A few weeks ago I briefly talked about the upcoming running shoes from Nike in Sneak Peek: Nike Free 2012 Collection. After a couple of weeks of running in a sample pair of the Nike Free 4.0 v2, I published its review on iRunnerBlog. In that article you will find mentioning of some new features on this shoe, as well as my general experience after logging 70 miles of various running workouts in it.
Before I get into more technical stuff, let me give you some interesting background info on this shoe. Based on the spec sheet I have received along with the sample pair of the Nike Free 4.0 v2. I first learned about the Free 4.0 from Pete Larson on Runblogger.com and The Finish Line - both sites indicate that the 2012 Nike Free 4.0 is the second version of this model.
After some research I found out that the original Nike Free 4.0 (V1), was released in 2006. Some of you may recall this shoe’s upper construction as huge velcro strap across the lace-less sleeve which is more or less a padded sock. If I remember correctly, there had been some complaints about this upper construction because of its stability and durability issues. To me, the Nike Free 4.0 V1 seemed more like a wellness shoe (for casual wearing) than a day-to-day running trainer. Unlike its predecessor, the new Free 4.0 features a sturdy upper that offers a sock-like fit and holds its shape at the same time.
The midsole of the Free 4.0 does indeed offer a 6 mm heel-to-toe drop, as previously speculated. My own measurements revealed that the thickness of the sole is 22 mm in the forefoot and 28 mm in the heel. What this means that the rumor of Nike’s imminent release of 3 shoes of various heel-to-toe drops (4mm, 6mm, and 8mm) is quite probable – because the 4.0 is in the middle shoe in terms of the stack height (between the Nike Free Run +3 and the Nike Free 3.0 V4). The idea is that people should be able to use this collection to gradually transition into more minimalist shoes.
Another thing about the midsole I’d like to point out is that it’s significantly thicker, bouncier, and plushier than that of the its popular competitor – the Saucony Kinvara 2. Although the difference of a 4mm and a 6mm heel-drop is minuscule and personally unnoticeable, the thinner sole of the Kinvara 2 (19mm forefoot, 23mm heel) exhibits a much better ground feel. However, this is strictly preference as I enjoy running in lower shoes more.
As I concluded in my other review, the 2012 Nike Free 4.0 is an excellent light-weight, flexible, and cushioned shoe. With its modified upper and 6mm heel-drop, this shoe has made me quite curious about the other 2 shoes in the 2012 Nike Free collection – especially the Free 3.0 V4. If the Free 3.0 V4 has a 4mm heel-drop and a low profile in the midsole, it just may be able to pose some serious threat to the Saucony Kinvara. We’ll just have to wait and see what the new Kinvara 3 will offer in 2012.
For more info on the 2012 Nike Free 4.0, don’t forget to check out my other review on iRunnerBlog.
What do you think of my review? What’s your experience with the Nike Free collection? What other shoes are you looking forward to trying this summer? Please feel free to share in the comment section below.