Last updated on February 16th, 2024
|Nike Downshifter 12
|Road Running Shoes
The Downshifter 12 by Nike is a running shoe that offers a sense of support and stability, making it a worthwhile purchase considering its cost.
It is not only comfortable for everyday wear and walking, but also offers a reliable grip and long-lasting durability thanks to its comprehensive outsole. While it might feel a bit rigid when trying to increase speed, it remains a solid choice overall.
|Small toe box
|Durable build quality
|Full coverage, protective, grippy outsole
|Available in wide fit
Who should purchase Nike Downshifter 12?
Downshifter is an ideal choice for individuals who enjoy a combination of walking and running. With its wide and extra-wide options, this shoe is suitable for most walkers and beginners in the running world.
Its sole unit, designed with a ribbed heel coverage that curls up at the back, ensures durability and resistance to wear for individuals who strike their heels or have uneven gait patterns.
Who should not purchase Nike Downshifter 12?
This particular shoe is not suitable for runners who frequently cover distances exceeding four miles or engage in runs focused on speed.
Nike Downshifter 12 Information
Nike's Downshifter, a steal at just $70 USD (a $10 increase from Downshifter 11), is a running shoe designed for those on a budget. ($50 on Dec 29th 2023)
The shoe has undergone a complete transformation. With a fresh upper design, the overlays have been eliminated to enhance breathability. However, the upper still features supportive stripes measuring around one inch in width. These stripes start from the middle shoe laces and diagonally extend down to the rear heel on both sides.
Resolute rubber patches stretch along the entire outsole, boasting a heavily grooved pattern that defies any suggestion of its affordable price.
This morning, I embarked on a 6-mile run, donning the Downshifter on my left foot and the Gel-Excite on my right. Midway through, I swapped their positions. During my experiment, I discovered that the Downshifter provided a snugger fit and a heightened sense of stability beneath my feet. On the other hand, Gel-Excite, despite its $15 price difference, offered a seamless transition and a graceful toe-off, accompanied by a more spacious toe box.
Downshifter, in contrast to adidas Duramo, offers a tighter fit and comparable cushioning in the midsole. With Duramo's standard width, those with medium to wide feet can enjoy enhanced comfort without having to opt for wide or extra wide sizes as they might have to with Downshifter.
Initial Thoughts on Nike Downshifter 12
Unveiling the shoe for the very first time, I found myself underwhelmed by its simplistic design and the specific colorway I had chosen. However, as the weeks went by, the design gradually grew on me, revealing its sleek appearance when worn as a versatile shoe for running, various workouts, and casual occasions.
To my own amazement, I found myself repeatedly opting for this particular shoe to complement my everyday attire. When I examine images of the Downshifter 11, I must admit that this revamped, minimalist style holds a greater appeal to me.
Initially, the initial usage of the shoe felt restrictive due to its medium-narrow fit and a distinct sensation of being "blocked in." However, there was an intriguing allure to the shoe's sturdy foundation.
To accommodate the narrow toebox and narrow-medium heel into midfoot, it is advisable for many individuals to consider going up by half a size.
Nike Downshifter 12 Upper
The structured mesh of Downshifter is enhanced by an internal layer that is securely attached to the base all around. This design combination enables a moderate level of breathability. Despite my initial concerns about the shoe being hot, particularly due to the smaller toe box, I was pleasantly surprised that it never became uncomfortably warm, even when running indoors or in typical autumn temperatures.
The broad and cushioned tongue provides ample protection, enveloping the upper with an additional layer that extends towards the midsole. This feature, along with the fully enclosed gusset, enhances the snug sensation experienced in the narrow toe area.
Comparing the Downshifter and Excite, the Excite provides a newfound sense of liberation for the toes. Although the toebox appears similar to that of the GEL-Excite, the variation in sensation is attributed to the presence of the tongue layer. While Nike's design is commendable, enhancing comfort could be achieved by incorporating a few additional millimeters of space to compensate for the internal layers.
The laces of moderate width provide the perfect sensation. They effortlessly pass through the tongue, enhancing stability.
The ankle is gently embraced by modest padding, while a sturdy heel counter offers greater support compared to the Gel-Excite or Duramo models, particularly the latter.
The heel's generously proportioned loop allows for effortless wearing, yet I effortlessly slipped my foot into this shoe without any assistance.
An additional strip, knitted with a contrasting shade (like a vibrant orange tucked within my shoe), can be found on both sides of the shoe, stretching from the middle laces to the heel. This strip, woven densely, offers more reinforcement than a mere layer of mesh and is partially visible through a small window.
The durability of the tip of the toe box is enhanced by an additional layer of tightly-woven material. This layer extends the softer "tongue" material down between the toes and the outer mesh.
Similar to Duramo, the foundation of the sock liner is affixed to the base. When lifted, it exhibits a respectable thickness of half a millimeter, surpassing the majority of other sock liners.
Neutral tones are beautifully complemented by sporadic bursts of vibrant hues, creating an appealing palette of colors. Crafted with sustainability in mind, this shoe incorporates 20% recycled materials.
Nike Downshifter 12 Sole Unit
The Downshifter's foam midsole lacks flashy branding and is not described online. Its softness is comparable to On's Helion foam and adidas Duramo's Lightmotion foam.
The firmness of this midsole falls between that of adidas Lightstrike, ASICS FF Blast, and HOKA's CMEVA foams, while being less firm than ASICS Flytefoam.
The entire bottom of the shoe is covered in a pattern, except for a curved line that helps reduce the transfer of sideways force. There is also a line in the heel area that allows for flexibility, and small openings that allow you to see the middle part of the shoe. The rubber material is moderately durable, with signs of wear appearing after approximately 50 miles of running. The presence of ridges on the heel ensures good traction and longevity for those who tend to strike their heels while running.
This shoe provides excellent support by flexing at the ball while maintaining a rigid midfoot and featuring a 10 mm. difference in height between the heel and forefoot.
The shoe offers a landing that is moderately soft, followed by a somewhat average transition, and concludes with a noticeable push-off at the toe (the elite effortlessly vanish into thin air).
With its affordable price tag, Nike has infused a plethora of materials into the construction of the Downshifter 12. The shoe boasts an impressive level of cushioning, providing a secure and comfortable fit. While the ride is stable and supportive, the shoe falls short in terms of the transition and toe-off, which ultimately affects my overall rating for running in this particular model.
Wearing it while strolling or for everyday attire, this shoe fails to inspire movement. However, incorporating an occasional jog will ensure its longevity and make it an excellent choice.
If you find yourself in between sizes or prefer a looser fit for your toes, consider going up by half a size.