Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Nike Free

I was pretty skeptical about the whole Nike Free thingy. I mean, we wear shoe to help us run better, to provide cushioning and to give all the support and stability one need to propel forward.

The Nike Free i know are Nike Free 3.0, Nike Free 5.0 and Nike Free 7.0. The number is not the version number, but it's used as an indication on how close the shoe mimic barefoot running. In another words, the lower the number, the closer you "free" yourself from running with a shoe. Literally speaking, a 7.0 is like wearing a shoe and a 3.0 is almost barefooted. The 5.0 is a balance between the 3.0 and 7.0 (duh).

Free 3.0

Then again, why BAREFOOT?

OK, given that most kenyans run barefooted and a few Malaysians i know does the same (Ngae is one of them, he has Ngae Free 0.5 - the 0.5 is the thickness of his own feet's sole). But, seriously....WHY?

Well, for a simple reason that Nike wants you to simulate barefooted run BUT with protection!

You see, when we wear a feature laden shoes which can almost promise to bring you to the moon (and back, depending if you are listening to Savage Garden while running), running barefooted actually strengthen the legs. When we wear a shoe, all parameters such as rolling, pronation, twisting and perhaps even tip-toeing (i know some that run on their toes) away from their running mechanics as the shoes offer all the support they need to prevent them from doing that.

So, Free are kind of anti-thesis. It's whole purpose is to make you utilise your feet instead of the shoe to run. You see, when we wear those feature laden shoes, the only part of our feet which works (abutting the shoes) is our ankle. The feet muscle is not working as it should, and as a result, we get weaker feet.

In fact, running in Free gets your feet stronger. However, one is advised to start slow. Like wearing the shoe at home the first 2 days to get a feel of what the shoe is about in terms of stability (and looking silly when the neighbour sees you walking about in your shoes at home, OR it could give them an impression you have some big ass gym inside your home!)

Free 5.0

Essentially, what the Free user might feel are:
1. This shoe feels great! I can wear this to sleep!
2. Shucks! My feet ache!

If you feel item 2 above, it simply says that your feet aren't conditioned as yet and they are getting used to running barefooted (or almost). One shouldn't give up...or attempt marathon mileage (or even 5km) on first usage attempt. Rahter, give time for the feet to get stronger, and it promises that you would swear by the shoes.

If you feel item 1 above, don't get cocky.

Basically, you slowly build the mileage up from week to week until you could run comfortably in those shoes. Infact, it's reccomended that you start with a 5.0 and either work your way up or down (depending on your preferences) in terms of cushioning and real feel. Infact, i was told that 3.0 is a favourite with those doing martial art. No longer they have to wear those *Butterfly* brand rubber sole ugly martial art shoes!

Free 7.0

Nike Free now has V2 and V3 out in the market already (as in Version 2/3) to address the durability issue of the first original version.

As for me, i've not had any chances to try it as yet. *hint hint @ Nike*

Anyone with experiences running with Free?

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