Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nike Free Run + Review



Now that I have run a short run, a long run and spent a full day walking around in my Nike Free Run + running shoes I finally feel I have used the shoes enough to be qualified o write a review.





The Nike Free Run come in a few color combinations. I picked the neon yellowish-green.



The first thing you notice when you pick up the shoes is that they are extremely light. I didn't check the weight and measurements, but I am pretty sure they are even lighter than my Vibram FiveFingers, both the Bikila and the KSO. The Nike Free Run + are extremely light, and that is a major benefit to these shoes. Runners like their shoes to be as light as possible.

The unique sole of the Free Run shoes makes the shoe extremely flexible. As you can see in the pictures below, they have deep grooves throughout the sole and are therefore completely flexible, and therefore comfortable for your feet and the way you move and run. Your Free Run shoes will not inhibit your movement in any way.




Now it is time to put the shoes on and lace up. The shoes are light, comfortable and smooth feeling. The shoes slip right on and there is no tongue to speak of that needs adjustment for comfort, like many running shoes have. You actually hardly feel you are wearing them, they are so light.






The upper material breathes well and is not heavy on the foot. I ran a long run in the heat and was completely drenched, but my feet were dry and airy. My socks and shoes were not soaked from sweat.

Now for the running - these shoes are marketed as giving you the barefoot experience, providing barefoot flexibility and the like.

While the make of the shoe does give the foot flexibility, there is much more to barefoot running than flexibility. I found myself frequently striking on my heel. It is fairly uncomfortable to step flat on, and you feel like it is unstable - I assume the purpose of that is to edge you towards the front of the foot. That is very good, but it did not force anything. During the run, and even when I was walking in the shoes, I caught myself settling into a heel strike, just like when I was running shod before my barefoot days. I wouldn't say i was doing so 100% of the time, but often enough that I would not compare these to the Vibram's in regards to the barefoot experience.

By the late portion of the run, my ankles were already hurting, which doesn't happen in the Vibrams. I get sore after the run, but not ankle pain like this. Also, the day after the run I had sore muscles in places on my leg that I have not had since I started running barefoot - indicating to me again that this is not really the barefoot experience, but somewhere in between regular shoe and barefoot.

Now, I must point out that most people making the switch to the Nike Free Run are going to be doing so from regular running shoes, whereas I have already been running in Vibram FiveFingers for upwards of 10 months or so. Going from shoe to Free Run is not the same as going from Vibram to Free Run. It might be a good switch when going from shoe, but when going from Vibram you are basically going backwards in regards to developing the barefoot running experience.

Overall the Nike Free Run + is a pretty good shoe, and a nice transition when moving from shoe running toward barefoot running, but I think that calling it a barefoot experience is a bit of a stretch. Running in the Vibrams are a real barefoot experience, and this does not compare to that at all.

1 comment:

in the vanguard said...

What praytell is a barefoot experience??