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Run4It  •  Running Gear •  18.04.2019 •  2 min read

Nike Free RN 5.0: The return of an icon

52 muscles. Set them free.

Craving that minimal feel and direct physical connection to the ground? The Nike Free RN 5.0 may be just be the shoe for you!

The 2019 version returns to its roots, with new design elements that enable a more barefoot-like feel than previous iterations. Ideal for low mileage runs and sprints (Nike recommend a maximum of 3 miles), everything about this shoe is designed to help you feel connected to the ground.

The shoe sits in our Neutral Responsive category, as it offers a firm, yet flexible feel, engineered to promote natural movement, increase foot strength and help you push the pace.

Nike Free Scale

Nike Free design sketch

Nike Free design sketch

The history of Nike Free RN

In 2004 (back when running shoes tended to be clumpy and heavy) Nike dropped the first ever Nike Free RN – a shoe designed to replicate the benefits of barefoot running in a safer environment.

Nike accepted feedback from coaches and athletes that brands were perhaps forgetting and neglecting the feet when designing running shoes, and used it as a catalyst for change. The Nike design team set out to make a shoe that would work with the foot, not against it, and promote a natural range of motion.

The benefit? Increased foot strength, balance and flexibility. Thereby stronger overall running performance.

Somewhere along the way, the Nike Free went off course, becoming less and less like what it was intended to be and more of a casual shoe.

Now the icon is back with renewed purpose!

Not your everyday shoe

The Nike Free RN 5.0 is intended as a low-mileage technical training shoe, not an everyday running shoe! Incorporate a session in the Nike Free RN 5.0 into your weekly training plan to develop strength – but do so slowly, easing into the Frees around the house, on short walks, and on easy runs, before progressing to harder sessions.

Nike Free

Nike Free

The sole on a Nike Free

Key features:

  • Highly elastic mesh upper with synthetic suede overlays, designed to fit like a second skin
  • No heel counter
  • 6mm heel drop
  • Flex grooves in the midsole
  • Hot-knife siping from heel-to-toe allows greater flexibility and motion
  • 26% more flexible than its predecessor


Engineered for natural movement, designed to set your feet free.

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