Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Saucony Freedom 3 Multi Tester Review: Still Free Spirited, More Lively and Fun, no longer wild and rough edged

Article by Ryan Eller, Peter Stuart, Jacob Brady, Sally Reiley, and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Freedom 3 ($150)

Editor’s Note: We welcome Ryan Eller as a contributor to RTR with this his first review. Ryan’s run background and bio: 
A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.
Ryan decided to forego his Wall Street job to be a gear junkie, and is currently the fledgling entrepreneur behind his company, Bridger Helmets.  Most days, you'll find him loping along the Charles River in Boston. Of all the places he's run, Central Park NYC and the New Hampshire coast top his list.

Jacob: The Freedom 3 is Saucony’s lightweight, free-feeling, do-it-all (though perhaps on the faster-running side) trainer. The Freedom 3 drops a fair bit of weight (around 0.7oz/20g) from the previous model (Freedom ISO 2) and ditches the ISO upper as well as the EVERUN midsole, incorporating the FORMFIT upper and PWRRUN+ midsole as in many of Saucony’s recent releases, such as the Triumph 17 and Xodus 10.

Peter: I’ve wanted to like the OG Freedom and the Freedom 2 more than I did. The Freedom always sounded like a good idea but felt kind of ponderous to run in. I felt like I got stuck on the forefoot (maybe due to the crystal rubber) and didn’t glide through my stride. The Freedom 3 drops the ISO upper--thankfully--and drops some weight. It’s funny, I just went back and read my review of the original Freedom and I liked it at the time--but it wasn’t a shoe that I kept running in for long. So let’s dig into the Freedom 3 to see how it compares. 
Sam: The first 2 Freedoms didn’t really match up with their name beyond being largely free of upper support and free of lively fun for me. The ISO Fit upper and lack of heel counter along with the dull dense and heavy Everun made them a bit more wild and rough than free.

With Freedom 3, Saucony ditches Everun for PWRUN+ still a TPU midsole but said by Saucony to be 3x more durable and 3x less temperature sensitive than EVA, 2x as flexible, and 25% lighter and absorbing 5% more impact than Everun. We tested the Triumph 17 and Xodus 10, both with PWRUN+ and they clearly were both bouncier, softer, and more dynamic than Everun. The free wheeling ISO upper of the earlier Freedoms is now a nice secure engineered mesh with a much needed heel counter. Still a flexible shoe, still a 4mm drop, and now lighter I couldn’t wait to test. 

Ryan:  Energy efficiency – they give back whatever you put into them
Ryan:  Smooth, luxurious fit for such a snappy shoe
Peter, Jacob: Nice upper, smooth flexible ride. 
Jacob: Energetic but cushioned ride
Jacob: Bouncy and enjoyable to run in
Sally/Sam: Bouncy, cushioned, snappy ride. Uber comfortable all around, great heel hold

Ryan:  Stability diminished by explosive midsole
Ryan:  Forefoot upper felt a bit too stretchy for an already-spacious toebox
Ryan, Jacob:  Uninspired aesthetics
Jacob: Flexible midsole leads to an uncomfortable ride on bumpy surfaces (e.g. cobblestone) 
Jacob: Less smooth at slower paces
Peter: none so far
Sam: All premium here in materials but cost at $150 and some doubts about veratility 
Sally/Sam: A bit too soft and unstable, particularly in the roomy forefoot
Sally: Yet another all black shoe?

Tester Profiles
Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years
Jacob runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He runs every day and averages 50 miles per week. Jacob recently ran a PR 2:51 marathon and just wrapped up his first season of ultra/trail running which included two 50km trail races and two mountain races.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.
Sally is a mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past six Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $200,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday she ran the NYC Marathon in November finishing 2nd in her age group with a PR time of 3:28:39.  Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5’2’’ and 105 pounds.
A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.Of all the places he's run, Central Park NYC and the New Hampshire coast top his list.

Official Weight: 8.4 oz / 239 g men's / (US9)  / 7.8 oz / 222g women's / (US8)
Samples: M9 8.6 oz /243 g M10: 8.9 oz / 253 g, 9.8oz/279g men’s US 12 (9g difference between L and R) 
Stack Height: 27.5mm heel / 23.5 mm forefoot (includes sockliner), 4mm drop
Releases Feb 1, 2020,  $150

First Impressions and Fit
Jacob: Wow, the Freedom 3 are absurdly flexible and soft. I can press my finger so deep into the midsole and it pops right back out. I can also bend the shoe further than any other slab-type midsole shoe in my memory. There is not much structure to the shoe except for the outsole and heel.

