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September 25, 2004

Nike Free 5.0 - 'Like running barefoot'


So says the company about its newest shoe ($84.99). More:


Designed to fit like a glove and allow your foot to run in its natural state like it's barefoot, to reduce injuries.

Lightweight, with a lightweight liner for breathability.

Engineered to match the contours of the bare foot.

One-piece seamless upper offers superb fit.

Vents stretch where needed and provide support where needed most.

Dynamic heel pocket allows the heel a more natural environment.

Women's versions are above;



are down



September 25, 2004 at 09:01 AM | Permalink


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the nike free's are actually pretty nice. I do agree that they could fall apart quickly though. This review of the nike free shoe is very good.

They feel a lot like light slippers how they go on.. how long do they usually last for you guys? especially if you wear them around 6 mile runs daily?

Posted by: jeavis | Nov 17, 2009 1:38:12 AM

I cannot find the 5.0 Trainers on the Nike site and the 3.0 running shoes are on clearance. Are they discontinuing the Free shoes???

Posted by: Jeff | Oct 3, 2007 1:26:12 PM

Did Nike stop making these shoes? I can no longer find them anywhere except eBay. I love these shoes! I originally bought mine for running, but ended up wearing them everywhere. I hate wearing shoes, so these are great when I go places where I must wear shoes. I wore out mine after two years of use. I recently got a new pair from eBay. I'm disappointed that I can't find them in the stores anymore. I'm tempted to buy out all the pairs on eBay in my size because I don't want to ever go back to wearing regular shoes!

Posted by: Bonnie | Sep 19, 2007 1:21:41 PM

Hey guys, went to Nike website an designed my own Nike Free 5's... They are awesome they come with 2 sets of insoles the 5's for cushion an the 4.5 for the barefoot feel... I get more complements on this shoes than any I have ever owned... Disappointed though in NIke no putting any information in with shipment,,, how to wash??? etc?? they came in a really cool bag,, but no information... For those of you who are buying form somewhere other than Nike , there website recommends buying 1/2 size than what you normally buy in sneakers,, I did this an I love the fit!! This shoe rocks!!

Posted by: Jackie | May 6, 2007 3:00:40 PM

They fall apart very quickly. Walked in the 2.0 for two weeks and the heels tore out. I simply wore them with the torn out heels and people thought they were some new cool shoe until a month later when the soles split from the uppers. Very low quality!

Posted by: bill | Jan 29, 2007 7:04:00 PM


Most people require the extra cushion, especially in the heel, because they run improperly. If you catch any of several professional running trainings many advocate training barefoot regularly and significantly training in running flats as well (obviously one wouldnt start out doing mile after mile on untrained feet but would work up as the body allowed). The foot is a wonderful instrument and unfortunately most of us have been brainwashed the body is somehow no longer appropriate for running without massive padding and massive support all around the foot. This approach, over time, will create very poor muscle tone in the foot and lower leg possibly leading to injury (and it definitely doesnt help one figure out their form is bad!). If you run properly your foot strike (the whole foot) will be at the point your ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and head are all in alignment. Thus with proper forward body lean and proper foot strike your skeleton bears the majority of the burden, not your muscles. Each stride is like catching yourself falling. Any ground contact in front of this alignment represents a counter force to the direction one is trying to go, thus very counterproductive and hard on the body. if you can relax and lengthen the body, and keep a neutral pelvis as well as above, you may get a feeling of effortless running. and yes, in this form one can certainly run regularly in nike free's or running flats once you get your feet and lower legs in shape.

if you want a good idea of the delta in your running form and how it should be run some test laps on the local high school track barefoot. doubt anyone will be doing any heel striking there. and guess what, the body was made to be able to do that. that is why there are 26 bones in the foot, and heavily cushioned and overly supportive shoes are unnecessary and will most likely decondition the lower leg.


screwed up in the head gym runner

Posted by: tony | Jan 28, 2007 2:14:34 PM

Who could possibly expect a pair of running shoes to last more than 400 miles at best. That's 3-4 months tops if you're serious about your running people. These are not your pair of daily runners, these are shoes you use on a weekly maybe biweekly basis to slowly strenghten your feet to the point you prevent injuries. these are shoes you use for 30 minutes, 45 minutes at a time tops. and these are Nike's which is to say not your #1 option when it comes to running shoes. and if they are you are screwed up in the head or you're a gym runner. i have my other 3 pairs of running shoes for the serious stuff and i rotate them every day and get a new pair every 3-4 months. in any case, i got a pair for $50. they'll serve their purpose and if they don't, i'll take them back.

