Being both a scientist and a shoe geek, I love learning about the process that goes into the design of running shoes. I’ve been a fan of the Nike Free line since the original Free 3.0, and have run in many models since. With the exception of a few lemons (e.g., Free 3.0 v4), I’ve like almost all of them.
The original idea behind the Nike Free was to create a shoe that simulates running barefoot on grass, and though I’m not sure I’d say that they replicate that experience perfectly, they do have a very different feel than most shoes on the market (super flexible, silent underfoot). One might even argue that the Free was a minimalist shoe before the phrase “minimalist shoe” even existed, and the original Free is a shoe that will be remembered as a milestone in footwear innovation.