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Home » Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Review | Improved Construction?

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Review | Improved Construction?

The Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is the third iteration to roll out in the popular Nike Legend Essential training shoe line. This model features some notable updates and is built with some sustainable materials.

As someone on the neverending quest of finding the best cross-training shoes, I was excited to test the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature. I was curious if this model had been improved from its predecessor, the Legend Essential 2.

Overall, the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature did a pretty good job for my general strength and athletic sessions. It feels stronger than the 2, but there are still a few cons that I have with this shoe and I’ll cover those below.

In this Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature review, I’ll cover various topics to help you decide if this model is a good fit for your training wants and needs.

 

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Who Should Invest In the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature?

The Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature can be a viable training shoe for anyone on a tight budget that needs a shoe for recreational lifting and athletic-style training. This shoe does a pretty good job for versatile training and general strength work.

At a price point of $65 USD, this is one of the most budget-friendly trainers on the market, so if you’re wanting to save as much as possible and are looking into Nike training shoes, then this model could be worth exploring.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Try On Review

Plus, compared to the Nike Legend Essentials 2, the Legend Essential 3 Next Nature feels like a much stronger shoe regarding its construction, especially with its upper. This model feels better built and it’s nice Nike used sustainable materials in this model.

That being said, the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature isn’t a foolproof model. This shoe will have its limitations for strength work, CrossFit, and its sole could use an update to make it a better fit for a wider range of foot anatomies, but more on that below.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature

$65

Nike Legend Essential 3 Product Shot
4.0
Stability
3.9
Versatility
4.1
Durability
3.9

Best For

  • Casual Lifting
  • Classes and HIIT
  • Short Treadmill Runs
  • Budget Conscious Shoppers

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting
  • For Wide Feet
  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Outdoor Workouts

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Pros

I’ve enjoyed the construction updates to the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature, here are a few of the pros that I’ve found and have with this model.

  1. Decent Shoe for Casual Lifting and Athletic-Style Training
  2. Price Point Is Really Great
  3. Upper Feels Secure and Has Better Durability

The first aspect to like about the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is its performance for casual lifting and athletic-style training. For lifting sessions where I was working up to 315 lbs in deadlifts and 225 lbs in squats, the stability in this shoe was fine.

Lifting In the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature

If you plan to go heavier than those thresholds, then you will start to run into some compression issues and I’ll discuss that more in my cons below. However, if you’re more recreational with your strength work or you’re a beginner, then you should be fine with this model.

Additionally, this model did a pretty good job for athletic-style training. Basically, this shoe did a pretty good job for sessions where I was blending jumping, agility work, and lifting together.

Using the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for versatile training

The foam midsole in this model is fairly responsive and stable enough to give you a light amount of ground feedback, and the rubber outsole in addition to the forefoot grooves gives you a nice grip for indoor sessions on rubber gym floors and turf.

The second aspect to like about the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is its price point. This shoe has a price of $65 USD, which puts them pretty far down on the low-end of prices for training shoes.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Shoe Review

If you’re on a tight budget and need a pair of training shoes for indoor gym sessions where you plan to do some lifting, HIIT, and versatile training, then this shoe could be a viable option. Plus, if you can find them on sale, then you’ll be saving a ton per your budget needs.

Another pro that I’ve come to enjoy with the Nike Legend Essential 3 is its reworked upper construction. The upper in the Nike Legend Essential 2 was pretty average regarding its fit, performance, and security.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Upper Construction

In the Legend Essential 3, Nike has updated the upper with a breathable honeycomb mesh that extends from the forefoot to the midfoot. This not only gives this shoe more breathability, but it also feels more secure compared to the mesh in the Legend Essential 2.

There’s also an added synthetic layer for support on the lateral side of the toe box, which I like for additional security when cutting and doing lateral work in this shoe. Overall, I’m happy with this change and think Nike made a good call with this update.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Sole Construction

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Cons

Across the board, I’ve enjoyed the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for the most part, but there are a few cons to note about this shoe.

