Nike Free 3.0 v5 Update

edited November 2013 in General
Thanks to Pete's review last summer, I purchased a pair of the Nike Free 3.0 v5's.  They were the most comfortable shoe I have worn out of the box in the last 10 years. The moment I put them on my feet, I knew Nike had a winner.  I purchased a second pair a week later.

I completed my first marathon in these shoes.  It was a trail marathon.  Well, 24 miles were on crushed limestone with a few rocky sections, and 2 miles were on asphalt when entering and exiting the trail.  It took a while to build the leg strength for these shoes, beyond a half marathon distance, but the calf soreness went away after a few weeks of running. 

A few positive things to note:
  • Wide toe box for splay;
  • Ample cushioning;
  • Good ground feel;
  • Breathable and flexible upper; and
  • Durable shoe.
A few negatives to note:
  • It can be a bit tricky to shoe on and off, particularly when wet;
  • The flex grooves pick up stones when trail running; and
  • It takes a few weeks/months to build-up the foot and leg strength for these shoes (even if you are a minimal runner)

My previous shoes was a New Balance MT1010, which seemed to lack cushion for the long runs.  I wish Nike made a trail version of this shoe with a bit more cushioning and a thin rock plate.


  • I agree - the 3.0 v5 is a great shoe, best since the v1 in my opinion. Though not part of the Free line, Nike recently released the Terra Kiger trail shoe and it has a similar type of upper. It's probably the closest thing to a Free Trail.

  • I've never run one step in a Free series shoe.  If the Flyknit didn't cost so much, I'd give those a try.
  • I was very skeptical of any Nike shoe, having given up on the company sometime in the early 1990's (too narrow, too overbuilt, too gimmicky, etc…).  It seemed like Nike was content with a lot of hype, and an average line of products.  A few years ago I tried on the Frees (v2 I believe), and was not impressed.  The shoe seemed too constricted and narrow.

    If it were not for Pete' review on Runblogger, I would not have given the v5 a try.  This is my favorite minimal shoe.  I previously tried Saucony (Kinvara and Peregrine - toe box too crowded/tight), New Balance (MR 10 and MT 1010 - great last and shape, too little cushioning), Brooks (Pure Grit - The DNA cushioning seems to give me shin splints), and Altra (although, the Altra's are not really "minimal").

    The Nike Free 3.0 v5 is my favorite shoe at the moment.  Period.

  • Pete,

    Thanks for the tip on the Nike terra Kiger.
  • No problem! The Free 3.0 v5 is a testament to what a good upper can do for a shoe. The v4 had the same sole, but was one of the worst shoes I'v ever run in because the upper was like a ziploc bag...

  • Minimalfred,
    I have to second everything you have written, it is my favorite shoe at this time, I have tried other shoes but the Free v5 just disappears on my feet and I can just run.  Love it!!

  • I still use the v4 as a casual shoe, but just too hot to run in. The v5 is on my wishlist.
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