19 February 2013

road review - the nike flex 2012 run

i thought that i'd start my shoe reviews (hopefully the first of many) by looking at the nike flex 2012 run - for a couple of reasons.  first, it's the shoe that i just finished running in this morning, so the impressions are still fresh in my mind.  second, i used to work for nike canada (many moons ago) and so out of respect i'd like to put them at the head of the line.

as i'd noted in an earlier post, these shoes came to me courtesy of the local Goodwill thrift store - so they were not new, and not complimentary either.  i got them in order to have an extra pair of shoes in the rotation for winter running - plus they happened to be about my size (US10 - although Nike footwear has traditionally fit a half size small ... trust me, I know) and flexible enough for a forefoot runner like me.  they're reasonably light (at 8.4 oz. for a men's size 9 i believe) so that was a sell point as well.

let's start with what i like about these shoes:  they're well named.  as you can see by the outsole pattern they are designed to flex.  that permits the runner's foot to work the ground with a closer-to-natural footstrike motion rather than being worked over by the shoe's form iteself.  having become a convert to minimalist/barefoot-style running about 8 mos. ago, shoe flexibility is definitely something that i appreciate.

the weight factor is also a plus, as i like to try to maximize my stride turnover so wearing anchors on the ends of my legs is not appealing to me.  these shoes do feel light, and i've reserved them mostly for use on my speedwork and hill training runs.

and so far grip is good - i do live in the snow belt of south-central ontario, so winter running is not just about a few degrees below zero (celsius).  it's -20 something windchills and usually anywhere from 5-35 cm of snow on the ground.  i've no idea how much wear the shoes saw prior to arriving in my closet, except to say that the carbon rubber outsole pads still look in good shape.

on the less-than-desirable side is the cushy phylite/phylon mid and outsole material.  it gives me a kind of 'dead' feel when out on the pavement, and i feel just that bit detached from good feedback about my footstrike.  also, the delta or heel-to-toe drop is probably about 7mm (that's what the nike free measures out to i believe) which is definitely higher than i would like it.

the sizing has become a bit of an issue as well - although i can't complain too heartily since i bought them second hand, and knew full well what size the shoes were.  i've gone to removing the insole to create a bit of extra space in length ... but i should note that as far as width goes, these shoes feel quite nice.  lots of toe splay room.

finally, reflectivity?!?  mine are the same colourway as pictured above so there's a little contrast between the swoosh, outsole and the rest of the shoe - but for us pre-dawn runners that's just not enough.  i had to add some snazzy laces just to help make them a bit more noticeable in headlight beams.
that's a quick rundown on the flex 2012 run - overall i give them 3 out of 5 stars, and for the time being they'll stay in the stable, but i hope to displace them as soon as i can get my pair of skechers gobionics.

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