This is a follow-up post from the Barefoot Running article from May 2009. If you want to learn more about barefoot running movement and why it is gaining popularity/good for your feet, go back and read the previous article.

In the previous article, major shoe brands were not involved in the barefoot running culture. However, Nike has picked up the slack and introduced its "Free" brand to cater to those who are into barefoot running.

So far, Nike has introduced Free 3.0, Free 5.0 and Free 7.0 with the scale 0 = barefoot and 10 = fully padded. There is no way Nike will introduce a Free 0.0 as it means shoeless, which equals to zero profit for Nike.

There is an article from The Science of Sport regarding the direction that the running shoe industry is moving into.


There is also a review from Today's Complex on Nike Free 3.0 II running shoe. Quote:
If you are looking for a shoe that is so light you barely know it’s there, the Nike Free 3.0 II is the shoe for you.

Nike has developed a line of shoes that are aimed at long distance runners who are looking for a high performance, light-weight running apparatus.

The version number (i.e. 5.0, 3.0) designates how close you are to running barefoot. The Nike Free 5.0 is closer to a full shoe than the Nike 3.0. The version scale runs from 10.0 (full shoe) to 0 (no shoe). The lower the version number, the closer you are to running without a shoe at all. This particular shoe is the second incarnation of the ever popular Nike Free 3.0.

I have read several articles recently that support evidence that runners that run without a shoe are less prone to injury long term. The study purports that running with typical running shoes can cause more injury due to the fact that the heel is touching the ground before the ball of the foot, and this can cause a disruption to various leg muscles.

After watching this video I was sold on the actual design of the shoe. I can appreciate the fact that the designers at Nike really got the sole of the shoe right. The sole is divided so that the actual shoe can flex with the foot during running, and the entire upper is made of a super lightweight mesh.

When I first took the shoes out of the box, I was literally amazed at how light they are. I held them up beside my New Balance 992(s) and they feel like half the weight. I then compared them to a pair of flip flops and felt this was a more accurate weight comparison.

The shoes feel advanced; I feel high tech wearing them because I can tell that these shoes are much more evolved. The sole itself fits the bottom of my foot better, and is much more natural. The shoe feels weightless on my foot, and is more like an advanced foot coating than a typical shoe.

Bottom Line:

If you are looking for a shoe that compliments the barefoot running experience and enhances your natural ability to run further without injury, then I would advise that you pick up the Nike Free 3.0 II. It is incredibly lightweight, very stylish and allows the foot to breathe properly. I can really appreciate the attention to detail in this design and highly recommend it for running, or even just walking in general."


There is also another review from Urban Semiotic Nike Free 5.0 running shoe. Quote:
"I ordered a pair of Nike Free 5.0 shoes the other day and from the moment I put them on I realized

The whole idea behind the "Free 5.0" Nike's is that, even though you are wearing shoes, it feels like you are going barefoot. Nike pulls off that idea in a grand and incredible way.

Here's how: The 5.0 shoes come with two inserts: 5.0 and 4.5. You are supposed to use the 5.0 insert first because it has more padding for the balls and heels of your feet.

Then, when your feet are stronger, you put in the 4.5 soles that have no extra padding and then it really feels like you are walking barefoot.

I went right for the 4.5 innersoles because the 5.0 inserts felt like I was wearing regular shoes. I'm already big on barefoot so I felt my feet were strong enough for the 4.5s.

The 4.5s do make you feel as if you are walking barefoot.

how much better technology not only makes our minds, but our feet as well!
The Nike Free shoes are super lightweight.

There is no rigid heel cup to stabilize your ankle. In fact, the entire heel cup is feathery mesh that offers 100% no support and you wouldn't want it any other way. The key to the "barefoot" feel of the shoes is the special tread.

The tread has deep cuts in it and the sole is divided into lots of squares like a raw slab of tiny bathroom tiles without the grout, so any direction your foot wants to flex, the sole will bend to the will of your foot instead of your foot bending inside the rigid hull of the shoe. The feeling you have wearing these shoes is magical!

I was walking around Manhattan all day yesterday and I could feel the sidewalk beneath me as if I were walking barefoot. I could feel pebbles and stones and tar.

When I went up the stairs my toes could grab the edge of each step if I wished. I was stable. I was secure. I was, indeed, giddy!

The real magic seeps out when you're just walking around the house. Bye-bye flip-flops. Bye-bye filthy barefoot feel in a dirty apartment house garbage room. Hello Nike Free 5.0! Your feet don't sweat because the entire shoe is covered in ventilation. It doesn't feel like you are even wearing shoes. Nike Free 5.0 are made to be worn sockless.

I find that idea entirely gross because it is easier to wash your socks than to wash your shoes on a regular basis, so I always use socks. I think the fit and feel of the Nike Frees is better with socks.

Beware there are a lot of different "Free" styles out there from Nike. There are cross-training "Frees" that have an extra strap across the top of your foot. The women's version is frillier than the men's version I present here.

Remember, when you buy Nike shoes you go up a size from your regular shoe size. So if you normally take a size 10 shoe, the size 11 will fit you in the Nike realm. I like my Nike Free 5.0s so much I bought a second pair with mainly grey and a little bit of blue and I'll never go barefoot without shoes again!"


The Science of Sport (