If you’re looking for a cheap shoe to hoop in for the summer – LOOK NO FURTHER! Retailing just at $80 (as well as up to 20% off at the time of this review), let me give you a comprehensive Nike Renew Elevate review.
I’ll break down the shoe’s fit & comfort, performance, build quality & materials, and also evaluate the sneaker’s versatility on the court. Let me give you a small spoiler. This might just be your go-to choice for the blacktop. Oops!
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Options
- What Are Your Thoughts?
- Nike Renew Elevate Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
click for a full-sized image
BEST DEALS OF THE RENEW ELEVATE 🛒
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if a user clicks on a product link and purchases a product, I earn a small commission.
II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
Looking to save time? Here’s the quick version: the Nike Renew Elevate is a damn solid shoe for the low price it’s built with. $$$ savers and outdoor hoopers – this might be what you’re looking for.
The shoe should fit most guys true to size, including wide footers like myself. I did experience slight heel slippage but particularly with a pair of Jordan performance socks.
It’s got fantastic traction outdoors, though several reviews reported it’s not as consistent on hardwood.
The Renew cushion is nothing to write home about but at least you’ll have a little bit of feedback underfoot while staying fast, precise and low to the ground.
I had no major issues with support, though the weird ankle cut height did cut into my ankle bones a few times. You might want to put on a thicker pair of socks for there.
For $80, the basic mesh upper definitely gets the job done but expect mediocre build quality. With that said, don’t think these will be breaking down on you in a few months.
For alternatives, check out the KD Trey 5 VIII ($90) for a tad bit more cushion and arguably a comfier upper; the Cosmic Unity ($150) if you’re looking for an overall upgrade and can afford the price bump.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
True to size or should you go up/down? How’s the comfort? Anything else to remember?
True to size will be the #1 choice for most hoopers as the shoe doesn’t particularly resemble a compact nor a roomy design. It’s kind of an average fit that doesn’t really bring anything special or terrible in any way.
No side-to-side movements in the footbed, no pinching, no annoying issues to be found here. I did have a tiny bit of heel slippage but a simple switch-up of my socks to a grippier pair fully took care of the issue.
I’m a prominent wide footer myself and still went with my usual size 10.
Well, it looks like my feet aren’t as complicated as I sometimes tend to believe but I feel that way now because kicks like the Renew Elevate don’t look too wide foot-friendly, yet they feel better than they appear.
Pretty much perfect length-wise (about half an inch of room for my toes), also spot-on height-wise except one little spot in the middle portion of the forefoot which has a bit of dead space.
Not an issue though, just something I’ve noticed.
Width-wise, these started off snug but show me a shoe that doesn’t when you see my feet. Okay, you can’t see ’em right now but what I’m saying is give these a week or two before judging the “final product”.
Whether you’re a wide footer, a narrow footer, or someone in between, I’m fairly certain you’ll find the Renew Elevate solid in the fit department as it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table while keeping the important stuff in check.
Much like the sizing/fit, the Renew Elevate didn’t stand out in the comfort side of things.
It’s one of those shoes where you put ’em on, break ’em in, and then forget about ’em on the court. That’s pretty much a baseline for me to get a pass on a shoe’s comfort & fit.
While I’d love the shoe to be an experience of pure luxury for my foot, it’s an 80-dollar product from Nikey we’re talking about here. Once you understand this, I’m sure you’ll be okay with how these feel.
Moderate foam padding around the ankle area & the tongue, the shoe is easy to put on due to a large pull tab and these feel just as feathery as a KD Trey 5 VIII.
In other words, you’ll be wanting to jump out of the gym if you step in these from your usual pair of LeBron’s or D Rose’s.
Honestly, a very similar overall feel to the KD Trey 5 VIII except the Renew Elevate felt a bit roomier which is great for my situation.
Nothing more to break down here – no need to stretch things out since these aren’t anything special nor do they fit terribly.
How’s the grip on various surfaces and conditions? What about the outsole’s durability?
I hate to bring this up every time I review a budget hoop shoe from Nikey but, you guessed it, I’ll do it one more time.
Here we have an $80 sneaker that has great traction + durable rubber for outdoor play, while on the other hand, take any signature shoe from the same brand (often costing DOUBLE the price of this one) and you’re getting a fancy looking outsole that lacks the strong rubber and often lacks that aggressive bite some cheaper shoes have.