The soft upper is slipper-like on the foot, with the gusseted tongue and thick, soft laces just adding to the feel. The midsole is cushioned and very bouncy. Quite comfortable overall and true to size—an exceptional fit.

Peter: Great upper, true-to-size, feels like a simple and well put together running shoe. This might be what I wish the Kinvara 10 was. 
Sally: A wonderfully comfortable true to size fit right out of the box. I might wear them as slippers on day one, then we will run in them on day 2. Seriously, they are light and flexible and well- cushioned, bouncy underfoot. Typically that means FUN ride. Can’t wait! 

Sam: My test pair was a half size up from normal (what Saucony had) as was my Freedom ISO 2. Freedom 3 is now close to true to size as the fit and hold particularly at mid foot and heel is so vastly improved. This said the forefoot is a bit broad and long which affects the stability at pace somewhat. In a future pair I would go true to size.

Ryan:  Saucony has utilized many of the same features we found in its Triumph 17.  Slip-on is slipper like, with a relatively plush rear collar, and a robust heel counter.  A knit engineered mesh upper is surprisingly welcoming for the upbeat tempo shoe this is trying to be.  The tongue is basic, unobtrusive, and does its job quietly – in the way that a tongue should.  Laces are rounded and pillowy, which aren’t as flattering to look at as some others, but don’t seem problematic practically speaking.  All laces are threaded through a connected, laminated frame around the tongue, which provides consistent pressure over and through the midfoot. Similar lamination is used on the exterior of the toe bumper, giving it much more structure and shape that it would otherwise have.  If I had to nitpick, I’d say there’s a bit too much movement in the forefoot mesh. Fit is true to size.

Jacob: The Freedom 3 upper is smooth, soft, unstructured, and moderately stretchy. It’s a foot-conforming, sock-like fit due to the forgiving mesh, fully-gusseted, nearly integrated tongue, and thick stretchy laces. It’s very comfortable and accommodating. The mesh isn’t particularly thin but it is quite breathable and chilly in the sub-freezing temps I’ve been running in. Unfortunately, it also absorbs water easily and is slow to dry.
The only significant support in the upper comes from the heel counter, external plastic heel “support frame”, and molded sockliner, which is firm and contoured. Otherwise, the upper is so plush and pliable that it feels like there’s nothing on the foot.

I agree with Ryan that forefoot hold is a bit loose but I think the increased comfort is worth slightly less security. The heel hold is also quite good so the fit is not sloppy at all. 

Peter: Such a nice upper. Just a reminder that you can make a great feeling upper with quality materials that fits well. It’s not rocket science. Well done, Saucony. I like the old-school puffy laces. They hold just fine and I love the way they look. 
Sally: I found the roomy and stretchy forefoot and thus lack of forefoot hold mentioned above to be a bit problematic. The heel hold was great, but not quite enough to overcome this shortcoming. MIght work fine on a higher volume foot.

Sam: With a heel counter and the trace fiber stitching at mid foot and towards the heel this engineered mesh upper is mostly state of the art in comfortable secure hold front to back. 
I particularly like the soft tubular laces which allow a broad complete over the top of the foot lockdown of the foot without the pressures often felt with thin narrow flat laces in relatively soft unstructured uppers such as this one. Given the softness and flexibility of the midsole/outsole the forefoot area hold could be tightened, or more likely the flexibility tuned down a bit with different outsole make up a bit, but this is a small quibble.

Sam: PWRUN+ TPU expanded beads midsole. which is said by Saucony to be 3x more durable and 3x less temperature sensitive than EVA, 2x as flexible, and 25% lighter and absorbing 5% more impact than Everun which was in Freedom ISO 2. PWRUN+ is in the Triumph 17 and Xodus 10.

This is a wonderfully bouncy and softer midsole which gives back without being mushy. It is a touch less soft and bouncy than ASICS new Nimbus Lite. The heel feel is particularly fine, tons of cushion well controlled by the firm heel rubber. 

