The Nike Roshe offers a lightweight shoe that is simple, versatile-and oozes style. This casual-wear shoe is perfect for wearing to and from the gym, after the game, or before practice. It is not a performance shoe though, as one might expect from the sports shoe juggernaut, Nike, but rather a part of their lifestyle lineup of footwear.
The Roshe is the result of a Nike designer ’s interpretation of what Zen would look like if it was a shoe. Stripping away any unnecessary elements, the Nike Roshe is the epitope of meditation, with few embellishments, a simple lace-up structure, breathable synthetic mesh, and a soft, flexible polymer sole for maximum shock absorption and comfort.
Nike Roshe: Pros & Cons
Nike is a Shoe God, err Goddess
If you are awake and facing the right way, you already know that Nike, Inc. is a multi-billion dollar athletic shoe and apparel company that is headquartered in Oregon. But maybe you did not know that the company was actually founded by a University of Oregon track star and his coach.
Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, student and coach, respectively, founded Nike in 1964, and Bowerman began to market his running shoes (some say pressed in a waffle iron) at competitions, rallies, and practices as the Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) athletic shoe.
Two years later, the two opened their first shop in Santa Monica, CA, and by 1971, the ubiquitous Nike Swoosh had been invented by Portland State University graphic design student, Carolyn Davidson. It wasn’t until 1974 that the symbol would be trademarked and patented, however.
The New Nike
Regardless, by 1980, the newly branded Nike, Inc had already bagged 50 percent of the US market shoe market. And in 1988, Dan Wieden of the ad agency, Wieden and Kennedy had coined the catchphrase “Just Do It!” It is worth noting that that particular campaign was so infectious and so successful that is currently ranked as one of the top five all times ad catchphrases by the Smithsonian Institute.
Nike’s key acquisitions both came in 2017 with their purchase of Convese, Inc and Hurley International, one a rival shoe company and the other a surfboard and surfing apparel manufacturer. Although its best-selling product line continues to come in Air Jordan's variation, high-performance basketball shoes named after Hall of Fame basketball legend, Micheal Jordan.
And for anyone who is wondering, yes, the shoemaker takes its name from the Greek goddess, Nike, who was, evidently, a close companion of Zeus’ and a friend of Athena’s. She was also the goddess of strength, speed, and victory, and often rewarded victors in battles with both fame and riches.
What’s So Great About the Nike Roshe, Anyhow?
Nowadays, Nike sells more than shoes, though, as they have promotional deals on the table with football, basketball, running, combat sports, tennis, and golf associations, including deals with pro and college sports organizations. So, out of all of those product lines, what makes the Roshe so special?
Well, for one, according to one review site, the Roshe truly one of Nike’s most comfortable and lightweight shoes ever made. In fact, many reviewers agree that the retro minimalist design is both stylish and understated.
Also, at 7 ounces, it is kind of like wearing baby clouds on your feet, and the synthetic-mesh combo is both breathable and durable. Moreover, the suede insole and foam sole combine for supreme shock absorption and comfort, as the foam conforms to the wearer’s feet. Plus, at around $80, they are more affordable than many other shoes in the Nike product line.
Of course, not everyone loves the Roshe, and many runners from the same review complained that the Roshe felt flimsy on their feet. Also, they noted narrow sizes, and some customers even noticed the insoles bunching up inside of the shoe. A minor complaint was that the white outsole picked up dirt quickly and was hard to clean.
As the dust settled on the Roshe Run the shoe raked up a final score of 89 out of one hundred, with those in the pro camp citing the lightweight comfortable design and those of the con persuasion insisting that the shoe lacked in matters of construction and durability.
You say Potato, I Say Patato: Nike Roshe Run, One, Two
Nike Rosche Run
The Roshe Run was indeed a hit. But there is a fair bit of confusion that comes about when one is pricing out and researching the Nike Roshe series. In an attempt to distinguish the iterations of this lightweight shoe, we will begin with the Nike Roshe Run. Released in 2012, the Roshe Run took the active walking/runner shoe community by storm.
This new, innovative shoe was like nothing anyone had seen before. And though some questions about the quality of materials used in its making, it was generally viewed as a resounding success by all. Then, in 2015, Nike quietly renamed the "Nike Roshe Run" to "Nike Roshe One". This in anticipation of the shoes the second iteration due to come out later in the year.
Nike Roshe One
It is worth noting that the term Roshe is actually a nod to the Japanese word for Zen Master, “Roshi,”. And that, in terms of inner peace and comfort, the Roshe 2 was a far superior shoe. The Roshe 2 had an even lower price point than the One. And it featured many improvements over its predecessor, namely in the stretchable and breathable neoprene mesh now found on its upper.
