Over the past several years the Nike Free 5.0 has consistently been one of the best selling athletic shoes in the United States. Go to any school and you’re likely to see many kids sporting the flexible and colorful 5.0s. When I was in Disney World earlier this year the Free was probably among the most common shoes that I saw on folks at the parks.
Where you are less likely to see the Free 5.0 is at a running race. The reason is that the immense popularity of the shoe is tied more to it’s use for casual wear rather than for running. In terms of typical usage, it’s more of a fashion shoe than a buy nike free shoes.
I’ve been running in various versions of the Nike Free since 2009, and they have consistently been among my favorites. With their moderately thin, super-flexible soles, and minimally structured uppers, the Frees are intended to provide a more minimal, barefoot-inspired ride. Nike described them as a training tool to be used on occasion to strengthen the feet and legs. I tend to use them more as a lightweight trainer for shorter to moderate distance runs. And for that purpose they have served me very well.
The 5.0 is the most amply cushioned member of the Free collection. I’ve run in a few previous versions (it used to be called the Free Run+), but the 2014 model was a no-go for me due to a constricting band at the base of the lace rows. It dug into my foot and caused pain, an experience others with high-volume feet have reported as well. When I first saw the pictures of the 2015 version of the Nike Free Run Sale it appeared that this band was gone, so I ordered a pair to give them a try. I’m glad I did as the problem has been fixed, and I’ve really enjoyed running in the shoes over the past several weeks.I’ll start by saying that the Free 5.0 is a ridiculously comfortable shoe, and I think this is part of what drives its popularity. Yes, they consistently look great. Yes, they come in a rainbow of colors. Yes, they have a swoosh on the side. But add in the fact that they feel like slippers on your feet and you have the makings of a bestselling shoe for the masses.
The 5.0 has a generous fit in the forefoot which is a major plus for the comfort factor. I think most people are used to wearing shoes that are a bit narrower – put on a shoe like the Free and you can feel the difference when your toes have a bit of room to move around. I almost always go up a half size in Nikes, and I did so in this shoe as well – the bit of extra space up front makes for an even roomier experience.
One of the things I’ve always loved about the Free shoes is that they lack a heel counter. In case you’re not familiar with the terminology, a heel counter is a firm, plastic insert located in the back of many shoes to give the heel region structure. In the Free 5.0 there is no counter at all, and this adds to the slipper-like experience. The lack of a heel counter is also one of the reasons why I often recommend the Free to people with insertional Achilles tendon issues that may be aggravated by a plastic counter in the heel.
The remainder of the upper is soft and flexible, and the interior is super comfortable and suitable for sockless wear. The laces are slightly offset to the side, and loop through flywire bands that help to lock the middle of the foot down. The mesh over the forefoot has a bit of give/stretch – very nice.
Overall, I’d go so far as to say that the Free 5.0 is the most comfortable shoe I have worn this year. I’m having a hard time keeping them off my feet!