Nike Free 5.0

8.9
8.9 score
[Editors rating (8.9)] = Runnerclick score (8.9)

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Editor rating: 8.9 / 10
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Nike Free 5.0 Facts

Nike says you are “Free to Choose” with the Nike Free 5.0. You are free to find the right Nike Free for all the ways you move. The 5.0 comes in both running style shoes as well as training style. The Nike Free running shoes are designed to fit and move with your feet for the most natural and flexible running experience. Whereas the Nike Free training shoes are built to deliver multi-directional agility for every way you train. Whether you are taking on the gym, the track, the pavement, or the court, you’ll find a Nike Free made for you. 

Also, if you’re looking to strut your stuff and show off some school pride, Nike has introduced the Nike Free Trainer 5.0 University Collection. Since March, fans have been able to get Nike Frees featuring the traditional colors of the following universities: North Carolina, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Kentucky, Texas, and Duke. Each shoe is outfitted with special details, including tongue logos and insole graphics!

Pros
  • Flexible hexagonal pods on the sole allow for multidirectional movement. 
  • Rubber outsole with traction pattern for durable grip on multiple surfaces. 
  • Low profile cushioning and a rounded heel encourage natural footstrike. 
  • If your favorite university had a basketball team be a part of March Madness this past year, then there is a shoe with a special color combination for you!
Cons
  • The hexagonal flex grooves may grab rocks while running. 
  • Because this a minimalistic shoe, don’t expect arch support if you need it. 
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The outsole of the Nike Free 5.0 comes from the revolutionary next generation Nike Free technology. This technology applies mathematics and mechanics to each step, allowing the shoe to flex as well as expand and contract while you run. In addition, the rubber outsole features a hexagonal pattern that helps absorb impacting shock. Because of the minimalistic style of the outsole, this shoe is really quiet. It makes very little noise when contacting the ground.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

I mentioned the revolutionary Nike Free technology on the outsole? Well, the midsole is also considered revolutionary. The low-profile, Phylite technology in the midsole expands multi-directionally for more dynamic movement. It provides a resilient ride and is so tough, it doubles as the outsole. This dramatically reduces the overall weight of this shoe. Moreover, the deep flex grooves along the length and width of the midsole promote flexibility as well stability.
Upper
Upper

Upper

Nike Free 5.0 retains the traditional style upper, consistent with this line of shoe. The asymmetrical lacing system is offset to the lateral side, which helps reduce pressure and improve comfort over the top ridge of your foot. The upper is put together with synthetic polyester and mesh. Synthetic textile fibers, such as Dacron, the trade name for polyester, are used for great strength and wrinkle resistance. While the seamless and stretchy mesh inner sleeve provides a supportive sock-like fit that moves with each step.
Weight
Weight

Weight

This year's Nike Free 5.0 has dropped even more weight from the last edition. This is thanks to less upper layers than traditional shoes, combined with the new midsole that doubles as an outsole, for a truly light feel. A men’s size 11.5 weighs 9oz; a size 9 weighs 8oz. Shipping weight is about 4 lbs. Despite being so lightweight, this shoe is really comfortable!
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The upper is engineered and packaged to move with your foot, promoting breathable support while running. Plus, the breathable mesh keeps your feet cool and allows for full range of motion while training and lifting.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

The Nike Free 5.0 boasts the most cushioned, natural ride. In fact, Nike says "Let your feet move the way they are meant to, while maintaining the cushioning and support of a more traditional running shoe.” This is the most cushioned Nike Free available. With less upper layers, you get a light, but still cushy feel. Soft fabric lining and full bootie construction work together to provide seamless comfort. Plus, the regular padded tongue is back. Nike brought it back because of complaints from runners of pressure across the top ridge of the foot.

According to reports, this shoe fits as expected in 80% of the time. For those that reported the fit wasn't quite right, the recommendation was to buy a full size larger. If you are unsure which size to select, your best bet may be to choose the larger size. You can always make adjustments for a better fit using socks and/or insoles.
Style
Style

Style

This shoe, is not only light, but good looking. It’s popularity among athletic footwear wearers is a mostly due to it’s usage as a fashionable and casual shoe. Sure, runners like this shoe, but folks are more likely to buy it for casual use. Nike Free 5.0, is like Baskin Robbins, it comes in 31 different flavors! Colors include the basics - black, dark grey, cool grey, and white, but also the interesting: Game Royal, Neo Turquoise, Metallic Silver, and an Orange/Pink combo. There has been a complaint that the Crimson Red is too orange. Also, a complaint that the platinum/white/black colorway is darker than what the picture shows.
Durability
Durability

