Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review

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The Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 is a great shoe, providing good cushioning at a low weight. The Streak is billed as a 'racing flat', but I consider it an optimal shoe, providing everything most runners need without the weight penalty of the futile over engineering that traditional running shoes suffer from. I've used the Streak as an everyday trainer for hundreds of miles without ever considering the need for more. The Streak is a relatively cheap shoe, with a recommended price of only $80. The third generation is similar to its predecessor, the Nike Zoom Streak LT 2, with virtually the same weight and cushioning was before. The updated shape is a little better, and the upper might be fractionally more comfortable, but the two generations are far more alike than they are different. While the Streak does not have the cushioning-to-weight ratio of the Asics Gel Hyper Speed, it's superior shape, longevity and versatility allow me to rate it as the "best of the best". (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)

Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 top
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 bottom
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 inside
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 outside

1 Characteristics

  • Cushioning . The Zoom Streak has a small Zoom Air unit in the heel, along with a single foam density over the full shoe. This combination is makes a well cushioned shoe, with quick bounce back.
  • Drop. The 4mm drop is a tad higher than I'd like, but isn't an issue.
  • Structure. There is no noticeable "arch support" that can weaken your arch or cause plantar fascia issues.
  • Flexibility. The latest version of the Streak is not quite as flexible as its predecessor. It's far from being stiff, and there is a certain degree of springiness at toe off, so some may prefer this new incarnation.
  • Outsole. The outsole covers all the contact patches and provides good grip. The forefoot has slightly raised lugs in the Nike waffle pattern.
  • Shape. One intriguing change with the latest iteration of the Streak is that it's shaped a little more like a human foot. It's not like an Altra shoe, where the designers have obviously seen a human foot for themselves, and taken the bold step of designing a shoe appropriately. It's more like the Nike designers overheard someone in a bar discussing what a human foot looked like and had a stab at creating a better shoe. Overall, this is a big step forward, though there is some way to go. I was able to run in the Streak without cutting open the toe box open, something that is quite unusual.
  • Upper. The upper is thin and highly breathable, with no padding except around the ankle opening. There is a slightly softer lining around the midfoot where the laces attach, which is intended to hold the midfoot better, but didn't seem to make any difference.
  • Tongue. The tongue is thin and unpadded, but comfortable.
  • Lacing. Traditional flat laces that stay tied.
  • Heel Counter. There is a small, almost unnoticeable heel counter that is less than an inch wide at the back, and comes up about 3/4ths the height of the shoe. I have had no problems with this and I'd describe it as "utterly useless, but quite harmless."

2 200 Mile Update

The Streak has rapidly become my "go to" shoe for traveling. It's a nice, light shoe, and the lack of heel counter allows it to fold flat in my luggage. I'll normally wear my Hoka Tor Ultra boot and put the Streak in my backpack. The shape has allowed me to run in the Streak without cutting the toe box open, so I can use it as a casual shoe as well without looking quite as weird. Being thin, it also makes a great shoe for driving, an important factor when I'm traveling. I ran 250 miles in the Streak before I reassigned the MilestonePod, and I estimate I've put another 50-80 miles on them after that. So this update is a bit more than a 200 mile interval, but I'll try to be more prompt in future reviews. There is a little bit of compression in the forefoot foam, about 3 mm, but only the very slightest of where signs in the outsole. The exposed midsole foam under the arch has gone a little wrinkly, but nothing more, and the upper is in perfect condition. The more I wear the Streak the more it impresses me, especially given the use and abuse it's undergone.

This is a heavily enhanced image to bring out some of the details. You can see some slight where in the outsole at the heel, but almost none in the forefoot.

3 How Far Can I Run in the Streak LT?

Different runners want different levels of cushioning, so this shoe may not suit everyone. Some runners want a Maximalist shoe when they run a 5K, while others will run a 100 mile race barefoot. Most people find that as the distance increases, they want a little more cushioning to protect their feet from the pounding and to offset a little of the fatigue that sets in over time. You can see from the charts below how the cushioning compares with other shoes I've tested for some comparisons. Remember that a thicker, firmer shoe would have the same cushioning rating as a thinner, softer shoe, but would feel rather different. Personally, I'm happy running in the Streak for the marathon distance, and I'd use it in a road 50 mile race without hesitation. For longer distances I'd probably use the Hoka Clifton, either for the entire race or for the last portion.

4 The Streak LT As A Trail (& Travel) Shoe

The Streak LT is clearly not designed to be a trail shoe. The outsole sole has relatively little grip, so if you run on slick cross or mud, you're not going to get much traction. The midsole is thin and flexible, so there is not much protection from stones provided by the thin sole. However, I've found myself using it as a trail shoe a number of times. While it's far from ideal, it's can act as a surprisingly functional, if somewhat minimalist trail shoe. It doesn't provide the tank like "charge over or through anything" that you get with the Hoka Mafate, so you have to watch your foot placement more carefully. It's a little closer to running trails barefoot than I'd like sometimes, but it makes the run a lot more mentally challenging and engaging. So why do I use the Streak LT when I have the Mafate? It's mostly because the Streak LT is the shoe I nearly always choose when I'm travelling. I don't have to cut open the toe box, so I can wear it socially. Its thin sole makes it a wonderful driving shoe, something that's vital when my only other footwear is the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot. It is extremely light and the upper collapses for packing in a tight space. It works well on many surfaces, and I'm happy to run further than the marathon in them.

