Nike Free Flyknit 3.0

When Nike got into the running shoe business, they did so with one goal in mind: innovation. It’s no secret that Nike is king when it comes to style and performance, and they spare no expense in coming up with unique and slick designs for their line of running shoes. The Nike Free Flyknit is yet another dynamic shoe design from the company, being s marketed as, “Nike’s most natural ride.” With a low profile and sock-like fit, does the shoe live up to the hype?

The Flyknit 3 provides a natural running experience with its low-profile, flexible midsole, breathable upper, and comfortable cushioning. Its midsole construction allows the foot to naturally move through the gait cycle, while its 4mm heel to toe drop encourages natural foot strike. The waffle design on its outsole helps absorb the shock of impact and adds overall responsiveness. Flex grooves throughout the outsole provide greater flexibility, and there is durable rubber placed in high-wear areas. Nike has a stellar reputation in the running shoe world and the Free Flyknit 3 continues this tradition.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Minimalist and lightweight with a “barely there” feel. Durable and breathable Flyknit upper
  • Can easily be slipped on and off, making it a great casual shoe
  • Great flexibility due to the light weight of the shoe
  • Durable outsole that also provides good grip on the road
  • Cons
    • Toe box is a little tight, especially for those with wider feet
    • Price is somewhat high
    • Not suitable for more difficult terrains.
    • Key Features
      The outsole of the Nike Free Flyknit 3.0 is made up of carbon rubber pieces under the toe and heel. The outsole features a waffle pattern designed to absorb the impact of the shock while running while also providing the foot some spring and cushioning. Along with the rubber waffle patterns, there are countless hexagonal patterns cut into the midsole. These cuts are designed to give the shoe flexibility when they run, allowing the foot to run in a more natural motion due to increased flexibility.

      The deep flex grooves are located in the middle of the outsole. The carbon rubber that covers high-wear areas of the Flyknit 3’s outsole helps provides extra protection and durability. There are also four pods near the toe of the outsole that is designed to give the big toe area a little extra grip during a run. Similar pods can be found on the heels of the outsole. The only complaint about the outsole is that small rocks and debris tend to get stuck in the larger flex groove cuts. While they aren’t noticeable during a run, they can be a pain to pick out afterward.
      The midsole features an injection-molded EVA variant with a very low profile. The midsole is a dual-density foam. The angled cuts in the midsole provide the runner with good cushioning, but these cuts are meant more for flexibility than springiness. The midsole is a bit firm, which is a bit disappointing when you consider that the shoe is designed to run barefoot.

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      As is custom with the Flyknit line, the Free Flyknit 3.0 uses Flyknit technology on the upper. This means that it’s a single piece of woven cloth that’s extremely durable, flexible, and comfortable but doesn’t sacrifice breathability. With no tongue in the upper, the shoe uses the Nike Flywire lacing system with three loops.

      This lacing system is easily adjustable for a tighter or looser fit depending on the runner’s preference. There’s also a molded sock liner around the ankle that grips to the foot. The upper has a sock-like feel after lace-up, which makes sense for a shoe that’s designed to be worn without socks, so the upper must deliver breathability along with comfort. Nike’s Flyknit material is one of the most unique and well-designed uppers on the market and continues to impress with its updates and changes.
      At 7.7 ounces/218 grams, the Free Flyknit 3.0 is a very lightweight running shoe. With a marketing campaign that promotes the shoe as providing “the most natural ride,” one would expect a lightweight shoe and a minimalist design, and that’s exactly what the Free Flyknit 3.0 delivers.
      As with any Nike shoe employing a Flyknit upper, the breathability is fantastic. Since the upper is one piece of woven cloth, there are no overlays, extra seams, or even a tongue that could hinder the breathability of the shoe. Once again, this shoe is designed to be worn without socks, which means that not even socks will potentially constrict the breathability of the foot because the shoe is the sock. There are ventilation pores where the tongue of a typical shoe would be, which only adds to the overall breathability of the shoe.
      The upper Flyknit remains the most comfortable upper on the market. Some runners prefer a more traditional upper and will find the Flyknit material too constrictive, but since this particular shoe is also sock-like, Nike has added a top collar to the shoe that wraps around the ankle. It’s essentially the collar of the sock, reminiscent of a slightly higher sock that can be worn while running. However, if one used to low profile ankle socks this may be a bit bothersome.

