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Nike PG3 Performance Review

From loathing to loving, the Nike PG3 just needed a little extra time to feel good.

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Traction started out pretty poor, like “sliding around the court worse than I’ve had in a shoe in quite some time”-type of poor. However, after a few nights, the traction started to warm up a bit and now whenever I take them out, to any court, the damn things rarely even require wiping. They’re super consistent from all angles as well due to the circle pattern, well, being circular. They’re all over the outsole so I get the same grip at the heel as I do the toe, something that I feel is a great look.

I won’t pin it on the translucent rubber as it’s working wonders now, but whatever was happening with these things in the beginning — I’m really glad it stopped. There is nothing worse (for a sneakerhead/hooper) than buying a pair of shoes that you feel was a complete waste of money. That is initially how I felt about the PG3: I felt I had just wasted $110.

Luckily, that wasn’t the case at all.

The cushion setup in the Nike PG3 hasn’t undergone any drastic changes compared to the PG2, but they definitely feel a little smoother once broken in.

When it was announced that a lighter/softer midsole foam was being used, I was pretty excited. Then I was quickly disappointed after trying them on — even more disappointed after my first night in them. The softer foam was really stiff to start; no idea why, it just was. It wasn’t until the third night that things started to soften up for me and on night four… yeah, they felt smooth as silk with a little bounce in the forefoot. Exactly what I was expecting from the shoe. I just didn’t think it was going to take as long as it did for me to be able to feel it.

Now that everything is broken-in, they feel nice, like really nice. If you’re old enough to remember how bouncy the original Air Jordan 14 felt under-foot, then yeah, it’s something like that. Zoom zoom.

The best material option available at this point is on this Black/White colorway of the PG3. I wasn’t a fan of the cheap synthetics and glued mesh used on the NASA edition and the BHM used a canvas-like material that was stiff and coarse. While still not as nice feeling as the PG1 or PG2, this version of the PG3 is as good as it’s been so far.

Performance wise, there isn’t really anything to complain about; everything moves and contains well. There is some breaking-in needed but that was more with the fit versus the materials.

Speaking of fit, I tried on three sizes of the Nike PG3: true to size, half size up and half size down. I went true to size afterwards and they’ve worked out for me after the brutal break-in process.

I know I’ve had this happen many times before, but I can’t remember with which shoes. All I know is that the pain I had was really bad for the first few nights. By night four, the shoe felt like it was made for me but until then, I had some of the worst pain under the sides of my feet where the overlapping lockdown wings are located. I had tried adjusting the laces during this time but nothing worked. Time was what was needed and I’m glad that I stuck through the pain and didn’t end the testing after a night or two.

As I mentioned above, I feel like the shoe fits my feet perfectly now. It just took about nine or so hours for it to feel that way.

Nothing too crazy with the support but everything you need is there.

An internal heel counter is in place and does its job well. The midsole rises above the foot at the midfoot section, which helps keep you on the footbed with harder cuts/changes of direction. The fit aids in the support, after being broken-in, and the lockdown wings work as well as they did on the PG2. An outrigger is lacking and the platform isn’t wide, but they’ve added a little rubber sidewall where an outrigger would have been — ensuring the softer midsole foam doesn’t collapse when enough weight/pressure is applied. I would have liked a slightly wider platform/base but as it sits now, I never encountered any issues. That’s just a personal preference of mine.

I hated the PG3 after my first few hours in them. However, I’m glad I stuck with them as by the end of the week I was just excited to lace them up for another few hours of pick-up runs. The experiences reminded me of my Kobe 6 experience. That was a shoe that I really hated when I first started wearing them and thought they were a letdown compared to the Kobe 5. Turns out they ended up being my favorite Kobe model to play in of all-time. Weird how that sh*t works.

The Nike PG3 is definitely a shoe that won’t work for everyone. Those going up 1/2 size for width or comfort reasons may end up with heel lockdown issues. Others just might not enjoy how damn tight they are. The stiff-to-start tooling may turn some away right after trying them on, or even after playing in them for a few hours. However, if you end up sticking with the PG3, they may end up becoming a really fun shoe to play in for you. That’s what they’ve wound up becoming for me.

I still feel the Dame 5 is the better option overall, but these are no slouch.

Buy Nike PG 3
  1. Thanks for the review. Surprising to see so much break-in time was needed for a modern shoe with a mesh build. That’s normally something you would expect from an oldschool all leather shoe or a Foamposite.

  2. Sounds similar to the Lebron 11s, the break in period sucked but after that its beastly. I agree w JMD, I´m surprised the mesh would act so stiff

  3. I tried the shoe on today and idk, I was not impressed. Maybe I would need to break them in. But initially I didn’t feel amazed with the shoe on my feet so I passed on buying a pair. A lot of people do seem to like this shoe.

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