My Running Shoe Evolution (review)

Pre warning to all Sneaker Heads… All these shoes are in use, so they aren’t in perfect condition ;).

From Left to Right: Nike Free Flyknit 4.0, Nike Free Hyperfeel, Nike Zoom Terra Kiger, Nike Zoom Wildhorse x2, Nike Flyknit One & Nike Free 5.0

From Left to Right: Nike Free Flyknit 4.0, Nike Free Hyperfeel, Nike Zoom Terra Kiger, Nike Zoom Wildhorse x2, Nike Flyknit One & Nike Free 5.0

I have been running now for little over a year but all these shoes have been my companions through that time. I wanted to do a post of these friends of mine and how I found the ones that work with my feet best. So this is a kind of review too.

NIKE FREE 5.0

The super  bright orange pinkish shoes! Before I started running these were more of a everyday shoes, but I have to say that I was really happy to have them when I started. They were my best friends for more than half a year of my running journey. I ran my first ever 10K in these!

I really like that they gave me a bit of support but basically let my feet and legs do the work. Back when these started to feel like they have given everything, I started looking for the next to wear. At the time I really didn’t like the feel of Frees, the upper felt somehow loose comparing to these. But I have to admit that I also thought that I need more support, that’s pretty much how you are instructed and I believed it, so I started lusting over the new Flyknit Ones.

NIKE FLYKNIT ONE

So, my parents sponsored these new sneakers for me. I was waiting them like the new moon. I ran my first long runs in them, those runs that you remember forever, also my first half marathon(part of my personal project, not a “official” race but more than important to me).

I always felt that they are little loose, and maybe too soft for me, but I think I just wanted them to be perfect so I used them and didn’t think more about it. Now, they are just way too soft and my feet just get all hurty and feel super tired after only walking in them. But I also feel that they were good transition and without them I wouldn’t learn what would be good for me.

NIKE ZOOM WILDHORSE x2

These are one of my all time favorite shoes! They are trail running shoes but I liked to run pretty much whatever with them. I even did my longest run yet in them (28,8km), which was mixture of everything. I loved them so much that I used them all the time, every where.

End of last year I spend a month and a half in Finland and got to test them on snow, ice, and terrain that we don’t have here in Hannover. I can happily recommend them, on pretty much any terrain. The upper is sturdy and keeps its form really well, even when wet. The sole is grippy on pretty much all surfaces except on ice, tried and fell on my ass awesomely! 🙂I really like that they have pretty loose toebox but they still feel snuggly. They feel nicely supported from the arch area but not too controlling. In the beginning they can feel like you are standing more on your heel, because the heel drop is only 4mm, which means that your heel doesn’t have that much under it, so it’s closer to a natural position of your feet. Some say that their calves got some pain after the first runs, I didn’t really have any of that. I have these in two sizes, they run quite small, so my, now old, size was little small on long runs. After realizing, thanks to these, I started using half a size bigger in all my shoes. I really like these and would recommend them to anyone who likes to have a shoe to run more rugged terrain and go to more minimal direction.

NIKE ZOOM KIGER

These are the more minimal shoe from Nike for trail running. In the beginning I didn’t like these at all, just no. They took quite long for me to actually start really liking them. Now I really like to run in them and use them when walking too.

The upper is looser than on the Wildhorse and I think that bothered me in the beginning, also they don’t have this traditional heelcup which made me feel that my heel moves too much, but now I really like that the shoe doesn’t control the natural moves of my feet while running. They have pretty identical sole to Wildhorse, except that it’s not “so” supported, so the biggest difference is in the upper. They are more minimal than the Wildhorse so, if you want to have that then this might be your shoe.These two models are more what my feet work well in and at the same time, end of last year, I started studying more and more about how our feet and legs work. I also got injured from too much running too soon and when I was injured I wanted to educate myself, to be able to understand what’s going on in me when I’m running. And be able to train without getting injured again.

All that I learned opened my eyes a lot about how we are instructed to wear while running or in general on our feet. Because of my previous injuries, I have been able to get my whole body little lopsided so I needed and still need to get myself “straight” and felt that if my natural way of moving is controlled I’m doing more harm than good to the process of getting better. And since I started getting deeper in to my learning process, I realized that I should give my feet a rest and let them figure out their natural way to do things.

The main problems were really bad shin splints and plantar fasciitis on my right foot. Usually you treat them with rest and more support, I tried, that made it worse. I also learned that only resting is not the best option. It makes sense now, but I didn’t know that if I only rest, all the work my muscles have done, starts slowly going back to zero and then when I do start doing something again, they aren’t as strong and able to take what I’m asking from them. So the injury actually never really gets better and you just get frustrated and feel like what the heck am I suppose to do, I am doing all that I have been taught. So, what I needed and wanted was a new mindset, new ways of operating my body and less of that supportsupportsupport thing.

