Clash of the Titans - Nike Free Flyknit vs Adidas Element Refine

Posted by TheRunningShoeReview on August 9, 2013

Two big players in the running world, and indeed the sports world.  Nike vs Adidas has been one of the biggest debates there is.  The immovabe object vs. the unstoppale force.  And this Autumn, they are both releasing some very similar shoes, so lets find out which will budge first

The Nike Free Flyknit

Nike_Free_Flyknit_Mens_3_original.jpgThe Nike Free Flykit is a lightweight version of the Free.  It utilises the highest quality and best technologies Nike has to offer.  The free midsole is about as flexible as you could get whilst still offering cushioning, and the new flyknit uppers are literally socks, and fit very close and comfortably around your foot.  Using the 5.0 Midsole, you are still offered a great deal of cushioning, and a fairly large chunk of a heel for a shoe designed to be so minimal.

The Adidas Element Refine

adidas-element-refine-js-4.jpgThe Adidas Element Refine is the newest shoe from Adidas.  With the Boost, and the Springblade the biggest talking point, this shoe has remained a mystery, however, here is what we know.  It uses an updated version of their Primeknit for the upper.  This results in an almost seamless upper, with minimal overlays.  It also makes the shoe incredibly light.  It's effectively Adidas' iteration of flyknit.  The shoe also uses 90% recycled materials, so is green in more ways than one.  The midsole is not quite as flexile as the Free, but does appear to be lower in the heel, so technically is more minimal.


So lets take a look and see how the two compare side by side.

The Shoes

Nike Free Flyknit


Adidas Element Refine


The Winner


The Nike Free Flyknit looks great, if a little unusual.  However it is certainly eyecatching The Adidas Element Refine is another eyecatching design, and looks more like a shoe than the Free
I'm giving this round to Adidas.  It's a close one, but the black is just enough to tone down the green and make it a fantastic looking shoe
Nike 0 - 1 Adidas


The Nike Free Flyknit has everything that Nike have to offer.  The flexible midsole, the flyknit upper, and the laces being integrated into the upper are all fantastic The Adidas Element Refine uses an advanced Primeknit, and 90% recycled materials.  Not much is known about the midsole, but it appears to be a standard EVA foam
Nike wins this round.  It's hard to ignore the sheer amoun of technology in the shoe.
Nike 1 - 1 Adidas


The Nike Free Flyknit is designed to be a minimal, cushioned shoe that offers enough to use as a regular running shoe.  The height of the heel is the one thing I think needs addressing in future versions to make it a truly minimal shoe The Adidas Element Refine is designed as a lightweight minimal shoe that still offers cushioning.  Again, not much is know about the shoe, however on appeareces, it certainly looks lower than the Free, and as such is a more minimal shoe.
The Adidas wins this round, as I feel it offers a better usage for what it is designed for.
Nike 1 - 2 Adidas


The Nike Free Flyknits cost £130 There are no details yet as to the cost of these
Nike wins this round, as I can see the Adidas being more expensive due to the recycled nature of it's materials.
Nike 2 - 2 Adidas

Release Date

The Nike Free Flyknit is out now, and details of where to buy can be found below The Adidas Element Refine has no official release date yet, but it is due this Autumn in the states, so we can expect it over here shortly after
Nike wins this round, and very emphatically.  Nike have gained a huge advantage over their rivals, as people are not going to be wanting to buy both shoes, and people will be snappng up the Free already
Nike 3 - 2 Adidas


Nike always make a big event out of new releases, and the Nike Free Flyknit advertising is once again top notch, using a blend of the construction, the actual shoe and the concept of the flyknit upper wrapping the foot. Adidas have not released any advertising yet, so it'll be interesting to see how it compares.  If it goes down the lines of the boost, we can expect huge things, however, I imagine it'll be a little lower key than that.
Nike wins this round, and again have struck a big blow over their rivals.  People will be talking about the Nike Free Flyknit, but not heard of the Adidas Element Refine
Nike 4 - 2 Adidas


The Nike Free Flyknit is a superb lightweight shoe that is very comfortable, and flexible. The Adidas Element Refine offers a lightweight feel, and minimal overlays whilst being 90% recycled

Nike wins 4-2


So, Nike wins in the minimal shoe stakes vs Adidas.  However, the Adidas Element Refine still promises to be a superb minimal shoe, and offers something slightly different.  Their more traditional running range is also superb, so although it's a loss in the battle, the war between the two remains ongoing.

Details of where to buy the Nike Free Flyknit coming soon


Click here to buy the Nike Free Flyknit from £130

via Hypebeast