5 Nike Free Alternatives – That Don’t Suck

I love going on runs every now and then to clear my mind, or even going on a nice walk when the weather is fine.

My favorite shoes were the Nike Free 3.0, but then I had a problem. A while ago my shoes wore out, and I couldn’t get new ones because they were discontinued.

I was disappointed until I found out that there are some replacements on the market for my favorite Nike Free. Here are 5 Nike Free alternatives that you can try.

Top Choice

#1
Reebok Realflex Run 2.0 Running Mens Shoe Size 13

Reebok didn’t sacrifice protection. So along with all these features, it gives you the protection you need through the platform sensors. Moreover, it comes with more than one feature for your comfort

4.3 of 5 stars

The Alternatives List

This is the list of our recommendations. They’re all similar to Nike Free in some features, whether they’re as flexible, as light, or even as comfortable.


1. Reebok Realflex

Our first alternative on the list is the Realflex Run 2.0 by Reebok. It’s a pair of minimal running shoes that should give you the feeling of running barefoot just as the Nike Free. It’s lightweight as well.

For breathability and heat management, the top part is made of mesh material. Moreover, it comes with more than one feature for your comfort. What are those features? For starters, the sole line is made out of foam.

The outsole is elastic and the shoe itself is quite flexible, thanks to the Realflex technology. 

It might be a bit less flexible than Nike Free, but it gets the job done. In addition to that, the heel-to-toe drop is 9.8 mm and it’s reinforced with rubber.

Reebok didn’t sacrifice protection. So along with all these features, it gives you the protection you need through the platform sensors. In general, it’s a nice alternative at a reasonable price. It’s suitable for everyday light exercises.

How Is It Similar to Nike Free?

  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Mesh upper part

2. Saucony Kinvara

Saucony designed Kinvara 11 for men and women to give you the comfort that you need. The upper part is made of breathable seamless mesh, while the tongue and collar are extra padded for a better running experience.

Saucony Women's Kinvara 11, Aqua/Blue, 8.5 Medium
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Saucony Women's Kinvara 11, Aqua/Blue, 8.5 Medium
  • PWRRUN cushioning maintains the lightweight responsiveness that makes this shoe a favorite for daily training miles or racing longer distances
  • The flexible sole is designed to quickly transition from landing to take-off
  • FORMFIT conforms to your foot to provide the perfect fit and feel from every angle

The Kinvara 11 owes its comfort to the PWRRUN foam midsole. It’s a technology that offers you soft cushioning that’s also responsive. Meanwhile, the topsole is made of PWRRUN+, which is supposed to be lighter and more durable.

The outsole is designed in a chevron-pattern for flexibility, while the insole is designed with FORMFIT, like all Kinvara models, to give you the perfect fit. The only downside of these shoes is that the lace is too short.

Furthermore, the Kinvara is more cushioned than the Nike Free, yet it can be less flexible. A little more on Nike vs Saucony can be found here. 

How Is It Similar to Nike Free?

  • 4 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Mesh upper part
  • Flexible

3. Brooks Pureflow

We all know that Brooks makes some legit running shoes. In fact, there is a debate to which is better - Nike or Brooks

The Pureflow 7 from Brooks. This is an affordable running shoe with only 8.9 ounces, which makes it lightweight..

As for the soles, the outsole is made of durable rubber grooves for protection and flexibility, while the midsole is made of thick foam.

Brooks used DNA and BioMoGo technologies to give you the flexibility you need on the road without compromising being responsive.

Brooks Men's PureFlow 7, Black/White, 10.5 Medium
  • The Brooks® PureFlow 7 running shoe has a sleeker, lighter weight construction with a comfortable interior fit that allows for a better performance on every run.
  • Predecessor: PureFlow 6.
  • Support Type: Neutral.

For breathability, the upper part is made of stretch mesh-like fabric. These shoes are too comfy to the extent that you can run in them without any socks. The only drawback to these shoes is that the toe box could've been a bit wider.

The heel is rounded which should relieve any joints’ stress if you’re running. All in all, both the Pureflow or the Nike Free can give you the feeling of a natural, low to the ground running experience.

In addition to this model, they also produce a Pureflow 7 for women with the same quality.

How Is It Similar to Nike Free?

  • 4 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Flexible outsole grooves
  • Breathable
  • Small toe box

4. New Balance Minimus

Minimus 10 V1 Trail is minimal shoes by New Balance is pretty similar to the Nike Free in more than one aspect, from comfort to flexibility. Let’s dig into its features.

The upper part is made of mesh and synthetic which gives you the ventilation and flexibility you need. Besides being waterproof.

New Balance Men's Minimus 20 V7 Cross Trainer, Black/White, 10.5 M US
  • Supportive and Flexible Upper: These gym shoes have an engineered knit upper made from nylon-infused yarn to provide lateral support without compromising on flexibility for natural foot movement
  • Natural Feel: The one-piece Vibram outsole provides superior grip to help you maintain a natural stance during strength training. Vibram is a registered trademark of Vibram S.p.A. All rights reserved
  • Lightweight Cushioning: The REVlite midsole delivers incredibly lightweight cushioning for a comfortable underfoot feeling that also provides a better ground feel

Moreover, the outsole is made of Vibram flex grooves, which makes the shoes durable enough for almost all terrains. For support, the midsole features Acteva foam that keeps your foot comfortable and in place.

According to New Balance, you should order a ½ size up for a better fit. Keep in mind that if you have wide feet, the Minimus would be more comfortable than the Nike Free.

Furthermore, it’s light, since it only weighs 7.2 ounces. There’s no sock liner in the inside of the shoe, so you can feel the ground while running.

How Is It Similar to Nike Free?

  • 4 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Flexible outsole grooves
  • Breathable

5. Skechers Flex Appeal

I personally love Skechers a lot, and their Flex Appeal 2.0 women’s shoes can make a convenient alternative for the Nike Free. These are the only shoes on the list for women, but you can always find models for women from the mentioned alternatives.

First of all, these shoes come in a wide variety of colors, so they’re aesthetically pleasing. The tongue and collar are padded for extra protection.

Skechers Flex Appeal 2.0 Black/Blue 7
  • Put some attitude in your walk with the Flex Appeal sneaker!
  • Comfortable knit jersey uppers.
  • Lace-up closure.

In addition to that, the insole is made of memory foam for comfort. The purpose of memory foam is to “remember” your foot’s shape and support it. The shoes are quite flexible as well. The upper part is made of a woven jersey that’s breathable, yet stylish.

The only problem I can think of with Skechers is that once you get used to them, you can’t switch to another brand. They’re so light and affordable too.

How Is It Similar to Nike Free?

  • 4 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Lightweight
  • True to size

Final Thoughts

Minimalist or barefoot shoes are normally designed with the smallest amount of interference with the normal movement of your foot. They’re flexible, light, with low heel-to-drop measurement.

They’re a perfect option for running marathons, hiking, training, or even simple walks. However, keep in mind that you can’t use them for weightlifting for example, as they won’t give you the support you need.

We still love the Nike Free, but it’s good to keep our options open, just in case.

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Last update on 2020-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API