The Bottom Line
- Encourage a healthy running stride.
- Light weight and injury reducing.
- Make running fun.
- Take a while to get used to.
- Can make you sore as you develop new muscles.
- A running shoe designed to simulate barefoot running.
- Lightweight, lower than average cost and fun to run in.
- A running shoe that you'll need to build miles in gradually.
Guide Review - Nike Free Running Shoes Review
Note: Read Born to Run for more on barefoot running.
The basic idea is like this: your body is designed to run. Your foot is a great shock absorber. If you let your body run naturally, you'll avoid many of the common running injuries. Running shoes, when they have too much cushioning and structure, mask mistakes in your stride (leading to injuries) and keep you your feet from getting stronger. Run barefoot and you'll have strong, healthy feet and a healthy, natural stride.
I bought my first pair of Nike Frees right when they came out. I liked the idea of natural running (and they were cheaper than the average running shoe too). Since then, barefoot running has become something of a movement. There are marathon runners (noteably the Kenyan champions) who train or even run marathons barefoot. A book, Born to Run, cam out in 2009 about the history of running, ancient tribes and barefoot running as well as modern day ultra-marathoning.
Nike Frees are a great way to transition to barefoot running. As with anything new, start out slow and pay attention to your body. My calves were extremely sore after my first Nike Free run (demonstrating that I was using all the wrong muscles before).