The midfoot gets a touch of support from a small medial plug of firm rubber outsole, effective given the soft midsole. The forefoot has plenty of cushion but is a touch to flexible combined with it is quite soft and is quite similar in feel and ride there to Nimbus Lite.

Ryan:  Here’s the crown jewel of this whole kit.  PWRRUN+ is clearly more than just a gimmick, and it’s immediately noticeable that it defines this whole shoe.  A highly energy-efficient, low-inertia foam gives back whatever you put into it. Along with decreased weight, more durability, and resistance to temperature fluctuation, this midsole has a lot going for it if it can endure mileage as Saucony claims.  Even in 20 degree weather, any deadening in the foam was imperceptible. This may end up being my go-to tempo shoe, but I’d also consider using it for longer runs, as the softness of the foam seems easier on the knees.  I wouldn’t go so far as to lace these up for a track session, though. Aesthetically, the foam stack has an interesting, beaded look with tiny protruding nubs of foam.
Jacob: The Freedom 3 midsole is a single slab of PWRRUN+ expanded TPU bead foam, the successor to EVERUN. PWRRUN+ is softer, springier, and less dense than other TPU bead midsoles I’ve run in such as Adidas Boost and Reebok Floatride.

PWRRUN+ is cushioned as well as highly energetic with a strong rebound; it’s really fun stuff. I agree with Ryan, the midsole defines the Freedom 3: soft and bouncy.

When flexing the shoe in-hand, I have to bend it unreasonably far to hit the break point, I think the outsole keeps it in control, as it creases right behind where the center outsole coverage ends under the arch.

Peter: PWRRUN+ is finally a midsole worth getting excited about from Saucony. I haven’t been thrilled with the various iterations of Everun. This midsole feels like it is closer to HyperBurst (from Skechers) than Boost or other “super” foams. The cushion to weight ratio is good, the energy return seems solid and they are soft enough for easy days, but snappy and firm enough to do tempo. 
Sally: As the others have mentioned, the PWRRUN+ midsole defines this shoe and is what runners of all paces are going to love about it. I am rehabbing a foot injury right now that needs a firmer less flexible  midsole to heal, so today this isn’t my ideal shoe… 
but I can’t wait to come back to it in a few weeks for some peppy bouncy runs!

Ryan:  The soft nature of the midsole, along with the wishbone-shaped gap in the outsole result in a rubber which feels fairly pliable under foot.  Traction of the ‘crystal’ rubber was impressive, even on sections of wet, sandy pavement. Bits of high durability rubber find themselves in the usual places at the heel, toe, and at mid foot on the medial side for a touch of support, but they went unnoticed during my runs.  
The forefoot is plenty pliable, and without any cutouts in the mid foot rubber, the main flex point is moved forward -- again reminding you that it’s ready to go fast.

Jacob: The outsole is composed largely of Saucony’s Tri-Flex Crystal Rubber, as seen on the previous Freedom ISO 2. The outsole coverage is fairly comprehensive yet also decoupled. Though flexible, the outsole definitely gives some necessary structure and stability to the soft midsole. There is firmer, more durable rubber in the high-wear areas on the toe and heel, as well as under the arch which likely helps with stability.

The outsole has wide ridges running laterally that are deeper and more lug-like than the majority of road shoes. I’ve found the grip to be top notch; better than most of my road shoes in the wet, snow, ice, and slush I’ve been running in.

Peter: A vast improvement in all ways from the original Freedom. Grippier, more stable and transitions off the heel and through the forefoot better. I think the vertical strips of hardened rubber help move the Crystal Rubber along. The Crystal rubber keeps things soft and flexible and the other stuff adds to a crisper ride. 

Sally: I like an outsole that does not get my attention. This one works: quiet, grippy, stable, fluid 

Sam: Something about crystal rubber and I don’t agree. Didn’t like it in prior Freedom or Nike Epic React. Strangely mushy in feel, overly flexible and lacking response and snap. I wish for something more conventional here but a minor complaint. 
The plug of heel grade firmness rubber at the medial mid foot adds a touch of stability to the softer midsole. Grip is outstanding.

