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The Origin of the Nike Free: Two Videos for Running Shoe Geeks

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.

I recently came across two videos on the origin of the Nike Free (via Running Warehouse and designboom) and wanted to share them here. Enjoy!

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.


  1. Love the Nike Free series & been a fan since the beginning, too. I am not keen on the v4 either, but have stuck with them anyway (329mi and counting). Would love to read a review (if they send you a pair) on the newer Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit — I mean, look at the forefoot! +_+
    link to

    On another note, your shoe reviews are the most comprehensive compared to others that just talk about the external/look of the shoe, rather than actual fit and performance. Keep it up!

  2. sorry Peter but i have to disagree. i was an initial big booster up through V3 but V4 was a disaster and not liking the V5, V6. i am into the Skechers GoBionic and GoMeb Speed.

  3. I really love all of the reviews you post on your blog as well as the other cool informational content like the videos you posted here.

    I’m also a big fan of the Nike Free series, and it was fun to learn more about the design and origin!

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