As I mentioned before, I hate wearing shoes!
In the past I have dealt with a whole lot of pain when it came to my running shoes; plantar fasciitis being one of the worse and I had to deal with that for about 9 months.
I am going to be honest here and admit that I have never been a fan of Nike shoes in the past. They really never fit my foot quite right so I have always avoided them.
I tried the Nike Frees 3.0 v4 because of two things that I noticed when I looked at them in my local running store:
- They are incredibly light! 5.5 ounce each. I honestly have never had a pair of athletic shoes weigh so little.
- They are so flexible! I can literally roll them up.
I think those 2 factors were so important to me because I need my feet to be able to move. I loved that when I wiggled or lifted my toes while wearing these that the shoe moved with my feet.
For the first time I didn’t feel as though my shoes were forcing my feet to lay a certain way that felt very unnatural.
One of the things that I was hesitant about was that the tongue is attached. The top of the shoe is one seamless piece that is supposed to fit like a sock. After my first run in these and every run since I have really come to appreciate this feature. In the past, I have had issues with lacing my left foot too tightly which resulted in pain and bruising on my instep or lacing my right foot too loosely which resulted in blisters on that foot. This is just due to the way my feet are shaped and I have had many instances where I have had to stop to adjust my lacing in the middle of a run. I have never had to address this issue with the Nike Free. They really do fit like a sock and while I do tie the laces, it is more of an aesthetic thing since I don’t think I even need the laces on this shoe. I do think that is is a good idea for someone who may need to adjust the fit to make the shoe a bit more snug on their foot.
The flexibility of the shoe mostly comes from the sole. I am not sure of the technical terms, but the grooves (almost like slices that run both the length and width) allow this shoe to flex like you’re almost wearing nothing at all!
Despite the fact that this is such a light and flexible shoe with just a 4mm heel to toe drop, thus making it a minimalist ride, there is definitely no lack of cushion. I went into these straight from wearing very supportive and highly cushioned shoes and I needed absolutely no transition period. While I do have to say that if someone else were trying this out, please take your time and listen to your body. If you feel you may need to work up to running long in the Nike Free then do so. I believe that since I do not wear shoes on a regular basis my feet may be somewhat more inclined to less support than most people.
I have since put about 150 miles on my Nike Free 3.0 v4 and while that isn’t a lot of mileage, these still feel like they did the first day. As a heavy runner, I could always feel my “traditional” running shoes losing some of it’s support and breaking down around this mileage.
Even though they don’t show any indication of wearing out, I am actually going to buy a second pair as I have my first 1/2 marathon coming up and these shoes are so comfortable that I can’t imagine going a long (for me) distance and anything else at this point in time. It can never hurt to have a spare pair of comfy shoes laying around.
I should note that I run on different surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, dirt and gravel. They feel great on every surface, however, when I am in gravel I notice that little pebbles do get caught in the sole. It honestly hasn’t affected the feel of the run, I still feel all the flexibility and cushion just the same. When I get home though I do have to open up the grooves and let the pebbles fall out. It is not a big deal for me personally as it does not hinder my run.
All in all, I really love the Nike Free 3.0 v4. I would definitely buy these again. I would love to see Nike make these with a 0mm drop.
I have not been compensated in anyway for this review. I am simply someone who has been dealing with pain while running and wanted to try something new so I bought these.
If you have any questions about my experience running in this shoe or if there is something I can clarify, don’t hesitate to ask.
I have put about 200 miles on these shoes and wanted to show the wear and tear a bit. I am hard on my shoes as I am a heavy runner and I DO NOT bother with cleaning or washing them since I spend a fair portion on my runs in the dirt and don’t see the point of having pretty, sparkly shoes. So, forgive the grimy shoes in the pics if you must. I am still a huge fan of the Nike Free 3.0 v4 and went ahead and got another pair. So I am posting some comparison pics for you to see. That being said, I am disappointed that the fabric portion of the upper only lasted me 200 miles. Is it a lot to ask that an upper last me longer than that? I am accustomed to the mid sole breaking down on me, but not the upper.
The bed/sole of my shoe is still holding up in terms of comfort. Since that’s obviously the important part, I am still a fan.
Again, I would buy this shoe again; already thinking about my 3rd pair. Unfortunately, my local running store only seems to have this color in my size! I get such a steal on my shoes there that I won’t bother to go elsewhere for another color.
I also bought a pair of Nike Free 5.0 for my Dad and he really loves them!