Posted by: GG | Jan 22, 2007 4:21:38 PM

which surface do you run in? are the Free good to run in cement, or should only be worn in more "delicate" surfaces? i ask because of their lack of cushioning.

Posted by: david | Dec 19, 2006 2:49:31 PM

I have worn my Frees for 6 months and have had no problems. I wore them barefoot for a while and had no problems with a "seam". I throw them in the washer, too. No problems whatsoever.

Posted by: penimks4 | Dec 7, 2006 2:57:24 PM

OK, I can answer my own question now. (Sorry I missed all the action earlier.)

Much because of all the praise the shoes got on this blog, and the deals I got at the outlet store, I bought the runner, the trainer, and the trail.

The $5.00 surf-shoes are better. Why?, they REALY do feel like you're barefoot. The Nike Frees have raised heels. Their website videos show their are intended for heel-strikers. Also they fit tight as a "running shoe" -so much for the freed toes concept. So they flex. So do my cheap surf-shoe. And I feel like I'm getting a better workout with the surfshoes because of the greater range from my heels to the ground.
The Frees have cushioning, but shoe-cushioning is what we bare-footers are trying to get away from -see www.barefootrunner.org.
I'm just irritated about all the "it feels like barefoot" hype; yeah if you're comparing them to Army boots!

Posted by: Jimmy | Nov 26, 2006 11:47:02 AM

I think these are the best running slippers - there's nothing like it! It's not for everyone but it's definitely for me. I'm 44 yrs old and since I started running in them I've run my fastest half mar(under 1:40) and my fastest 10k. My training times are constantly faster and I feel no pain.
Three years ago training for my first marathon I experimented with different shoes/insert/orthotics combo and I suffered from plantar faciitis - my problem was too much shoe. I believe most people's feet would probably do better running more naturally - less shoe/less control.

Posted by: Ernie | Nov 16, 2006 6:10:51 PM

How do these shoes compare to the $5.00 surf-shoes I'm running in now? I too have knee problems but found I can run again landing on the balls of my feet on level grass.

Posted by: Jimmy | Nov 13, 2006 8:17:38 PM

I just bought a pair at a Nike Outlet for $9.95. I went to the outlet specifically to try on a pair. I had recently tried and love wearing the barefoot gloves by Vibram. I wanted to stregthen the muscles in my feet to avoid the painful recurrence of plantar facitis. Someone suggested the Nike Free. He had gone to Peru and had used them everywhere because of their packability and comfort, including Machu Pichu.
Well my first impression was WOW, light and incredibly flexible, like the barefoot gloves.
I am a former runner, I loved to run, but had to stop 11 years ago do to knee pain. I could not even do a slow jog or a fast walk without pain coming.
Well, today I went to a baseball park to try them out. I knew that my stride had to be different, land on the toe, instead of heel to toe. They are great! I ran around the infield slow at first then I picked it up. I was amazed the first lap, no pain. I kept running for about a 1/4 mile. No Pain.
Hopefully, I can start running again. And for only 10 bucks.

Posted by: Tony | Oct 22, 2006 11:49:01 PM

I have been running for 28 years and the Nike Free are the first shoes that I run in that keepme injury free. I run in them 12-14 miles at a time. I put on my New Balance 957's and after 7 miles had calf and knee problems that set me back a few days. The Free's allow you to run naturally and not compress the feet with all this shock resistent nonsense. You have to be a non-heel strikerto get the full benefit of this shoe. I getting a pair for the trails!

