Nike Zoom Victory 3
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Nike Zoom Victory 3 Review Facts
You may have seen these track shoes on the feet of runners participating in the Rio Olympic Games. This is where the Nike Zoom Victory 3 made their debut, and it’s the exact kind of environment that they are best suited for. A highly efficient, flexible, lightweight, and breathable shoe, the Zoom Victory 3 achieves these impressive features at the expense of protection, cushion, and overall durability. Despite these drawbacks, you should give these shoes a fair shake, especially if you’re planning on running in the Olympics any time soon.
Editor's Pros & Cons
- Extremely lightweight
- Distinctive style
- Excellent breathability
- Terrific flexibility
- Unparalleled traction on running track
- Diminished support
- Disappointing durability
Perhaps the most stunning departure from traditional shoe design present on the Nike Zoom Victory 3 is the outsole. At first glance, it features a spike plate with a bizarre webbing design, offering selective areas of coverage while leaving several small holes open. This particular design choice may unnerve individuals with trypophobia, but it serves an important purpose. The purpose of the plate’s design is to provide selective support in key areas, further reinforced with the addition of six track spikes. While it may look a bit shoddy at first glance, this outsole is a product of sound engineering.
This is the area of these shoes that is the farthest departure from a more conventional running shoe design. In order to weigh low enough to meet the demands of Olympic runners, the Nike Zoom Victory 3’s midsole is not only very thin but made of a lightweight foam material. This results in a bare minimum layer of cushioning spread wafer-thin, providing only enough support to carry you through short track events such as a sprint or relay. On the bright side, this diminished cushioning is in service of a very flexible and energy efficient shoe.
The Nike Zoom Victory 3 features an upper portion that is extremely lightweight and breathable. This is all accomplished in conjunction with an excellent style, being comprised of multiple coordinating colors and featuring the trademark Nike swoosh. It is made primarily of knit fabric, referred to as Flymesh. This material is excellent for keeping these shoes securely fastened to your feet while running as well as providing steady airflow, but it comes at the cost of protection. It’s a tradeoff for certain, but for the specific circumstances these shoes were meant for, it’s entirely justified.
Weighing in at an unbelievable 3.5 ounces, these are some of the lightest shoes you can wear. This is an intentional design decision on the part of Nike, choosing to offer only the bare minimum levels of support and protection in the service of an energy efficient and low resistance track shoe. What’s really impressive about these shoes is that they’re even lighter than most minimalist running shoes, meant to emulate the sensation of barefoot running. While it’s true that you are much more limited in terms of suitable running environments when wearing the Nike Zoom Victory 3 than you are in barefoot running shoes, the drastic weight difference is still incredible.
You should have no concerns whatsoever with the quality of airflow present in these Nike track shoes. Among their other focal points, the Zoom Victory 3’s are designed in order to facilitate the maximum amount of breathability, even at the expense of general foot protection. This is accomplished mainly through the upper, with its use of Flymesh design and material, but the lower portion helps with this as well. The exceptional lightness of the entire lower portion almost negates the need for high ventilation, but this impressive feat is accomplished regardless.
A slight amount of comfort can be experienced in these track shoes due to how securely it remains fastened to your feet and how light they feel when running. In these respects, the Nike Zoom Victory 3 can be considered comfortable. However, as is common with most track shoes, the need for an extremely lightweight and efficient stride results in significantly less cushion than is present in most other styles of running and training shoes. For runners transitioning from these kinds of shoes into this track shoe, the different will be significant and uncomfortable. However, for individuals who are already used to track shoes, these will feel perfectly fine on their feet.
Nike have always been on the cutting edge of footwear style, having set the standard other brands attempted to imitate for decades. These track shoes feature a similar level of aesthetic expertise in their design, making them resemble a sports car for your feet. Multiple color schemes are a given, considering the manufacturer, but a special limited edition Olympic style option is available to celebrate these shoes’ inclusion in the Olympic games. One area where these Nike shoes may turn off some customers with its design is its outsole, which features a spike plate that will definitely unnerve individuals with trypophobia.
For the sake of providing a lightweight and energy efficient track shoe, durability was an afterthought. You won’t need to worry about these shoes falling apart while running in a track event, but they do run this risk if you were to use them in any other environment. The lightweight synthetic plastic and polyester materials used in its construction won’t handle the stress of cement sidewalks or asphalt, and the metal track spikes will degrade and reduce traction in these environments as well. Don’t even think about using these shoes on trails or mountain paths either.
