The Nike Downshifter 6 is one of Nike’s latest running shoes offered at $60. Like some of their other options in the same price range such as the Nike Dart 10 and Nike Flex Experience Run 3, the Nike Downshifter 6 is a great beginner shoe that you will be able to find at a fairly low price that will offer certain benefits toward new runners such as ample cushion.
Notice how the term “shifter” is in the shoe’s name? One of the purposes of the shoe is actually to transition your foot into a neutral foot motion, which may serve good use to those looking to alter their foot motion towards a more neutral movement. In my Nike Downshifter 6 review, I will discuss how well the running shoe offers promised features such as comfort, cushion, flexibility, and breathability, as well as how the shoe is structured and who should really be looking into this shoe.
Who should run in the Nike Downshifter 6’s
As mentioned, the Nike Downshifter 6’s are a neutral running shoe. This means if you over-pronate this shoe is not for you. If you are new to this term, check out my How to buy a running shoe guide, which discusses different shoe types and how to determine what is best for you. The reason it is meant for neutral runners is because its lack of arch support. Even with a good amount of cushion, without proper arch support, it is hard for a shoe to have proper pronation-control. That being said I would recommend the Nike Downshifter 6 to a beginner neutral runner or supinator. Especially anybody new to running and would like a cheap start-up. Given the design of these shoes and classic-look, they shoes are also great looking and uphold the classic Nike look extremely well. I would have no problem taking these shoes out casually, as I already have.
You should also know where the shoe performs best before you decide if it interests you. The shoe’s design itself is meant for hard-surface running. This basically means its a running shoe meant for the road. The Downshifter 6 can take on the pavements, streets, tracks, and gravel fairly easy. The shoe offers a lot of technologies that help the shoe perform on these types of hard surfaces. The Downshifter 6 even performs nicely on these surfaces when wet so rain should not slow you down in terms of staying safe.
Construction of the Nike Downshifter 6
Upper– I love a great upper and this is NOT one of the Nike Downshifter 6’s shortcomings. The running shoe offers a pretty durable and supportive upper despite the shoe being able to stay under 10 ounces. Similar to the Nike Flex Experience Run 3, (which had an upper I really enjoyed) the upper is made up of synthetic leather with its more than breathable mesh. To me the breathable mesh is what I typically care about. When I run it typically gets hot so the heat needs to be able to be released from the shoe somehow. You can tell the downshifter 6 breathes well because when its a bit windy or cold you can feel the air pass through to your toes.
Also similar to almost any running shoe these days, the seemless overlays near the sides of the shoe keep the midsole locked in pretty well. Inside the shoe offers nice padding especially around the collar. You can get your foot in the shoe and it should fit nice and snug around the ankle for sure.
Outsole- Similar to what I had to say about the Nike Dart 10, the outsole is made for road pavements. Basically the entire bottom of the shoe is made out of carbon rubber in that same basic “waffle” design. This allows for about all the traction you may need on the roads, even in grimy wet weather. I won’t say it is slip proof or anything but it definitely has some slip-resistant tendencies.
Midsole- The midsole of the Nike Downshifter 6 is also very similar to a lot of shoe’s in its class. It offers the same pylon foam which is supposed to be comfortable and cushiony, as well as help the shoe’s flexibility. Personally what I do not typically like about these shoes in and around this class is the flexibility and stiffness overall of the shoe. The Nike Downshifter 6 is not quite as stiff as the Nike Dart 10 but it also is not as flexible as my Nike Flex Experience Run 3′s either. For that I would give the flexibility grade on the Nike Downshifter 6 somewhere in the middle of these two shoes.
Overall Performance of the Nike Downshifter 6
We have discussed what sort of runners may be interested in the Nike Downshifter 6 as well as its core construction areas, but we have yet to really discuss how it translates to performance.
The cushion could be better. While it is definitely known that there is cushion in the shoe compared to a flatter-type non-athletic shoe, the cushion is not quite where it needs to be in terms of high-quality, high-cushioned shoes. Although it is hard for me to expect that in a $60 pair of running shoes. My feet usually feel fine after running. Though I should note that I do not need very much cushion typically. The only time my feet get sore in these are in the longer runs and I think that is just because my feet take my punishment so the longer the distance the bigger the lack of some cushion becomes apparent.
What I really love about these shoes for the price is the flexibility. Really the flexibility is beyond my expectations especially after having tried the Nike Dart 10. I could not be happier with how well the shoe bends as I run. I really have no problems with comfort due to lack of flexibility, one of the things I seem to really not like in a shoe.
Durability of the shoe is somewhat of a concern. While its nothing as poor as a pair of $20 WalMart shoes, the durability on these aren’t quite as great as some more expensive running shoes. I guess you can almost compare it to you get what you pay for. Nothing falls apart too quickly and it will last a very long time if you do not run much or simply wear them casually, but if you are a almost-daily runner, they will only last a couple months, depending on how often you run. If you simply wear them for casual use, they will probably last closer to a year’s time.
Now lets talk about the all-important sizing of the Nike Downshifter 6.
Shoe sizing is very important, from width, to overall length, as well as heights such as toe heights. When purchasing shoes specifically for running you want to watch for a few things. First, you want a little bit of toe space since the toe usually swells up some and expands while running. I’d have at least an index finger’s worth of space. Secondly, you want to watch out for shoes that are too narrow on your toes. If you find a shoe that is too narrow it usually ends up blistering up your foot. How does that translate to the Nike Downshifter 6? While super comfy to wear, it runs a little narrow. If you have average width it probably does not matter much. But if you are inching near wide feet, I would be careful with this shoe. If you can get a 2E or 4E sizing that would be great as it is a wider version of the same shoe.
Summary of Nike Downshifter 6
The Nike Downshifter 6 are a neutral shoe that excel at flexibility that offer some cushioning. This shoe is made for the hard surfaces of the road for any neutral runner. The Upper is very-well made and offers a lot of comfort and breathability. This shoe starting at $60 offers a lot of value. You will want to watch the sizing of the shoe if you have wider feet.
I hope you enjoyed the Nike Downshifter 6 review. If you are considering other similar shoes, I would more closely recommend the Nike Flex Experience Run 3 which offers a lot of the same but I like the durability and cushion a bit more, although that is reflected about $10 in the price as well.