I run differently in these shoes. I thought I was running differently in them, but wasn't sure until I ran on the treadmill this week. It's a totally different stride than even in my racing flats. I feel like I plantar flex, searching for the ground like you do barefoot, and I can feel the cushioning under the middle of my foot as I land. Not even my feelmax uber-light shoes create this sensation. Unlike the feelmax shoes, I don't feel like I'm running in quicksand. I feel like I get more energy return and it's easier to run faster. (Or maybe this is just weak feet and sub-conscious cautiousness in the feelmax shoes.)
They also are apparently my PF cure. I stopped wearing them last week when I needed more toe box room (because of the bloody toe) and my PF was the worst it's been in this current round on Monday (after the Sunday race). I've been wearing these all week*. My PF was completely absent on Thursday's run and I only felt it very slightly today.
The big difference with these shoes and the 5.0s is the heel. My heel is barely higher than my mid-foot. I can feel the mid-foot cushioning compress when I land, which is totally different than what I'm used to. I'll be interested to see if the wear pattern reflects this. They also, of course, have the flexible Free sole. I believe being able to bend your toes when picking up your heel reduces the tension on you fascia. (By the way, you can actually feel your toes on the ground. The toe spring in most shoes prevents this.)
OK, that was a very poor bit of writing, but it will have to do as my love poem to the Nike Free 3.0. I just ordered another pair. Nike, please don't discontinue these shoes!
(* My toe is better and I (duh) figured out that if I completely loosen the laces at the bottom that the toe run isn't that bad and I don't have a problem.)