After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nike Free 4.0 v3 – 50 Mile Review

A Runnah’s Story blogs, primarily the old reviews, maybe a few of the better posts and race reports that I have written over the years. I have a feeling that at some point, my WordPress.com blogs are simply going to go away and I want to still be able to go back and read some of the stuff I wrote.

If you are reading this blog post, that is why it is has been re-posted here.

Originally posted on: December 19, 2013

Nike Free 4.0 v3

Well actually it is more like 75 mile review, but oh well, I wanted to do a few more miles in them before I wrote about the Nike Free 4.0v3 to be sure of how I was feeling about them.

Why, Harold you have run in the Free series before (3 times), so you knew pretty much what to expect when running in them - right?

Yeah, but…

The more I run in them, the more ambivalent I am about them. I like many things about them and then again, I am starting to “remember” why I did not keep running in the Nike Free’s.
Let’s back up for a minute.

I got the Nike Free 4.0 v3 more because I needed wanted a pair running shoe’s now and they had worked for me in the past. Not because I was all hot and bothered to go out and get another pair of Nike Free’s.

When I bought the Free's I was frustrated (let’s be honest – I was pissed and disappointed) about the update to my favorite running shoes not working for me and when I went out to get another pair of my old shoes, the last pair in the area had a defect that made it so I would not buy them.

The Nike Free 4.0 v3’s were the only running shoes that fit me well enough to buy immediately, that was in the local area. I didn’t want to drive down to Brunswick, Freeport or Portland to find a pair of new running shoes (looking back with that 20/20 hindsight – I should have).

This was not a rousing way to start your relationship with a pair of running shoes, getting them because they are the last shoe’s standing, instead of “I want that running shoe”. It usually means that I end up with a pair of shoes that see a lot more closet or locker time, than time on my feet.
So how have they worked out for me?

In a word


They are running shoes that I can run in, but not the shoes that I want to grab and go run in for most of my runs.

What in the hell are you talking about Harold?

The Good
  • The Nike Free 4.0 v3 is a fast feeling running shoe for me and I want to run faster than my training plan has me running for now. Which is a good thing.
  • They are comfortable (for the most part) and are a great looking running shoe – at least in my opinion.
  • I really like the uppers on the Free’s 4.0 and it works well in the winter to keep my feet warmer (probably too warm in the warmer weather though).
  • When I run on the treadmill, I like them a lot and they are very comfortable for running up to 7-8 miles.
  • They were in that $80-100 price point that I don't like to go above.

The Bad

It is definitely a rock collector; they live-up to the Nike Free (series) reputation for gaining weight during a run and having to empty the sole unit out after each run. This is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

Harold stop it – be honest. The way that the Nike Free sole units are designed the shoes collect small rocks and pebbles, which often ends up being a pain in the ass during a run. Especially when you have to stop and clear out a rock that is poking through to your foot or clicking on the tar with every step, then after the run having to clean out the sole unit of all the crap in there.

The Nike Free 4.0 is not quite wide enough in the toe box for me to run long distances comfortably in them.. After 7 or 8 miles, my right foot begins to get uncomfortable, the discomfort has not quite gotten to the level of pain, but at the same time, it diverts my attention from just running, to thinking about when is my foot going to start hurting. In other words, I am thinking more about how my foot is feeling or how I “know” it will feel if I keep going, instead of focusing on just running. I am not a good enough runner to do too many things at once and the level of distraction that I have after a while in these shoes, gets to be too much.

During our recent Deep Freeze on a 11+ mile run (yes my right foot bothered me the last few miles), the temps with a wind chill were below zero and by the time I got to the 6 mile point, the rest of the run felt like I was running on boards, not a fairly cushioned running shoe. However, I did learn (the hard way) that I still do heel strike more than I want to admit, because my heels hurt for 2 days after the run. Which is a good thing to know and will help me think about what shoes I will get in the future. 

Nike Free 4.0 v3 Sole View

The tread doesn’t work worth shit in the crappy outside winter weather running (which is the way it is until after sometime in April). If I run outside in snow/sleet/ice or slush in these shoes without something like YakTrax over them, I am going to be on my ass quickly. They are definitely more of an indoor or 3 season shoe for me.

Unfortunately, when I run longer distances in the Free’s, I do notice that my hips bother me a lot more than, when I run in my other shoes, even though the other shoes have over 400 miles on them. Historically, this has been an issue I have had with the Nike Free (series).

The reality is that
The Nike Free 4.0v3, is a good shoe, that works for a lot of runners and deserves more respect than I am giving it.

Nike Free 4.0 v3

However, while they sort of work for me and do okay up to around the 10K mark, they do not do what I really want from them, which is to be my primary running and training shoe.

I expect a lot from my primary running shoe: run my long runs, be able to handle tempo paces, recovery runs and even some easier trail/dirt road running. I know the prevailing theory is that you have a multiple running shoe rotation to change the muscle usage, but I still prefer to have a primary running shoe that I do 80-90% of my running in and then niche shoes for racing, trails or track workouts.

Unfortunately, when you buy a pair of running shoes more because you are frustrated and they are not really what you wanted or need for the conditions you will be running, it is hard to get all excited about running in those shoes.

They will become my gym/treadmill running shoes and when the weather warms up next spring, I will use them for faster paced workouts outside on the track and tempo road runs up to 6 miles or so, which is more what they are designed for and where they seem to start bothering my right foot too much.


Do I like the Nike Free 4.0v3 – yes, but no I do not love them. They are a running shoe that I will use as a niche shoe in my running shoe collection, but they are not the primary running shoe I want to run in for most of my runs.
Nike Free 4.0 v3

I guess the comment that says it best – I do not feel as though I want to run in them, but that I can run in them and there is a huge difference between the two for me.

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