Described as a lightweight shoe that adapts to the foot’s natural form, the Nike Flyknit Racer has an upper that seems to fit like a second skin. Its minimalist structure consists of a single layer of Flyknit fabric that wraps the feet and offers great breathability, which is useful on those hot days. Note that you can literally see through the fabric, so you probably should leave it at home if you plan to go outside on a rainy day.
The knitted fabric is reinforced in areas where most pressure is exerted by the foot, whether while running, jumping, or just walking. In addition, it really makes you feel like you are wearing nothing sometimes. After all, the entire upper weighs in at around 6 ounces due to the absence of any extra padding, making it one of the most lightweight running shoes on the market. What I noticed during this Nike Flyknit Racer review I noticed that when running in these for about 5 miles they felt great, being super breathable and offered great support. They were clearly built for speed. With their stylish look these make some cool every day shoes and we added them into the rotation just like many others did. There is a reason why Nike did not change a thing to this shoe for five years and they still come up with new pairs periodically.
The Nike Flyknit Racer is perched on a sturdy Waffle rubber outsole that features a diamond pattern, which is geared towards performance racing. I experienced excellent traction on both rough and smooth surfaces and it seems to be quite durable. I noticed very little wear after taking it for a few miles both on and off road. The outsole backs up a cushiony midsole that includes a Zoom Air unit for the forefoot and full-lenght Phylon for a responsive feel. It felt great in the gym on tiled floor surfaces as it gripped well and helped me maintain balance while doing stretches and other routines. Also, I had no issues breaking in the shoe as I often had with other sneakers as it felt natural from the first time slipping it on. It lacked stability, however which was a dealbreaker for me. In that regard the Brooks Ghost are much better.
While it is definitely built for runners, as evidenced by its name, the Nike Flyknit Racer is a great casual shoe as well. In addition to exercising, I also dressed it up with jeans and t-shirt and it fit in quite nicely, even turning a few heads. However, despite its great features, there are a few drawbacks, two of which I have already hinted at. It does fit a bit too narrow, which hasn’t been a problem for me because I read other reviews and bought a size bigger. Also, as I mentioned, it is not ideal for rainy weather. Finally, while the shoe itself has been quite durable, I have noticed some fading close to the Swoosh on the side, which isn’t really a problem, but may take away from its aesthetics a little later down the road.
To conclude this Nike Flyknit Racer review this is is a great running shoe, whether you wear it casually for its unique style or go racing in it. There are plenty colorways to enjoy, plus the brand has been dropping new ones with the shoe turning five years old recently. While still a good value, the $150 price tag can be a turn-off but many times you can find some colorways on sale, you can check your luck at the links shown below.
Update: In 2022 Nike introduced the Air Max Flyknit racer , a hybrid lifestyle sneaker that combines the upper of the Flyknit runner with the sole unit of the Air Max Pre-Day. You can read the review of this Air Max upgrade version of the runner here.