Posted by: Michael | Oct 5, 2006 12:26:18 PM

Got a pair of the new Free cross trainers yesterday on sale for $65. The gray-white-green color scheme and the strap reminded me of my old late-'80s cross trainers.

I don't run but I walk a couple of miles a day. I miss the heel cushioning, and the openings rub slightly against the bottom of my ankles. So I'll wear them for style and general comfort purposes but switch to other shoes for serious walking.

Posted by: Al Christensen | Oct 2, 2006 1:07:07 PM

I suffer from Morton's Neuroma, an extremely painful pinching of the nerve in the metatarsal area of the foot. I am also training to run several distance runs, including two marathons. The Nike Frees are the only shoes I've found currently that allow me to run long distances without the excruciating pain making me pull up short. I care nought about haute couture and prefer something that suits my running.

I have two pair. The first has torn in the heel on both shoes, but I can still wear them running (I have about 150 miles on them). The second pair I've put about 20 miles on, and will be the pair I wear for the Marine Corps Marathon in four short weeks.

Posted by: Footsore | Oct 1, 2006 10:46:39 PM

I am a new runner and picked up these shoes basically because I want to run for as long as I can injury free so I figure anything to help strengthen my legs and feet is a good thing. I don't know that I will necessarily run in these shoes since I use a stability shoe.. but will break them in for the 1 or 2 weeks that Nike suggests and then maybe do a short *fun* run in them thereafter to see if they help.

One thing for sure.. they are COMFY and look great.

Posted by: FastandFunky | Sep 6, 2006 8:44:01 PM

Well people must say, I tried a pair of 5.0 a couple months ago and it was ecstasy on legs...for exactly one week. As someone mentioned you have to be XTREMLY careful when putting on or taking off this shoe at the heel. Slide it over your heel, dont pull.

That said, I have noticed that nike replaced the latex heel base with stitched fabric on the newer 5.0's and the Version 2. I hope that addresses the problem since these are VERY expensive where I live (Trinidad). All in all I got a refund off the torn pair but I would have gladly taken a replacement if they had my size. And i'm still looking to get a new pair($665 tt for the new 4.0's - thats about $100us...ouch!)

Posted by: BiggSpliff | Sep 3, 2006 4:39:01 PM

Having not had these running shoes very long I was very disapointed in how weak the material was over the toe. Last night on my usual 7.5k run a toddler suddenly ran away from his fathers side into my path. I had to scrub alot of speed off and take ivasive action so as not to collide with the little s*#t, in doing so my left shoe split 2" across the top of the toe. After the initial 2-3 weeks getting my muscles used to this new shoe I have only run a total of 20k at full on pace. We've all seen runners stumble and fall but we don't expect to have to buy a new pair of shoes if we do. Come on Nike, surely with your research budget you have a material that is far more robust that can be used which offers the same characteristics?

Posted by: Adi | Sep 1, 2006 9:25:54 AM

I recently bought a pair of the Nike Free 4.0 (the black and silver velcro ones) and I have done a few 3mile runs and a few sprint runs. Sometimes the insole shifts around when I sprint but that's really teh only bad thing I've noticed. When I go long distances I tend to try to land on the balls of my feet and then roll forward on my balls, never landing on the heal if possible. When I land on my balls of my feet my foot is almost flat but my heal doesnt touch the ground until most of my weight is caught already. Using this technique I haven't had much of a problem. My calfs are insanely sore the next day though but that should disappear shortly. I decided to get a half size larger than what I normally wear because when I tried the regular size on it seemed like I might put too much stress on the shoes. The ones I have now are working good though and they seem to be holding up just fine. I have had bursitis in my knee the past year and it still flares up when running in these shoes (which doesnt surprise me or anything). Well, it stopped raining, see you soon.

Posted by: Joe | Aug 24, 2006 6:31:07 PM

Due to chronic ankle and lower leg difficulties in my early fifties, I had just about given up on running altogether. Then a couple of years ago I ran across articles on the benefits of barefoot training, and gradually worked up to a maximum of 7 miles barefoot. When Nike came out with the Free in July 2004, I immediately bought the shoe. As I had been training barefoot already, I did not require any breaking in period. Ever since I have run in the Free shoes almost exclusively, having gone through several pair. I do have other running shoes that I wear from time to time to please my daughter, who worked at a running shoe store last summer and sold me the other shoes, and I do still run a little barefoot every week or two.

