With the newly-constructed uppers and modified arch, the Nike Free 3.0 V4 is Nike’s lowest to the ground barefoot-style running shoe. The Free 3.0 V4 features a seamless upper that provides lightweight support where you need it. Its molded sock-liner mimics the curvature of the foot thus providing a great fit and support. Trans-tarsal diagonal cuts through the arch and sipes along the length and width of the midsole enhances flexibility and stability.
Uppers are made of Nanoply, a seamless, ultra-thin stretchy mesh, that helps to support the foot in specific areas while allowing breathable stretch in other areas. It provides a sock-like fit that hugs the foot but still allows for easy on-and-off. The overlays are strategically placed for increased flexibility and comfort for use without socks – a seam-free piece for next-to-skin comfort. The asymmetrical lacing system is offset to help reduce pressure over the top of the foot for enhanced comfort. There are reflective elements for enhancing visibility in low-light conditions.
The Phylite midsole provides a resilient ride and is durable enough to double as an outsole, thus dramatically reducing the overall weight. Pods of solid carbon rubber is located along the heel and on the medial toe for additional durability and traction.
Sipes along the length and width of the midsole enhance flexibility and help maintain stability. Trans-tarsal diagonal cuts through the arch enhance natural motion flexibility and help increase foot strength.
So did the Nike Free 3.0 V4 perform to expectations? I reviewed the Nike Free Run +2 last year and the Free 3.0 V4 easily top that model with major differences: it’s closer to the ground, lighter, has less cushioning, wider toe box, and much better fit.
The Free 3.0 V4 weighs in at 7.8 ounces for a US Men’s Size 10.5 D width – only the customized version is available in 2E widths. The stack height is about 21mm and the differential is 4mm. But you won’t notice the drop. And the forefoot height is about 17mm – slight cushioning but great for the transitioning runner.
The Free Run +2 and latest Free Run +3 are technically Free 5.0 on the Nike Free barefoot scale so they’re closer to a traditional running shoe than the Free 3.0. There are still no announcements of a Free 2.0 or Free 1.0 model so the Free 3.0 V4 is the closest to barefoot you can get with a Nike Free.
I wished they offer 2E widths for the standard models as it will appeal to even more runners and especially minimalist runners! The customizable version (Nike ID) do have that option but you will have a pay a premium ($30 more) for that. But that also open up many different color options for the creative runner/designer. Here is what my customized USA edition (for London Olympics) Free 3.0 V4 2E would look like:
I highly recommend the Free 3.0 V4 over the Free Run +3 for those starting to transition to minimalist running shoes. Or those who are already in Free Run +2 or +3, move to the Free 3.0 V4. If you choose to stay with the Nike Free line, I’m pretty sure Nike will release a zero drop or closer to barefoot version (Free 1.0 or Free 2.0) in the not too distant future.
The new Nike Free 3.0 V4 is now available in various bright and loud colorways for both men and women. Nike Free fans will be pleased with the latest color schemes!
*Product provided by Nike (MSRP $100). CMP.LY/1 Review
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