Ryan:  PWRRUN+ beckons you to push the pace and test its limits.  Although a bit too bouncy to be used as short-distance racers, the ride stayed responsive and under control from 9 min/mi up to 5 min/mi pace.  
Stability suffers a bit, but was only noticeable while dodging rowdy dogs and pedestrians, so for most folks it won’t be an issue.  Plenty of ground contact and a relatively small offset give this a neutral ride, which may sound boring, but definitely isn’t.

Jacob: My first run in the Freedom 3 was a treadmill workout, 3x8min threshold (5:40min/mi for me), which is atypical as I rarely run a hard workout or on the treadmill for a first run. However, the Freedom 3 performed well and the workout went smoothly. They are more cushioned than I expected and the ride is plush, though the midsole is quite energetic so the softness doesn’t get in the way at faster paces. Though the Freedom 3 is flat/low-rocker, there is notable spring on toe-off, I just have to work a bit more for it than in shoes with more rocker or structure in general, especially at slower paces.
On the treadmill, the Freedom 3 felt like running barefoot on a soft, bouncy mat. On the road, this sensation is still there but is fortunately less dramatic. At first I felt the ride to be extreme—it’s definitely not traditional or controlled—but I feel less so after several runs in them. I was also worried that they’d be too flexible and bouncy and thus unstable and hard to turn over, but they’re stable enough given their free-feeling, flexible fun. The only time I’ve felt the high flexibility to be a negative is when running on uneven terrain (e.g. cobblestones), otherwise, the Freedom 3 runs smoothly and lively at most paces.

Peter: The Freedom 3 is super smooth. It rides sort of like a Razor 3, but with a little more shoe there. I’ve found it to be really nice to go out and cruise miles in, I’ve stepped up the pace in them and that’s been fun too. I don’t know that I’d take them too much over 10 miles at this point, but the ride is nice. It’s bouncy without being obnoxious, smooth without being dull and soft without being a marshmallow. It’s comfortable and fun to run in. My only qualm is that I can see it being a shoe that some people bottom out in. It’s very flexible and pretty soft. If you really lay into it, and are heavier, you might find that its not enough shoe. 

Sally: The ride is definitely a bit wilder and less controlled than that of a more traditional firmer shoe. It is smooth, but quite soft and bouncy. My feet did tire after a 14 mile run, yearning for a bit more stability, but that could be influenced by a nagging foot injury. The ride is as peppy as your legs make it, and the shoes give it all back in spades.

Sam: I agree with Sally this is still a wilder and kind of free ride but all the changes dramatically improve the overall picture. I wish only for a touch more stability and snap off the forefoot, maybe it could a touch stiffer and firmer outsole rubber to balance things. One thing is for sure. Whereas before the ride was sort of on the ragged edge now it is fun and more pulled together and let’s just say any pace reliable. In fact while I prefer stiffer more stable shoes for recovery runs I can well see using Freedom for that as the slow paces ride, unlike predecessors is no longer punishing (Everun gone) and the support more than adequate. 

Conclusions and Recommendations
Ryan: A very versatile and spunky tempo-distance shoe, there aren’t any gaping flaws here.  I’ll shave a few tenths off for stability, a bit of stretch in the forefoot, and a lack of aesthetic pizazz, but otherwise I see these as being a staple of my everyday arsenal.  For folks with serious concerns about stability but still desiring a lively midsole, they may want to look toward the more robust Triumph 17 which shares this same PWRRUN+ foam.
Ryan’s Score: 9.5/10

Jacob: I was initially unsure what the Freedom 3 would work best for, particularly, did they have long run potential? I’ve found some soft, free-feeling midsoles to get hard to control and turn over later on in longer runs (New Balance FuelCell Propel comes to mind) or to run best at faster paces (Altra Escalante). However, after over 40 miles in Freedom 3, for me they’re a great daily trainer option; a well-rounded do-it-all shoe from pace work (tempo/threshold blocks, not track speed) to long days. They wouldn’t be my first pick for racing, as the transition-encouraging geometry isn’t there, but this isn’t their intention. At slow paces when my strike shifts more towards the heel, they feel more sluggish and even a bit hard (perhaps close to bottoming out) in the heel, so not a first choice for recovery days either.