  1. Long-Term Sole Durability Can Be An Issue
  2. Still Lacks Arch Support and Toe Box Width
  3. Has Performance Limitations for Lifting and CrossFit

The first drawback that I have with the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is that its long-term durability will not be the best for daily wear and outdoor workouts. Similar to the Legend Essential 2, this model still has exposed foam throughout its sole.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Outsole Construction

This foam can be problematic for outdoor training due to friction cutting up the material, and it can be an issue for daily wear due to rain and dirt breaking down the material as well. If you invest in this model, I’d suggest limiting their use to gym sessions and dry days.

Additionally, if you’re looking into a budget-friendly option for Nike that will fair better for these contexts, then you could look into the Nike MC Trainer 2. This model is a stronger performer and has a more protective and durable rubber outsole.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Durability

The second drawback that I have with the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is that if you like having arch support in your training shoes, then you’ll likely want to pass on this model. Also, the toe box in this shoe runs pretty narrow, so wide feet will want to pass on this shoe.

This shoe has a similar sole construction to the Legend Essential 2 which many found to be lacking regarding arch support and forefoot width. While the Legend Essential 3 is a bit better than the two in this context, it’s still not great regarding arch support.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Arch Support

The final drawback to note with the Nike Legend Essential 3 is that it’s going to have limitations when it comes to its performance. I would not invest in this shoe expecting them to be able to handle every training ask perfectly.

For example, this model’s stability won’t be the best for heavy squats and strength sessions. The foam midsole can compress under heavier weight, so you’ll want to pass on this model if strength and power-based training makes up a majority of your weekly work.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Outdoor Workouts

Additionally, this model’s sole durability once again leaves little to be desired, especially in the context of CrossFit. If you’re wanting a training shoe for CrossFit, you’ll want to find something more specific and explore budget-friendly models like the Puma Fuse 2.0.

Performance

To cover the performance of the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature, I’ll discuss how this shoe performs in a variety of training contexts. I’ll break down this shoe’s performance for lifting, versatile training, short runs, and daily wear.

Since this shoe excels for general training but falls short for serious sessions, I wanted to cover the full scope of this shoe’s abilities to help you decide if this shoe is actually a good fit for your needs.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Performance Overview

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Lifting

When it comes to lifting, the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature will work best for beginners and intermediates that are not super specific with their training. For example, if you’re doing general accessory exercises, then this model’s stability should suffice for you.

The midsole of this model was stable enough for deadlifts up to 315 lbs and squats of around 225 lbs. I wouldn’t wear this model for sessions where you plan to go heavier than that.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Squats

For machines like leg presses and hack squats, this model also did an okay job, but it will have limitations regarding its stability and grip. Since this model lacks a full rubber outsole, I’d suggest keeping an eye on your grip when working heavier with these exercises.

All that said, this model will suffice for lighter training sessions, especially if you’re on a budget crunch, but it’s not my favorite training shoe for lifting. If you can understand this model’s limitations before buying, then you’ll be much happier with your investment.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Weight Training

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Versatile Training

In the context of versatile training, I thought the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature did a pretty good job. This shoe’s sole feels a tad more mobile than the Nike Legend Essential 2, so you do a little more responsiveness with this model for plyometrics and agility work.

Additionally, the rubber sole in the forefoot does a good job of gripping different indoor surfaces like rubber gym floors and turf. For example, I didn’t have a ton of slip issues when doing sled pushes in this model.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Versatile Training

The honeycomb mesh upper is also a perk of this shoe’s performance for versatile training. It does a pretty good job of providing you with security, especially during multi-directional exercises. It’s not the best on the market, but for $65 USD, it does okay.

I think the downfalls of this shoe’s performance for versatile training revolve around its performance for outdoor sessions and that the narrow toe box can be a little uncomfortable at times. When doing broad jumps my toes kept feeling “jammed” when landing in this model.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for HIIT

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Short Runs and Daily Wear

For short runs, the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature will work if you’re wanting them for 1-2 miles here and there. I think this shoe will fair best for casual warm-up and cooldown runs performed on treadmills and indoor tracks.

