Nike Frees. The favorite shoe of high-school kids, casual runners, and Instagram “fitness models”, you’re bound to see multiple pairs every day no matter where you go. They’re available in a plethora of colors and styles, and are released at such a blinding pace that they’re impossible to keep up with.
The Free line has always been held down by their three key models: the 5.0, the 4.0 (available with both regular and Flyknit uppers), and the Flyknit 3.0. The lower the number on the shoe, the flatter (8mm, 6mm and 4mm heel to forefoot drop respectively) and less supportive it gets, allowing for a more natural range of motion. All three models are loved, and sell well.
This year, Nike has decided to switch things up with the Free line however. Gone are the numbered models; they’ve simply been given names instead. The 5.0 is now simply the “Free Run”, the 4.0 is the “Free Run Flyknit”, and the 3.0 is the “Free Run Motion Flyknit”. There’s also a Free Run Distance, for the long-distance runner who wants a cushioned shoe, but with the standard low-drop Free ride.
This is a smart change by Nike, and breathes new air into the Free line. The process is simplified. Buyers now no longer have to wonder what the different numbers on the sole mean, which helps them avoid confusion. The new designs look sleek and supportive, and carry the Free aesthetic in a good direction. The new outsoles provide more cushioning, with two different densities of foam fused together with heat technology instead of glue, to provide the Free’s most comfortable ride ever. There’s also a new splaying midsole design, based on their studies of how the foot expands and contracts when it makes contact with the ground.
They’ve revamped the product, and given it a whole new life, and you’ve got to respect that. Frees always sell well. Nike could leave them largely unchanged, and they’d still fly off the shelves, but instead they’re innovating and pushing the envelope, and therefore the consumer wins. Well done, Nike, well done.
Do you own any Free Runs? If so, what models and what do you use them for? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, check our Facebook page for daily updates, and, as always, be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the fire sneaker pictures you can handle.