Overall, the Freedom 3 is an enjoyable shoe to run in—definitely a high “fun factor”. The PWRRUN+ slab makes the Freedom 3 what it is: smooth, cushioned, free-feeling, and bouncy. I’m looking forward to more shoes using PWRRUN+ which are no doubt coming soon. This stuff with plate in it to stiffen a bit, control, and direct energy could be incredible. It’s great in the Freedom 3, however, with their unique flexible feel, and I definitely like them overall.
Jacob’s Score: 8.7 /10
Ride: 8.5 (50%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 8.5 (15%) Style: 7 (5%)

Peter: The Freedom 3 is a really nice, super flexible daily trainer. I’m a fan. I think it’s a nice improvement over the earlier versions of the shoe.
Peter’s Score: 9.3 /10
Not the most exciting, but a great use of new foams. Keeps up with what I’ve liked about some other Sauconys like the Virrata and the Kinvara (1 and 2).

Sally: This is definitely a fun free-spirited shoe, providing a soft, bouncy, unstructured ride to the runner who is in control. I yearned for a bit more stiffness and forefoot hold. The midsole is magical, it gives back all that you put into it and more! 
Sally’s Score: 8.9/10.0
Ride: 9.0  (50%) Fit:  9.0 (50%) Value: 8.5 (15%)   Style: 8.0 (5%)

Sam: A super fine update to a shoe I really didn’t care much for before due to its overly “free” and somewhat out of control nature and an overly firm kind of dull ride. I tested Freedom 1 and 2 and then used them as casual shoes not really finding a run place for them after testing,

Freedom 3 in contrast is super fun to run with still a lot of spirit and is now much more versatile for me. I can well see continuing to run them for both fast up tempo runs and recovery, a kind of unusual combination. I am not sure I would use it for higher mileage daily training where I want a touch more controlled ride and not as much flexibility. I think it could benefit from non crystal more responsive forefoot rubber or the inclusion of the woven flexible rock guard of the Xodus 10 (RTR Review) and upcoming light fast trail shoe, the Switchback 2, both with soft PWRUN+ midsoles, to stabilize the soft foam and provide some propulsion effect as is clearly felt in the max cushion Xodus on both road and trail.
Sam’s Score: 8.9 /10
Ride: 9 (50%) Fit: 9 (30%) Value: 8.5 (15%) Style:9 (5%)

Watch Sam's 1st Run Review and Shoe Details Video

Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Saucony Freedom ISO 2 (RTR Review)
Sam: The Freedom 3 is “better mannered” as well as more dynamic and fun, softer and bouncier with a vastly superior underfoot via PWRUN+ and a more secure upper with a real heel counter and trace fiber support.

Skechers GoRun 7+(RTR Review)
Peter: these are actually pretty similar. I find the 7+ to be a little more fun to run in. They have a bit more under the forefoot—so I can go longer in the 7+ too. The upper may be a bit better overall in the Freedom. 

Saucony Kinvara 11 (RTR Review)
Peter: The Freedom feels less structured and more fun to run in. For me, the Freedom has more of the essence of the OG Kinvaras. 
Sam: Agree with Peter. The Freedom 3 brings into question the need for the K shoe in the Saucony line up with the possible exception of those who want a touch more stability mid foot to front of the shoe and potentially as a marathon race shoe due to its lighter 7.8 oz weight, $110 price point, and less extensive rubber coverage.

Saucony Ride ISO 2  (RTR Review)
Sam: More responsive, stiffer and more stable upfront the Ride 13 will in 2020 get PWRUN a blend of TPU/EVA  so will get a touch softer and bouncier but still will slot more traditional in feel and higher in drop at 8mm vs. 4mm for Freedom and lower in cost at $10.

Saucony Triumph 17  (RTR Review)
Sally: The Triumph has a similar cushioned bouncy ride and comfortable easy fit, but more stability and structure. The Triumph 17 gets the nod here.

New Balance Fresh Foam Propel (RTR Review)
Peter; Actually pretty similar feeling rides. There’s less shoe in the Freedom, and the Propel is probably a bit firmer. I’m a fan of both. 

Jacob: I agree with Peter. Both are soft, flexible, comfortable, and plush. The Propel is harder to run in, that is, less consistent, and not nearly as conducive to speed.

Nike Epic React 2  (RTR Review)
Jacob: The Epic React 2 is significantly firmer and the upper is rougher and harder to dial in. The ER2 is more predictable and stable due to the firmer midsole. They’re both lightweight do-it-all shoes. The Freedom 3 wins overall for comfort but the rides are different enough that I like them both. ER2 works better for longer, slower runs than the Freedom 3 though neither is ideal.

Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2  (RTR Review) Peter: Aha, that’s it! This shoe reminds me of the Pegasus Turbo 1. Very similar ride. I prefer the upper of the Saucony--but these are a pretty good comparison. 
Ryan: comparable heel to toe, but narrower width (M US 9.5). Similarly tempo-focused but also long run capable, the Peg Turbo 2 is a comparable breed of lively speedster with a comfortable upper.  However, the Nikes have a large offset, are noticeably narrower, and don’t have the mellow, slipper-like upper that the Freedoms provide. Dual-density layers of foam in the Turbo midsole also make the ride feel more nuanced than that of the sprightly PWRRUN+ foam in the Freedom.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus Lite  (RTR Review)
Sally: These two shoes are very similar, both soft and unstructured and very comfortable fit. Asics is a heavier, stiffer, more substantial shoe than the Freedom (though still light). Both may leave your foot feeling fatigued after a number of miles, both bouncy and fun for shorter runs. PWRRUN midsole wins for me, though this could be considered a toss-up.
Sam: I concur with Sally. I do think the Freedom’s upper does a better job over the soft bouncy and flexible forefoot area both shoes have,

Reebok Forever Floatride Energy  (RTR Review)
Jacob: The FFE is far less comfortable, firmer, and noticeably higher stack (10mm FFE vs 4mm Freedom 3). The FFE has a more traditional feel overall and it not nearly as flexible or strikingly soft. Being both expanded TPU bead midsoles, the bounce and ride “style” is similar. The comfort and fun factor of the Freedom 3 wins for me, but the FFE is more versatile, easier to control, and could work better as a single-shoe-quiver for some.

Skechers GO Run Razor 3   (RTR Review)
Peter: Pretty similar feel, the Razor likes to go faster--but both are great. 

adidas Boston  (RTR Review)
Jacob: The Boston is firmer and more traditional with significantly more structure. Fairly different categories of shoes in terms of ride style. I like them both but the Boston wins for long runs + racing, much more consistent and easy to turn over. The Freedom 3 is more comfortable and lively.
Sally: As a longtime Adidas Boston lover, I agree with Jacob here. Different uses.

Altra Escalante 2 (RTR Review)
Jacob: When I first slipped on the Freedom 3 I immediately thought of the Escalante. Both are soft, unstructured, flexible, decently lightweight, and highly bouncy. The Freedom 3 drop of 4mm and higher heel stack makes it a better long run or easy day for me. I really like both these shoes for similar reasons; a fun ride. Freedom 3 for daily miles + longer runs, Escalante for shorter runs and Speed.

New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo  (RTR Review soon)
Peter: Tempo is firmer and more like a traditional shoe. For speed work I’d still do Tempo (though I’d still prefer the 1400), but for easy days the Freedom for sure. 

Jacob: Completely agree with Peter; the tempo is firmer and more traditional. The Tempo isn’t as good a slow running or long run shoe as the Freedom 3 but they’re comparable at faster paces. Very different ride with the Freedom three having less stability but a higher fun factor for sure. I’d pick it over the Tempo most days.

Salomon Sonic 3 Balance (RTR Review)
Sam: A study in contrasts here. Heavier at close to 10 oz, much more stable up front with great decoupling and a very secure yet roomy forefoot upper, the Salomon is denser in feel with a more responsive and at the same time more vibration free landing. Sonic 3 is serious fast daily trainer vs. Freedom is fast, fun, bouncy soft. Comes down to needs and preferences. The Salomon leans more towards one shoe in the quiver than the Freedom but won’t have you smiling as much.
Freedom 3 General Release Feb 1, 2020

2020 Run Introductions YouTube playlist HERE 
Shoe Reviews YouTube playlist HERE

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

Freedom 3 available now!
Men's & Women's HERE
Join VIP Family, Get Free Shipping and 15% in VIP Benefits on every order, Details here

USA  Men's & Women's HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns
EUROPE Men's & Women's HERE
AUSTRALIA Men's & Women's HERE

Men's & Women's HERE

RTR YouTube 2020 Run Introductions Playlist

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Anonymous said...

