Today we’re taking a look at the Nike Free 4.0 shoes. Although these shoes are aimed at runner, they actually make for a very comfortable walking shoe that can be used in a fairly wide variety of situations. The shoes are made from a slightly elastic woven fibre which Nike calls ‘flyknit’. One of the greatest benefits of this is that its incredibly easy to slip the shoes on and off without having to undo the shoe laces. This is particularly handy when visiting countries in Asia where its customary to remove your shoes before entering some restaurants, hostels or someone’s house. Another great benefit is that it makes the shoes very breathable. I thought this might cause problems in winter however, I have found that wearing thick wool socks stops most of the cold from getting in.
I have read reviews of these shoes where people said they fall apart quite quickly. I guess since I haven’t been using them for anything other than walking I havent noticed much wear and I have worn them nearly every day for the past year and a half. In terms of sizing these shoes were a little tight in my recommended size. I usually wear a size 8.5 in Converse sneakers and in these Nike Free 4.0’s I wear a size 9.5 US. If you’re having trouble deciding on the size I recommend this neat little website called Feetlot.
The main problems with wearing these shoes in winter I found was that a strong cold breeze would often cut through the wool socks and feel a bit cold. The other problem is rain. If it rains or you walk through heavy snow you’d definitely get soggy socks which is something you absolutely want to avoid. These shoes would best be suited to summer and spring/autumn seasons. In terms of comfort these shoes are very comfortable. It feels a lot like ‘barefoot shoes’. They dont squish your toes together in the end of the shoe and the pattern on the sole of the shoes helps them to move to the shape of your feet. The way the sole is cut is not all good though. Do to the sole’s design I often notice small pebbles or rocks getting caught in between the crevices. Also, when walking on certain surfaces like shiny tiles or certain paved floors (like in some shopping centres) the concave design on the soles would cause a bit of suction and make a popping sound as I walked.
The ‘flyknit’ fabric, as I mentioned before is really nice and can be stretched to pull onto your feet easily. It also folds and holds it position. I occasionally used these shoes as ‘slippers’ by folding down the back section as in the photo above. This really came in handy for some times when I just needed to quickly slip my shoes on without socks. One thing I should mention about the fabric too is that it takes longer to dry then you’d think. I thought that these shoes would be quick trying but actually it takes several hours for them to dry out, especially if the insoles get wet too.
Overall these make for a great pair of shoes for travel as they’re probably the most comfortable walking shoes I’ve ever worn. I wouldnt hesitate to recommend these to anyone who will be doing a lot of walking. They also slip on and off super quick and easy which is another plus for travelling. If you’re in the market for a winter shoe though, you may want to look elsewhere.