Nike Free Run+ 3 – Our Take
- Lighter Weight: The Men’s Free Run 3 checks in about an ounce lighter than the Free Run 2. The weight loss for the Women’s model is not quite as dramatic, but weight is still down a few tenths of an ounce.
- Increased Flexibility: Updated midsole Flex Grooves follow a more natural foot motion.
- Fresh Upper Design: No longer featuring “bootie” construction, the Free Run 3 has a tongue and a supportive inner sleeve that wraps under the arch and around the midfoot for increased arch support and an adaptive fit. Strategic use of NanoPly overlays results in lightweight structure that still allows the foot to move.
- Reduced Midsole Height: The Free Run 3 is 2mm lower in the heel and 3mm lower in the forefoot compared to the Free Run 2. This update provides a more connected feel with the road.
Testers weren’t sure what to expect before they put on the latest Nike Free Run. After all, the shoe has undergone some pretty significant changes, particularly in the upper. But after slipping this shoe on and lacing it up, testers who have run in prior versions of the Free felt right at home.
On first glance, the new upper that includes a tongue may make you think that the Free Run 3 is sneaking its way into the Traditional Running Shoe Club. Not so fast. The tongue construction actually makes the shoe easier to put on, and the tongue itself is thin and breathable. The tongue did not create any unwelcome seams or hotspots and the shoe remains highly runnable if you want to go sockless.
Once they were situated in the shoe, testers appreciated the adjustability of the new Dynamic Fit system in the midfoot. It doesn’t feel quite as customizable as other implementations of the system, such as in the LunarEclipse+ 2 and Vomero+ 7, but still gives a runner the ability to cinch down the midfoot in just the right places or leave the midfoot fit more generous.
Of course, the most notable feature of the Free Run remains its mid/outsole. In its latest version, the platform remains flexible and offers an extraordinarily smooth transition. So what types of runs can you do in the latest Free Run? It remains a great foot strengthening tool, given how much emphasis it gives to making your foot do the work. After running in the shoe regularly, testers report that daily training and even speedwork are not only possible, but are actually enjoyable. Runners who take the time to work up their foot strength in the Free Run can expect handsome rewards both in this shoe and when running in other flats and trainers.
“Feels like more of a protective ride than a cushioned one. If you’re a heel striker, this shoe will help you change your ways.” – Matt
“The forefoot by the base of the laces is on the snug side for me, and I also experienced some pinching by the little toe.” – Daniel