Longboard Dancing Shoe Review: Nike Nyjah Free 1.0
A great shoe for longboard dancing for those with the right foot type
In the sport of longboard dancing, we’re quite fortunate in that our shoes will typically last longer than that of a traditional street skater.
That being said, shoes are very often a very overlooked part of the overall longboard dancing experience. The proper shoes can really enhance your experience in many ways.
For me it’s mandatory that my shoes be vegan, and if possible, also eco-friendly, and since I have also dealt with a previous longboarding injury, it’s also important for me that the shoes offer a decent amount of support.
Enter the Nike Nyjah’s. This review is for specifically the 1.0 version (already discontinued) but most of this can also be applied to the current 2.0 version.
Nike Nyjah’s at a glance
The Nyjah’s surprised me in a couple ways. For starters, they look entirely unique. They don’t follow the mold of any skate shoe I have ever seen. Some like the look, some have told me they look like Crocs, but hey to each their own.
The 1.0 Version had this really cool “in shoe sock” system, where the laces kind of worked with the entire shoe to better support your foot.
Durability – Excellent
In this regard, I was extremely happy with how long these shoes lasted. I skated hard in them, 3-6 times per week on average for a year, and the tops still look new.
Really the only thing that fell apart was the bottom of the sole from foot breaking, and that’s completely expected. No shoe is going to win long term against asphalt.
The top layer is a synthetic rubber blend, which I would imagine would hold up quite well for those looking to get into more freestyle as well.
Comfort – Poor (Depending on foot style)
To preface this, I have wide and flat feet. The Nyjah’s have a pretty aggressive arch, for the entire year I used these, the first 15-20 minutes of each session would hurt my feet.
After 20 minutes or so, my feet would settle in and I could skate much longer, but it was never comfortable.
I’d imagine for those with thinner feet and a higher arch, this design would be beneficial. I can also confirm that with the current 2.0 versions, the arch is still just as high and the sole feels even harder.
I don’t have the 2.0’s, but I did try them on at a store once and they felt even worse on my foot style than the 1.0’s did.
Support – Excellent
This is one thing I really loved about the shoe, once they stopped hurting my feet in the beginning, they really hug your feet and support you well.
Taking big impact with these shoes is no problem, they don’t feel flimsy at all, and this was very important to me as these are the first shoes I used coming off of a broken foot, and they were impeccable.
The amount of support these shoes offer compared to something like a typical Vans Authentic or ERA is no comparison, it is really night and day. If you want a good technical shoe that is going to support the demands of skating, this is it.
It’s very hard to describe the interior of the 1.0 version, and I wish I had taken picture of it. The lacing system was really spectacular for supporting the feet.
It should be noted, that the 2.0 version no longer uses this lacing system, so I cannot comment on how their support compares.
Grip – Fairly Slick
This is an important aspect that is specific for longboard dancing, but how slick are the soles? Many skate shoes on the market are developed for traditional street skating, where more “grip” for the board is typically preferred.
This is dependent on the individual’s riding style, as some like to have more slipping sensation on the board, and some like to feel glued to it.
Unfortunately, this can only really be determined when you first take the new shoes on the board and have a session, but by this time you’re committed to keeping that set of shoes.
I ride a standard dancer configuration, only grip tap on my nose and tails, and the middle majority of the board is exposed. The soles on the Nyjah’s slide well for pirouettes and step sequences, and I have only felt threatened by the slickness of the soles when my board was slightly damp.
Board Feel – Good
For how firm the soles are on these shoes, I always had good board feel with them.
Not as good as say a Vans Authentic, but the trade off for excellent foot support while maintaining good board feel is fair. I never had problems realizing where my feet were on the board, or recognizing board “indicators” such as wheel flairs, screws, etc.
If I had thinner feet with higher arches, I would be a life long buyer of this line of shoe for as long as Nike produces them. They are of excellent quality, provide excellent support, and I like how they look haha.
Sadly, I couldn’t get over the fact that these continued to hurt my feet for over a year, and the fact that the 2.0 versions seem even more aggressive in their arches, led me away from buying the updated version.
I’m currently riding the Etnies Jameson Eco 2’s, which are also vegan. Once I beat these up, I’ll get a review out as well.
Hi Shawn. Have you found any other vegan shoes for skaters? I’m also a vegan and trying to find a pair of durable shoes not made with leather is not an easy task. I practice longboard dancing, therefore for me the most important thing is than the bottom sole is extra resistant. Thanks in advance.