The circular traction pattern of the Nike PG 3 NASA outsole is made to complement Paul George’s on-court movements and provides an excellent grip on the surface both during running and quick lateral movements. Continuing the tradition of its predecessors, the PG 2 and 2.5, the NASA model features details from George’s life: his birthday, the jersey numbers he’s worn throughout his career, and his number of tattoos. The outsole is made out of high-quality rubber compound
that doesn’t slip or wear down easily, which one would expect from a good basketball shoe anyway.
The midsole of this new basketball shoe makes use of a tried and tested compound that is currently the best that the brand has: the signature Zoom Air cushioning system. The famous Zoom Air utilizes compressed air units that have elastic fibers knitted inside of them, making them flex upon impact and rebound and stretch back into position using the very same impact force that came their way. This is one of the fastest, most responsive midsole technologies in the world and it’s even lighter than we’re used to seeing it because of the forefoot Zoom Bag that’s put to use. Like the PG 2, the “wings” of the PG 3 are there not only to look good but to lock your forefoot in place and provide support and stability for the entire foot. On the heel, you’ll find one of PG’s favorite quotes: “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon”, tying together his ambition and love for the outer space.
The upper of the Nike PG 3 NASA comes in one colorway named “Total Orange”, which is reminiscent of an astronaut’s flight suit. The upper features black and shiny silver accents that further underline the source of inspiration for the PG 3. The tongue and collar are padded, and the collar is extended behind the heel in order to support and prevent ankle twisting during play. The lacing system is traditional, save for the fact that the laces go through the forefoot overlays, enabling you to customize and adjust the fit of the shoe completely to your liking. In the big toe area, there is an orange toe bumper made to protect the toes during play and increase the upper durability as well. On the back, you’ll find a black external heel counter that stabilizes the heel and ties the whole design together as well.
The weight of the PG 2 was 369g or 13oz, and the PG 3 doesn’t steer away from that number significantly. This weight goes mostly on the sturdier upper that features stitched overlays, padding, and a prominent collar. One of the most important things about the weight distribution in basketball shoes is the lightness of the midsole. It’s hard playing in clunky, heavy midsole shoes, and both Paul George and Nike know this, which is why the use of Zoom Air technology is such a great thing – it’s really hard to be lighter than air.
The upper of the Nike PG 3 NASA is made out of resilient mesh material and stitched faux-leather overlays, meaning that the breathability of the shoe is average, nothing to rave about. The mesh does provide a lightweight and ventilated feel, but this simply isn’t enough to prevent sweating and an occasional hotspot, which isn’t expected of a basketball shoe
to begin with.
As with the PG 1, 2, and 2.5, it’s recommended that you go a half-size up when getting the Nike PG 3 NASA. Compared to the previous models, the PG 3 offers better traction and a smoother experience altogether and requires zero break-in time, which is a rare thing for a basketball shoe, and players will know how to appreciate it. The Zoom Air midsole cushioning offers enough comfort for the entire game, and the padded collar won’t irritate your Achilles
or your ankle. Along with the adult-sized version, this shoe also comes in grade school sizes, which is bound to make a lot of kids very happy.
It’s no secret that Paul George is an avid NASA fan, so it was a logical move to incorporate two of his biggest passions into one basketball shoe, which the PG 3 NASA does in a very effective way. The material swatches and colors, developed with NASA, are the same that are seen in space suits and other clothes, and the shoe has NASA patches on the heel as well. Aside from the heel quote we’ve mentioned, the shoe features the numbers 93552 on the side, which is Palmdale’s zip code. To honor NASA further, their logo is imprinted in on the insole, while the American flag can be seen on the tongue. The whole design is tied together with a red tag that says “Remove before flight” that’s attached to the top eyelet. The traction pattern of the outsole is inspired by moon craters, and of course, there’s a Nike swoosh on the on both sides of the shoe, one on the midsole, and the other on the outsole.
The durability of the Nike PG 3 NASA is above-average, but it may vary depending on your play style and the surface you’re playing on. The more you use the shoe on an indoor court, the longer it will last, and the more you take it outside, the less resilient to abrasions the outsole will be. If you tend to use this shoe outdoors, our recommendation would be not to use it every time, but have them in rotation and switch them up with some basketball shoes made for outdoor courts. The mesh is reinforced with a toe cap and leather overlays that not only offer support and protection, but ensure the upper’s longevity and prevent untimely wear and tear. The springy fibers of the Zoom Air midsole aren’t known for flattening or losing their elasticity, so you can count on the midsole to last you a long time.