It’s weird, it’s inconsistent and it’s unfair but there’s not a lot we can do. All I can do now is praise the Renew Elevate’s outsoles as they did a solid job not shooting me out of the floor, no matter the movement.
While I mostly didn’t have issues with the traction on two outdoor surfaces I’ve played on, dust & debris tends to pile up rather quickly inside the pattern, so for those who have OCD and absolutely need to keep the outsoles clean – you’ll be wiping these down every few plays.
The reason I’m saying it like that is because the actual grip was barely affected by the plethora of dust that was sneaking its way into the grooves.
I did wipe occasionally but mostly out of habit. There were probably up to 10-20 times in the full 4-month cycle where I actually slipped. Once again, that’s a good thing.
As for the actual reliability of the rubber – you already know. The Renew Elevate should take care of you for a good while even on the blacktop. If it’s not 3-4 years then you should at least be covered for a full season.
I can’t really speculate how long they’ll last exactly but 4 months in, I’m still at 95%-98% bite. It’s not going anywhere.
How much impact protection & energy return the cushion offers? What about step comfort, stability, and ride height?
Once again, very similar vibes to the KD Trey 5 VIII. The Renew Elevate sports a dual-density midsole consisting of Renew and a firmer blend of foam that isn’t specified.
If you’re unfamiliar with Renew, think of it as version 2.0 of Lunarlon. Lunarlon bottoms out. Quickly. I’m sure you know what’s next.
The shoe started off really fun with a generous amount of compression at the heel portion and a little bit of rebound at the front. Stability is on-point, so are the heel-to-toe transitions which weren’t anything special but are definitely more refined compared to an Air Max Impact 1/2. Those two were stubborn.
However, when you’ve got Lunar in the equation, things are bound to last a short time before changing up how the whole experience feels.
Weirdly enough, 3-4 weeks were all I needed for the cushion to start bottoming out and losing some of its uuumph in the process.
However, it never got worse since then which is good since I still find the cushion setup to be effective. While they aren’t as fun as they were initially, there’s still a little bit of bounce in the heel while things are nice and fast in the forefoot.
There’s moderate impact protection here for guards or even wings and I’m slapped fairly low to the ground at all times.
3-4 hours of constant pick-up action in the park didn’t kill my legs or feet which can and does happen with some shoes.
It’s definitely a balanced feel that never got in my way but I’d be lying if I said this feels right from the $150+ club. Light, low-key and solid would be the phrases that describe this cushion best.
How much support vs. mobility is offered? What about foot containment and stability?
Despite a conservative build with not a lot of features/structure, I never found the support to be lacking. Keep in mind I slash to the hoop, jump, and cut A LOT.
Pair that with constant issues with my right ankle and you’ve got yourself a contender for pushing a shoe’s limits security-wise.
The Renew Elevate is sporting a mid-top design (not that it matters for support) with ankle collars that didn’t restrict the ankle’s range of motion. The base of the shoe isn’t particularly wide but it was enough to not cause any more trouble than I’m already having with one of my ankles.
There aren’t any outriggers in place but due to the moderately wide forefoot portion & the rubber coming up on both the medial and lateral sides acting as sidewalls, I was a-okay. Never felt the upper was wobbly either.
There’s also a strong internal heel counter in place which took care of the lockdown at the back properly.
I’m not a huge fan of this “barely mid-top” design though.
This is usually not a good idea because a stiffer ankle collar with this exact height tends to dig into my ankle bone on the medial side on certain movements and it’s annoying.
I’ve played in these yesterday for a couple of hours and returned home with a bloodied right foot. Granted, I’ve already had a small wound on that ankle bone so yesterday’s session only added more fuel to the fire.
I don’t know why this only happened yesterday and wasn’t as intrusive the days before but I guess I’ve reached a point where the skin is irritated in that area and can’t handle as much punishment.
Not a deal-breaking issue but one that could’ve been easily avoided with a tiny change.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the upper materials? How do they feel on foot? How’s the quality & reliability of the build?
The shoe is sporting a very thin, basic mesh build. The heel portion offers foam-backed mesh and something you’ve definitely seen before on a cheaper sports shoe.
Definitely something we can come to expect from a shoe that belongs to the more budget-friendly range. There are small Fuse overlays on the toebox and throughout the lacing system to reinforce the build. The tongue is padded with foam, so is the ankle area.
The shoe utilizes a standard lace-and-tongue construction – don’t expect a smooth one-bootie design at this price range.
