I Tried Nike's New Barefoot Running Shoe — Here's Why It's a Staple For My Training Routine
We all have our vices: designer bags, vintage cars, diamonds, and puppies. While I love Celine bags from the Phoebe Philo era, Mercedes-Benz, a pavé setting, and dobermans, my true vice is shoes. Specifically, running shoes.
I've been running since I was 7, and having a shoe that's both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing is a must. I've tried every brand of running shoe on the market, but I always end up with a new pair of Nike kicks at the end of the day. My all-time favorite running shoe is the Nike Pegasus — I trained in it all four years of college track and field. I'm an "If it's not broke, don't fix it" type of girl, but there's a new running shoe I've added to my arsenal of training gear: the Nike Free RN 5.0 ($100).
The Free RN 5.0 was designed for a barefoot feel that allows your foot to expand across all planes of motion when it strikes the ground, from heel to toe and across your arch. Simply put, instead of restricting your foot, the updated design allows your foot to move naturally in all directions every time it hits the ground.
I personally like a barefoot feel on the beach, but I was hesitant about how it would feel while running. Per Nike's recommendation, I started off by walking in the shoe and wearing them to do errands like grocery shopping. Nike recommends easing into using the shoe so that your feet can reset and and get acclimated to the barefoot feel.
After a week of wearing the shoe, I progressed to wearing it during low-mileage runs. Because it's such a low-profile shoe, I was worried I'd feel every rock underneath my foot running through the streets of New York City. To my surprise, I didn't experience this at all. I definitely felt like I had less material underneath my foot, but not in a bad way. I could really feel the ball of my foot hitting the ground and quickly firing back up. It was a nostalgic feeling that took me back to when I was first learning the proper way to strike the ground for speed and power as a sprinter.
My favorite part about the shoe is that it fits like a glove, which adds to the lightweight and barefoot feeling. I haven't had the opportunity to do speedwork in the Free just yet, but I have a feeling I'm going to like how light and explosive I feel in them.
According to Brett Holts, vice president of running footwear for Nike, there isn't a right or wrong way to wear the Free. "Regardless of who you are, what your preference is, or how you train, we've got you covered with benefits that are going to be relevant [to your training]," he told POPSUGAR. I'm incorporating the Free into my training routine on the days when I'm doing short and easy runs, and I plan on wearing it to do light speedwork at the track.
If you're looking for a shoe that feels like you're running on clouds, or something that's comfy to walk around in, I recommend giving the Nike Free RN 5.0 a shot. Check out the full collection on Nike.com.
Travel and expenses for the author were provided by Nike for the purpose of writing this story.