Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review

During the summer before my junior year of college I used the Streak XC 3 for a few races and workouts.  It was a classic shoe that I knew I had to try and I really enjoyed the shoe except for one reason.  The sole was so narrow, particularly in the midfoot, that my foot would fall off the medial side of the shoe.  The ride was cushioned and responsive, the upper was fine (much better for sockless running with the upper on the LT 2) and it could be used for any road racing distance to XC racing.  The narrow sole proved to much for me and I moved on.  After watching the shoe evolve into the LT series I almost tried the LT 2 due to the awesome looking upper.  However, the sole continued to keep me from making the purchase.  The complete overhaul of the LT 3 finally got me to grab a pair.  Am I happy I did?  Read on to find out:


Sole/Ride/Drop:  The Streak LT 3 is an overhaul upgrade in many ways.  Gone is the softer forefoot and in its place is a prominent, wide, firm forefoot.  It is very reminiscent of the forefoot plates in track spikes but no actual plate is located in the forefoot.  There is a TPU shank in the midfoot but I have not really noticed it.  The small lugs on the forefoot give excellent traction on a variety of surfaces, especially track and dirt.
    The forefoot is very firm while the heel is a bit softer due to the zoom unit located there.  The overall ride of the shoe is firmer and more responsive due how firm the forefoot is.  Due to the wider design of the forefoot, it is stable, but the increased firmness borders on being a bit harsh.  This has changed a bit as the shoe has broken in, but it contributes to the reason why I am more comfortable using this shoe on soft surfaces or track compared to road.  This shoe works much better running fast as the firmness is a bit of a turn off while running slow.  However, those who are used to minimal shoes will not be deterred by the ride.  While the forefoot is firm on landing, it is smooth on toe off due to Nike decoupling the forefoot, which adds to flexibility and smooths out the ride.  There is some toe spring, but it is minimal and does not seem to affect the ride of the LT 3 too much.
   The drop is listed at 4mm but feels lower due to the softer heel.  To me it feels 0-2mm which is one of the reasons the shoe feels like a track spike without spikes.  So those of you with very tight calves may have some trouble.  The prominent forefoot makes landing there feel best with this shoe although your footstrike will vary depending on what you are comfortable with and many other biomechanical factors that we will not get into here.


    I am very impressed by the durability of this shoe given the quality of design and shoe type (lightweight racing shoes don't tend to last long).  I am not seeing much wear anywhere on the outsole after a race, multiple hard workouts and even hiking on technical terrain.  Very impressed with LT 3 given the price point and wish more companies would keep their racing flats cheaper since you are getting less shoe!


Fit/Feel/Upper:  The Streak LT 3 has a new upper with an airy mesh in the forefoot and a slightly thicker mesh in the midfoot and rearfoot.  There is an archband in the midfoot that does help hold the shoe well but can dig into the lateral midfoot if the laces are tied too tight.  The upper is not quite as soft as the LT 2 but can still be worn sockless and is comfortable.  I have worn this shoe for many sockless miles and have not had any issues.
    The LT 3 does not have a heel counter and those with sensitive calcanei will do very well in this shoe.  The lack of heel structure in the upper is compensated for by a high riding heel tab that hugs the posterior ankle well.  The heel tab does have a split to allow room for the achilles tendon.  I am very happy about this since most racing shoes seem to be eliminating the heel tab split.  Other than the archband the upper is unstructured, simple and comfortable.
    The forefoot in general is much more square and anatomic than the previous version.  The forefoot fit is great and does not squeeze my toes.  The shoe does run narrow due to being a racing flat, so those with wide feet may want to look elsewhere.  I have seen recommendations to go a half size up in this shoe and I completely disagree.  If anything the shoe fits true to size or slightly long.  I would go with your normal size for the Streak LT 3.