      That said, the collar is comfortable and rather loose-fitting. The midsole is a bit firm, providing less plush cushioning during a run, but it offers more overall flexibility. If one typically runs in racing flats, the cushioning will likely suit their needs. Some runners have also complained about the tight fit in the toe box, and in fact, this is the most common complaint about the shoe. For runners with wider feet, they may find the toes a little bit too cramped, which obviously hurts the overall comfort of the shoe.
      As with any Nike product, there is no shortage of style options. The Free Flyknit 3.0 comes in multiple color combinations, ranging from something as simple as black or white or more vibrant colors like green and orange, chances are runners will find a color combination that suits their particular style.
      Most runners get around 300 miles with the Free 3.0’s. That’s the industry standard, so despite a less than ideal midsole in some regards, the Free Flyknit 3.0 holds up well over time. This is in part thanks to its outsole. The carbon rubber outsole holds up extremely well and doesn’t wear down easily since high-wear areas are coated with abrasion-resistant rubber. Some runners believe that the rounded heel of the outsole has led to its extra durability. Due to the elevated nature of the heel, it is less likely to strike the ground with full impact, thus reducing scuffing. Runners have even used the Free Flyknit 3.0 as a casual shoe because they are so easy to slip on and off, enjoying a long-lasting everyday sneaker in the process.
      Has it been mentioned that one can run barefoot in these shoes? In any trainer, if a runner is able to do that, then it speaks to the overall protection this trainer provides. The whole shoe feels great around the foot and keeps it protected throughout a run. The Flyknit 3.0 is very stable, which means it’s not going to wobble during a run. And if the shoe doesn’t wobble, the runner’s feet and ankles don’t wobble. Although a runner may feel a little off-balance when initially wearing this trainer, once they start running, it’s barely noticeable that the shoes are there at all. While the shoes are great for the road, because they are a minimalist shoe they aren’t meant to be worn while treading tough terrain, so it’s advisable not to wear them in the rain or on rough trails.
      Because the shoe is so lightweight it’s also very flexible. The upper allows the foot to move naturally while the outsole’s numerous flex groove cuts provide plenty of flexibility. While its flexibility is outstanding, because the shoe is designed to provide a natural ride, the overall responsiveness of the shoe is admirable. With its minimal cushioning and overall lightweight, oftentimes it feels like the shoe isn’t under the foot.
      The Flyknit 3.0 provides neutral arch support and provides solid arch support throughout. The support in the upper is great because the Flyknit material conforms to the shape of your foot without restricting it or feeling too tight after lace-up.
      The Flyknit 3.0 is meant for the road but also works well on the track or dry grass. The grip it provides is solid thanks to the four pods on its heel and forefoot. However, this lightweight shoe isn’t meant for the trail or in bad conditions. If a runner is going to take it on the trail or wear it after a rainstorm, wearing socks is recommended just to give your foot a little extra protection and cushioning.
      It should come as no shock that Nike shoes run a bit higher as the consumer is pretty much paying for their brand, design, and uniqueness. Although the Flyknit 3.0 is slightly pricey, they are a durable, lightweight, name-brand running shoe that provides the excellent performance on a run. For a stylish, highly breathable trainer that carries with it a highly recognizable brand, the Flyknit 3.0 is priced nominally.
      Thanks to the numerous pods that cover the outsole of the Flyknit 3.0, the traction provided by this sneaker is solid and can be depended on when running over traditional running surfaces such as asphalt, pavement, and track. This traction can also serve well in dry conditions when running through even natural surfaces such as grass and dirt. However, since this is a minimalist, lightweight shoe, it is not specifically intended to perform on a more difficult terrain.
      The Flyknit upper of this trainer is highly flexible and conforms to the shape of the runner’s foot after lace-up, offering a superior amount of flexibility. Its outsole is also very flexible thanks to the numerous flex grooves cut through its forefoot.
      Thanks to its low drop, the Flyknit 3.0 is a highly stable running shoe. Runners will feel secure and firm after lace-up thanks to its collar, which locks the foot firmly in the foot chamber. However, it truly is because of its low drop that provides this shoe with its superior stability. Keep in mind, though, that this is not specifically a stability shoe.
      The 4mm heel to toe drop of the Flyknit 3.0 is much lower than the standard drop found in most running shoes. Although it is not a zero-drop shoe, this is still a very low drop for a trainer and it provides superior overall stability. This is also a good transition for those who don’t want to switch to a zero drop but still would like to experience a significantly lower drop in their running shoe.
      Key Features
      • Extremely lightweight that gives the shoe a “barely there” feel

      • Its design allows running without socks

      • Flyknit upper is one of the most comfortable on the market

      • Durable outsole that provides strong grip and comfort

      • Flex grooves on the outsole make it a supremely flexible shoe
      Bottom Line
      If a runner is looking for an ultra-lightweight, ultra-flexible shoe with a sock-like fit that offers extra protection and cushioning, then the Nike Free Flyknit 3.0 is the shoe for you. It provides one of the most natural rides on the market and can be worn without socks. Although it may be slightly pricey, this is a brand-name trainer that is well worth the investment, especially considering its lightweight, breathable design and durability. If a runner is used to wearing racing flats or likes to use their running shoes for everyday use, the Nike Free Flyknit 3.0 is a stylish, dynamic, high-end option that will deliver what it promises every step of the way.
      Where to Buy
      By Jeremy Lambert
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

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