"Nike Free attempts to simulate barefoot running while wearing a shoe. As this shoe allows the muscles in the foot to gain strength by providing less constriction, runners are advised to gradually break into the shoe rather than immediately running long distances as to prevent muscle cramps and other discomforts. The Nike shoe scale goes from 10.0 to 0.0 with a '10' being a fully supportive shoe, and '0' being completely barefoot. Example: The 5.0 Nike Free is like running halfway barefoot, the 3.0 is even less shoe, and the 7.0 is a bit more supportive."(Wikipedia)
Why I Like Nike Frees
- They're insanely lightweight. This means if I feel like doing plyo shit, or I just feel like walking around without stomping like a miniature godzilla like all of the assholes in those gigantic, homofabulous skater shoes, I can do so.
- They have a very low, highly compact sole, that's more or less flat. This means that my weight will not be shifted to my toes, nor will my stability be compromised while squatting. The tightly compressed, low heels also put me lower to the ground, so if there's any advantage to be gained in this for the deadlift (and I'm skeptical that there is), I'll be able to reap the benefits thereof. Conversely, squatting or deadlifting in those Nikes with the springs in the heels (Shox) puts you a couple of inches off the ground, weight on your toes, and wobbling around like you're on a fucking Bosu balls. It's nonsense.
- They're remarkably durable. I have a three year old pair of frees that are still in remarkably good condition, especially given the countless hours of strongman training and gym work I've done in them, in addition to a fuckload of wearing them around town. They breathe well and wash well, too, so they don't smell like an elderly cat used them for a litterbox.
- They have sewn-in tongues. I hate it when the tongue slides to the side, and the sewn-in tongue obviates this.
- They're not flashy. Few athletic shoes seem to be made with non-wiggers in mind at this point. My name's not Marshall Mathers, and I'd rather not look like it is.
What. The. Fuck?
I know the question in all of your heads is "why don't you wear Chucks?" Mostly because I don't fucking want to. Partly because everyone seems to think you have to, and I think I've pretty much proven that false. Are Chucks good footwear for powerlifting? Most likely. Will I ever own a pair? No. For the same reason that I'm not going to wear a skully in the gym and grow a fucking goatee after shaving my head, I'm not going to buy a pair of Chucks. I'm not Chuck Vogelpohl, and I'm not going to ride Vogelpohl's nuts like every other powerlifter out there. None of his wardrobe is magical, and aping his style will definitely not make you any stronger.
While I'm on the subject, I find it intensely aggravating that people feel that there's some sort of special attire that they need to wear in the gym to legitimize their presence there. Chicks invariably HAVE to have some sort of outfit before commencing a workout program, and it seems that men have recently followed them down the path to shitty consumerist vapidity and general ignobility. Don't be the fucking guy who wears an UnderArmor outfit in the gym. That guy's an asshole, and so's every single person he knows.
Case in point.Other, similar shoe choices are the following:
- New Balance MT100. A guy at work swears they beat the shit out of Frees. Frankly, I'd never heard of them before this week, but they seem comparable in every way.
- Vibram Five Fingers. They look fucking stupid, and they're the baby of Crossfitters everywhere, who insist upon taking pictures of their feet in them, which is also fucking stupid. Is that a reason to dismiss them out of hand? Quite possibly. Marc Bartley, however, world record holder in the squat, fucking loves them, and wears the shit out of them. I doubt I'll be buying a pair, but Spud knows his shit, and loves them, so they can't be all bad.
Puzzlingly, Spud abandoned the Vogelpohl for the Crossfit. As he will eat your children if you have shit to say about him, I suggest we just let the man wear whatever he fucking wants.
As to the rest of my wardrobe choice in the gym, since that's recently been of interest- I wear cargo shorts and sleeveless (or very occasionally sleeved) t-shirts pretty much every moment I'm not at work. Call it what you want, as I could honestly fucking care less. It's comfortable. I then wear the shit to the gym, as it continues to be comfortable there, in addition to providing me pockets for my musclerub, straps, elbow sleeve, and mp3 player. I generally have a pair of cargos explode off my ass once every couple of months. This doesn't bother me, as I get them at Target for $20 a pair, and usually patch the ass with denim and use them until they explode a second time. I'll occasionally rock my Vans slide-ons in the gym on non-heavy days, but wouldn't squat in them because they don't lace. Vans lace-up are on the list to try for squatting shoes, however.
There you have it. Not sure why you wanted it, but there it is.