Weight/Responsiveness:  The Streak LT 3 is listed at 5.3 ounces which is typical for a 5k-10k racing flat.  As I mentioned earlier, this is a great shoe for track or XC given the great traction in the forefoot and firmer ride.  On the road the forefoot tends to feel harsh initially upon landing but has broken in with more miles.  I have used this shoe for a road race (1st Place Overall), many workouts (mostly tempos or intervals) and a few short easy runs.  The workouts have been on the track and the LT 3 really feels like a track spike without the spikes given how the forefoot rides.  The LT 3 is still a do-it-all shoe, but definitely works better as a XC/Track shoe or a good early season pre-track spike shoe to prepare your legs.


Thoughts as a DPT (Student):  I am very impressed with some of the things Nike has done with this shoe biomechanically.  The LT 3 is definitely more stable than previous versions due to the increased surface area/wider outsole, especially in the forefoot.  The shoe still has a cut out midfoot, but it is less pronounced than previous version and is made up for by the wide forefoot sole.  With the added firmness in the front of the shoe, the forefoot is very stable and you will not have a problem with our foot rolling off the sole from there unless you have extreme biomechanical deficiencies (which you should probably see someone about).  I do wish the forefoot was a little less firm.  While increased shoe density does make the sole more stable, if it is too firm runners will tend to slow down because they have to focus more on attenuating forces than producing them.
     That is why I disliked the Mizuno Wave Universe 5.  Too much of the shoe was taken out, leading to it being a bare bones shoe without any cushioning.  So instead of having a sole to give you some rebound while still being very light, you are basically running barefoot on the harsh road.  Many minimalist runners used the argument that the elite Kenyan/Ethiopian runners would run faster if they ran barefoot due to reduced weight.  However, running in general is a balance between producing force and trying to protect the body from being damaged by it.  Slower runners tend to focus only on attenuating forces, while elite runners are better at using it to their advantage to propel them forward.  Too firm of a ride in a shoe will force anyone to shift from propulsion to attenuation.  On the other side of the spectrum, a shoe that is too soft will force the runner to shift from propulsion to trying to find stability.  A softer surface is inherently more unstable and thus the runner will have to focus on finding stability to protect their body from abnormal forces at injurious angles.
   Thus any long distance racing shoe has to be balanced between providing protection but not being too soft or heavy to slow down the runner.  Hence why the shoes of choice for the marathon among elite runners tend to not be the most bare bone models (and yes others will argue that these athletes are being forced to wear certain shoes due to company requirements.  I can't comment on that).  Each person will differ in what they can handle over these distances due to how well they can attenuate the higher forces of running while still producing force to push themselves forward.  Some can handle something like the Streak LT series for the marathon.  Others will need highly cushioned trainers.  Everyone is different!


Conclusion:  The LT 3 is a great upgrade from previous versions.  In my opinion, it is now a much firmer riding, fast mile to 10k shoe (although some will be able to use it for much longer distances.  I would not).  While the Streak LT 3 is still a do it all shoe, in my opinion it will work best on the track, light trail and XC courses.  That combined with the $80 price tag and great durability make this shoe a great one that is well worth a look if you are looking for a lightweight racer.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to Tack On!

These shoes were a provided for their full retail price.  I put at least 75 miles on every pair of shoes before I review them (except racing flats which I put on at least 25 miles).  Currently I have 31 miles on my pair.

As always, my views are my own.

-Matt Klein, SPT

Comments

  1. The new Streak LT 3 sounds quite interesting. How does the firmness of the forefoot compare to, let´s say, the Saucony Type A5 ? Given the stack heights, i originally thought the forefoot should give some ok impact protection. Now i´m a bit unsure. I´d like to use them for speedwork on track, but also 10k workouts on road.

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    1. The Type A5's forefoot was just a little less harsh and a bit more responsive. Similar, but also slightly different. I would definitely try the shoe on first. You may interpret this differently as firmness is partially interpreted through our bodies based on our abilities to load and attenuate forces. My body still is working on that. I know several people who have used this shoe up to the marathon distance (many individuals could also be seen using this shoe at the recent 2016 USA Olympic Marathon Trials), so you my enjoy the ride.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for reading!

