My New Nike Frees

I have said before that running is not a beauty contest. I think I have also posted along the way that somehow, despite the fact that I am not a ‘pink’ person (I trend toward purple, green, and earth tones) the bulk of my work-out gear and accessories seems to end up being pink. All my pink stuff is either what’s available, what’s in my size, or what was in the gift box. So when my husband saw my new hot pink and black Nike Frees and asked “what are those ugly shoes?” I responded that they are what will make me fast.

The time had come for a new pair of running shoes. I took both previous pairs of my Nike Zooms to my new favorite running store to see if the experts agreed it was time for a new pair. It was pretty unanimous that it is time to retire my daily shoes to be the alternates. The last time I had to go shoe shopping I was dead set on trying something new. And at the store I tried every new shoe I could. I tried on half a dozen different shoes in my size and ran around the parking lot trying to decide if they were a fit. Either the arch support was funky, the tongue felt weird, the ankles were too high, too low–all other shoes lead me back to the Nike Zooms.

So when I went into Charm City Run, my only expectation was to confirm that I needed new shoes, buy a size 10 and be on with my day. And I like that. There is some comfort in knowing that a size 10 Nike Zoom will always work for me; they’re old faithfuls.

A Good Running Store

I really want to talk about the new shoes but need to digress for a minute. When I walked in, one of the storeΒ  staff immediately recognized me. I don’t go in often and it had probably been a few weeks (a month or more maybe?) since my last visit–which was for cold weather running socks–but he smiled and acknowledged that I’d been in before. Nice. We did the unanimous head shaking that yes, I needed new shoes, and while I waited to see if they had my Zoom size I browsed. I was found investigating a pair of Nike Frees and after being told my Zoom size wasn’t in we started chatting about the Frees. Next thing I know I’m trying on a pair and in about 30 seconds, ‘sold!’ I’m not sure if it was the absolute, literal freedom I felt in the shoes, or if there is something about a good running store that compelled me to buy.

It’s pretty simple at Charm City. The staff are runners, they’re nice, they smile, they remember you, you can breathe when walking around the store, its not pretentious, you can easily browse and not buy, it’s good. And they happily ordered the Nike Zooms for me in my size.

Nike Free Freedom

It’s no accident these shoes are called ‘Free.’ I’m somewhat of a skeptic of barefoot running and it didn’t immediately occur to me that the intention of the Nike Free is to get the runner as close to barefoot running, without being barefoot, as possible. When I stepped into the shoe I first noticed how light it was and the next thing I noticed was that the tongue of the shoe is all part of the design. If there is one thing that can ruin a run it is when the tongue slips around, or worse, digs in because your shoes are tied too tight. The Nike Free design eliminates both of those problems. Brilliant!

The other immediate aspect to the Free that I liked was that despite being so, well, freeing, it still has a legitimate sole. I didn’t feel like I would be pounding the pavement with this shoe. And as one of the Charm City Run staff explained, even though there is cushioning throughout, the sole is designed to support a midsole-to-toe strike rather than a heel-toe strike. It’s the ideal shoe for hill training. I also think it will be the perfect shoe for speedwork and races. I do not see it being my every run shoe…but that’s ok because the Nike Zoom is.

Running for me is not a chore, it’s not something I have to check off my list; I enjoy it. But the night I came home with the Nike Frees I was downright giddy with excitement to go running the next day.

13 thoughts on “My New Nike Frees

  1. Natalie Post author

    Thanks John! Would they be in your size if you ordered a size bigger? I always get running shoes a size bigger to account for feet swelling, movement in the toe area, etc. You’d love these shoes!

  2. Alyssa

    Thanks for this post! I am also a HUGE fan of Charm City Run and had a similar experience – the day I bought my Kinvaras. πŸ™‚ I’ve been curious about the Nike Frees though, mostly because I have the Nike + thing and it’d be a little easier to go all Nike. We’ll see. Totally into minimalist running and I’m doing more research before I commit. Thanks for all the good info… πŸ™‚

  3. Kristel

    I really enjoy reading your posts! Glad to hear you’re enjoying your new Nike’s, I’m more of Asics fan myself, as Nike’s are too soft for me πŸ™‚

    1. Maria

      I sratted running sort of for the the same reason as you — my kid. There’s a history of heart disease in my family, and over about a decade, I let myself get fairly overweight and out of shape. Just after the kiddo turned a year old, I decided that I owed her — and my family and myself! — better than that… and I decided that I wanted to include her in the solution. Thinking that through, I decided that I’d try to haggle an old jogging stroller out of someone in the neighborhood and try running with her.I sratted in June of 2009 with a few loops around a local block-sized park early in the morning — running the short sides, walking the long sides — and then progressed to running the long sides and walking the short sides, followed by running the whole damn thing, followed by getting bored with that and venturing out into the neighborhood. Empowered with data (go, RunKeeper!), I saw a steady improvement in my running, and had fun seeing the kiddo enjoying being pushed around the sights of Capitol Hill by her huffing and puffing dad. That led to a few races here and there, then a 10K, a half-marathon this past March, and now a marathon at the end of this October.The kiddo’s grown quite a bit since then, so much so that she only gets out with me once or twice a month; running has definitely turned into something I also now appreciate doing on my own or with running partners as much as I do with her. But I’m 40 lbs lighter, in *much* better shape, and like you I think about running a lot of the time and recognize that it’s changed my outlook on the world.

  4. Gale

    I didn’t used to enjoy running because I suffer from runners hip and was discouraged from going passed 5km runs. A friend recently converted me to Nike Frees and I’m hooked! Not only has my running improved, my ailments are non-existent and so far I’m comfortable running 10 – 15km 3 times a week! Great pair of shoes….

  5. Natalie Post author

    @Alyssa, the Frees (and I think almost all new Nikes) have the capability to sync up with your Nike+ right there in the sole of the shoe. Pretty cool technology. If you go that route it’d be great to hear what you think. Happy running!

  6. Natalie Post author

    Ashley, I got mine from Charm City Run in Annapolis but I imagine most running stores either sell or could order them. You can also find them on Nike’s website and there are some links in the blog post to point you in the right direction. Did a 5k race in them today and had a great PR so I love them even more now!

  7. Natalie Post author

    Kayl, most likely your local running store will carry them or could order them for you. You should also be able to search for a store on Enjoy!

  8. Nike Free Run

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your
    blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


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