The Bottom Line
The Nike Free 5.0 is a comfortable shoe fits like a glove and had my feet saying, "Ahhhhh!" at first try. The extreme flexibility from the grooved sole allows your foot to move as it wishes, not how the shoe wishes. Yet the insole provides arch support and the shoe provides enough cushioning to make every walk or run a joy. The shoes come with a recommended training schedule to slowly build your time in them, as your feet and body adjust to the extreme freedom.
- Extreme flexibility mimics running barefoot
- Comfortable upper highly ventilated
- Retrains muscles and strengthens your feet
- Does not come in widths
- Designed to imitate running barefoot, with extreme flexibility in the sole and upper.
- Comes with a training program to build up time in the shoe as your foot adjusts.
- Supposedly trains intrinsic muscles, strengthening your foot and giving you more natural stability
- Good sole protection on pavement or small gravel surfaces.
- Meant for shorter runs of 3-6 miles.
- Slips on and off, no real need for lacing.
Guide Review - Nike Free 5.0 Running Shoe
Several of my walking buddies started showing up in Nike Free 5.0 shoes and I simply had to try them.
I have avoided Nike for years because their narrow toe box and lack of widths made them unwearable for me. But the Nike Free 5.0 fits like a glove. I can wear a thin sock with it or go barefoot in it.
The Nike Free 5.0 imitates being barefoot. The outsole is grooved so that each inch of the foot can flex as it naturally wishes to do. The result is a shoe that is a pleasure to wear, but one you are recommended to ease into wearing. It comes with a schedule to slowly build up your time in the shoe as your body gets used to the extreme flexibility. But being flexible doesn't mean being sloppy. Walkers more than runners need a flexible shoe to allow the foot to roll through a step. I didn't realize how limiting my other lightweight, flexible shoes were until I put on the Nike Free 5.0.
The upper is comfortable, suede-like, and designed to move with the foot. The shoe feels great without socks. Most important for me, it doesn't irritate my bunion.
My immediate reaction was wanting to racewalk in them. Although the heel is extended in the running version, you can get a great heel plant and roll-through for a fast walking stride. These shoes make my feet want to zoom.
These are my new favorite in my daily shoe wardrobe, great for walks and runs of 30-60 minutes to start, comfortable around the office, school, or home.