words // Nick DePaula
Sometimes, sneakers are as simple as can be.
When Nike first introduced its Free "technology" a full decade ago, it was a sharp shift from the tech they were known for just after the turn of the millenium. Tech that had largely historically been denounced by real runners as gimmick-laden and visually driven with mass retail shelf appeal in mind.
A company that made its name selling us huge clunky Air bags and even more clunky Shox columns that happened to look sweet was now telling us that flex grooves inspired by the body's natural motion and an $85 price point would also serve us just fine. It was a bold departure then, that has certainly paid off now.
In 2013, the Free 5.0+, now priced at $95, was the #1 selling footwear model in the entire industry.
Take a look at Eric Avar's effortless sketch of the original Nike Free 5.0 below, with natural motion grooves and engineering work thanks to Tobie Hatfield, and let us know how you've liked the Free franchise through the years.
Be sure to also check out past Sneaker Sketches of the Week, and stay tuned next week for more.