Even though the Nike Free Run+ 2′s have since been replaced with the Nike Free Run+ 3′s, and other minimalist shoes have been added to the Nike Free line, I feel like I owe these shoes something after all the running I’ve done in them. As a tribute, here is my shoe review.
Weight: 7.5 oz (women’s size 8)
Stack Height: 26 mm heel + 19 mm forefoot
Heel Toe Drop: 7 mm
My Shoes’ Stats
Lifetime: 9 months (& counting)
Mileage: 550-600 (& counting)
Uses: mostly running, casual wear, walks
Accomplishments: mile PR, 5k PR, 10k PR, 1st marathon, 1 cross country season
+ Has lasted quite a while
+ Works fine on trails and roads alike
+ Fairly good grip
+ Usable for many different activities
+ Good transition to minimalism
- Gets cold (in the winter)
- Rubbing led to callouses
- Maybe not a good idea to wear without socks
- Narrow toebox
> Transitioning to minimalism
> Practically all distances
These shoes carry practically every running memory from the past nine months that I have owed them and practically every running achievement from the past one year and four months that I have been running. I actually bought them the day I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon (which I ran the Free Run+ 2′s in, by the way). This is basically a transitional minimalist shoe from Nike. With a 7 mm drop and all that cushioning, it is not the most stripped down experience you can find, but it is a great first step into the barefoot world for those who have been running in more traditional shoes before. I can attest to that; in my first run with the Free Runs, I felt lighter, faster, and free-er. Compared to the marshmallow clouds I walked, ran, and lived in before, this was one big leap forward in a positive direction.
The outsole has done surprisingly well. Although this is a road shoe and looks practically flat on the bottom except for the grooves, it performed well off-road too. After breaking them in, I never found the grip lacking on dirt, grass, roots, or rocks. The grooves often had little rocks stuck in them, but they rarely bothered me on the run, and they could be easily removed with a stick or pencil. Also, the heel appears to have some extra rubber padding on it, which is great for when I’m walking or hiking. My one actual complaint with the bottom is that it seemed to loose flexibility as the months went on. Sure, the shoes still flex with my feet and give when I bend it, but it just feels a little thick / stiff.
The upper of the shoe has breathable mesh and a multi-layer construction, as Nike puts it. Personally, I don’t know if I love it. Sometimes, it felt restricted. Now, during the winter, it feels cold. Since I’ve bought it, it’s rubbed on two particular spots on my feet. One spot is right next to the base of my pinky toe (on both feet), and the other is about an inch below the base of my big toe (on my right foot). I don’t know if that’s specific to my shoes or not, but it only caused a few callouses, and the annoying-factor of the rubbing seemed to go away after a while. Also, for the heel area, I used to feel like it was too loose there, but with Lydiard’s lacing system and a lot of breaking in, I can now slip right in without even untying the laces.
It’s hard to review these shoes since they’re more like a pair of good friends than a pair of equipment. I mentioned a lot of negatives because, well, there were times when I was pretty angry at these inanimate objects. The bottoms would flare out, the laces would not be tight enough, the shoe boxes would be too narrow, etc. However, I will emphasize that the Nike Free Run+ 2′s are comfortable, durable, and reliable once at their peak, and for me personally, their peak was reached one/two hundred miles after they were bought. All in all, I feel like these shoes are a great long-term investment and a good pair of versatile shoes for different distances and surfaces. I will definitely be switching to something more minimalist after these retire, but for now, and for at least another three solid months, I am sticking to my Free Run’s.
Hope that this was helpful!
(Note: This post was originally on my previous blog, uptorun.blogspot.com)