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Nike Downshifter 12: Best Alternative Entry-level Running Shoe

Nike constantly elevates shoe innovation to give elite runners the best premium title-winning running shoes. Even with its obsession with premium trainers, Nike also produces quality, budget-friendly models for entry-level running. With the harsh economy and the need to keep fit and look good, these shoes fit well within most people's limited budget.

The models like the Escape run, Nike Quest, Downshifter, or the Revolution are among the most popular Nike budget-friendly running shoes that get the job done like most super shoes in the market. 

The Nike Downshifter 12 is one of Nike's most consistent entry-level running shoes. While they have been lacking the frills associated with Nike shoes, the Downshifter models are getting better with each release. There is a significant improvement from Nike Downshifter 11. This previous version had low and pretty rigid foam. However, the Downshifter 12 has a beefed-up midsole that balances stability and cushioning, which is helpful in heavy running. The lack of Air Zoom units in the midsole makes it less responsive, but it gets the job done, especially in short and long-distance runs. 


Nike Downshifter Upper Design and Fitting

Nike Downshifter 12 Upper


Nike Downshifter 12 has a simple upper.However, it is aesthetically better than the Downshifter 11. Nike updated the upper slightly by making subtle tweaks to the synthetic upper. There is the TPU detailing and more synthetic padding towards the midfoot area.

There is a noticeable change in the toe area because Nike did away with the plastic lining, which featured in the previous version. This has led to increased aeration and comfort in this region. Also, Nike changed the lacing system by ditching the cables or loops and remained with plain eyelets. The impact of this change is that it is simple to lace up, the lacing system looks neat, and the flat laces adjust better to a runner's foot to maintain a secure lockdown. 

The shoe still feels narrow. The good thing is that Nike offers wider versions to runners who want more space and a looser fit. But those with wide feet are better off with wide versions. 


Nike Downshifter 12 Heel Section


The tongue and the heel collar are softly padded, making the overall comfort exceptional. Besides, the heel counter is fairly stiff, doesn't cause irritations, and does well to enhance the foothold across the heel to the forefoot.

I love the fit because Nike has made wider and regular-size versions available. The toe box is roomy and doesn't run long like in the previous version.

The breathability is decent, considering that the upper material is pretty dense.

Nike Downshifter 12 fits true-to-size. The streamlined upper material takes the shape of the foot and is comfortable. 


The Downshifter 12 Midsole Design and Performance

Nike Downshifter 12 Midsole


The most significant update is in the midsole. The previous version was thin and hard, which made the ride firm. The Nike Downshifter 12 comes with extra foam in the midsole. This chunkiness brings a balance of cushioning and stability under the foot. It isn't too soft or too hard. Therefore, the ride is pleasing for an entry-level running shoe.  

The extra foam at the midsole affects the overall weight of this shoe. While it feels heavier than the previous version, this isn't an issue, especially when wearing them for short-distance running or as casual wear. The chunkiness is manageable, considering that it enhances comfort.

Besides, this shoe weighs 319 grams, an average weight for running sneakers. Hence, Nike Downshifter 12 is relatively lightweight but less lightweight than its predecessor, the Downshifter 11, which was approximately 288 grams. Unfortunately, most runners are feeling the 31 grams difference.


 Nike Downshifter 12 Outsole


The outsole has a unique design for functional purposes. There is a small cut-away grip in the heel section and a channel cutting through the midfoot area. These subtle changes have ensured that the Downshifter has slightly more grip than its predecessor. Therefore, it has a reliable grip for running across terrains. 

Overall, the chunk midsole enhances the overall comfort and performance of Downshifter 12. Besides the somewhat responsive midsole, the forefoot section tapers off towards the end, thus creating a rocker shape for seamless toe-off. 


Why You Should Buy Downshifter 12

Nike Downshifter 12 Sideview


It is more of an entry-level running shoe. Therefore, it suits individuals starting their running journey. Besides, Nike Downshifter 12 is comfortable for walking, and the decent design matches the jeans and khakis. Hence it is excellent as day-to-day casual wear.

Most importantly, Downshifter 12 is a budget-friendly shoe that fits those who want to save money but want reliable running shoes. 

Nike Downshifter 12 also suits a runner with a neutral arch and prefers running on the road. It has a 10mm heel drop (32mm/22mm).


Why You Should Not Buy Nike Downshifter 12 


  • Nike Downshifter 12 is not for those seeking responsive, bouncy, and peppy running shoes.
  • The Downshifter 12 doesn't suit someone needing a highly lightweight running shoe.


What to Expect from Nike Downshifter 12

  • Comfortable interior
  • The best bargain price 
  • Simple but attractive design for casual wear
  • Versatility
  • A range of colors to choose from 
  • Not bouncy and lively
  • Pretty heavy for a runner who prefers an exceptionally lightweight daily trainer






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Logan Philip

 Logan Philip, a passionate and experienced athlete with a critical understanding of running techniques and routine. He is also a personal fitness trainer. At 28, Philip has clocked several miles


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