Nike Free 5.0+ Shield Review
It’s cold, dark and wet outside and we have been able to get our hands on a running shoe designed for exactly this weather! Nike have always been at the forefront of sport, from Football to Golf, Swimming to Running. The new Nike Flash Pack Collection is just that, reflective and water resistant shoes perfect for your winter running. So read on for our verdict on the Nike Free 5.0+ Shield Flash Pack Review if you are planning to venture out for a run or two this winter!
The Shield series are one of a number in the new Flash Pack range from Nike which includes clothing and shoes. The main features are reflectiveness, water resistance and breathability.
If you are running after work, it’s going to be dark and obviously you are going to want to be seen by any traffic so Nike have added an extra area of reflectiveness to catch a driver’s eye; shoes. In normal light, the trainers are a standard black and a good looking shoe, in low light with something brighter shining on them, they come alive to make you more visible in the dark.
In the dark with a camera flash, you can see the tongue is shining brightly and the camo is also clearly visible. On the road however, looking down on them with traffic passing by, you see the odd glimmer but nothing to this solid extent. With this in mind, we certainly weren’t brave enough to run down a dark country road in all black and see if a passing car could make us out!
Water Resistance & Breathability
This is where the Shield series stands out, it is a really odd feeling to be walking or running in the rain, have your feet feel the breeze but being totally dry! The water just rolls off and it is quite amazing for a shoe which is so light and airy. An airy shoe isn’t really something new or exciting but when you couple it with the water resistance, it really does become an amazing feature. This also makes these shoes perfect all year round.
This is only water resistant and not water proof however so if you go jumping around in some deep puddles, expect a soggy foot! If the breathability worries you a little with it being so cold out, you can certainly feel the air on your toes but if you are running you won’t feel that cold and the collar/tongue have a micro-fleece lining for a bit of warmth along with your socks.
You may well have seen people running around in barefoot (ok, not that likely) or the shoes which look like a glove and have just a slim sole between the foot and the tarmac. The reason for this is that running barefoot is actually good for you (providing you don’t stand on something sharp) as it can strengthen your feet and lower legs. The Free series puts itself somewhere in the middle of a barefoot run and one with a supportive running shoe. You get the thick sole which protects your foot from anything nasty on the ground and provides a bit of cushioning so you don’t hit the ground so hard but the deep groves through the length and width of the sole gives a greater range of motion which allows your foot to move and stabilise itself as if you were running barefoot.
Trying this out on the road, we found that at first it felt like a normal shoe and actually quite bouncy but after a kilometre or so you start to feel the difference with your foot working harder and the impact with the road becoming more firm. This experience wasn’t just on the first run, but all subsequent runs since. We definitely had a bit of an ache the following day in the feet and lower legs so there is undoubtedly a difference from a traditional shoe. If you normally run distances of over 5K, we would recommend limiting the distance on your first try with these and see how your legs react the next day and build up to your usual distance.
We were not entirely convinced of the effectiveness and practicability of the reflective elements on the new Flashpack Nike Free 5.0+ Shield, but of course, you would always team the trainers with other high-vis / reflective kit. Adding this to the water resistance and breathability certainly has made the Shield model a great addition to the range. The Free model certainly makes your feet and legs work a little different but if you are running long distances on hard ground they are probably not the best fit but for up to 10K, they are certainly something that we would buy.
If the Free model isn’t for you, there are many more traditional running shoes available under the Flash Pack banner so give you all those benefits. The particular model we tested out is available for £90 from the Nike website.
As a little side note, we found that using these running shoes in the gym for Olympic lifts really useful as you could feel which parts of the foot were pressing hardest into the floor and balance it out.