The exposed foam on this shoe’s sole limits its potential for outdoor running, and if you plan to do longer runs, you’ll want to find shoes that are more specific with their construction and performance.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Running

For daily wear, I’d suggest passing on this model if that’s a big ask for you with your training shoes. This model’s sole durability isn’t the best for weathering the outdoor elements and the narrower toe box can be pretty uncomfortable for all-day wear.

Granted, if you do just want a training shoe that doesn’t brank the bank that you can beat up on a daily wear basis, then this model could be worth exploring. Just note, they won’t last as long if you limit their use to your training sessions and there are better all-day wear trainers.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Daily Wear

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Sizing

In the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature, sizing will be variable based on your foot anatomy. For narrow-width feet, I’d suggest going true to size in this model.

For neutral-width feet, I’d suggest going up a half-size. Then, for wider feet, if you typically have a little room at the end of your toe box, you’ll want to go up a half-size, and if you often feel cramped, you’ll want to go up a full-size.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Width and Sizing

This model’s toe box feels a little snug towards the end of it due to the tapering of the sole and the upper lacking adequate volume. I’d also suggest wearing thinner socks with this model when possible.

  • Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Sizing Thoughts: True to size for narrow feet, size up for everyone else.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Sizing and Fit

If you have additional questions on the sizing and fit of the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature or how they compare to other Nike training shoes, drop a comment below.

Price Breakdown

For the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature, you can expect to pay $65 USD. Compared to other training, this is one of the most budget-friendly options on the market.

I think if your budget is limited and you need a training shoe for general strength workouts and gym sessions, then the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is worth it. This model feels better constructed than the Legend Essential 2 and it feels a bit more durable.

Testing the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature for Training

Now, it’s worth noting that the Legend Essential 3 Next Nature will not be your best option for serious training, and its durability will lack for daily wear and outdoor training.

In addition, if you are more specific with your training and need a model for something like heavy lifting or CrossFit, then you’ll want to pass on this shoe and potentially invest in something that will match your performance asks better.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature

$65

Nike Legend Essential 3 Product Shot
4.0
Stability
3.9
Versatility
4.1
Durability
3.9

Best For

  • Casual Lifting
  • Classes and HIIT
  • Short Treadmill Runs
  • Budget Conscious Shoppers

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting
  • For Wide Feet
  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Outdoor Workouts

Construction Details

There have been a few construction updates to the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature compared to its prior iteration. Below are some of the key construction updates to note that influence this shoe’s performance and durability.

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature Review

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A for this model
  • Weight: 9.05 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Technically, no. However, it’s easy to remove due to its light adhesive.
  • Honeycomb Mesh Upper
  • Foam Midsole
  • Rubber Outsole Over Forefoot, Heel, and Part of Midfoot
  • Padded Heel Collar
  • Grooves Under Forefoot
  • Tongue Is Not Gussetted
  • 5 Core Eyelets With a 6th for Lace-Lock

If you have additional construction-related questions on the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature, drop a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature true to size?

A:
The Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature should fit true to size for those with narrow feet. If you have neutral-width or wide feet, size up a half-size in this model.

Q:
Can you run in the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature?

A:
The Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature can be good for short indoor runs that range from 1-2 miles. This model's exposed foam sole decreases its outdoor performance for running due to long-term durability issues.

Q:
Are the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature good for lifting?

A:
The Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is an okay budget-friendly shoe for lifting. This shoe will fall short for heavier lifting on machines and with barbells.

Takeaway Thoughts

Overall, the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature is an “okay” budget-friendly training shoe. This shoe performs pretty well for general strength sessions and versatile training. It also feels better constructed compared to its predecessor, the Legend Essential 2.

There are still issues that I have with this model including its toe box width, sole durability, and performance for serious training, so it’s definitely worth keeping these in mind before investing.

If you have additional questions on the Nike Legend Essential 3 Next Nature, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

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Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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