Gear Review – Nike Free Run 3
Name of the shoe – Nike Free Run 3.
Type – Minimalist.
Price – Approximately $100.
This review is late by a couple of years.
Nike Free Run 3 is a shoe for runners with strong calves. The salesman cautioned me to gradually break into the shoe. Being almost like a racing flat, it places a great load on calves. My earlier running shoe had a thick cushion base so transition to Nike Free’s was difficult, slow and painful. I was hesitant to buy this expensive shoe. But then I considered this as a gift to myself when I left smoking and took up running marathons. I loved the feel of it when I wore it in the showroom. I always get excited like a small kid whenever I buy new shoes. I feel like sleeping with them in my bed.
I read the reviews after I bought them. That’s a stupid thing to do. But I did and read that I need to get used to the minimalist design and I was like whatever. I used this shoe every other day i.e I was still using my old shoe to do my major portion of running. I was preparing for Mumbai Marathon 2012 then. On my last longest run before the race I planned to do a 35 k. And I also planned to run in the Nike Frees. After 16 k I sat down on the side of the road, not able to walk and suffered for the next couple of months due to Plantar Fasciitis.
But I am not saying it is a bad shoe. In fact it was my fault that I was not ready for it. The shoe is a excellent piece of work. Now this is the shoe I wear for running everyday. I have a solid base of running minimalist. The characteristics of the shoe are –
1. The sole is sturdy. As you can see in the inset above, I have used it extensively and it still has got lot of life in it. It uses BRS 1000(carbon rubber) in the high wear areas.
2. The shoe is super flexible. It can be twisted in any direction, which means it allows the foot to flex to its limit and providing a freedom of movement. Also, the sole has deep groves to assist in its flexibility.
2. It has a breathable and quick dry upper body mesh.
3. The star shaped design on the top and side of the shoe provides a sock like fit. It expands vertically and horizontally as the foot demands.
4. It has a insole which I removed because it was making the shoe tight with socks on. The clean stitching without the insole gives a comfortable fit. Though now I have lesser padding but I have got used to it.
5. The shoe is not suitable for trail running because of the soft toe box(I don’t want to break a finger or two by kicking a rock). Also it collects a lot of debris in the shoe while running.
6. It is light weighted.
7. There is a band in the middle of the shoe hugs the mid foot giving a snug fit.
1. Due to the deep groves in the sole, it collects all the small pebbles of the route I am running on.
2. Lot of debris gets in the shoe.
3. Expensive. But you get what you pay.
I found the first two disadvantages quite annoying but they can be still overlooked after seeing the benefits of this shoe. This is a good shoe and the sole is very sturdy. This shoe will give you a sock like fit and very comfortable. That’s what we look for in a shoe. Isn’t it?
If you are looking for faster timings in 5k, 10k, half marathons and marathons then this is the shoe for you. For ultras, I would not recommend this shoe because of less cushioning but there are people who wear minimalist also.
If you are looking to strengthen your ankles and calves, then this is the shoe for you.
If you are looking too improve your running form, then this is the shoe for you.
If you are looking to get a feel of ground and be one with earth while running and don’t want to compromise the safety of a shoe, then this is the one for you.
All kind of runners can derive benefits from this shoe. Just remember to take it easy for initial month or two. It takes the foot and calf muscles to get used to the excess load.
Tell me your experience with this shoe. Till then stay fit and keep running.