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Nike Unveils the Free 5.0 v2, 4.0 v4, and 3.0 v6 for 2014

UPDATE 4/3/2014 – The 2014 Nike Free shoes are now available at Zappos and Nike.com. Outside of the US they can be purchased at Wiggle.co.uk. I have also posted a full review of the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit.

Nike has officially released the new 2014 Nike Free models: Free 5.0 v2, Free 4.0 v4, and Free 3.0 v6. In this post I’ll run down the major features of each of the new shoes.

Nike Free 5.0


The Free 5.0 has traditionally been the best selling of the Free shoes (all are very popular) and retains a traditional style upper.

Nike Free 5.0 v2

The big change comes to the sole where we see a new hexagonal siping pattern instead of the squares that have long characterized the Free line.

Nike Free 5.0 v2 sole

The 5.0 also has a more rounded heel which I think will be an improvement over the previous version ((I’m not a fan of flared heels). Per Jeff Dengate’s article, the Free 5.0 v2 weighs in at ~8oz and is 8mm drop (similar to previous versions). MSRP for the 5.0 is $100 – given my affinity for the Free shoes, I’ll likely pick up a pair of these for a review when they are available.

Nike Free 4.0 v4


I’ve never run in any of the iterations of the Free 4.0 shoes (Update: I have now posted a full review of the Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit). I tried on the v3 at a Nike store and the forefoot seemed to be a bit low in volume (top to bottom) for my foot. The 4.0 v4 moves from a traditional upper to a new Flyknit upper, but it retains a tongue and traditional lacing. I’ve not tried a Flyknit upper shoe yet, and this one looks intriguing.

Nike_Free_Flyknit_4.0

The 4.0 also sports the new hexagonal sole pattern and a more rounded heel:

Nike_Free_Flyknit_4.0_sole

Jeff Dengate indicated that this has been his favorite among the new Frees, and he reports that it weighs in at 7.7oz and has a 6mm drop. MSRP is $120 (Flyknit shoes are expensive).

Nike Free 3.0 v6


While I’m game to try the new 5.0 and 4.0, I’m afraid Nike may have ruined the 3.0 for me. This is sad as it has traditionally been my favorite in the Free line (here’s my review of the Free 3.0 v5). First off, they have replaced the traditional upper with a tongueless Flyknit upper.

Nike_Free_Flyknit_3.0

This is reminiscent of the Nike Free Flyknit that they released last year. I tried the Free Flyknit on at a Nike Outlet a few months ago (they were on a steep discount) and found them to be incredibly tight fitting, almost uncomfortably so. The reason being I think is that instead of a tongue and more traditional lacing, they rely on the tight fit of the Flyknit weave to hold the foot on top of the sole platform. It felt almost like a tight compression sock on top of a shoe sole. In his report on the Frees, Jeff Dengate reports that the new Free 3.0 v6 also has a rather tight fit, and this may kill the 3.0 for me.

The upper of the Free 3.0 v6 is disappointing since the 4mm drop sole looks great and has the most rounded heel of the 3 shoes in the collection (looks like Nike ID currently only allows mix/match between the new 4.0 and 5.0):

Nike_Free_Flyknit_3.0_sole

The other big issue with the 3.0 v6 is price – the v5 had an MSRP of $110, and v6 jumps to $140. That’s a pretty steep price for a shoe like this.

In addition to the images, Nike also released the following video to accompany the release – lots of nice slow-mo images of forefoot strikes:

The 2014 Nike Free shoes are now available at Zappos and Nike.com. Outside of the US they can be purchased at Wiggle.co.uk.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. I am very disappointed to see this! The Free 3.0v5 was my go to long run or easy run shoe. I guess I am going to have become a hoarder or try the 4.0. Did they say anything about drop on 4.0?

  2. StephenB says:

    I wish they would uncouple support level with heel drop. I believe there are runners who want more support for higher mileage runs without the large 8mm drop.

  3. Kevin Schell says:

    Moccasins for the modern runner. Otzi would probably love the new 3.0′s.

  4. Don Livingston says:

    Pete- I have a pair of flyknit Free’s that I bought last August for an exorbitant price. I sized up a 1/2 and they were so tight fitting for awhile I almost returned them. Glad I didn’t! I ran in these all thru the Fall and they loosen up and become very comfortable. I love the 5.0 sole as well. I use 3 shoes: these, skecher GR2, and NB 1400 v2. These are my favorites for training. i will say though that I am off the 150.00+ shoe horse so I will only buy them on discount now.

    • Cool, I wondered if they might break in a bit. The price tag is the bigger impediment to me, hard to justify $140 for a shoe like the Free 3.0 v5.

