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Nike Free Run+ & Free 7.0 V2: New Models Coming in 2010

The Running Warehouse Blog has released details about two new Nike Free models set to be released sometime around Summer 2010 (the post also discusses new models in the popular Lunar line as well as some others). As a big fan of the original Nike Free 3.0, I’m a bit disappointed with the direction the Free line is taking, so it will be interesting to see what people’s reactions are to the new models. Below are sample photos taken from the Running Warehouse Blog (great site for shoe info by the way – I highly recommend checking it out), along with some of my preliminary thoughts.

2010 Nike Free Run+
2010 Nike Free Run

My Take: First, I will say that I like the look of the Nike Free Run+ (I believe the picture above is the women’s version), and could easily see myself wearing it from a purely aesthetic standpoint.  However, I’m not so sure that I like what Nike has done with this shoe from a structural standpoint.  Apparently, and as reported on the Running Warehouse Blog, the appearance of the Free Run+ coincides with the discontinuation of the Free 5.0 and Free 3.0.  I really like the original (i.e., generation 1) Free 3.0 because it’s about as minimal as a running shoe can get without completely removing the sole.  Mine is extremely lightweight (~6.8 oz) and flexible, has very little structure in the upper (slipper-like), and the outsole/heel is not heavily built up.  I haven’t worn the 5.0, but my wife owns a pair and seems to like them for running.  What I see in the Free Run+ is a more dramatic buildup of the heel (i.e., a less minimal shoe than the 3.0), and probably a relatively large increase in weight (I’m only guessing at this since I haven’t seen a number reported).  The claim is that the Free Run+ will have greater flexibility due to deeper grooves (siping) in the outsole, but I find it hard to believe that a shoe can be more flexible that the original Free 3.0.  It will be interesting to see the reviews come in on this one, and I could be entirely wrong, but my suspicion is that this shoe is targeted at a more general running audience rather than those of us who specifically like the earlier Free models for their minimalism. (Update 4/19/10: Nike has just released the Free Run+ – check this post on the release of the Nike Free Run+ for more details.)

Update 10/27/2010: I have now posted my own Nike Free Run+ review. Check it out here:

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2010 Nike Free 7.0 V2
2010 Nike Free 7.0 V2

My Take: Another attractively designed shoe, the Free 7.0 V2 is set to replace the Free Everyday. In looking at the pictures above, it appears to have a less built-up heel than the Free Run (again, pure speculation at this point), which seems kind of strange (I’m wondering what number would be assigned to the Free Run?).  The upper is medially posted for greater support and stability, but the shoe has deeper outsole grooves and thus should be more flexible than the Free Everyday.  Using Nike’s 10 point scale with 0 being barefoot, the Free 7.0 seems accurately classified as a slightly minimal than your typical running shoe.

Summary: While both of these shoes are attractive, they seem to be moving away from the more minimalist style of some of the earlier Free models.  Given the growing popularity of minimalist shoes like the Vibram Fivefingers line, I find this somewhat surprising, though it may just be a case of the market changing faster than the shoe development process.  Should be interesting to see where things go from here.

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. HeatherGannoe says:

    Those don’t seem to have a minimal sole at all! Quick question..I know when one switches over to barefoot running or the Vibram’s it’s suggested to do so gradually. How about the Nike Free’s? I need a new pair of sneakers and I’m really tempted to buy some. Thanks for your input!

    • Pete Larson says:


      It’s probably not nearly the risk of injury you might find with the Vibrams
      from too much too soon since Free’s are well cushioned. However, I did 20
      miles in the Free 3.0 on my third run in them and that was way too much.
      I’d build more slowly than that, but I haven’t really had any issues other
      than that run. Most you might feel is some calf soreness.


