Shoe: Nike Free 3.0
The Nike 3.0v2 is an attempt at a more barefoot running experience. I think that they do a great job promoting forefoot landing. The shoe and it definitely is one of those “gateway” shoes get you thinking barefoot or at the very least a minimalist shoe. Any runner who thinks, after reading “Born To Run”, that they can just go out and crank out a few miles barefoot, don’t. The Nike Free 3.0v2 would be the shoe that can help you transition from a traditional trainer to a more minimalist shoe. Please do not go out and buy Vibram KSO’s and attack the trails (confession?). I did, and my calves hated me for a while, we had a rough break-up and we are barely now reconciling our differences. On to the review.
The free was the first minimalist shoe I could wear in public. I read a lot of articles regarding different shoes and the after my Vibram KSO debacle I discovered two things: (1) I am not a Tarahumara (shocking) (2) I need to transition intelligently to forefoot and minimalist shoes. The shoe itself is a soft mesh top and very flexible sole. The sole at first glance looks too spongy but it does hold up. It is a series of squares. The toe box is a little wide for me because I have narrow feet.
Weight: 7.1 oz
The shoe itself is a wonderful tool to transition to a more mid-foot to forefoot strike. However, in my longer runs in this shoe ~10 mi I found that the mesh seemed loose (no idea why just felt that way). Also, running on roads, gravel will get between the square sole pattern and you’ll feel it. When that occurs you will hear a “click” sound with one shoe and not the other; that kind of bugs me. Another con is that the shoe did not perform as well running on wet pavement. This maybe user error, over striding, but I figure a good fyi is in order. On wet pavement it would slide a smidge, not a lot, but if I was faster it could be bad.
The shoe is well made, and it looks good. I know that big companies like Nike have a bad reputation, but their shoes look good, let’s not lie people. The sole is flexible, it’s pretty intense. Having the toe touch the heel is quite easy to do. The shoe is also responsive and will strengthen your feet. Now would I suggest this as your all time running shoe? Sure, if you are ok with your feet hurting while you adjust. But be careful. I changed the laces for lock laces, yankz work well too. I really like how light it feels when I am wearing it. It is light and responsive but I still feel I am not foregoing the entire cushion from a traditional shoe. I like it and will continue to run in the shoe and in all likely hood buy the same version as long as they make it. It’s a great transitional shoe that can take a lot of miles, it breaths well. I really like it for shorter runs where I am really focusing on feeling how my foot hits the ground.