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  2. Great to hear your thoughts Matt. The LT2 is my favourite daily trainer (next to the Universe 4, and now the GoRun4), although it took some getting used to the narrow last, and also the quite narrow forefoot. Thankfully the great upper isn't too restricting on the LT2. Still, the difference between the LT2, and the Universe 4 in terms of forefoot space is night and day.
    As soon as I saw the promotion video on RW for the LT3 I knew I had to give the LT3 a try as well. I'm really happy to read your review, and hear that the 3rd iteration now sports a wider last, and a more spacious forefoot, while staying true to the signature Cushlon ride (firm but well enough cushioned to handle long easy miles).
    Could you say a bit more about the forefoot cushioning in regards to the LT2? The LT2's forefoot is very plush, which made it possible to take it out for daily easy miles, as well as speed work. Also, do you happen to have a picture from its outsole?

    Thanks for the great review. Will make a purchase as soon as it's available in Europe.

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    1. The forefoot is VERY different in the LT 3. I have found it to be almost harsh in terms of firmness and would NOT use it for longer miles unless you are used to that. This is definitely a racer only. The LT 1/2 were great in that they really lived up to the "lightweight trainer" title with the plush cushioning. The heel is somewhat cushioned, but that forefoot is very firm and I have stopped using it on roads for that reason. Right now it has been regulated to track and XC duty only.

      I have a picture but for some reason it is not showing up on the blog. Will try to fix that.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for reading!

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    2. Thanks for your answer, helps a lot.

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  3. This or the Takumi Sen 1/2?

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    1. Definitely the Takumi Sen 1/2. Those will always have a special place in my heart and are a step above the rest. Very sad that the Sen 3 fell short compared to those.

      Thanks for reading!

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  5. amazing review.. thank you

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  6. hi, great review, thanks,

    I'm looking for a flat to do a weekly 5k tempo in (about 17 mins). This doesn't look like the shoe for me, but I am also looking at the Type A, Ekiden and Takumi Sen, which do you think is best?

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    1. I would go with the Type A or Takumi Sen if you are trying to do a tempo. Those two are both very light but have a bit more protection for tempo runs. I have also found them to be much more responsive in general than the Streak LT 3.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for reading!

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  7. Would you recommend this shoe for a road mile at a fast pace? I am struggling to find a pair of flats ideal for this distance.

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    1. Most definitely. Based on how the forefoot makes it feel like a track spike, I would highly recommend the Streak LT 3 for shorter races like road miles and 5ks. It also will depend on what you are comfortable with. I would include the Endorphin Racer from Saucony but I have not tried it (and it's pretty expensive for a barely there shoe).

      Hope that helps. Thanks for reading!!

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    2. Thank you so much for your fast reply. It is so difficult to find reviews for shoes that are from people who are running at a high level. I think that these will be perfect for what I need as I plan on using them for track workouts, road mile and possible 3k-5k races. Thanks again!

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  8. Hey Matt, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I'm a college runner (14:44 5k (track) and 24:55 8k in cross). I currently run in asics DS trainers. They have around a 10mm drop. I am more of a lower mileage guy and a heal striker. Anyway, for cross country this season, I'm looking for a racing flat or some shoe that I can wear on tempos on the roads, and our workouts on our grass cross country course that will encourage me to have faster turnover and and get on my toes more. I feel like my trainers restrict me in those areas. The zoom lt 3 shoe sounded encouraging but the tough forefoot is scaring me a little. Any suggestions on what I should get?

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    1. Hey Matt, that's a great question. The beauty of the DS Trainer is that they have such great versatility to be able to handle long runs and faster workouts. My hesitation recommending the LT 3 for roads is that the forefoot is definitely a little harsh there. On grass it is fantastic and digs in well. The heel area on the other hand is perfect for roads but again that forefoot doesn't always feel good. If you like Asics, I might suggest trying one of the Tarther series (Zeal or Kainos) as they are built for roads (~6oz range) but have excellent grip in the forefoot (as in "do not wear them on carpet as they will tear chunks out). They were not designed for grass, but I am just thinking outside of the box here.

