Friday, June 03, 2005

Running Barefoot ... With Shoes

Free 5.0: Otherwise known as yet another way Nike Inc. will get runners to part ways with their money. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has a story today on the $85 Free 5.0, a new running shoe that apparently "mimics running barefoot on grass - a concept that runs counter to the last three decades of shoe technology."

Huh: The designer of the shoe, Tobie Hatfield, cautions in the WSJ story that the shoe is a supplement to the rest of the Nike footwear line. "Our intent wasn't to replace any of those shoes," he says.

Here are takes on the Free 5.0 from bloggers Joe and Scott.

The shoes look intriguing, but I'm not sure if I buy Nike's philosophy that these shoes are akin to running barefoot - which strengthens foot muscles that normally wouldn't in more stable and padded running shoes - yet with the security of a protective and flexible foot cover. In any case, they look cool - urban and retro and sport-geeky.

Anyone try these kicks?


  1. Haven't tried them yet but already did my usual ranting post about the mindless stupidity of marketing idiots who show the "natural foot movement" of a bare foot landing with a strong heel strike. Noone at Nike has ever run barefoot before.

  2. I run barefoot, as you may know, and I can attest to how it strengthens my foot and ankle muscles to account for soft sand, shells, rocks, etc. along the way. In the off (cold) season, when I am shod, my feet get soft and tender. When it's warmer I go barefoot as often as I can to toughen up the skin on my soles. Absent the beach, if I had a grass trail or a path I could see what I was landing on, I'd run barefoot more often. The Nike Frees may give you more carefree opportunity to go 'barefoot' but I don't necessrily want to spend another $85.