Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2

P7250183It has been a good run (pun intended) for my Nike Free 4.0 v2 running shoes.

However, when I run in them for more than 3.0 miles now, my knees, hips and ankles are starting to bark at me afterwards.

Nothing serious, but when I start to feel these aches, I have learned from experience, that it is time to retire those shoes.

How did they do?

From my perspective they are a very, very good shoe with a couple of flaws that made me decide to continue to look elsewhere for that elusive “perfect” running shoe.


Comfort – This is without a doubt one of the most comfortable running shoes or any kind of shoe, I have ever worn. The second day that I wore them, I ran over 13 miles, the last 3.0 in pouring rain and didn’t have any blisters or other shoe related issues. It had the right amount of cushioning and protection for running on the roads.

Quiet – I ran very quietly in this shoe, no slapping the ground, which to me meant I was more efficient.

Flexible – Without a doubt the most flexible shoe I have ever run in.

Weight – Light 7.6 oz. for a size 9 according to the Running Warehouse review.

Low Drop – 6MM drop shoe, which felt pretty good to me, definitely not a high heel shoe and not a zero drop, it does a good job of transitioning from the more traditional running shoes to a lower drop shoe.

Upper Durability – The uppers look pretty much the same as they did when I bought them, just a little dirtier, no holes, major scrapes or other wear/damage. I could put them in the washer and they would come out looking pretty damn good.



Rocks – with all the gaps/siping in the sole (for flexibility) it had a tendency to accumulate small rocks and stuff in the sole, which could be not noticed, a minor distraction or a situation where you had no choice but to stop and remove the rock, either because it was jabbing into your foot or the tap, tap, tap of it hitting the pavement was driving you crazy.


Road Only – due to the Free 4.0’s tendency to pick up small rocks and ground feel, running on dirt roads was not always enjoyable. Due to that and the lack of lateral stability, I didn’t run on any trails with these shoes.

Wear – Looking at the soles of the shoes, I experienced fairly decent wear, but over the last 50 miles it seemed that the wear really accelerated and it also started to have some weird wear patterns.


This was my right shoe and as you can see for some reason (my running form) caused a very weird wear pattern on this section of the sole. I have never seen a pair of shoes wear like this and this was a major reason that I decided to retire these shoes. If they were wearing oddly, I was concerned about how that might affect my gait.

The Free 4.0v2’s had around 250 miles on them when I began to notice the little aches and pains setting in after running in them. When I got to 300 miles, I really started to notice the achiness that tells me it is time to replace a pair of shoes.

300 miles is about average mileage on a pair of running shoes for me, so this to me is the least that I would expect from a very good running shoe, but I was and am looking for 500 or more miles from my running shoes.

I probably could have gotten another 100 or so miles out of them, but instead of pushing the shoes and myself to the brink, I elected to be more conservative and change to a different pair, to make sure that I don’t get injured due to worn out shoes.


Hot – During the summer heat, these shoes did make my feet sweat a lot, the breathability of the Free 4.0 v2, is not quite enough in my opinion.

The reality is

that the Nike Free 4.0 v2’s did a great job for me and allowed me to increase my mileage pretty dramatically after I started running in them. However, I was hoping to get at least 500 miles from my “perfect” shoe.


I enjoyed running in these shoes – A LOT.

If you run on a lot of dirt roads or are looking for a shoe that can do light combo duty on roads/moderate trails I would have a difficult time recommending the Nike Free 4.0 v2 for that, there are better models out there to meet those requirements.

However, if you are primarily a paved surface runner, who doesn’t mind picking a few small rocks out the soles of your shoe every so often or run on a treadmill, the Nike Free 4.0 v2 is a great shoe. It is extremely comfortable, good-looking, light, is a “fast” shoe and I recommend it highly.

Due to where I live, most of my runs have 1-3 miles of running on the dirt roads down back (which in the spring are pretty muddy), as well as running on pavement. Which is not one of this shoe’s stronger points and was the primary reason I chose to not buy another pair of them at this time.

If I ran primarily in an area consisting primarily of paved roads, my choice would have been different.

A Top 5 Shoe

The Nike Free 4.0 v2’s definitely made my Top 5 of all time shoe list, coming in at number 3.

My All-Time Favorite Shoes

Out of all the shoes that I have run in, the shoes on this list came closest to approaching that mythical perfect running shoe for me?

  1. Adidas Blue Marathon Trainer with the Dillinger Web (from early to mid 80’s)
  2. Brooks Villanova (late70’s)
  3. Nike Free 4.0 v2
  4. Saucony Hurricane 5
  5. Asics Gel Kayano 11

Now if Adidas would ever decide to do a retro shoe sale and have the Blue Adidas Marathon Trainer with the Dillinger Web available, I would have a pair in my rotation, to see if they are as good as I remember.


7 comments on “Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2

  1. I’ve found my perfect shoe in my Brooks Pure Cadence, but similar to your Nike’s, they are 4mm drop and super lightweight, so it means they wear out A LOT faster. It’s looking like 250 miles are going to be my cap for these shoes…but i love them so much that I’m willing to replace them more frequently 🙂

    • Hi Heather – I tried the Cadence and Flow while I was in MN and if the Altra’s hadn’t felt so good, would have gone with the Flow’s. Brooks makes an excellent shoe too. The Nike Free 4.0 are a great shoe for pavement or treadmill running! Unfortunately, where I live there is a lot of dirt road running, side of the road dirt running and no treadmill, so the Free’s didn’t fit how I run.

      When you find a shoe that does what you want, you are much more willing to replace a little more often, but with the mileage I am doing now a 300 mile shoe is about 1 and 1/2 months, so I would like something more durable :-). That another I went with the Altra’s their outsole was a little beefier than any of the others that I tried on.

      Good luck with the Brooks they are another great shoe.

  2. I haven’t moved away from my current pair/style in over a year. I am planning to check into minimalistic shoes after the MCM. Great write up, as usual man.

    • Smiddy – you are doing the right thing by waiting until after MCM in my opinion. Do what has worked for you in the past, before experimenting. More minimalist shoes have helped me run more than I have in years, but for some people it doesn’t help all that much, it depends on your running style/form and your willingness to change it :-). You will definitely rock the MCM!

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