      If you are used to very minimal racers, the LT 3 might be good. I just hesitate to suggest them for long tempos on the road. I have done plenty of tempos with them, but it wasn't the most comfortable). If you can try them before you buy them.

      I might suggest the Streak 6, but have not tested them on grass. It's a fast and versatile shoe, I just don't know how good the grip will be.

      So I'd say try the streak LT 3 and compare it with the something like the Kainos and Tartherzeal from Asics. The LT 3 is lighter, but may not be as comfortable on roads.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading

      -Matt Klein, DPT

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    2. Hey thanks so much for the quick reply Matt. Let me modify my question slightly then. What other shoes(s), if any, would you recommend for fast paced distance repeats on grass? For example, 1 mile repeats at race pace. I want to simulate something similar to spikes, but not something that would be as hard on my body. If we take out the tempos on the roads, is there any other shoe, if any, that comes to mind? Meanwhile I'm going to look up the shoes you've suggested. Thanks!

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    3. I wear a size 12-12.5, so unfortunately the zeal and kainos aren't going to fit since there max size is 11.5.

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    4. I think for repeats on grass the Streak LT 3 would be great. Use that or whatever you will be racing in. For the Tempos on Road I would suggest something else if you (like I) am nervous of the overly firm forefoot. In your case I might suggest the DS Racer (which is the racing version of the DS Trainer and has some mild stability to it), Hyperspeed or Streak 6 (the adios will be too similar to the DS Trainer). The Hyperspeed might be a good option since it will help you get up on your toes with the lower drop but has a decent amount of protection from road. I've seen it used on grass but the outsole is definitely meant for road (not sure about the traction anywhere but the road.

      TLDR: Check out the Asics DS Racer, Asics Hyperspeed or Nike Streak 6 for roads. Stick with your XC racer or the Streak LT 3 for grass/off-road/track work.

      Hope that helps! Thanks again for reading!

      -Matt Klein, DPT

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  9. Hi i am looking for shoes to run 5k on the track (i have problem with spikes) and given your presentation i yhink lt3 are the right choice, but i am hesitant to order the because of the fit. In some web site it is suggested to order half number bigger. Have you any evidence of that? I have 9 for matumbo (first release) . Thanks. Lorenzo

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    1. Hey Lorenzo.

      I think the LT 3 would be great as a spike replacement. Track, dirt and grass are where this shoe has performed very well. The forefoot is firmer and almost acts like a spike plate (there is no forefoot plate however). I went with my normal size 10 as I like a closer fit for my racing shoes and tend to wear very thin socks with them. Them fit fine for me. A large number of people have reported to me that they did have to size up. I highly suggest trying these before you buy them for sizing, but definitely give them a look.

      On a side note, you may be having a problem with spikes because you wear the first generation Matumbo. That shoe is missing a spike under the 5th metatarsal (lateral posterior aspect of the forefoot) which seems to causes major issues for runners as they turn because they can't grip the track well utilizing the full foot tripod of contact (1st MTP joint, 5th MTP joint and the heel). The lack of that spike means you can't get good traction on the 5th metatarsal phalangeal joint and peroneal muscle irritations from overuse trying to find stability are common (the muscles on the outside/lateral side of your tibia/fibula. If you're having pain behind that lateral maleolus/ ankle bone, that's what that may be). This can also present with plantar fasciatiis, calf/gastrocsoleus irritations and more. So if you're looking for spikes, always make sure they have a spike on the far back lateral part of the forefoot. The Gait Guys have a great post on their blog on this and can explain this phenomenon better.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading.

      -Matt Klein, DPT

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    2. Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. T he proble is hat i have not found any shop selling this model. Anyway i will try to order them in my usual siz. For matumbo maybe i was wrong, my pair is tge one with 4 spikes, aybe it is the second edition...Lorenzo.

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  10. I am a high school cross country runner going in to my senior year. I run about a 19 min 5k. I currently have some pretty heavy trail shoes that I use as trainers. The xc courses around me are usually mostly pavement, rocks, or gravel. This is the reason that I don't want to look at xc spikes. I also want to use these as road racing shoes for local races. Any advice would help. thanks.