Durability

Nike Frees have strategically placed BRS 1000 carbon rubber for enhanced durability. Carbon rubber is a synthetic rubber with carbon added, which results in an extremely durable outsole material. The solid rubber under the big toe provides even more traction and durability.
Protection
Protection

Protection

Protect yourself by knowing your body. If you are new to Nike Frees, you will likely experience some muscle soreness. Its just like when you begin exercises muscles you haven’t worked in awhile. This is normal and shouldn’t last long. Keep in mind, everyone’s body is different and will adjust at a different pace. You may benefit from alternating your Frees with your other running shoes for a few days, giving your body time to adjust.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The anatomically shaped heel rolls with the ground for more natural range of motion. This allows your body to respond at its best. In addition to the heel, Nike Frees possess hexagonal flex grooves that allow your foot to move naturally. It is similar to running in bare feet. Runners who love minimalistic shoes, generally hate shoes that try to control their movements. The grooves in the sole of the shoe allows the foot to contact, then move into pronation very smoothly, allowing you to feel in control.
Support
Support

Support

Although Nike Frees are lightweight and promote natural range of motion, they are also incredibly supportive. Frees feature modified inner sleeve construction made of sandwich mesh, providing a dynamic, sock-like fit that hugs the foot, while still allowing easy don and doff. The minimalistic, molded sockliner mimics the curvature of the foot to provide a great fit, enhance support, and add comfort.

Be mindful if you need support to counteract overpronation. This shoe has a forefoot that bends/caves, making it a great minimal shoe but not so great for correcting overpronation. If your heart is set on Nike Frees and you are an overpronator, don’t worry! You can get a firm insole that will help.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

When running in sand, this shoe does great. It is similar to running in bare feet which is important on sand. While the shoe is also designed for pavement, sidewalk, packed dirt and gravel, the honeycomb design of the sole may grab rocks. This can be a problem when coupled with the super thin outsole. These are also really great for wearing around the office and running on the treadmill.
Price
Price

Price

Because there are so many variations of the Nike Free 5.0 (runners, trainers, round toe, etc…), the price also varies. Basically though, this shoe relatively inexpensive. Especially compared to other shoes I have reviewed recently.
Stability
Stability

Stability

Internal support structure stabilizes your foot and helps keep your form strong.
Drop
Drop

Drop

With a differential of only 8mm, your foot is pretty close to the ground. The 5.0 has a bit more drop than the 3.0, but this is because of more cushioning under the heel and less under the forefoot.
Updates
Updates

Updates

 The Nike Free was first introduced in 2009. The 5.0 was was instantly popular and became the mainstay of the line. It remains the best selling of the Free shoes. 

A big change this year was the new hexagonal pattern on the sole. Nike chose to go with this rather than the squares that have customarily been apart of this line. This change helps promote the multi-directional movement mentioned earlier.  Unlike typical athletic sneakers, Nike Frees are specifically designed to allow your feet to move more naturally and freely. Because of this quality, your feet are required to use muscles differently than when in those traditional shoes. If you aren’t used to it, I recommend breaking in your Frees slowly, giving your feet time to adapt.

That being said, if you want the strengthening benefits of barefoot running and training but don’t want to give up the underfoot protection and multi-surface traction of traditional athletic shoes, then Nike Free 5.0s are for you!
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

•Hexagonal Flex Grooves Encourage a Natural Footstrike.

•Removable molded insole

•Nike Free flex grooves

•Cushlon Foam for a Plush Landing Surface

•Flywire Cables between mesh and foam add comfortable lockdown.

•Outsole Traction Support on multiple surfaces.

•Upper Mesh Internal Zonal Support
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Nike Free 5.0 offers the perfect combination of flexibility and support. These shoes will match your intensity through even the toughest workouts. They are also great for runners who are new to natural running. This is mostly due to the fact that this shoe has hexagonal flex grooves that offer six points of flexibility. These allow your foot to move more naturally in every direction. Plus, these shoes are really quite, meaning you can sneak up on those other runners to pass them before they even know what’s what!

Because you’ll be using some muscles in your feet more than you might be used to, don’t forget to transition into using your Nike Free footwear gradually. Also, don’t forget to keep your eye out for more college logos and colorways to be added to Nike Free Trainer 5.0 collection.