By Kieran Alger
The Nike Invincible 3 is a big, cushioned beast that’s definitely built for easy-miles and ambling recovery runs but it also harbours ambitions for a wider range of your daily miles. Now in its third generation, Nike has completely overhauled the Invincible with major updates to the midsole, new uppers and a new heel design for improved hold. It now packs a bigger stack of ZoomX for a softer, bouncier ride and hopes to offer improved overall fit and better versatility. But has Nike delivered a decent all-round daily trainer? Read my Nike Invincible 3 review to find out.
Stack Height, Drop, Weight and Price
With an added 3mm of ZoomX foam right across the foot, the Nike Invincible 3 stack height now comes in at 40mm / 31mm. Very few daily trainers carry a bigger wedge of midsole foam underfoot. That massive stack is there to deliver cushioned protection and bounce, somewhat similar to the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 and the Saucony Kinvara Pro.
When it comes to weight, our test UK men’s size 8.5 tipped the scales at a considerable 10.9oz or 310g. That’s heavier even than the weighty ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 (10.4 oz / 295g) and the Saucony Kinvara Pro (10.3oz / 291g) but still lighter than another easy-daily shoe rival, the On Cloudstratus 3 (11.3oz / 320g).
On price, the Nike Invincible 3 lands at $180 right at the top end of what you can expect to pay for a daily trainer. That’s a match for the Saucony Kinvara Pro and the On Cloudstratus 3 but $20 pricier than the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25.
Easy/ Recovery runs
40mm heel / 31mm forefoot
Weight (Size 10)
10.9 oz / 310 g
Suggested Retail Price
True to size
The biggest change to the Nike Invincible 3 comes in the midsole. Nike added an extra 3mm ZoomX foam across the foot. That’s the same light-and-responsive PEBA-based ZoomX foam you find in the Alphafly and Vaporfly race shoes and it’s there to deliver softer landings and more bouncy return.
The midsole also now flares considerably out each side, particularly in the forefoot, to create one of the widest running platforms I’ve ever tested. That broader base also works with a new firm board that sits below the sockliner to enhance the stability. Finally, you’ve got a pronounced rocker to roll you through your stride more efficiently and a calf-protecting 9mm drop.
Up top, the Nike Invincible 3 feature dense Flyknit uppers with Nike’s Flywire to add extra support and structure. The uppers also have strategically placed, more-breathable sections to dissipate heat where your foot needs it most. Meanwhile, a new, smaller heel clip, aims to help improve heel hold and stability.
The outsole carries a good covering of thin, soft rubber to provide the grip and boost the workhorse durability.
I ran in a UK size 8.5 and after my test runs, I wondered if I should drop down half a size. I found the Nike Invincible 3 fit a mixed bag and less than perfect. On the one hand you’ve got quite a roomy, spacious fit in the toe box but I struggled to get a good secure fit across the top of the foot without lashing the laces almost uncomfortably tight across the midfoot. Despite that heel clip upgrade, I also suffered quite a bit of heel slipping. It’s a shame the roomy toe box wasn’t blacked up by a good, reliable locked-down fit.
In testing, I clocked 50+ miles in Nike Invincible 3. That included mix-paced 10kms, a couple of 90-minute easy efforts, along with some faster mile intervals to test the top speed and versatility. I clocked the miles mostly on road but some on light off-road river paths to sample the stability.
The first thing I look for in a good running shoe is an effortless, disappearing feel on the foot. I favour shoes that I forget I’m wearing. For me, the Nike Invincible 3 fails to tick that box.
Even for a max-stack shoe, this is noticeably heavy on the foot and you’ll need to enjoy big, bulky shoes that dominate your feet to like these. I personally prefer shoes that are more stripped-back, even on my easy runs and I found the ride and the overall foot feel of the Nike Invincible 3 a bit unnatural, interruptive and cumbersome. There’s just an awful lot going on down there. The same could be said of the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 but that shoe disappears better.
Now I get why some runners might enjoy the big stack of bouncy ZoomX. It’s impressively adept at smoothing the road though you sacrifice almost all ground feel for that cocooned feel.
There’s also no question the Nike Invincible 3 performed better on my slower, easier recovery miles. But at times I felt like the heel and the forefoot were almost disconnected. It’s almost like you’re running in two shoes and that creates an often slappy and slightly sloppy ride.
So when it came to pushing the pace, I found it much too clunky and cumbersome for anything really uptempo. I’d be surprised if anyone considers this to be a serious faster-paced option, for anything more than marathon pace. That really limits the versatility and hampers the value of what’s a pricey premium shoe.
On the plus side, the outsole packed plenty of traction in the wet. Not that I was ever cornering particularly fast. And that generous covering of rubber should protect that ZoomX midsole to give this high-mileage durability.
Full transparency, the Nike Invincible 3 isn’t a shoe that I would normally choose. I’m in the less-is-more camp and so this shoe isn’t really aimed at me. Fans of big beast high mileage trainers will definitely like this more than I have.
It might be a touch firmer and a bit more stable than its predecessor but the Nike Invincible 3 is still massive on cushioning. If you like your shoes maxed out, this could be a good option for soaking up the big, slow, easy miles.
Some fans of monster shoes might even find enough spring and response from that ZoomX foam and rocker to tackle more uptempo miles. But if you prefer your shoes more stripped back, direct, light and agile (like me), this muscled-up lump probably isn’t for you.
Overall, at $180 I think this daily trainer lacks the versatility of cheaper daily options that offer better value.
What else would I recommend? Well, the ASICS Gel Nimbus 25 is just as max-cushioned and bouncy but somehow manages to feel more streamlined and versatile. If you want soft but stripped back, the On Cloudsurfer 7 is a nicely cushioned option that can be lively and copes better at a range of paces. Or if you like your max-stack much firmer, the On Cloudmonster is also worth a look.