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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!

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
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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