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The Nike Free Experience

Recently I attended, the #NikeFree Experience at Victoria House, the venue often used for British Fashion Council events, which has a prestigious yet fashionable feel to it. 

I headed downstairs to the basement, which was reminiscent of a warehouse, a lot of open space and numerous white walls, Nike had kitted out each section with an array of neon lights, boasting a palette similar to that of the latest collection. 

An understated yet super cool ambience was created, with a playlist that featured echoes of MK and Charlie Wilson.

The morning session began with a 5K run around London lead by former marathon winner Paula Radcliffe. 

I attended the evening session, which kicked off with a presentation by Nike's Creative Director for Running Sean McDowell. 

Sean gave an interesting talk on the research behind creating The Nike Free, touching on his experiences during the creation process; including travelling to meet with athletes and studying the way their feet move in motion when training barefoot.

Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe

Nike Frees offer a revolutionary natural stride and come in 3.0, 4.0,and 5.0. The 5.0 offers more support, e.g. At 9.9 ounces (men’s size 10) the 5.0’s shoe’s upper is lightweight without compromising strength and durability. 

Whereas the 3.0 is closer to the ground creating more of a "bare foot feel". More information on finding the most suitable pair for you can be found here. Here’s what Sean had to say in the Q&A:

Sean McDowell
Sean McDowell

How are they in the rain? 

"Actually really good, I’m all for being open and honest, the first Nike Frees were not the best in the rain, but now we’ve developed them, these are really good, as of course obtaining extra weight is not something you would want whilst running." 

Do you think there will be a day where we can walk into all Nike shops, customise a pair and take them home that day? 

"NikeiD will be available in all stores eventually, it’s certainly something I’ll see in my lifetime, and it’s definitely something we are working on, there is no finish line with Nike and our ethos to try and to push ourselves and continue to be better."

"NikeiD will be available in all stores eventually"
"NikeiD will be available in all stores eventually"

What’s your favourite pair of Nike trainers? 

"That’s like choosing which of my three kids I love the most, it’s hard to choose, you see I love the Pegasus, as I wore them as a kid, and then I got to work on the design team for them, so that was pretty cool." 

Sean later went on to list six other pairs of Nikes, stating they are all his favourites, after telling us why, he concluded: “I’ve just picked about ten more, you asked me to list one, I’m sorry I just can’t choose!”

5k run with Run Dem Crew & Paula Radcliffe
5k run with Run Dem Crew & Paula Radcliffe

After the presentation the next 5K run took place with Run Dem Crews Charlie Dark. The RDC is a collective of creatives with a passion for running. 

I ran in my 3.0’s, and you can feel the difference in comparison to traditional athletic shoes. After the drinks reception I toured the space, the interactive aspect of the event meant I was continuously engaged. 

Nike Free actually hit the ground running ten years ago, guests were able to look back through the ages at the very first pair of Nike Frees (The Nike Sock Racer) right up until today’s very latest (Nike Free Flyknit). 

Nike Free is a shoe that allows the muscles in the foot to gain strength by providing less constriction. There was an opportunity to evaluate your natural stride, and see on screen where you distribute weight on your foot, you could then compare it to an athlete which was a neat idea.

"Nike Free actually hit the ground running ten years ago"
"Nike Free actually hit the ground running ten years ago"

With all this technical talk, you’re probably wondering if they still look good right? Vogue recently described them as the "Gold Standard for Hipsters who Run". 

They're available in a wide range of colours and you also have the opportunity to customise them with NikeiD, so you can’t really put a foot wrong if you’re trend conscious. Sprint in style without worrying about sacrificing wearability for practicality.

"Gold Standard for Hipsters who Run"
"Gold Standard for Hipsters who Run"


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