Monday, January 23, 2012

Shoe Review: Nike Free 3.0 V3

Nike Free 3.0 V3 Review

Oh the Nike Free 3.0.  For many years I was stubborn and only wore 5.0s, Run +, and Run + 2s.  I now regret my decision after wearing the 3.0s!  The 3.0s have been made by Nike for a number of years and while the uppers always look a little different, they are pretty much the same shoe.

Retail Cost: $90.00
Weight: 7.1 oz (standard size 9)
Stack Height (Heel-Toe): 21-14mm

Feel: The Free 3.0 is a great minimalist shoe.  Unlike the 5.0 and Run + series it actually is more minimal than most neutral trainers.  The foam is visibly thinner in spaces and in the ball of the foot and arch there is foam removed for added flexion.  The Free 3.0 also has a fairly wide toe box that is only stretchy mesh.  I like this because it allows your toes to really expand and grip the ground like you would with a proper barefoot stride.  As you can see in the stack height, the heel to toe drop is 7mm.  That is less than most trainers but a true minimalist shoe will have 0 drop. The all mesh upper also provides great comfort and breathability throughout the whole foot.  Like most shoes in the Free line the 3.0 has a sock like feel. Again, like all Frees that are designed for running, the midsole doubles as the outsole and is made of Phylite.

Look: The Free 3.0 looks pretty legit.  I wasn’t a big fan of the original colorways but they have made some great updates.  I went with the plain black and grey.  The black makes the shoe look even more slim and fast than the slimmed down 3.0 already does.  Can’t go wrong with a classic!  The rubber on the sides serves more looks than function.

Durability: I will report more on this as I wear the shoes.  I have worn 5.0s and Run + for thousands of miles per pair.  However, those are held together by thicker mesh and leather.  They should stay together better than the 3.0.  I suspect that these shoes would last at least 500 miles.  However, other than the mesh, I am scared of one thing about these shoes.  It is the stretchy cloth piece that is on the heel.  It reminds me of my first Frees, the original 5.0s and the back ripped out on those after 50 or so miles.  The back ripping doesn’t render the shoe useless but changes the feel and make for a cold run in the winter.

Uses: The 3.0 are light enough to use for workouts like tempos, fartleks, hills.  Pretty much anything that isn’t really fast or requiring of quick turns.  They would also be good as a beginner shoe in transitioning to minimalism.  They still have a little bit of foam on the bottom and are far from zero-drop so your calves wouldn’t take too much of a beating.  If you didn’t want to go the minimalist route but wanted to change it up once a week to strengthen your legs, this would also be a good shoe.

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