Pink is for pansies and other blousy flowers and if that’s where it ended I’d be happy enough. The wholesale adoption of this colour by marketeers and product designers to represent all things womanly is a little repugnant in my view. I can turn a blind eye to pre-pubescent clothes and toys in pastel tones but that’s because I don’t have to buy them. When you start indiscriminately pink-washing all sports paraphernalia that has any link to womanliness, then I start to feel pretty knarked off.
A few days earlier I’d received a watch with the obligatory flash of pink and when I start to look critically, I find the house has been invaded by cutesy pinkness by way of bikes, socks, shoes, running bags and other sports gadgetry. I need to mount a defense.
This is really supposed to be a review of the Nike Frees but I’ve struggled to even put them on. They stayed in the bag for 3 days until I gradually exposed each member of the house to the horror and allowed them to guffaw while I wasn’t actually wearing them. I have fairly thin skin and can’t cope with that level of Micky taking.
I have quite a long history with Nike Free, ever since I embarked on my barefoot running spree. I started viewing them as an excellent transition shoe, taking me from mainstream cushioning and support through to the more primitive Vibram fivefinger style of minimalism.
So, it’s no surprise that I did eventually overcome the horror and try them out. I did wait til nightfall though and so far have only trialled them under cover of darkness and inside, on the treadmill. I don’t think they’ll ever make it out into daylight, certainly not on my feet anyway.
I can’t explain how disappointed that makes me. For all my resistance, the moment I put these on I remembered just how comfortable these shoes are. You want to wear them forever, like a plush pair of made to measure slippers. Regardless of how far you run in a pair of Nike Frees you never lose that delicious walking on clouds feeling. I need that feeling and while I’m still looking for a suitable trail shoe for next months Great North Trail Run, I’m wondering if these might be just the job, providing I can muck them up sufficiently to overcome the humiliation.
The Nike Free Run 3.0 is aimed at the minimal end of the market with support and cushioning stepping up as you move from 4.0 to 5.0.
They’ve changed slightly from the previous version and moved away from the sock style bootie to a shoe with a separate tongue. Not sure why they’ve done that but it hasn’t affected the comfort and they are still one of the few shoes you can wear without socks. Not that I feel the need to do that as it will only escalate the onset of unbearable stinkiness but it is a great test of a shoes comfort. These shoes seem to have no internal seams or stitching so there is nothing to rub or irritate. I tend to suffer with toe problems on long runs and this is why I often reach for the Nike Frees – the super stretchy toe box area is perfect for me and prevents the toenail pulling and bashing that I find with the more mainstream shoe.
I wonder if I could brave an outdoor run?
NB. If these prove to be a special breast cancer awareness edition of Nike Free then I will hang my head low and retract my words. Breast cancer awareness is another acceptable use for the dastardly colour.