Last fall I ran the Chicago Marathon in the Free shoes with no foot, ankle or leg problems, and now I am training to run the New York Marathon in them. They don't make me faster -- I'm old and slow anyway at 55. But they do help me to keep moving. The fringe benefit is the barefoot gait reduces the shock passing up the body through the knees and hips. When I finished the Chicago Marathon my knees were just a little sore for a couple of weeks, but otherwise I have had no knee problems, unlike most of my friends my age who have great difficulty running due to knee pain.

I agree that the Free may not be for people who have structural problems in the feet, but for those of us who would just as soon run barefoot but for broken glass, sharp stones and an unwillingness to look too eccentric, the Free can be a good choice.

Posted by: Ken | Aug 9, 2006 7:12:07 PM

Just curious ? I am under the impression that the Nike Free was designed to satisfy the barefoot running enthusiast. Someone that believes that running barefoot is the way we were designed and ultimately is better for the foot if done correctly? If this is the case than why can't it been done as your primary training tool, and for long distances? The articles I have read say in order to be successful with this style you have to change the mechanics of how you run. You must run more upright and on the ball of your foot and not the heels. I have tried this and no longer have the pain in my knee that used to bother me with conventional strides. Anyone else ?

Posted by: kevin | Aug 4, 2006 7:55:35 PM

You folks would probably also be interested in new styles of running "off the heels" using a whole new range of shoes: http://www.posetech.com/runningshoes/archives.html

Posted by: Gordon | Jul 29, 2006 12:55:39 PM

I just bought a women's black and green pair from the Nike Factory Outlet Store for $50.00.

QUESTION: I noticed that inside of the box with the tissue paper was an insert for the shoe, the same length as the one already in the shoe, that has 4.5 printed on the heel. The one already inside of my shoe has 5.0 on the heel and has padding on the bottom for the heel and the ball of the foot - whereas the other one (4.5) does not. Are these meant to be used together, or separately? Please explain. Thanks.

Posted by: Glenda | Jul 20, 2006 2:07:51 AM

I am a radical Parkour devotee, you may call me a grand-master traceur. I am considered a radical, or rogue if you will, because I do not use shoes at all. I have callus that would need a hammer and chisel to remove, and this conditioning takes time and plenty of pain and fortitude. To evolve, or devolve into a shoe-free traceur the Nike Free is an obvious step, but quitting the shoe cold-turkey is the only way to Parkour naked. Foucan and Belle are poseurs, as a true traceur much reach nakedness in order to reach true freedom in movement, to be truly liquid. Again, the Nike Free is a conditioning tool for runners, gym rats, aerobic peoples, Billy Blanks cult members, and of course traceurs. It's free for all to use, but masters must embrace the nakedness.

Posted by: Laurent | Jul 15, 2006 2:46:17 PM

I love these shoes they are sooooooooooooooo comfy and i am gonna use it a lot!!!!

Posted by: Celine | Jul 7, 2006 9:56:22 PM

Serious question. I have a pair . The concept gels with my own personal experiences. In my two week old, only and last pair of New Balances I turned my ankle PAINFULLY for the first time during a sport. Let's clarify that - I generally turn my ankles but bounce back no prob so I really think the "thermal tested correctly fitted" shop assistant was more interested in their commish than my statement that I'm unco and wanted a lighter shoe. I know, my choice but I was offered no alternatives and needed shoes.

So back to my theory, I've always believed bare foot is better for activities but feet need protection from the elements not our bodies contortions. You go PARKOUR all you want, free the feet, freeeee the feet.

That said where do I specifically find info on caring for my new nike Frees, can I wash them as the designs seems to lend itself to that conclusion?


