Nike introduced the Nike Free well before the Barefoot movement took off after the release of the Book Born To Run, that hit the best seller list in 2009.
In the book Born To Run, it talks about how alot of professional athletes and coaches are having their athletes train barefoot.
The Nike Free is a perfect shoe for a shoe company because it has some minimalist running shoe features but is still very mainstream.
Tradition running shoes allow you to run anyway you want without immediately feeling the effects, but running barefoot your body naturally improve your running gait and strengthens foot and legs muscles.
Nike says "The Nike Free is designed as your second best choice after running barefoot."
From Nike Site:
BAREFOOT-LIKE FIT WITH EXCELLENT SUPPORT
Taking a cue from the intricate workings of the bare foot, the Nike Free Run Running Shoe is designed to maximize the foot's natural range of motion while providing protection and cushioning for a smooth ride.
BENEFITSInner-sleeve for a snug fit and enhanced breathability Bonded synthetic overlays for super-strong, flexible support Fused Phylite midsole and outsole for an ultra-lightweight, resilient ride Deep flex grooves along the outsole for a natural range of motion and flexibility
Designed to keep the foot in place without restricting movement, the Nike Free Run+ 2 features bonded overlays for excellent support. Lightweight and flexible, these thin strips are attached to the mesh upper for a streamlined fit. The inner-sleeve provides a snug feel, yet it's dynamic enough to move with the natural motion of the foot.
Without sacrificing the feel of barefoot running, the Nike Free Run+ 2 delivers a plush, cushioned ride. Phylite material seamlessly fuses the midsole with the outsole, creating a one-piece design that's as resilient as it is durable. The molded sockiner mimics the curves of the foot for a comfortable, supportive fit.
FLEXIBILITYDeep flex grooves along the outsole allow the foot to move naturally in multiple directions. The heel features a "Center of Pressure" design that provides additional cushioning on contact, maximizing overall flexibility.
- Asymmetrical lacing system to help reduce pressure over the top ridge of the foot
- Waffle lugs at the outsole for impact absorption and traction
- Nike+ ready
Runnerword Says: The Free is not designed for everyday running; rather, it was built as a training tool to help strengthen your foot. That said, Nike made this version more stable by both removing some of the segmentation from the midsole and flaring it for a wider base of support. Thanks to the deep forefoot grooves, our lab tests found the shoe to be the most flexible in this guide. We recommend the Free for runners with normal to flat arches who want to strengthen their feet by doing strides on grass or by walking around the house in a superflexible shoe.
My Final Words:
To start off I would like to say that the Nike Free is a great shoe. If you are reading this to make up your mind between the Nike Free and the new Reebok Realflex I would say hands down buy the Nike Free. My reasoning behind that is that the Nike Free is closer to a barefoot style then the Reebok Realflex. Now if your reading this to compare the Nike Free to Vibram Five Fingers then I would say buy the Vibrams, but the Vibram Five Fingers are totally different from the Nike Free. The Vibram Five Fingers are a true Barefoot type shoe and the Nike Free does a good job at getting close. I own a pair of Nike Free's and I think you'd enjoy them aswell.