Nike Free

Just got myself a pair of those new Nike Free shoes. I'm not normally a big Nike fan, but these have got to be the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. I can't take them off!

I'd be interested to hear if anyone has actually tried running in them, and what the result was.


  • 2005-08-06 21:36:46.660
  • I've had mine a couple of days now, the most expensive slippers ever brought.
    Very comfortable, feels like I'm walking around the house in bare feet.

    Because I'm studying sports massage I was keen to give these a try, to see what effect they have.

    I binned the box in store but are there any instructions, with regard to the two insoles, i.e the 5.0 & 4.5?
    And how & when to start running in them?
  • yea i got some from the states last year i used them during my training for the FLM and i can report that my feet are strenghter and i have had no problems at all during and after sunday.

    i dont run in them as i weigh 13.5 stones but i do wear them for work dead comfy
  • Big Tim,

    The Nike Free training shoe is designed to be half-way between barefoot (a zero) and a regular running shoe (a ten) - hence the 5.0 in the name.

    Best thing to do is to wear the shoes around the house / for very light warm-ups with the 5.0 insoles in them. Once your feet become accustomed to the extra work they have to do, then you can gradually build up the distance / time you do in the shoe. They are designed as training shoes, so most people won't be able to do the bulk of their miles in it.

    Once your feet have adapted to the 5.0 insoles, you can replace them with the 4.5 insoles. This will require your feet to do more work.

    I wear mine whenever I go to the gym and will now happily run 5 miles in them, now that my feet are used to them. But they did make my feet ache after the first few longer runs in them!

    My friend in Oz ran a marathon in them last weekend (he ran 3 hours 02). Don't think I'll be able to do that distance in them just yet!
  • An article from the Guardian that mentions the Nike Free here

    An interesting quote is "These trainers force wearers to engage core muscles to maintain balance ...".

    I'm seeing a physio to develop my core stability but spend most of my time wearing shoes with orthoses in them. Now I'm thinking the Nike Free might be good for me, at least for when I'm walking rather than running.

  • Thanks,
    I'm learning on my sports massage course that our muscles change as we're leading unnatural lifestyles, they adapt & cause us problems & injuries.
    So walking/running in anything other than bare feet is unnatural.

    OK, I'm not going to start running bare-foot the chance of hitting glass even if running on grass is too great.
    However, I like this idea & plan to see what happens.
    To begin with I'll spent time walking indoors & doing my hands on practise in them!!!
  • Big Tim,
    I've just finished a Sports Massage course, and bought mine for wearing whilst massaging. Great minds think alike eh?

    I must admit that having worn them for a bit, I'm seriously considering getting another pair for training.

    Apparently they are advertising them on TV now too.
  • Yea they are the advert was on last night during the arsenal chelski game on sky.
  • I like the idea, but I'm still waiting for a version without a built-up heel. After all, my foot doesn't naturally look like that so it isn't really replicating barefoot runing.
  • Well, today I bought a pair from NikeTown, Oxford Circus. They had a trial stand with a treadmill, and the girl who was working is a runner and seemed to know what she was talking about.

    There's a few different versions. The lightest and most flexible version has a positively flimsy upper, but there are others which are less flexibly with a more durable upper.

    I bought the light and flexible version for £60. Yes, there is a bit of a heel in them, but I'm willing to give them a go for around the house and walking to the local shops and so on.

    I've had lots of foot problems, and to be honest, since wearing orthoses, the bottom of my feet feel dead, so these may liven things up a little. I'll report back in a week or so.

  • I was examining these in the shops today..... I might get some for shopping and pottering.
    Must look into the different models too.... I would be interested to hear how others find them though so will be keeping an eye on this thread....
  • Tim/Muppet,

    do your massage courses mention whether this type of shoe is OK for someone who normally wears orthotics?

    Wondering whether to get some for walking to/from work - when normally I'd be wearing shoes with orthotics. But don't want to end up with very confused feet that sometimes get to be 'quasi-barefoot' and sometimes 'supported'
  • Heckhocker, I'm no expert like the others, but I figure that as long as I don't get injured from walking 'unsupported' (which I never have - only from running) then it can't be a bad thing. In fact, I believe that if I were to recruit all the right muscless correctly I wouldn't need orthoses. Maybe training aids such as the Nike Free could help?

    Others may disagree though ...
  • I agree with SVT that the NikeFree although very flexible (& twistable) in the midfoot region have too much heel cushion for me.

    Don't want to hijack the thread so only one quick question for BigTim: You said "So walking/running in anything other than bare feet is unnatural.". Around the house, why not just go barefoot or if outside wear thin surf-shoes etc etc?

  • Heckhocker, not yet & I'm not sure they would but it comes across that anything we do is changing our body mechanics.

    nrg-b, during the summer I'm bare feet & the winter slippers around the house. My main reason for these are to work in i.e do my sports massage practise in them. It felt un-professional to practise in my slippers!!!

    One week on & I'm not feeling anything much different about my feet except walking in these does feel like being bare footed.
    I've not got foot problems so maybe I won't.
    Might try running in them in a few months time, but want to keep them clean for indoors :-(
  • Got mine today and loving them. I have a sore foot that has been getting massage and these shoes feel like they are supporting the problem area. I am considering buying a second pair in black in the hope I could get away with wearing them around the office.....
  • Can't quite understand the advert though... the message seems to be that running barefoot is great, so do it in shoes. Hmmm.
  • Running barefoot is great...and if you live near a nice grassy place where you can run with naked feet without the risk of treading on glass - then count yourself lucky. I know where I live that this is not an option - therefore the benefit of Nike Free is being able to reap the benefits of running barefoot, while still protecting your feet.