Also called PC-rubber. Neoprene promised to be far more durable than the previously used hard abs plastic-polymer mesh on the Roshe One. Neoprene is known for its elasticity and is used in the making of wetsuits, diving gear, floor mats, and even clothing. Plus, due to its insulating nature, the Roshe again gained in popularity. As it could now be worn in warm and cold weather.
Nike Roshe Two
The Roshe 2 also kept its original silhouetted look, which led to is marketing as an athletic and semi-formal shoes. The Two also featured a new sock-liner. As well as added memory foam cushioning and soft padding for a luxurious feel and heightened comfort.
Plus, pull loops found on the tongue and heels meant you could easily slip the shoes on and off. A padded collar, rubber outsole, and slightly diminished branding all lead to a shoe that was more versatile, comfortable, and flexible than its predecessor.
The Nike Roshe 2 and 2 SE
Released shortly after to the Roshe 2 the Roshe 2 SE featured a new and improved lacing system with upgraded perforations for better ventilation. And it features a combination of flexible textile material and a woven mesh construction on the upper.
Despite these “upgrades,” however, the 2 SE scored lower than both the Roshe One and Two. And bagged an 86 out of one 100 by Run Repeat. People did not like that the shoe was not true to size, that it was difficult to put on and take off. And that it, again, lacked in upper foot support.
After the improvements to the Roshe 2, you would have thought that support for the SE would have been higher. Nevertheless, let's have another look at what folks liked about the regular Nike Roshe 2.
- Many color options
- Affordable price point.
- Improved durability.
- Improved comfort.
- The sneaker runs true to size.
- Sock-like fit is comfortable and easy.
- The shoe is lightweight.
- Improved versatility for light activity and low impact sports.
- Available NikeiD technology offers enhanced personalization.
- Memory foam-like insole.
- Breathable flexible neoprene upper
- Most of them revealed that they will recommend this pair to their friends.
- Easy to put on and take off.
The only thing really holding back the two was its reportedly narrow sizing. Yet, despite this criticism, the Roshe 2 soared to a rank of 90 out of 100. And rated as Nike’s 58th best sneaker of all time.
From Humble Roots Comes a New Shoe Champion
Originally designed to be a simple, inexpensive, and even minimalistic, the Roshe is a shoe line for everyday wear. It started its climb to greatness with no celebrity endorsements and hardly any technology. It had two goals: to be lightweight and to be comfortable.
Dylan Raasch, the designer of the line, even admitted the idea for the shoe was completely stripped down from any other shoe that Nike had done. “The simpler I could make it, the more profound it would become," he recently revealed.
Hitting that nail squarely on the head, Raasch again got the nod for the second iteration of the Roshe. With which he chose solely to concentrate on comfort. And, the Nike Roshe Two did not disappoint. The sneaker gained in the areas of durability and comfort exponentially, and yet, it did not sacrifice that understated style.
It did upgrade its lacing system, though, and it also added a supplemental foam layer for extra cushioning. The shoe also got an upgrade to the foot-collar, along with an added sock-like fit. It cemented the shoe’s place in Nike history as one of the most comfortable shoes ever invented.
Then, as if more changes were necessary, the Nike Roshe Two was announced at the next shoe to receive Nike highly regarded Flyknit treatment. It features everything you love about the original Roshe two and adds Nike's signature Flyknit mesh technology. This transformed the shoe into something that was even more flexible and breathable.
Yet all of that new technology came at a price and the new total for the shoe that was supposed to be stripped down rose to 100 bucks or more. It definitely pushed the limits of this minimalistic sneaker with humble intentions.
Nike Roshe Wrap-up
The Roshe Run (one) was one of Nike’s most popular shoes to date. Its sleek, minimalistic design and lightweight feel made it a perfect casual shoe. But it was not recommended for sports and high-impact activities, as many users soon found out.
The Roshe Two, however, featured many technology upgrades that brought increases in comfort and durability. Plus a minor tweak to the sole of the Nike Roshe Two brought a dual-density memory foam insole to sit on top of the existent EVA foam midsole. It created the improved performance triple density sole of the Roshes second iteration.
The new technology molded around the runner's foot to record precise compression points in specific areas, resulting in long-lasting comfort. The outsole, too, had been tinkered and independent waffle flaps allow for "improved flexibility” and grip. So which one is the best? Well, that depends on what kind of shoe you are after.
The more athletically inclined Roshe 2 received some much-needed upgrades to bring it to performance level. But the Run was extremely trim and lightweight and hard to resist.
The Roshe 2 SE and Flyknit also have their pros and cons. But ultimately, in this review, the Original Roshe 2 seems to be the best multitasker for the price point. At around $60, the Roshe 2 is the perfect blend of affordability, technology, comfort, and durability. That is, until the next round of updates from the Greek Goddess of running comes along.
Feature Image via Amazon text, logo and banner added.