The protection offered by these track shoes is extremely limited. This is due to the very thin and light material used for the construction of this entire running shoe. Seeing as the focus when designing the Nike Zoom Victory 3 was to make a stable and efficient article of footwear for the sole purpose of winning track and field events, the only protection offered is the absolute minimum required in this environment. No amenities are present offering protection from any terrain harsher than soft, spongy track, and no resistance is offered against rain, dirt, or sharp objects.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, these Nike track shoes are extremely responsive. In order to provide the level of energy efficiency and stability necessary to take Olympic runners to the finish line, the Zoom Victory 3’s are geared towards first place. In addition to its secure fit thanks to the Flymesh upper, the entire shoe has such a low weight that it almost feels like a minimalist or barefoot runner, at least in regards to its responsiveness. Track spikes on the outsole further drive this point home, at least when running on the surfaces it was meant to be used on.
In order to provide a meager degree of support for your feet, a slight heel drop is present in this shoe’s midsole. Although it isn’t as significant of a difference as the amount you would find on a standard running shoe, it’s still enough to provide your heel with a bit of support while running. Some arch support has been implemented as well, thanks to the spike plate attached to the outsole extending past the forefoot and over the arch. While these two features help to accommodate your feet’s support needs, it won’t feel supportive enough to wear for very long periods of time or in many different environments.
The only environments in which these shoes are viable for running on are a standard Olympic-style track, artificial turf, and soft grassy fields. These surfaces are more porous and will provide less of a shock to your feet and legs with every strike. This is good for these shoes since they have little to no shock absorbency abilities due to their extremely lightweight and stripped-down design. These aren’t shoes that are meant for casual walking and running; the track spikes alone will give you a tough time walking on the sidewalk or along the side of a road. It’s true that you can remove these spikes in order to walk easier on these surfaces, but it still isn’t recommended.
When considering the fact that these shoes were used by professionals at the Olympic games, the price they are selling for seems like an incredible deal. Even in the realms of track spikes and general Nike footwear, these shoes come at a very affordable cost. However, considering that the Zoom Victory 3’s are only viable in extremely specific situations, this price can seem a bit much. You won’t really be able to replace standard cross-training shoes, running shoes, trail shoes, or sneakers with this pair, so you will inevitably need to drop a similar amount of change to acquire shoes that are geared toward these environments as well.
In order to provide a smooth and stable run across the entirety of a track, these Nike track shoes were designed for the purpose of providing impeccable traction in this sole running environment. For this purpose, an outsole was designed that featured the bare minimum of material needed to offer protection only to a few key areas of the forefoot and arch, with the addition of six track spikes to increase grip in this region. The result of this design is a shoe that provides a terrific degree of traction on this specific running surface but would slip and scuff on any other terrain.
The amount of stability present in these Nike shoes are just enough to push you to the end of most Olympic running events. This means that they are best suited for short running sessions with an emphasis on speed and explosive power. Some factors that contribute positively to its stability is the secure fit provided by the Zoom Victory 3’s upper and the six trail spikes on its outsole. However, the lightweight and somewhat flimsy material ends up taking away from the overall stability of these shoes, which is why they can really only be relied on in shorter periods of time.
Exact information on these shoes’ heel drop is extremely difficult to find, even from the manufacturer. They look to have an elevation difference of about 3 to 5 mm, making it just slightly favorable to the heel in terms of cushioning. This drop is extremely slight and is even further offset due to the outsole, which features something almost resembling a reverse drop due to additional hard plastic located on the arch and forefoot. With the six-track spikes embedded in this same area, the end result of this interesting design is a shoe with a neutral stride, despite its extra heel cushion.
- Multiple color options and limited edition Olympic styles
- Lightweight foam used in midsole construction
- Highly perforated hard plastic outsole
- Six strategically placed removable track spikes
- Highly breathable Flymesh fabric upper
These shoes are not meant for everyone, and they aren’t meant to be used in every situation. If you’re considering investing in a pair of the Nike Zoom Victory 3’s, you shouldn’t think of them so much as a simple set of footwear. You should instead look at it as a performance-enhancing supplement. It will provide you with the tools you need to make the most out of your natural ability and discipline. No, wearing these shoes will not instantly make you an Olympian. However, if you have the tenacity and motivation of an Olympian, these shoes will help you get across the finish line.