The Nike Free 3.0's were given to me from a co-worker. They were a sample pair that didn't fit him, so he passed them on to me knowing that while I run I also obsess about the shoes and other gear.
|Free shoes so I did not mind the color|
I started running in these as I was recovering from some ITB pain that travelled with me through most of the summer. I used them for some mid-length runs at first. While I enjoyed the feel of the shoe, there was something about the upper that always made me take some time away from them.
During my hot summer runs, I found that the neoprene-type upper worked like sweat bags on my feet. There was no way for the feet to cool down. This has been a significant complaint that I've seen everywhere the shoes are reviewed. My problem with hot feet is that the wet friction starts to tear my toes apart. I somehow seemed to forget the pain, because I eventually took the shoes for a nine mile run in the sun. When I got back, I found a puddle of blood and the start of what would become a black nail.
|The blood bath. Looked much worse when I first removed the shoe. Lost the toenail a few weeks later.|
Recently, I took them out of the closet again for a short, easy run. After a few months in shoes with larger toe boxes (Altra Intsinct 1.5's), I quickly remembered why the shoes had collected dust. I bled for the first time in months. The spots on top of my toes were raw again. I can appreciate the fact that shoes can only fit as well as the design of the feet within them, but I would guess that few find the swimsuit effect comfortable. This would be the last time I would run in the Free's.
|The split sole. Flexible and pillowy soft|
When I first came back to running seriously, I went through a bit of a shoe romance, collecting many models, trying different types and feels. Now I just want a shoe that fits and feels good every time I put them on. Bring on Altra.