Our bodies have all the support we need, we just have to let them do the work they are made for. To my huge luck, I got the most amazing friend and I got the chance to try out these next two models, which ended up making my injuries disappear and get me back on my running feet :). Obviously, I didn’t get better only by the shoes, there was other work too ;). And run that Half Marathon in Berlin, that I had waited for so long! Now these two share the number one spot on my feet and in my heart.

NIKE FREE HYPERFEEL

Not your average everyday running shoe or that’s what I thought before. Before I tested this one, I heard so many different things, some said that they can’t run in these, some used them only to run recovery runs and some used them all the time. In the beginning I didn’t run in them, the Half was so close that I didn’t want to take any risks.

For me, the first thing I noticed only when walking, is that your feet and legs really start to work. There’s nothing that keeps them working like they should. That can make your calves feel tender, it did. So, my first tip is to start really slow with these, maybe just by walking and then gradually starting to run short distances. This, if your feet are used to supported shoes. It’s pretty much the number one rule when changing from supported to minimal shoes, slow and easy start.I think that’s the reason why some don’t like these at all, they start too fast and get injured because their legs aren’t used to using those muscles before. There’s not the support naturally and your body needs the supportive muscles to be able to keep the injuries away. One thing that really bother me these days is that after I realized how much all of our shoes these days restrict the natural way of moving, it makes you think what you wear.

In the beginning I also thought that these look ridiculous, but once I started wearing them and realized how great they are, I started liking how they look too :). The upper is a flyknit and it feels like a sock. I don’t use socks with these if I really don’t have to. And the great thing is that because they don’t have traditional sole, so I can just take the “sole” out after my run and wash it and that’s it.

Sole and the light support.

Insole and the light support.

I’ve heard and read a lot about how your gait changes after you start running in minimal shoes, not sure how much mine has changed yet, but I feel that my legs are stronger and I’m less on my heels. I tried running barefeet on grass and noticed that I don’t even put my heel down, so there has to be some truth to it.The actual of these shoes is like a waffle, it has these small nobs and they grip well on slippery terrain and also make it easy to run on any kind of roads. I really like to run in these, because I feel that my legs feel better and stronger. I love that I really feel the terrain under my feet. They give me just enough cover while letting me feet do the work.Only bad thing… and this is with almost all girl size sneakers, way too long laces, so I got shorter ones!! 🙂

NIKE FREE FLYKNIT 4.0

And then to the others on the number one spot :). Just a month before my Half when I was able to run again, I got these at the same time as the Hyperfeels. I wanted to try if I could run the race in these and from the first run, I knew all is going to be good :). My feet had found a new friend.Like I said before, I have these and Hyperfeels on the number one spot, I run in both. They work in a similar way but it’s good to have variety, so your feet won’t get too “comfortable” and will still work.

The upper on these is also a Flyknit, it’s made from one piece so there’s nothing extra which I really like. It’s the same as in Hyperfeels. I have had some problems with my old shoes with seams really bothering and even making cuts. With these there’s no problem about that. These feel like a sock too, they let your feet really move and there’s enough space for your toes, no squishy feeling. The tongue is attached to the shoe in a way that it doesn’t travel anywhere and doesn’t bother, as it sometimes can do. Like in Hyperfeels and Kigers, these have the Flywire which really helps the shoe feel like it’s made for your feet.

That yellow doesn’t come with the shoes… It’s some plant that we have here and doesn’t come off in the wash :).

The sole is little different from the old Frees, I feel that it gives more “room” for your feet to move even more natural. Nothing extra which makes them really light and you don’t even think that you have anything on your feet. That’s how I feel, and hope that others find them like that too.

For me, I like to run in these if I know that I will run mostly on asphalt and then with Hyperfeels if I know that there’s little all on my run. I have also used both of them while doing strength training and they work really well. Any kind of balance workout, you really feel the difference with these and old training shoes. With these you can’t cheat because there’s nothing holding you and supporting which I like.All in all I would recommend both of these minimal shoes to anyone who is looking to go to that direction or is already wearing minimal shoes. I have found that they are the ones that keeps me healthy and helps me getting myself stronger.

And, as you can see here, all of my shoes are Nike. I am a Nike head but I wear them because they work so well with my feet, if they would be terrible I wouldn’t wear them.

I’m not a pro in reviewing shoes, but these are my thoughts on how these shoes have been there for me and how they work with my feet. If there’s any questions, I am more than happy to help and answer anything I can.

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