    SVT - when does you cynical medication end?
  • ...and please don't say about the same time as my Nike-love pills end...............
  • Go Pre - about the same time as your Nike-love pills end... :-)

    I don't have a specific problem with Nike - I love my pair of Jarowe Waffles. It's just that to my (admittedly small) brain, a shoe that replicates barefoot running would be much flatter and follow the contours of the sole of the foot much closer. Like the surf shoes nrg-b mentions, it would be something that is just enough to protect the soles of your feet from glass, stones etc.

    Believe it or not, I actually think Nike have got a good idea. Heck, I'm tempted to try a pair as casual shoes. It's just that they haven't fully followed the idea through in my opinion. I read somewhere that the '5.0' is in relation to 0 being barefoot and 10 being regular shoes. When they make the Nike Free 1.0 or 0.5 I might be very interested! Until then we'll have to agree to differ.

    Right, time to go out to the shops. Guess I better put some shoes on!
  • Tried a pair on today and it was a very weird sensation. They were extremely comfy but walking about the shop i could really feel what was going on, they felt cushioned but weren't.

    I'm too heavy to consider them as a running shoe at the moment, but I have to say I'm tempted to get them, anything which strengthens your feet in any way has to be a good thing for running surely?
  • They sound rather comfy, but what about running in them? Nobody seems to have tried them out for that yet.

    I'm thinking of getting a pair, but I want them to run in even if it's only a couple of miles at a time.
  • I don't know if I want to run in them. I just like the comfyness and psychological benefits to my sore foot!!!!

    The lack of open-up-ability is a bit weird, and I must admit to have had a couple of struggles in getting them onto my feet as the apature (?!) is fixed. I don't think I should have a bigger size, I just hope they will baggy out a little.

    I must also admit that I think they look damn good with my tracky-dak bottoms!
  • tracky-daks? Are you an Aussie, Jen?

    Hilly, there's a 12 day training programme that comes with the brochure, which starts with high knees and butt kicks, moves on to lunges and squats and then 60m sprints.

    After that, they give 8 weeks of training which build up runs at different rates according to what type of shoe you wear: lightweight, neutral cushion or stability and motion control.

    I couldn't run in them any time soon. I wear stability shoes - Brooks Adrenaline GTS with orthoses which have stopped my foot problems. At the same time, I'm working with my physio to fix the core stability problems which are having a knock-on effect all down my legs to my feet.

    I'm using the Nike Free shoes as a personal experiment to see if they can help strengthen muscles I wouldn't otherwise use. I walked to the shops in them this evening and I can definitely feel the bottom of my feet have been stretched out.

    By the way, the uppers are very flimsy: not what you would expect from a running trainer.

  • Just got myself a pair - really comfortable but yes, they do seem flimsy.

    My main aim is to strengthen my foot muscles
  • They're OK. Work your feet but still give cushioning which other minimalist shoes don't do. They eat dirt/grit/stones/twigs and spit them out on anything clean.

    Funny how a company can promote two opposing types of shoe at the same time.

  • Yeah - I thought that - assistant was blathering on about the benefits of getting your foot muscles to do the work; I sooo felt like asking her why all the other shoes in the shop did the complete opposite!
  • Agree with SVT - when we have a 3.0 (2.0 with no insoles) I'll get them...

    Latest I heard was that Nike had gotten lots of feedback on the heel and are looking to rectify it - let's hope its true...
  • I've been wearing mine in the house, at work (also sports massage) and walking the dog for the last 10 days. I also find them really comfy. My hips ache just a little, which I put done to the strenghening/more natural gait. I can't wait to start running in them, as I think I'll be using my feet much more powerfully. I'm surprised people haven't started wearing them as short-distance racing shoes.

    Only critisism so far is the women's colour - pale blue; after only 10 days dirty pale blue. And how long will the upper last; it seems fairly fragile.

    The Nike Midlands rep reckoned that he had had to wear orthotics for the past x years, until he started wearing them about 6 mnths ago. He now wears them for c. 2 x 3ml easy runs each week, and now longer needs to wear orthotics cos his feet are so much stronger.
  • Matt and XFR,

    Nike Free is a new approach to Footwear design. They are designed as a training tool and the 5.0 means they are halfway between barefoot(0.0) and a traditional shoe(10.0). The reason why you and I were recommended to allow our feet to get used to them slowly is because traditional running shoes support our feet to such an extent that our feet have become lazy.

    Therefore there is still a need for traditional shoes, which is why Nike continue to have the Structure, Pegasus etc.

    However, Nike Free will I'm sure begin to change their shoes in the future. Their Structure and Shox FSM both utilise the Windlass Mechanism - both are looking to allow the foot to have more control over the shoe, which is more natural.

    The way it was explained to me is that controlling pronation is similar to stopping a car - if you want to slow a car down, you can do it 2 ways.

    1 - you can drive the car into a brick wall, which is similar to stopping any pronation by using a huge medial post - not very elegant or advanced;

    2 you can slow the car by applying the brakes and bringing it to a controlled stop, which is what Nike are looking to achieve through using features such as the Windlass Mechanism, Footbridge, de-coupled crash pad etc.

    It's all about the foot being in control of the shoe and not the shoe in control of the foot.

    I don't care what adidas claim, the foot and the body is always going to be far more intellegent than a shoe - I'd rather have my foot in control than some computer in a shoe.
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