What can I say – I ran 50 miles in the Nike Free 4.0 V2 this week!
Never in my running career have I run 50 miles the first week I have had a new pair of running shoes. Never.
That says a lot right there about these running shoes.
Here is the link to the Nike Free Run site.
Disclaimer: I purchased these shoes at Dick’s Sporting Goods on 5/21/12 with my own money.
Construction / Fit
The Nike Free 4.0 just fit me right.
I am very happy with the quality construction and materials that were used. They are light and very flexible with no heel counter that is going to abuse my heel or ankle, the toe box does not squeeze my feet and my toes splay naturally as I run. They might not be wide enough for some people, but they are wide enough for me.
According to the Running Warehouse website: The Nike Free 4.0 weighs 7.6 oz for a size 9 (mine are size 8) and have a stack height of 22MM on the heel and 16 in the forefoot for a 6MM drop. I don’t really notice much of a difference between these and my 4MM drop shoes. I don’t think 2MM is a big deal.
After 50 miles there are no loose spots or tears in the material. I wasn’t sure if I would like the tongue – it is attached only on one side, but it is very comfortable and doesn’t move around while I am running and is easier to get in and out of sometimes than a no-tongue shoe.
How are they to run in?
They seem to have a softer ride than I have run-in lately, but there is plenty of ground feel, it sort of feels like running in comfortable slippers. Which is a feeling that I like.
The best part was that there were NO issues with my feet or ankles (no blisters or rub spots), the little aches and pains I had had in my legs seemed to go away or are becoming much less noticeable. I think running in the “right” shoe for me is allowing me to run more efficiently and letting some of the little “things” get better.
When I run in them I don’t slap the ground, I run quietly which is something that I have worked on, but comes to me naturally in the Free 4.0’s. I know that I still land on my heel too much when I first start out, but after the first half mile, I think that I tend to increase my cadence and start running with more of a forefoot or whole foot landing than I did in other shoes I have tried this spring.
Break-in Your Body
It seems with most new minimalist style shoes, there are the warnings to allow time to break in your body to the new style of running. Evidently I have already broken in my body with the shoes I have run in before the Free’s because:
The Nike Free’s didn’t need any break-in or transition period for the shoes or adapting my body to run in them!
My break-in period for these shoes was very aggressive. The first day I got them I ran 4.6 miles most of which was done on a rutted dirt road and then the second day, I ran my weekly half-marathon distance training run in 01:54:55. With the last 3.0 miles in a downpour, which slowed me down a LOT! However, the shoes were completely dry the next morning and ready to run in with no problems or changes to how they fit, after the soaking.
I also ran 2 more 10 mile runs later in the week and ended up running 50.88 miles my first week of running in them. That the Free’s did not require a break-in periods was huge to me
How are they wearing?
Look at the picture, very little wear after 50 miles.
No shoe is perfect and the Nike Free 4.0 is not either. However, the only real gripe that I have about the shoes are that they pick up rocks when I am running on the dirt road down-back. If you look at the two pictures above, it shows what I mean. It really isn’t a big deal, but if a larger rock gets stuck in the sole, it can be annoying to hear it go tap, tap, tap when you land on it and I have to stop for a couple of seconds to flick it out. This minor issue, which requires you to clean rocks out the grooves on the sole after a run (when needed), might bother other runners more than it does me.
The other thing that I found confusing is the naming structure of the Nike Free series. I would prefer that Nike go to something different to differentiate the different style Free shoes.
Something like “Introducing the new Nike Free Spirit our new 6MM drop running shoe that allows your true running spirit to show through. It is more memorable than trying to remember that the Nike Free 4.0 is the new 6MM drop running shoe from Nike Running.
Their current naming system of Nike Free 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 etc. (the lower the number means closer to barefoot or more minimal), doesn’t do a lot for me and make me excited about the name of the shoe and is confusing.
The reality is that
the Nike Free 4.0 v2 after only a week of running, have become my favorite running shoes.
I just run in them and forget that they are there, which is what running shoes are supposed to do – put them on and forget about them.
There was no transition period for me to go through, no blisters or rub areas, simply put – they are for me a comfortable running shoe that I can see me buying another pair of – if the first 50 miles are any sign of how well they are going to do for me.
The Nike Free 4.0 have had the best start of any shoe I have EVER owned. I haven’t had to modify them in any way, no surgery to make them fit my feet, no messing around with the lacing or other things to get my running shoes to me correctly.
I simply was able to lace them up, tie the knot and run in them. What else could I ask for in a running shoe.
Time to go for another run in my still new to me, but well used Nike Free 4.0 running shoes. I hope the next 300 to 500 miles are as great as the first 50 have been :-).