Lastly, the Swoosh on both sides is actually backed by a more rigid synthetic which should last a while and also handles a bit of load in containing your foot.
The overall build quality isn’t the worst I’ve seen, even among cheaper shoes. Nikey got fairly good at keeping the quality control and stable levels for these more affordable shoes and hey, I give credit where it’s due.
Despite looking cheap, the Renew Elevate doesn’t feel cheap when it’s go-time. While there are way more premium-feeling uppers that have better properties to wrap around one’s foot, this lightweight mesh wasn’t bad at all.
These didn’t require a lengthy, annoying break-in process, kept the weight in check, and also provided surprisingly excellent ventilation. 3-hour under-the-sun games – I’m not afraid of y’all.
Bottom line, you won’t feel any traces of “cheap” when the shoe is on your feet and you gave ’em enough time to mold to your foot. Would I take a quality knit or a Jordan woven over this? Sure. But putting things into perspective, this is a solid upper for 80 bucks.
As for longevity, it’s tough to tell but 4 months in and I’m still feeling good about these. Some minor cosmetic damage is present of course, and the cheaper laces show their questionable quality but that’s about it.
If you take care of your shoes and don’t play every single day for 5 hours, you should be fine with these for a good while.
Summarizing the Nike Renew Elevate review: are they versatile? Who’s best-suited for it? Is it a good deal for the money?
The Nike Renew Elevate is a surprisingly great basketball shoe for those who aren’t sure what they want but don’t want to break the bank in the process of choosing. That’s a mouthful but the best way to describe these IMO.
They should fit true to size for most guys, have great traction outdoors, and don’t require you to wipe like a maniac. The Renew midsole starts off really nice but degrades rather quickly, though the end result is still acceptable for just about any guard or wing.
Security is on-point while not overly restricting movements and while the mesh upper is nothing more than basic, you’ll forget all about that once it’s time to hoop.
You can grab these for almost dirt cheap now so if balance, an outdoor-ready build, and a sleek, versatile design are something you’re attracted to – I see nothing wrong with the Renew Elevate being in your gym bag.
BUY THE RENEW ELEVATE 🛒
IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not really feeling what you hear about the Renew Elevate? Here are your potential replacement shoes
NIKE KD TREY 5 VIII, $90
I found Kevin Durant’s 8th shoe from his secondary budget line to be super similar feeling to the Renew Elevate but with a few changes that might make you consider getting that one instead.
A very similar Renew cushion setup but arguably a bit more uuumph underfoot, at least while it lasts at peak form. It’s also got a pretty comfy fabric upper.
The difference is marginal but if I had to really compare the two, I’d say the KD Trey 5 VIII’s upper felt a bit nicer for the foot.
NIKE COSMIC UNITY, $150
If you can afford an upgrade, the Nike Cosmic Unity is undoubtedly one of the best overall basketball shoes in recent years.
It’ll fit a wide foot properly, it’s got a great pair of outsoles capable for long-term outdoor play, a fantastic knit upper, and arguably unrivaled full-length Zoom Strobel cushion setup. It’s the real deal.
X. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
Share your opinion – it’ll help out the future reader A TON!
That’s it for the Nike Renew Elevate review! I hope you found it useful & informative! I can’t wait to get back to playing indoors again and looks like that time is just around the corner.
My local gym should be re-opening for rent very soon so I’ll be able to test shoes in both indoor and outdoor environments. UPDATE: that time is finally here and I’ve tested the new Renew Elevate 2 both indoors and outdoors. Check out the review!
Anyway, the Renew Elevate is definitely a possible contender for my best budget shoe list of the modern era. Check the ever-growing list below and find some more killer options for cheap.
I also left links for shoes & posts that were referenced in this review. You’ll definitely find something useful there!
But I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Renew Elevate. Have you played in ’em? What’s your take? Perhaps you’ve already got your hands on the 2nd shoe? Or you’ve got a question I haven’t answered in the review?
Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
XI. NIKE RENEW ELEVATE REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
Nike Renew Elevate$80
Fit & Comfort7.5/10
Value for the Price8.5/10
- True to size is optimal for most & wide footers included
- I had some slight heel slippage on a pair of Jordan performance socks
- Cushion bottoms out quickly. Still a decent setup after though
- The ankle collar dug into the bone of my ankle
- Positions 1-3
- All-around players
- Outdoor hoopers