The Nike Free line now going the distance

Nike first introduced the Free concept in 2004, and it was one of the pioneers in the minimalist running movement. The initial idea spawned when a Nike designer watched the Stanford cross-country team doing barefoot sprints in the grass. The first shoes in the line focused on offering protection from the ground, but not much else. Of course, running sprints in the grass isn’t the same as running a marathon, and the Nike Free was never really designed for long-distance training. That is until now.

Enough runners liked the minimalist feel of the shoe that Nike has combined elements of the Free with beefier elements from its other lines to create the Free RN Distance, a running shoe that is designed as a daily trainer for longer distances. It features a simple unstructured upper, like the rest of the Free line, but has two layers of thick foam to provide more cushioning on the run. The shoe offers very little in terms of motion control, so it’s definitely for runners with neutral, efficient strides.

But for runners lucky enough to get by with very little shoe, the Free RN Distance will allow them to enjoy that minimalist feeling over many miles.

Price: $120, nike.com