I’ve never been much of a shoe person. I’ve worn the same threadbare Toms for about six years now, and I literally just threw away a pair of tennis shoes I’d had since freshman year of college (six and a half years ago… yowza). When I go out, I wear cowgirl boots because I can stand in them without wanting to cry. When I run, I usually run in the same Nike Pegasus Air +29 shoes that are so old, I couldn’t even find them on Nike’s website to link to.
This indifference has changed since I’ve started hanging around the NTC crew. At NTC Lincoln Park, the trainers always had the latest Nike shoes and Studio Wraps for us to try out, and they’ve continued this practice at the new NTC Chicago studio on Michigan Avenue (last night at NTC I got to try the Nike Free 1.0 Cross Bionic for training- loved them!).
First of all, these shoes look AWESOME. I felt like my feet were ready to run for miles as someone sang “Circle of Life” in the background to cheer me on. The shoes feel snug when you’re putting them on, but don’t let that scare you- that’s just because the opening where your foot enters the shoe is structured like a sock (I wore my normal 6.5 and felt great). The laces are super thin and minimalist, which I liked a lot. Hard to trip over if they get untied. Not that I’ve ever done that…
As for the feel, I think Kate put it best when she told our group that she ran three miles yesterday and felt like she was running on butter. I was a little apprehensive because I woke up Thursday morning with a twinge in my knee (a recurring pain that I’ve never really figured out) and honestly considered not going to the 6:45am workout (the torrential rain wasn’t helping either). But, I can honestly say that throughout the workout, knee pain was never an issue.
I started on the ground (if you’ve never taken a Shred415 class, check out their website and the Fab Fit take), where Kate led me and another woman through a series of squats, lunges, pushups, and core work- body weight moves like you would do during an NTC workout. During this segment, I was happy with how the shoes felt- I was really aware of how flexible the shoes were throughout, both on the sides and in the arch. I also loved the cushiony support, and the fact that while I could definitely feel the support, the shoe was still incredibly lightweight.
The real test, though, came on the treadmills. After starting at an easy 6.0 MPH, Kate led us to gradually increase our pace until we were sprinting for a minute at a time. Because of my phantom knee pain, I was hyperattentive to how I felt running… and… Kate nailed it! Running on butter. My footsteps felt soft and light, and during the second treadmill set, I was able to push my sprinting pace to the max that the treadmill offered, 10.0 MPH. Not bad before 7:30 in the morning!
(Side note: did y’all know that these treadmills- on the third floor of the Nike flagship store on Michigan– are on the Nike floor all the time, not just for our special workout? They’re there so you can truly try out a running shoe before you decide to buy it, instead of just walking around the store and making your best guess. I love that! I wish I had known, I would have made a special trip to the Nike store so that I could try on various running shoes instead of ordering my newest pair online.)
And because Nike never disappoints, I left with a Nike drawstring backpack, a new workout shirt, and a booklet of information about the 3.0 Flyknit. They know how to keep a girl happy.
Needless to say, after my time testing the Nike 3.0 Flyknits, I’m pretty sold. I’m going to consider buying them for all my upcoming races (while keeping in mind that they are a “free” style shoe, and therefore I’d probably use them for shorter distances until I build up my foot muscles- no more broken heels here, thank you very much!). I definitely suggest taking a trip to try these out if you’re in the market for a new running shoe- or even if you’re not, because, you know, “TREAT YO’SELF.”
Has anyone else tried these bad boys, or any other shoes in the Free or Flyknit lines? Let me know in the comments!