Posted by: Donna | Jun 30, 2006 2:43:32 AM

I just ran in them about 2 km and my running deproved. This was cause my ankles were aching more than usual, is this normal? Will I get back my normal running after a few runs? >.<

Posted by: maw | Jun 25, 2006 6:40:56 AM

First of all, there is a seam, which scrape against your feet unless you wear socks, so the whole you can wear them barefoot thing doesn't work out too well. Secondly, the pair I got (web order), on the left shoe, the strip of latex(?) at the bottom of the ankle didn't get put on right or something, so that it pushes into my foot and driving me crazy. Now I have to exchange this pair. What a pain.

Posted by: katy | Jun 23, 2006 4:59:31 PM

do they really fall apart that fast? because i was thinking of getting a pair of nike free 5.0 for running because i'm on my school track team but after reading these comments i not to sure?

they look really cool!!

Posted by: kat | Jun 3, 2006 3:03:07 PM

maby adrew should actualy go to the nike free website and actually read it paying close atention to the picture of people doing regular running along the ground

Posted by: jack | Jun 1, 2006 3:49:51 PM

Ok - so the verdict from those of you who supinate and have worn the Free for running. Good, bad, indifferent?

Posted by: kar | May 13, 2006 6:02:31 PM

OK let me clarify...the shoes were not intended SPECIFICALLY for parkour...even though the nike ad shows free runners wearing them. I also saw a commercial with a jeep driving up out of the ocean onto the beach. So by your logic, does that mean uh...NO, IT DOESN'T!!! STOP BEING A JACKASS

Posted by: jake | May 5, 2006 6:30:10 PM

Uh, actually I'm pretty sure Nike DID intend these to be used for Parkour, Hence the Nike ad with the guys from Urban Free Flow runnin round and climbin shit in them.

Posted by: Andrew | May 2, 2006 3:31:15 AM

Well i seriously doubt that Nike intended these shoes for parkour. However they would be great for it as long as you can live without the extra lateral stability. BUT if you are into jumping off buildings, walking on rails, bouncing off walls, & generally trying to get yourself arrested, then I would think an ankle injury is NOT on you list of things to worry about. But even if you don't run. they are great for just wearing. Like having slippers on everywhere you go, but without looking like a slob. You almost forget to take them off when you go to bed.

Posted by: jake | Apr 30, 2006 1:45:04 PM

I dont think u ppl realize these shoes are for FREE RUNNING... i bought a pair myself ... free running also known as PARKOUR...not just running.

Anyone who has a negative post about these shoes probably has never done parkour... the shoes are made for tricks, they are very safe to land and jump in. there is no other shoe available that comes close for the price.

Posted by: robert c | Apr 30, 2006 12:10:20 AM

Ok well I hope you guys can hear me way up there on your high horses. Here is my take on the shoes...THEY ARE SHOES!!! Shoes are a wear item just like socks and underwear and almost everything else you buy. As for the life expectancy, they are super lightweight, what do you expect? The ARE however VERY comfortable and if you don't mind the cost, they are worth every penny. 85-100 dollars shouldn't be any problem for a serious runner. Besides, they are not made for marathons anyway so don't compare them to high-end running equipment. But if you want the most comfortable shoes you've ever had and don't have a stick up your a** about the manufacturing environment at nike, then buy them. As for you tree huggers that CLAIM to boycott products based on wages that the makers pay, DONT buy them it's that simple. Should not be a problem since you obviously don't buy jeans, or shirts, or food, or cars, or computers or coffee, or pretty much anything else. SO in closing...THEY ARE SHOES!!! go buy some, or go pick flowers, but PLEASE stop force feeding your hypocrisy!

