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  • Writer's pictureJulia Gillis

The Best Running Shoe

A running shoe made by the gods themselves.

The Nike Free.

This was pulled out of the back of a Sport Check in Nanamio, Vancouver Island for me.

It was the very last pair & was my size. The manager there, Richard, happens to be the dad of one of my daughter's classmates. The dude was very committed to helping me find exatly what I was looking for. His help & service has helped me find the perfect shoe & my long time workout gear obsession.

Prior to the Nike Free, I was wearing Vevo Barefoot. I love a shoe that slips onto my foot like a glove. I had seen my oldest brother who has been a serious althete, at a towering 6 ft 6 inches & 280 lbs solid muscle wearing a pair of the Vevo when I was i my mid to late 20s & thought they were a really fasinating design. I often felt that running shoes up until the millenium were heavy, chunky, had way too much hard rubber in their design and didn't allow flexibility of the foot.

Most of my running prior to my mid 20s was done on the soccer pitch in kleets, with the flexible leather 'boot' & a strip on the bottom that has quite a bit of 'give' for quick direction change style running. When I got into training in the gym for muscle building and fell in love with treadmill running, I found that the shoes I wore had a major impact on my capability & enjoyment. I think I was wearing some cheap Sketchers or Rebok at the time. Laces also annoyed the shit out of me, with the ends flopping around during a run, resorting to tucking them in & if not laced 'exactly' right, I would notice tightness in weird places & again - hate my run.

My running goals in the begining were to complete a 10 minute mile 3 times a week & then I added the goal to be able to complete 3 miles in 30 mins. Once that goal was managed, I started to compete for under a 10 minute mile & covering 3 miles in under the 30 mins. I want to know I can outrun zombies either immediately - or over time.

I did a ton of research into the Vevo, seeing arguments for & against the 'barefoot' style with regards to impact vs. cushioning, ankle support & other factors.

Its true that after about a year of wearing the Vevo, I found the lack of heel cushion while running to be causing discomfort. I was feeling it mostly in my knees and shins. I'm often training to be lean & feel light or agile, but I'm fighting nature a lot when I do this. Especially when recovering from 2 pregnancies in the past 3 years. My body likes to build dense mucscle, quickly. I find myself more often feeling like a tank or Shehulk rather than my preferred ninja/assassin body style.

So off I went on my hunt for the Vevo plus heel cushion & nothing more. I brought my Vevo to Richard and showed him that you could basically curl the shoe into cinnomon bun. We looked at what was on the display shelf and I knew just by looking at them, this wasn't going to cut it. He told me to wait a second and came back with these beauties.

I fucking hated the colouring right off the bat. The laces looked like they were just for style & show. I could live with that. But the fan of the sole, the glove style fit & the marshmellow of the heel was PERFECT.

The only negative thing about these shoes is they should be strictly used for indoors. The 'fan' of the sole collects every little rock and pebble & cleaning them out after every run is useless.

And the second worst travesty is that - they're discontinued. I got that last pair still hanging around in the back alley of stock in my local Sport Check. I found them still advertised on both the USA & Canadian Nike websites, but when you click 'shop' on the display picture of this shoe - you can't get it. Even on Amazon you're only going to find the next best thing - for up to $375.

Its the Nike Women's Free Run 5.0

I wore that first Nike Free pair until they were esentially shredded. I messaged Richard & asked if he had the 'next best thing.' He knew right away what shoe was right for me and sent me a picture of these from the store.

The mesh glove of the shoe is a little thicker. (not better)

The laces play a less dominant role. (better)

The 'fan' of the sole is not as flexable. (not better)

The heel doesn't pour out around the edges as much. (better)

Over all the shoe is as close as I'm going to get to the original. There are some wins and some losses. Its possible the material & design is a little lower than the original Nike Free. I've blown out (torn & disconnected) the material of the back heel that connects the shoe to the sole & I will have to purchase my 3rd pair. I think I purchased both my first & second pair in 2.5 years from Richard at Sport Check for around $80. Now all the way out in Ontario I may not be getting the same special manager's friend discount - or I may be finding a whole new shoe. Either way, for the obsessive runner, the Nike Free Run 5.0 gets my highest recommendation.


If you would like to start building your Core Resiliency Skills contact Coach Julia today. You will learn how to Thrive beyond your damage, become a Transitional Character, break abuse cycles in your family cycle & build the core resiliency skills most often missed when being raised in a low nurture environment.

Julia is a Holistic Health Consultant, holding a Double Diploma in Community Support & Addictions Work, is a Certified Transformation Specialist, Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach & a Lvl 2 Reiki Practitioner. She specializes in Trauma Informed Practice & Resiliency Coaching. 

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