      • Don Livingston says:

        I would get a pair of flyknit Free’s at the going rate. I think you will like them in the long run. You can pick up a pair these days for $90.00.

        • i also bought some free flyknits at the outlet for like $69. they were really tight for me. i thought i would just wear them as casual shoes. they didnt stretch much like that. then i took them on a trip as an easily packable running shoe. i put about 15 miles on them in a couple days. they stretched out great and really were a fun shoe. super comfortable and i have bunions on both feet (the reason i looked into them in the first place hoping for the give of a knit upper). i will for sure run in these but they wont be my go to (lunar racer 3 or currently NB fresh foam). they have made their way into my 10 shoe rotation (give or take). i was hoping they would come out with a 3.0 sole but i will wait til they are on clearance.

  5. As some others in this comment section have noted, the price on the Free 3.0 v6 might be a bit much. I’ve never run in any version of the Free model myself, but I’m curious about them because of the great feedback I’ve read from other recreational runners. Unfortunately, at those prices (especially when I think about how much more expensive these will be in Canada), I’m willing to let my curiousity go unsatisfied.

  6. My first pair of running shoes purchased about two years ago was the Nike Free 3.0 V3. I didn’t know much about what I wanted or needed, except that I wanted a lower heel drop and a lightweight shoe. I tried them all and found the V3 to be near perfection. The wide toe box within the soft and stretchy upper was the difference maker, which separated the shoe from other “minimals”,leaving little or no sense that the foot was contained within a shoe. The only exception was that hot asphalt and sharp pebbles were never an issue. I walked, ran and raced in pure bliss for two pairs worth. I gave up on the Nike Free 3.0 after they changed the wide V3 toe box to a more conventional width on the V4. The announcement of the next generation, V5 gave some hope, but my wide and picky foot was again displeased with the confinement felt in the toe box. Pete’s comments would suggest more of the same in the V6. For the record, my current lightweight flats of choice are Saucony A-5 & A-6 and it does feel like I am wearing shoes, but very comfortable ones. However, the grip of the upper seems different from the post V3 adulterated Nike and it may only be the difference of the disappointment delivered by Nike.

  7. 3.0=forefoot/midfoot contact
    4.0=little heel contact
    5.0=more heel contact

    never been a fan…especially cause i don’t like nike

    bummer that as much influence that they have…they still don’t try to go further

    i don’t count the hyperfeel

    especially since they don’t seem to want to make anatomical toe boxes

    *small rant over*

    • also don’t like that toe spring

      waaay too much

      • Haven’t seen these shoes in person yet but that might not be toe spring you’re seeing on the 4.0 and 3.0—it looks like the stretchy material of the Flyknit upper “pulling” on the front of the sole.

        You can see this happen in a lot of shoes with thin soles, even ones with conventional synthetic mesh uppers. The original Merrell Trail Gloves also looked like they had an exaggerated toe spring, but it was really just the upper pulling on the front of the sole. Once your weight is on the sole, it flattens out.

  8. I run in the outgoing model of the Nike Free 5.0 Flyknit+. I needed to size up until I didn’t feel any compression fit when trying them on in the store. They are a bit long but it doesn’t bother me. I also have 3.0s and 4.0s but like the 5.0 sole the best. It doesn’t feel as soft as the other two. I have achilles problems so I can’t tolerate any compression against my achilles. I also got the injury you get from having your shoe laced up too tight (in my size 9 ones) so I keep the laces really loose now. Size 9.5 is my preferred size. The shops tried to encourage me to go smaller saying they are supposed to be snug. I found the original size 8.5s I brought to be too tight even to wear to the gym. I haven’t noticed any loosening up. Maybe I need to persist a bit more with my size 8.5 ones.

  9. Watch that video again, and listen to the designer in the first 30 seconds…

    Nike has just recently figured out how the body works when running? HA!…”the NEW technologies we’ve brought together are a ROUNDED HEEL…ANATOMICAL HEEL…”!!!!

    Has the podiatric world not known about this forever?

    Listen to the GaitGuys if you’re not as pissed as I am about Nike’s bullshit.

  10. Am I the only person who thinks that the new bottom could easily be a Vivobarefoot shoe? It has the Vivo V logo in the toe for god sakes. I mean come on Nike with all your resources and money you can not come up with your own ideas/designs . And priding them selves as the creative leaders of sports industry. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

  11. Hi! Where I can find the version number in the shoes. Not listed on the labels.
    Thanks

  12. Sophie Mag says:

    I purchased a pair of the nike 5.0 today and noticed the inner sole actually comes out? Why is this? And the tongue is weird will that eventually just bend back and look daft?

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