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    1. Hello.

      I believe the Streak LT 3 is a great XC/road crossover racer. It has a grippy forefoot to handle gravel/rocks but is still smooth enough for roads. Based on what you described it sounds like they might fit the bill, just make sure you try them on first. I would encourage you however to also take a look at spikeless XC flats, but since you plan to also run the local road races these should work pretty well. I might also suggest the Saucony Type A6, although some of the gravel might get stuck in the sole.

      If you are currently training in heavy trail shoes, MAKE SURE you get used to running in the Streak LT 3 first. They are very different shoes from what you are wearing right now. If you just jump into racing in them, you risk injury. Do your strides in them, progress to workouts and then race in them to let your body adapt to less shoe. And again make sure you go to a local store or somewhere you can try them on first to determine if they actually fit your foot.

      Good luck with your season.

      -Matt Klein, DPT

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  12. Thanks for the info, I used some pretty minimal track spikes during outdoor with no problems so I think I would be OK using these shoes

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  13. Thanks for your review. The LT 3 seems like what I want in a shoe: light, but with some cushioning, low drop, and NO HEEL COUNTER! However, I've tried Nike Zoom Streak 5 before, and found them uncomfortable due to too much arch support. Will I have the same issue with the LT 3s?

    I've been running in Saucony Kinvaras for a long time now, but the new ones (6/7) have a pretty rigid heel counter, and generally feel like "too much shoe". I'd love to find something similar to the original Kinvaras.

    Thanks!
    Greg

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    1. Hey Greg.

      You will NOT find an issue with too much arch. The insole does not rise up sharply.

      Neither the Streak 5 or Streak LT 3 have ANY arch support. What you are likely feeling is the contour of the arch of the insole. This may be coming from a foot hypersensitivity (which can be solved simply by getting your foot used to touch by rubbing the medial side of your arch a couple times a day) or just the insole hitting you in the wrong place. There is absolutely no second density foam or arch support. In fact if you need arch support these are the exact wrong shoes for you as the midfoot is very narrow in both and any degree of midfoot collapse will have you hanging off the medial side of the shoe.

      Again, your issue is likely due to the high contour of the arch of insole. This will not be a problem in the LT 3.

      Hope that helps.

      -Matt Klein, DPT

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  14. Thanks for the detailed review, I was wondering if this shoe would be a good choice for a high school cross country runner who wants to run some 5k road races over the winter and possibly use these for speed workouts for track. I am a rapidly improving sophomore who runs a 16:37 5k and I want to carry my success into track season. I enjoy running in lightweight shoes and my main trainers right now are the lunartempo 2. I presume these would be suitable shoes for racing a 5k on purely road and or mixed terrain but what about wearing them for workouts on the track or possibly racing the 3200 in them? I was planning on wearing my xc spikes for track but could these be an alternative?

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    1. Hello.

      The Streak LT 3 work VERY well on track surfaces. They are an ok road shoe but shine on the track and dirt. If your track spikes are aggravating your feet or if you are looking to slowly transition into spikes (which can take some pressure off the gastrocsoleus complex/calf muscles) then I HIGHLY suggest this shoe. The Streak LT 3 is a great jack of all trades shoe.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading.

      -Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT

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  15. would you chose these or adidas takumi sen 3?

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    1. Cost wise and for any kind of off-road terrain or short road race I would go with the Streak LT3 since they cost almost half of the Takumi Sen 3. However, for longer races on the road I would go for the Takumi Sen 3 as it is a bit more forgiving. Overall I prefer the Streak LT 3 but I seem to be gravitating toward Nike stuff in general now (so I am a bit biased) and was dissappointed in the evolution of the Takumi Sen 3 from the Sen 2 (the Sen 2 was far more aggressive in my opinion).

      -Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT

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  16. I've ran 14:46 5K barefoot on the roads and 140 mile weeks barefoot so will the firmness of the forefoot be okay for me?

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    1. Gary, if that is indeed what you have run barefoot then you will be more than accustomed to that level of firmness.

      That speed and distance barefoot is impressive!

      -Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT

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