Nike came out with the Free design back in 2004. It was based on training by some track athletes, who were out on the track, running barefoot. One of the theories behind running barefoot is your body was born to run. When you think of the best runners in the world, who comes to mind? Kenyans. And what shoes do they grow up training in? Nikes, Adidas, Asics? Nope. Plain bare feet. This builds their foot, ankle, calf, knee, thigh, body, up to running naturally. Instead of putting on a shoe with more cushion, take away the big soft heel, and train your body to support you.
If you are willing to try this type of low profile shoe, the number one training tip that you must adhere to: start slowly! I am not talking speed, but mileage. Start with walking your kids and dog around the block first, then build up to some speed work, then a short 5Km race. I have heard of and know many runners who put a minimal shoe on, love it and start running the same distances they were in their old bulkier shoe, right out of the gate. This leads to injury so please, please, please start slowly.
When I first put on the Frees, I only walked in them doing my everyday errands. Then I started running shorter week runs in them before building up to the longer weekend runs. I love the Frees and have been running in them for 6 years now.
One note on the Frees: they use a numbering system that indicates the amount of cushion. One is equivalent to barefoot and twelve is a normal running shoe, so the Nike Free 3.0 is the lowest amount of cushion or the closest they have to no shoe. I have every flavor in the Frees and use them for all types of training runs.