Nike Free Run 3 + Shield Review
In it’s 3rd version, the Nike Free 3 + has it’s popularity among both runners and the common athlete looking to get in a few miles a week. I’ve been testing the Nike Free’s since they starting making them and to be honest, it is hard to see much of a difference from version 1 to version 3. For some brands and products, this can be a bad thing, but for others, it can be a good thing. When it comes to the Nike Free product line, Nike was onto something early and they have seemed to get it pretty dialed, so making a lot of changes hasn’t been necessary
The Nike Free Run 3 + is similar to its predecessors in that the shoe doesn’t have a lot of material in the upper or midsole, yet it still has plenty of technology behind it. The general concept behind Nike Free and the Nike Free Run 3+ is that by siping the midsole and outsole, your foot will be able to flex as it goes through the running gate cycle allowing your foot to work harder and build more muscle. How this shoe differs from other minimalist running shoes on the market is that it still has a good amount of cushioning in the midsole. So if you are transitioning from a traditional running shoe to the Nike Free Run 3+, you won’t have to make a lot of drastic changes. Other minimalist running shoes you often have to start out at a couple miles a week, not so with this shoe.
I was given the Nike Free Run 3 + Shield to test which is Nike’s water resistant upper that helps keep water and snow out while running in the elements. I’ve tested this shoe in steady rains and to date, I haven’t had any water get into the shoe except for water running off my legs or pants into the shoes. One of the downsides to this water resistant upper is that there is less room for the foot which creates a very snug fit. I adjusted the laces a number of times, but it seems hard to get away from that tight fit. Where I have found the discomfort is on the top of the foot over the arch. It is not painful, but you can definitely feel the pressure.
In the heel of the Nike Free Run 3 +, I also feel the heel cup is a little sloppy. This is primarily due to the shoe not having a supportive hard plastic heel cup. Less hard plastic = more barefoot like or minimalist.
For the early fall and winter nights, this shoe is plenty reflective. Throughout the shoe, there is reflective material integrated into the shoe which is great as the dark nights get closer and closer.
The durability of the outsole and midsole in the Nike Free Run 3+ is excellent. After short, medium, and long runs, I have seen minimal wear on the outsole and compression in the midsole.
Overall, for a lightweight water resistant minimalist shoe, the Nike Free Run 3 + Shield is a solid performer. I recommend you try these shoes on before you buy them if you have larger feet because of less room in the upper. If you have smaller to normal sized feet, you should be fine.