Up and Running: Nike Free Review

I Just Did It

In April I did the unimaginable and joined a gym. No really, I did, with running machines and everything. There’s even a sweaty weights room where scantily clad men stare at themselves in mirrors. It’s a real gym, honest!

My reasons for joining the gym? I had a few, first of all, I hurt my knees two years ago and they’ve never really gotten any better. A patella injury it makes a heck of a lot of noise, creaks and groans like an old door. I swear I spent about a year in general horror that they might just fall off or snap. At the same time I had grumbly back pain which I’d gone to the doctor about, the physiotherapist about, the chiropractor about and the acupuncturist about. The result? No difference at all.

This April I decided enough was enough, I was going to get a trainer who specialised in treating injuries and I was going to train myself better. So I did, my knees now don’t hurt at all. I’m so much less stressed about them, the only time they hurt is if I don’t do enough exercise. My back has gotten a lot better, it turns out my core wasn’t worth a damn and was the cause of all my grief. So I’ve been working on that as well.

I lift a lot of free weights, developing my muscle tone to thrash off the fat and strengthen myself up, I also do a lot of cardio to increase my fitness. It’s been an education and although I’m not there yet I feel like I’m at least getting stronger, I don't want to be thin, I want to be strong.

Recently I got contacted by SportsShoes.com to ask if I’d like to try out a pair of their Nike Free running shoes. I hadn’t heard of Nike Free but I’m at the gym 4 times a week so I was convinced I’d be able to give them a proper test. I selected the super bright red with orange laces and am blown away by how gorgeous they look. I’ve never really worried about how I look in the gym, mainly because I usually am focused on just getting through my workout. Since I’ve been trying out the Nike Free, I’m going to confess I have worn my three quarter length running trousers instead of my long jogging bottoms just so I can show off my shoes, sad but true. I feel exceptionally fancy. For someone who hates being seen in trousers let me tell you prancing about the gym was not something I thought I'd be doing. Even my trainer noticed

What Do They Do?
Nike Free has a flexible midsole with a barefoot feel. They come in different levels with 5.0 being the most cushioned and 3.0 having the least cushioning to try and replicate a barefoot run. They have a sock-like inner sleeve and deep grooves in the sole to give natural foot movement.

The Results.

As I’m not a road runner (meep meep) my running is mainly done on a treadmill, or pounding away on the cross trainer. The main aspects I’ve been looking at are comfort, performance and style.
Comfort wise, I have a broad foot and I was worried these would be too narrow, but the sock like fit of the shoe means it is almost stretchy around your foot. This seems to enhance how your foot moves in them. I found that I was able to manipulate my foot without feeling the resistance that comes with normal trainers. The back of the shoe is soft, I wore them out with no socks and didn’t get any blisters which for me is an achievement.

Performance wise, I’ve found that my feet are enjoying the flexibility that the shoes are giving, it feels like my whole foot is moving as it would if I wasn’t wearing trainers. I’m used to air cushioning and really bulky soles so this is a whole new experience. I was initially worried about the impact without cushioning on my knees but I haven’t had any issues at all. It is something you should think about if you’re new to running like me, I went for the 5.0 with the highest cushioning, but be aware the cushioning is still very little, maybe newbies should stay away from the 3.0 until you’re more used to the sensation.

The dynamic sole provides a full flexibility of movement

Style, there are loads of different colour combinations. I went for a very loud red and bright orange and I adore them. I do think they’re really stylish, I’ve been prancing a little round the gym and I’m afraid my pair of white and pink trainers have had no action at all since I got these. I like the black bands on the lacing and the details in the mesh, and at the back of the shoe to aid movement.

I’d never heard of them before I reviewed them, I think it would be really vapid of me to say that I love the look of them, but I do. I think runners are going to like these, which is obviously helpful as they are running shoes after all, I don’t know if the average gym goer will have the same concerns about flexibility and movement but I’m enjoying them. Check them out if you see them, they’re very pretty!

Much Love

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