. The sole is based on Zoom technology, the same that’s featured in all the elite Nike marathon shoes. A size 9 shoe clocks in at just 160g, an insane amount where the box they come in weighs more!

Wearing them, it truly feels like there’s nothing on your feet apart from the sole underfoot. They run a little narrower than a typical training shoe, again designed to keep it minimal. The toebox is very well ventilated with any rain water able to get in immediately or any moisture and warmth able to get out just as quickly. The Flywire fit is customisable where you simply loop them into use or not depending on your foot shape. I have elected to use all of the loops to see how I get on during a run. In terms of sizing, it’s down to personal preference whether you go true to size or even a half size down. I’m a 7 in formal shoes and an 8 normally in trainers, taking thicker socks and swelling into account. Because these are so thin, you should factor this into your decision when sizing up. I went in blind because Elsa picked them up for me and half sizes are not normally available.

The sole has a thin layer of compound, separating the cushioning and the ground. I don’t know how long this will last, though not being a heel striker should mean I get a few hundred miles out of them before they need replacing and even longer if I use them exclusively for speed work or race days. These shoes are ideally for forefoot and midfoot strikers.

There is no Nike+ unit, again to save weight so I’m using a footpod pouch for indoor use and to calibrate the sensor whilst outdoors.

I opted for the orange colourway, mainly because the volt (fluorescent yellow-green) is the hero colour and a bit too bright.

I’ll report again after a 5k Parkrun this Saturday and see if I score a new PB or not!

Pros:

  • Super lightweight; only 160g per shoe for a size 9
  • Very breathable
  • Personalised fit thanks to Flywire supports
  • Look and design are rather striking

Cons:

  • Cost: £150 here in the UK
  • Durability over time
  • Availability is restricted for the time being to certain vendors
  • Not suited to certain types of running style
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