The Zoom Air, although most known for its responsiveness, also provides a good amount of cushioning, although it’s firmer than a usual EVA midsole. The Nike PG 3 NASA combines a soft foam midsole with the Zoom Air cushioning unit and an additional forefoot Zoom Air bag, which significantly dampens the impacts forces and prevents your feet from getting tired. Also, a foam sockliner is present above the midsole, which further increases the underfoot protection. As far as accidental game contact goes, the shoe features a protective toe bumper, which is very useful, given that the chances of no one stepping on your foot during a game close to zero.
The lauded Zoom Air technology provides ultimate responsiveness and a snappy, explosive, lightning-fast performance, especially with the forefoot Zoom Air bag added to the Nike PG 3 NASA mix. This midsole helps basketball players and runners alike in accelerating the heel-to-toe transition and providing a bouncy forefoot experience.
Compared to the PG 2.5, the PG 3 has made the change of removing the velcro foot strap and switching it up for so-called wings – two stitched overlays that resemble wings when looking at the shoe’s top. These wings are connected to the lacing system, enabling you to tighten the upper around your foot and create great lateral support in the midfoot and forefoot area. Other than these overlays, the shoe provides good ankle support with the high-cut padded collar that further encourages safe lateral movements of the foot. The shoe itself is a neutral shoe made for normal pronators
, although the arch support is of lesser significance in basketball shoes than in running ones.
Although the Zoom Air
technology is used for a variety of high-performing sports shoes, the Nike PG 3 NASA is primarily a basketball shoe made for indoor courts. It can hold its own on concrete outer courts, but that will probably come at a cost of shortened longevity of the outsole. You could also use this sneaker for some running workouts, although the basketball-friendly collar will probably feel too restrictive for long runs.
Compared to PG 2.5, the 3 has gotten a slight increase in price, which is probably due to the NASA collaboration. This still makes the shoe relatively affordable, but it begs the question whether the PG 3 is better in quality than the cheaper PG 2.5? The jury is still out on this one, but for now, it seems like the majority opinion skews toward the PG 2.5 as a more cost-effective option of the two. However, if you’re thrilled by the original design of the shoe (we wouldn’t blame you, to be honest), its cost probably won’t make or break your budget, and the quality you’ll get is still great, so this all boils down to what you’re looking for in a basketball shoe.
The Nike PG 3 bites the floor really well, especially on indoor courts, where the crater-inspired traction pattern adheres to the surface surprisingly well. The outsole of the PG 3 NASA allows you to perform quick movements without slipping or losing control or ground feel.
The flexibility of the Nike PG 3 NASA isn’t too high on its list of priorities, due to the fact that it’s a basketball shoe, not a running one, which means that support, stability, and responsiveness
are much more crucial to good performance than flexibility. That being said, the outsole and the upper do have a degree of flexibility that most players will find to be pleasant and non-restrictive.
The supportive elements
of the PG 3 NASA also affect the shoe’s stability, which is excellent, especially during lateral movements and explosive changes of direction. The wider shoe platform in the forefoot ensures a stable stance both during offense and defense and will prevent your foot from twisting during landings.
The Nike PG 3 NASA has the same medium-drop as the previous PG versions of the shoe. The thick heel and a slightly thinner forefoot ensure stability
and confident performance of typical basketball movements, as well as a smooth heel-to-toe transition while running from one to the other side of the court.
● Personalized rubber outsole
● Moon craters-inspired traction pattern
● Zoom Air cushioning system in the midsole
● NASA space suit-inspired upper
● Moderately breathable
● Pricier than the 2.5
● Durable outsole when used indoors
● Basketball shoe
● Great responsiveness
● Solid underfoot protection
● Good stability and support
● Great design
PG 3 NASA is the latest of Paul George’s collaborations with the famous brand, this time around encapsulating his love for NASA and everything space-related. NASA has collaborated on the shoe, which resulted in a beautiful, spacy-looking court shoe that doesn’t disappoint – but it doesn’t thrill, either. Compared to the 2.5, the only significant difference, besides somewhat improved traction, is the lack of the forefoot strap, which has been switched for two supportive forefoot overlays. If you have the 2.5's and you’re satisfied with them, there’s no apparent need to upgrade to PG 3, unless you’re really into the design – which would be perfectly understandable.