Nike Free Barfoot Shoes Overview

Nike is the pioneer among the manufacturers of barefoot shoes!

With the Nike Free model range, the US sporting goods manufacturer developed the first barefoot shoes in 2004, which have established themselves sustainably and to this day successfully on the German and international running shoe market.

A success that is also reflected in the current range of Nike Free models. Nike offers a wide range of barefoot shoes for men and women as well as boys and girls. Nike Free barefoot shoes are even available for children and toddlers.

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The basic idea on which the Nike Free system was based is: as little as possible, as much as necessary. Until 2004, Nike was known for its Nike Air series of air-cushioned, motion-guiding running shoes, but the development of Nike Free marked a turning point in the company’s development philosophy. Because the first Nike Free barfoot shoes were a statement in favor of natural foot function that would go hand in hand with a changed, more natural running motion over time.

Maximum flexibility, minimum damping

Nike Free’s developers took the foot as a model when developing the barefoot shoes and tried to build a running shoe around it, which does not influence the function and mobility of the foot, especially in the toe area, or not at all. All Nike Free barefoot shoes are designed to provide a natural walking experience similar to barefoot walking.

A flexible, finely segmented sole replaces the rigid sole of classic running shoes. The toes can and should grasp the ground actively again and be able to push themselves instead of being guided passively. The supports widely used in classic running shoes to prevent the foot from buckling inwards when touching the ground (so-called pronation supports) are missing in the Nike Free. The Nike Free’s damping is reduced to the necessary minimum for hard surfaces such as asphalt and protection against injuries caused by small stones, shards or the like.

facilitate middle or forefoot

Last but not least, the developers in the Nike Free reduced the gradient between heel and forefoot, the so-called heel blast. In the Nike Free 3.0, for example, this gradient is just about six millimeters, while classic running shoes have a gradient of about 15 millimeters. The consequence: While classic running shoes promote heel contact (backfoot run), barefoot shoes such as the Nike Free facilitate contact in the middle or even front foot area. According to the current state of knowledge, sports scientists assume that the middle and forefoot run correspond significantly more to the natural running movement than the widespread backfoot run.

Be careful, however, if you want to change your running technique from one day to the next with barefoot shoes – whether from Nike or another manufacturer. Your body is used to running backfoot and a quick change increases the risk of running injuries.

It therefore makes sense to integrate a Nike Free barefoot shoe with patience and consideration into running training and everyday life. Different models offer the possibility to approach natural running step by step. You can activate and strengthen your muscles, tendons and joints and at the same time continuously approach your natural running movement. A barefoot shoe like the Nike Free allows you to do exactly that on the road when the meadow or sandy beach is not nearby.

Nike Free Models

Nike Free barefoot shoe models are mainly used for running. However, there are a number of models in the range that Nike’s running shoe developers have also thought up and designed for fitness training, yoga, dancing and everyday use.

For running with barefoot shoes, Nikeseit 2016 offers the model series Free RN Distance*, Free RN Flyknit* and Free RN Motionan – and has thus launched a new generation of Free models on the market. The predecessors Nike Free 3.0*, Nike Free 4.0* and Nike Free 5.0* laid the foundation for the Nike Free success story. These predecessors are now discontinued models in the Free range, but still serve their true purpose: to give feet a barefoot feel. All models – both the current and the predecessor models – are presented in more detail below.

By the way: the Nike Free model series, designed for running, includes models for men and women, but also for teenagers and children up to infancy.

Nike Free RN Distance: Barefoot feeling for longer running distances

Nike Free RN Distance* designed for running longer distances. It comes from the latest Free collection from 2016.

The RN Distance is more stable than other Nike Free models. The sole is still more flexible than many other running shoes. Nevertheless it offers more stability due to a reduced torsion, which pays off especially for untrained barefoot runners on longer distances.

The upper is still soft and flexible, but with a special lacing technology it offers more support than other Free models.

Well-trained runners can run longer distances with the Free RN Distance and at the same time benefit from a barefoot feeling.

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Christina Cherry
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