I do most of my running on trails. The trails aren't overly 'technical' -- they're mostly in good condition and are generally covered in gravel that varies from light to coarse (with occasional sharp stones thrown in to keep you alert). There's a weekly 5km that I sometimes compete in -- and that's on gravel too. I own, and LOVE, a pair of Skechers Razor 3s. But I'm not game to wear them on anything except a paved surface or dirt; the foam in the outer sole looks like it'll get shredded by something as abrasive as gravel.

So. My question. I want a shoe that's FAST like the Razor 3, so that I can run fast in training and even use it in races. But I want something with an outer sole that'll stand up to gravelly, abrasive surfaces.

Does the Freedom 3 fit this bracket? Or any of the newish Skechers with the hyper soles?

Thanks heaps,

Anonymous said...

One thing to add to my previous post: I prefer shoes with a lowish drop. 6mm or lower.


Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Simon,
Depending on your agility the Freedom 3 could work fine,
Two to consider
For sure the Skechers Speed TRL but might be a bit worried about gravel abrasion. It for sure fits the bill https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2019/10/skechers-performance-go-run-speed-trl.html
Saucony Switchback. The v2 coming June (preview here: https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2019/12/saucony-fall-2020-previews-endorphin.html) has the great PWRUN+ midsole of the Freedom plus about 3mm lugs and a flexible woven rock plate that in the Xodus 10 also acts as a bit of a propulsion plate.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply, Sam. Love RTR -- the multireviewer shoes analysis in particular.

Anonymous said...

Could I have a comparison to the asics evoride? Especially on the ride and midsole. They both seem like great uptempo shoes. Thanks a ton for the great review!

Anonymous said...

Would you recommend the freedom 3 for daily training? I do everything short of long runs in the nb fuelcell rebel, and want a low-drop, neutral, softer and more flexible shoe to hit those runs in. Anything over 9 oz. like the triumph 17 is too much for me. I liked the freedom iso2 for a while but find it dull and outclassed now. I can't decide whether to switch over to the sketchers gorun 7+ or to stick with a brand I already know and trust for quality (Saucony). Thoughts?

P.S. thanks for so many thorough and helpful reviews, this site is unparalleled in quality and quantity. Keep it up!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for the kind words about RTR. Freedom 3 would be a good option for you. The PWRUN+ is far more lively and lighter than yes the dull Freedom 2 Everun. You might also look at the similar but more supportive and denser Salomon Sonic 3 Accelerate. It is flexible and absorbs shock and vibration super well, better than Freedom and weighs about the same. Should handle longer runs better than Freedom and would make a nice racer for hillier courses, Review at link below
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help :)

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the stack height (with sockliner) for this shoe is listed at 23.5 and 27.5. I own the old freedom 2 and it is listed at 18/22 mm on this site. Does the new Freedom have the same midsole stack with a big sockliner or is it really about 3 mm bigger midsole while dropping an ounce?

Thanks again for great reviews (the best) :)

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
There is no change in stack height. Saucony is now listing full stack height with sockliner etc... whereas before it was just midsole and outsole.
Sam, Editor

Jen said...

Thanks for your great reviews. I’ve been a fan of Saucony Freedom ISO 1 and 2. Ran marathons and all my training in them. I’m female but run in the mens UK size 8.5. I had several pairs but then got fed up with one big toe always breaking through the upper mesh. And I found the soles only lasted about 500km - I’m a mid foot runner and the outer sole got worn away quickly. I then tried the Pegasus Turbo 2 but found them too narrow. I have Morton’s Neuroma in both feet so I like a wide toe box to minimise nerve pain. I’m now running in the NB Fuelcell Rebel which I like a lot but on longer runs I feel I need more cushioning. I’m trying to decide whether to try the Freedom 3; has the mesh upper been improved? Is the toe box still as wide? And a more durable sole?

Jeremy Coleman said...

I used to be a fan of the Saucony Cortana 1 for daily training and recovery runs, and I have not found anything with plush cushioning and a low heel drop that could do long runs, tempo work and recovery runs since the Cortana 1.

How would you compare the Freedom 3 to the Cortana 1? Can I do long runs and recovery runs in them? For reference, the two shoes that I spend most of my miles in are the Skechers Razor 3 and the New Balance Beacon V2.