A few weeks ago I heard about the new Free RN Distance shoe from Nike and this couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m a big fan of the Nike Free 4.0 and 5.0 with their lightweight and bare foot feel. From now until the end of April I will have to log much longer runs than I normally do to prepare for the Nashville Rock n ‘Roll Half Marathon. I admit I’m a little concerned about how my body will respond to the distance in the minimal cushioning of the Free 4.0 and 5.0 shoes.
The claim for the RN Distance is it provides more cushioning while still giving you the responsiveness and bare foot feel of the other Free models. This certainly got my attention so I had to get myself a pair. As usual I had to re-lace the shoes to make room for my high arches but other than that they feel great.
Today I had my first test run with the RN Distance shoes. The RN Distance has quite a bit more cushioning in the forefoot area and I was concerned I would lose that feeling of being in touch with the road. The shoe does feel slightly heavier but I’ve been running in the Free 4.0 and 5.0 shoes for two years now so I’m very familiar with their feel. If you are coming from another shoe with more cushion and control I think you will be surprised how light they feel. Even with the added weight compared to the other Free models I didn’t feel weighed down and the extra cushioning felt great. The bare foot feel wasn’t nearly as pronounced as with the Free 4.0 especially and only slightly less than the 5.0. Usually by the time I hit the five or six mile mark my feet are starting to feel a little fatigued. Today this wasn’t the case at all.
I’m very happy with the RN Distance shoes and will likely use them exclusively when my distance is more than 10K. If you want a neutral shoe that is lightweight and still gives a responsive feel you may want to check them out.