Over the past few years I have learned the hard way how important it is to have the right footwear for your workouts. Running in converse has done no favours for my knees and shins, however, I used to insist on doing exercise in this poor choice of footwear as I hate, hate, hated the look of trainers and couldn't find a pair that I didn't think looked absolutely repulsive (I mean, we still want to look good in the gym, right?). Since then, I have not only learned that keeping the joints in my knees and ankles intact is far more important, but also that Nike makes some trainers that really don't look half bad. Actually, I adore the Nikes that I own, and I thought I would write a review on my two favourite styles for those of you who might be as clueless about fitness footwear as I was!
Nike Free Run+ 5.0: JD Sports, £80.00
My Nike Free Runs were the first pair of proper running shoes that I owned, and six months later, they're still going strong! As suggested by the name, Nike Frees are absolutely made for running and come in different styles based on how much support you require. With 3.0s, 4.0s and 5.0s to choose from, the higher the number, the more support and cushioning the shoe provides, so if you want a more barefoot feel whilst you're running, picking shoes in the 3.0 range is for you. However, to avoid any more damage to my joints I decided to go for maximum support and picked up the 5.0s which feature the Nike Dynamic Fit system which hugs your foot to enhance stability. Despite being the most supportive, they are still super lightweight which is the main selling point for all of the Nike Frees as they are ideal for an effortless run as you won't feel weighed down. I also think that Nike Free Runs are by far some of the nicest-looking trainers on the market and they typically retail around the £80-85 mark, which I think is reasonable for a durable pair of proper running shoes. JD Sports stocks Nike Free Runs in a huge range of colours for both men and women, which you can check out here.
Nike Flyknit Lunar One+: C/O JD Sports, £130.00*
More recently, I was introduced to the Nike Flyknits. Being an advocate of the Nike Frees, I was hesitant about trying a different style and nearly opted for another pair of 5.0s, but I am really glad I gave the Flyknits a chance. Once again reflective of their name, the Flyknits feature a "knitted" polyester upper which is nice and lightweight and stretches to allow movement and flexibility in your feet. The softer, less foot-hugging upper means they look a little chunkier than the more streamlined Nike Free Run 5.0s, but I still think that they are a pretty attractive shoe (well, as attractive as trainers can be). They also have a softer rubber sole which is heavenly to run on as it literally feels like you are walking on a bouncy surface. Retailing at around £130, they are significantly more expensive than the Nike Frees, but I would definitely recommend them to people who are more serious about running. You can shop the Flyknit range at JD Sports here.
Personally, I like to reserve my Nike Flyknits for days where I am running outdoors or doing a long-distance session on the treadmill as the thicker, bouncy sole is great for absorbing impact on hard surfaces (my knees are greatly appreciative), whilst using my Nike Frees for shorter treadmill sessions or for walks and weight training, as they provide stability in my feet whilst still feeling comfortable and lightweight.
I hope this little review and comparison post helps anybody who is just starting out and is looking for the ideal pair of trainers!
What are your favourite running shoes?
*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples. My opinion is still 100% honest and my own.