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KICKZ Performance Review: Nike Zoom Freak 3

Von Ray Singca 12/11/2021 Blog , Performance Shoe Test

 

KICKZ Fam, how have you been? After a brief summer break, we are finally back and are rolling into a new season of performance basketball shoes 🔥. Yes, we have exciting times ahead of us 🙌🏽. Let’s kick it off and have a closer look at the Finals MVP’s latest signature sneaker, the Nike Zoom Freak 3!

 

Design

Giannis bringing out the midfoot strap delivers the most obvious visual update of the new Freak shoe. Coming in popping accent colors, this definitely adds an interesting twist to its overall look. Just as much as the return of the reverse Swoosh. Oh, you know how much I was digging that on the first ANTETOKOUNMPO 😁. In terms of colorways, be once again prepared to see lots of different color options for this one 🎨. Looking at the silhouette, Nike went with a low cut similar to its direct predecessor. While the top looks pretty familiar, the bottom with its slightly decoupled outsole provides some differentiation compared to the 2‘s shape. Looking at further tech specs, this model comes in at 367 g. Although still a lightweight, you can see a little bit of a trend in this series, as some extra weight has been added with each Freak version so far.

 

Materials

The first thing I noticed was how thin the materials in some areas felt. The toe box in particular left me a bit worried in terms of longevity. That concern turned out to be unfounded though, as the setup actually offered good durability while being thin and lightweight. This combination of mesh and fuse felt very comfortable on foot and worked pretty well with any kinds of movements. Fans of premiums will however still be disappointed by the Freak series, but be assured that these will get the job done even without leathers and suedes and will do so straight out of the box. Minimal to none break-in time needed ⌛️.

 

Traction

Traction was a bit inconsistent in the beginning. I had the feeling, the outsole needed to get rid of one or two layers of rubber until it could really provide some consistency. After that, the shoe actually performed quite solidly and I did not have any major problems running the floor. A harder bite would have been great but it never came to the point where I would actually slide out. Just be prepared to wipe every now and then as dust is being picked up quite easily. The combination of this specific traction pattern and rubber compound does a solid job but seems pretty soft. I would not suggest taking them on the blacktop.

 

Cushion

From a tech standpoint, the 3s feature two Zoom units under the ball of the foot that should “help absorb energy and provide responsiveness” according to Nike. And in my opinion, that‘s pretty much what they do. The forefoot provided a good amount of bounce and felt like an upgrade compared to the forefoot setup of the Nike Zoom Freak 2. In general though, the foam surrounding the Zoom units is once again on the firmer side and does not offer too much compression. So not necessarily the softest landing but still decent impact protection in my opinion. In terms of court feel, this was actually pretty good as the whole setup is meant to be low to the ground. I definitely felt quick and light on my feet in these. However, if you need a softer setup, these might not be the right model for you.

 

Fit

Even though these were a bit snug around the forefoot in the beginning, that feeling got better over time and the shoe actually fit perfectly after a short break-in period. I would definitely suggest going true to size. Wide footers might also want to consider going with their true size, as this model offers a bit more room compared to its predecessor. Additionally, I liked the interior padding and molding in the rear area, which did not only feel comfortable but also helped with keeping my feet in position. Good wearing experience overall.

 

Support

It really starts with the snug fit, which keeps you in place at all times. With that in mind, it’s pretty needless to say that heel slippages or other unwanted movements are not an issue with the Nike Zoom Freak 3. Laterally, the rigid materials and the midsole wings provide good support and would not let you slide off the footbed on hard side-to-side movements. Additionally, the wide base has you covered in terms of lateral stability. What’s pretty much unnecessary in terms of support is the midfoot strap. It’s just a bit short and barely reaches the end of the Velcro tape without jamming or pinching my foot. So I wore the strap pretty loosely, which in the end did not really have an effect on the shoe’s performance at all.

Bottom Line

Giannis ANTETOKOUNMPO’s third signature shoe might be my favourite one of this series. It is well balanced and offers some good features at a pretty reasonable price. For EUR 125,- you will get lightweight materials, nice support elements and a pretty good wearing experience overall. While all of that sounds intriguing already, you’ll once again have to lower your expectations when it comes to traction and cushioning. Both are not terrible but rather basic than anything special in my opinion. Ultimately, I think the Freak 3 is a solid option from the highly competitive mid-range price segment and offers good value for your Euros.

 

 

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