Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nike Free Run+ 2 Shield Review

In today's Blog I have decided to review two things simultaneously although I am only reviewing one item.  The item I am reviewing is the Nike Free Run + 2 Shield.  I will start by saying that most everything about the Shield  version of this awesome shoe is very similar to the regular version.  I think I will start by reviewing the Shield technology first because I just don't really like it that much.  I like in a pretty harsh environment and I feel like the Shield technology is too much.  Here is my review of the Shield Tights.  In both the tights and shoes my body gets very very hot.  While the Shield technology blocks out the elements; wind, water, cold, etc.  It also keeps the elements inside my shoe.  Those elements being the massive amount that my feet sweat.  I do appreciate the ability to hop through puddles on a warm spring day when the snow is melting but I think I would rather just have 2 pairs of trainers so I can go back to my dry pair when my regular pair gets wet.  In conclusion, the Shield technology is too much unless you are an antarctic explorer.

Now comes the good part, the Free Run + 2 Review.  These shoes are my go-to shoe.  I have worn the Free line since the first 5.0 came out when I was a freshman in high school about eight years ago.  They haven't changed all that much, less than most shoes.  The uppers have been re-inforced with leather to make sure that they don't rip out early like the first versions did.  The midsoles and soles have been made to be a little more like a regular trainer than the originals.  But overall, the shoes are vastly similar.

Weight: 9.4 oz
Heel Drop: 7mm
Retail: $100

Feel: These shoes feel great.  I know they are not super minimal but they are a little bit.  I like the flexibility in the midsole.  The toe box is fairly roomy, it could be more roomy to allow the toes to spread a little more but it isn't bad.  The upper is comfortable, made of mesh and leather straps.  I also like the laces much more than the original Run +, those ones felt cheap and grainy almost.  There are actually two different kinds of foam used in the shoes.  The few models that have the Nike XC logo on the front of the tongue are the Competitor series and the foam in those shoes is harder than the rest of them.  I know the Blue/Yellow and bright Green colorways are part of that line.  After awhile of wearing both kinds of foam it gets hard to tell a difference but it can be hard right away.  The Frees are fairly lightweight at 9.4 oz but they could be a lot lighter.  The upper has grown more and more bulky as the models have went on.

Durability:  This may be the most durable of the Free line yet.  The first pairs had ripping issues and that got better and better with each model.  This current model has lots of leather in the upper and I don't know how they would rip.  However, I have noticed that the foam wears away faster than other Frees.  The same problem was around in the Free Run + but never before that.  I think the latest Frees are using more of a plastic like foam then before when it might have been more rubber based.  I am not a scientist but that is what I have gathered based on simple observation.

Uses: The original Free claimed to be only for doing exercises, drills, and light runs.  This was mainly because Nike was afraid that people would attempt to do too much in these shoes and would hurt themselves.  This Free was marketed more as a running shoe.  That is the reason it was named Free Run + 2.  These shoes are fairly lightweight and I like using them for both casual wear and everyday runs.  I work at a running store and I would say that well over half of the Free Run + 2s that I sell are going to be used for casual wear or for other forms of aerobics light dance, Zumba, Yoga, etc.

Look: Nike hit a grand slam with the looks of these shoes.  The only thing I would like is more color varieties.  They already have like 15 different ones but they save the best ones so that their Nike ID program will still get some business.  You can't blame them for that.  The Free is one of few running shoes that becomes popular to non-runners.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Free Run +2 for neutral runners that still want a little cushion.  If you want a minimalist shoe, this isn't really one of those.  The Free 3.0 is better but still not quite minimalist.

What's Next:  Soon I hope to do a feature on the Nike Free Run + 3.  It is going to be a lot less of a casual shoe and more of a functional running shoe.  It is even going to be lighter and have less of a toe drop than this one.

They are waterproof!


Anonymous said...

Hi, great to finally see a good blog about these shoes. I'm fairly new to running and I need a decent pair of shoes. I've been pointed in the direction of the Free Run+ 2 & was just after a little bit of advice. Firstly, do I need the shield technology, or is it just something more that nike will make money out of? And secondly, are they good to use for general work out?


Kyle Schmidt said...

Hello Anonymous,

I would not recommend the Shield technology. They cost $10 more and are hot and not breathable. I really like the regular Free Run +2. They are a good neutral shoe and are also good as a beginning transition to minimalism. They are very good for general workouts but I wouldn't recommend them for something like playing basketball or football. They aren't designed to provide that kind of lockdown. But for all other workouts they are excellent.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the help, a lot of the reviews have said the same thing about the Shield technology. I'll just generally be using them for running so they sound spot on for me.

Thanks again.