    • I’ve used NF5 and have progressed to NF3 and V5F. I’ve gone from a plodding 12 km/hr at less than 8 km total distance, to 14 km/hr marathons (and much faster on shorter distances). I’d suggest that to progress to minimalist shoes without injury, you cut back your distance by at least 50% (per week and per run) and slow down the pace by about 15%. Work on proper form. After 2 – 3 weeks, take the speed back up – you should find that you can even run faster, 15+% faster than before. Then build up distance by about 10% (pw and pr). Be patient. You have to adjust your gait and strengthen muscles and ligaments.

      BUT – now that Nike has discontinued the NF3, my favorite shoe, have to look elsewhere for a mininalist shoe. I’ve ordered in 2 pairs of Newtons (different models) to see how these work ( Higher price (35 cups of Starbucks coffee instead of 20), but if the shoe delivers superior performance and reduces injury risk, then it is money well spent.

  2. rob horton says:


    i think i informed you that i was really enjoying the “nike free everydays 2”. i had two pair that i was splitting the mileage between. i finally retired one of the pairs a couple of days ago at 590 miles. it got sloppy in the heal. so i started looking at ordering another pair and noticed that it was going to be difficult to find them. just found out tonight that they are releasing the new model in april. i got lucky and found one pair in my size and got the order in. i am looking forward to the new ones in april and if i like them, i might have to stock up :)

    • Pete Larson says:


      Do you have a link to info on the new model? I’m curious about the future
      of the Free line of shoes.


      • rob horton says:

        my source was the same as yours, i.e., “running warehouse”. they had some video clips on their site about the upcoming models.

  3. Jon Cullen says:

    This is a huge disappointment for me. Nike had the right idea with the 3.0 and 5.0. The beginning of a great shoe was there. All they had to do was make it a flat and widen the toe box to fit a normal human foot.

    I live in my 5.0. Without the insole and sockless they are great. It seems the more I wear them out the better they get. If this is the direction they’re going then I’m looking at other minimalist brands.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Jon- I agree, I love the 3.0, and the apparent dropping of the model made my
      decision to join Brooks Running’s ID program much easier. I’m hoping that
      these reports are not true, as I think Nike had a good think going with the
      more minimalist Free shoes.


  4. I agree with you about the disappointing direction Nike is taking…I also LOVE the Free 3.0 for running, and wish Nike would be spending their engineering dollars designing a Free 1.5. Instead, they seem to be abandoning the runners who want a minimal, near-barefoot shoe and running style – and isn’t that the point of the Free shoe line anyway?

    I have tried to buy a last pair of the Free 3.0s, they are not to be found anywhere I have looked, and I ended up buying a pair of knock-offs from a site in China. They are not as well made as real Nike shoes, but they may end up being my shoe of choice since Nike won’t support it’s products.

    • Pete Larson says:


      I agree completely – very disappointed about the Free 3.0 disappearing, and
      also agree that a 1.5 would be perfect. Hopefully on of the other
      manufacturers will step up and design something similar or better. Have you
      checked EBay for the 3.0 – that’s where I bought mine.


  5. Just wanted to chime in that I”m also disappointed that Nike is moving away from the 3.0 line. I just started running in Free 3.0s a few months ago and I’m bummed out I may never be able to get another pair. Hopefully the Free Run+ or the 5.0 will be an acceptable replacement, but I was really loving the minimalism.

  6. I’ve only been a runner for 4 years. I’m 48 so I had a late start in this sport. I have only used Nike Free in my running. Prior to running I had done power walking and from time to time suffered from shin splints, I have had ANY shin splints with the Nike Free. My favorite model is Nike Free 5.0v2. I have under my bed 6 pairs of Nike Free 5.0, 5.0v2, 5.0 v3 and 5.0 ID(?) and plan to get the 5.0v4. I have tried, the Zoom, the Everyday and I’m sure there was another in there, but anything other than the 5.0 starts hurting my feet and shins. I want a super light shoe with great flexibility that fits like a glove. I would run barefoot, but I run on a paved riverfront trail that has a lot of foot and bike traffic and homeless people, so it seems a little gross to expose my tootsies to whatever may be on my path. I wish Nike would continue with the Nike Free or bring back the 5.0v2.

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