Posted by: jake | Apr 29, 2006 2:47:08 PM

hello my name is maegan and i am really bored right now becasue i am in computer lab at my school. and i was hoping that you could help me find a way top help me ot be bored any more! ok wel;

Posted by: LUCY LOO | Apr 4, 2006 12:12:45 PM

hi i just have a few questions about the shoe Barefoot. I was thinking about getting a pair of each of my track team members and i wanted to kow about the price average. If it is too much I dont want to buy them if they are too much, if you know what i mean. And do you take the pictures at a different angle because one of my friends had a pair, and they looked much different then your pictures on this site. And from the pictures they dont look as good as the pictures. I am just wondering. Not to be offensive to your product because i am a huge fan of what you are doing. Thank you so much for what you are doing for America and what you are doing for peoples feet by making them feel more comfortable. THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!!!!
and i would like it if you would write me back with the answer to all of my questions. THANKS AGAIN!
BUH BYE!!!!!!!!!!~ hugs and kisses

Posted by: maegan | Apr 4, 2006 12:10:02 PM

I'm a high school track athlete who is an under pronator. Are these shoes capable of correcting this problem?

Posted by: Chris | Mar 9, 2006 8:04:58 PM

I've had a pair for about a year. Well, actually, two pairs.

As noted above, the shoes feel great on your feet - like a pair of light slippers, or a nice pair of gloves. Running in them feels normal for the most part, except the shoes are exceptionally light. I did notice my ankles and feet felt more "worked out" after the first few runs - not hurting, more like I had a deep foot massage.

The heel cup on my first pair did fail earlier than I would consider acceptable. My shoe store replaced them at no cost and said I wasn't the first to experience the failure. They suggested being extra careful to avoid pulling at the heel cup too much when pulling the shoes on and off. The second pair has not had the problem and I've had them twice as long as the first.

Posted by: Alistair | Mar 7, 2006 11:40:35 AM

After holding the Nike free at footlocker this weekend I can see where there would be a concern for early wear and tear, because of the lack of side to side support and at the toe.

Bottom line...The shoes are probably ideal for runners but even better for non-runners like me seeking a really good looking shoe.

As far as life-expectancy...I don't know, don't own them...yet

Posted by: Peter | Feb 13, 2006 8:49:28 PM

i love-um, they're much more comfy than flip flops i picked them up at the nike outlet near my house for less than half of what they are going for on the internet. i think i'll go back and get me a back up pair.

Posted by: al | Jan 29, 2006 5:12:58 PM

I am planning on racing in my Frees. They offer a little more support than racing flats, and that helps because I train almost entirely on roads. Running 6+ miles in them really hasn't been a problem. The whole nike air and shox thing was the real gimmick, with the air bubble in the heel, where runners should not be striking. As far as quality goes, they are a little flimsey, but running shoes should be seen as a temporary thing anyway.

Posted by: adam | Oct 1, 2005 7:34:52 AM

How is the sizing on these shoes? I'd like to order them on line.

Posted by: denise | Sep 20, 2005 1:16:33 PM

I haven't tried these on, and I do not own a pair but I want to know more about the shoes and shoes like it. What other brands are like this shoe? I was thinking about buying a pair of these but after reading the wear and tear stories, I think I am now convinced to not buy these shoes.

Maybe the Puma store will have some nice shoes to compare to these?

Posted by: Ryan | Sep 11, 2005 5:25:38 PM

It sounds like these are not meant for racing? If they are so light and feel great, why not eventually race in them after an appropriate time ?

Posted by: John | Sep 6, 2005 3:01:46 PM

Dear bookofjoe, hope you will answer the following. Do you or any other people that write on this site and/or page, receive any money or any other form of retribution/compensation (even if only modest sums) directly or indirectly, for this Nike product content? No prejudgements, just would like to know honestly and without ambiguity if what we read here can be considered advertising and/or publicity. Thank-you.

Posted by: corrado giambalvo | Sep 5, 2005 9:53:18 AM

I just got mine in the mail a few days ago, if you design your own u get a nifty bag. The shoes are awesome, and i can't wait to go runnin'. I almost dont want to get them dirty.

Posted by: Shaun | Sep 3, 2005 2:32:51 PM

I just began using my Nike Free sneakers this week on the treadmill. My feet feel great. I am still hesitant about taking them out on the concrete, however, it does validate my feeling that to develope stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments the less support the better, but I must say it does bring up some fear.

Posted by: marcy | Aug 31, 2005 3:58:10 PM

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