Me in my Streak LT running trails in the Norwegian Fjords.
helping-hand.jpg

5 Cushioning and Shoes

It's intuitively obvious that the cushioning in a shoe will reduce the impact on your body when running. However, The Science of Running Shoes indicates that the reality is rather more complex. While slight cushioning may reduce the effort needed to run by improving your Running Economy, most scientific research indicates that more cushioning does further improve Running Economy. In addition, cushioning does not generally reduce impact and may actually increase it. This is counterintuitive, but is likely to be due to the way a runners mind and body adapts to softer cushioning. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is far from complete and it's hard to give clear recommendations. I believe that some runners will prefer more cushioning, while others prefer less, and typically those running further have a fondness for greater cushioning. I also believe that a shoe should be as light as possible, and a shoe should justify its weight with the cushioning it provides. My advice is to decide what level of cushioning you're looking for, and then find the lightest shoes that also fit well and are comfortable.

6 Visualizing the Attributes of the Nike Zoom Streak LT

How Nike Zoom Streak LT compares showing rearfoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Nike Zoom Streak LT compares showing forefoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Nike Zoom Streak LT compares showing the price against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.
How Nike Zoom Streak LT compares showing the loaded drop against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.

7 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes

For a more detailed comparison of these shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.

Full Review

Brand Name Rating Recommended
price
Benefit Weight
(oz)
Penalty
(sec/mile)
Forefoot
Thickness
Heel
Thickness
Loaded Drop
mm
Cushioning Flexibility
Asics 33-DFA Review Asics 33-DFA Worth considering $90 5.7 10.6 16.5 27 27 0 6.1 6
Saucony Type A6 Review Saucony A6 Highly Recommended $100 8.2 6.1 9.5 17 21 4 5.0 8
Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review Adidas Adios Worth considering $140 4.7 8.6 13.4 17 27 11 4.0 7
Hoka Bondi 5 Review Hoka Bondi Recommended $150 6.1 11.6 18.1 38 42 5 7.1 4
Hoka Clayton Review Hoka Clayton Best of the Best $150 8.8 8.3 12.9 26 30 3 7.3 5
Hoka Clayton 2 Review Hoka Clayton 2 Review Pending $150 9.1 8.3 12.9 23 28 1 7.5 6
Hoka Clifton 3 Review Hoka Clifton3 Best of the Best $130 9.1 9.8 15.3 34 38 3 8.9 6
On Cloudracer Review On Cloud Cloudracer Worth considering $130 5.7 8.2 12.8 19 27 5 4.7 8
Hoka Conquest Review Hoka Conquest Worth considering $170 5.0 11.9 18.5 28 34 5 6.0 3
Saucony Cortana 4 Review Saucony Cortana Worth considering $150 4.4 9.9 18.7 22 28 5 4.3 5
Mizuno Wave Cruise Review Mizuno Cruise Worth considering $120 6.6 5.9 12.5 17 20 7 3.9 7
Newton Distance IV Review Newton Distance Worth considering $155 7.5 9.1 14.2 26 31 3 6.8 6
Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review Asics DS Racer Worth considering $110 8.2 7.0 10.9 21 26 6 5.8 6
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review Mizuno Ekiden Worth considering $115 5.7 5.7 14.6 13 18 6 3.2 8
Saucony Endorphin 2 Review Saucony Endorphin 2 Worth considering $115 8.0 5.1 9.6 15 13 -1 4.1 8
Adidas Energy Boost Review Adidas Energy Worth considering $160 7.2 10.0 15.6 20 30 7 7.2 6
Altra Escalante Review Altra Escalante Best of the Best $130 9.1 8.7 13.5 28 25 -1 7.9 7
Puma Faas 100 R Review Puma Faas 100 Highly Recommended $90 8.4 6.1 9.4 15 20 1 5.1 9
Saucony Fastwitch Review Saucony Fastwitch Highly Recommended $90 9.5 7.1 11.1 20 22 4 6.8 8
Topo Fli-Lyte Review Topo Fli-Lyte Highly Recommended $100 6.0 9.4 14.6 23 24 4 5.6 6
Nike Free 4.0 Review Nike Free Recommended $120 5.3 8.2 13.6 24 30 6 4.4 6
Saucony Freedom Review Saucony Freedom Recommended $160 5.4 10.7 16.6 25 29 3 5.8 7
Asics Gel Lyte 33 3 Review Asics Gel Lyte Not recommended $90 8.0 7.3 11.4 17 24 4 5.8 9
Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 Review Skechers GOmeb 3 Worth considering $120 6.9 8.1 12.6 20 24 4 5.5 8
Skechers GORun 4 Review Skechers GORun Not recommended $100 6.1 7.5 11.7 15 23 3 4.5 7
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review Skechers GRU Worth considering $90 7.5 10.0 15.6 28 34 8 7.5 5
Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review Skechers GRU-R Worth considering $105 6.5 11.3 17.6 30 40 6 7.4 7
Asics GT 2000 Review Asics GT 2000 Not recommended $120 4.8 11.2 17.4 28 35 5 5.4 4
New Balance Hanzo S New Balance Hanzo Worth considering $110 7.6 6.9 10.7 21 19 2 5.2 6
Hoka Hupana Review Hoka Hupana Recommended $115 6.1 8.9 13.9 31 36 7 5.4 5
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review Asics Hyper Speed Highly Recommended $75 10.9 6.3 9.8 22 26 5 6.8 7
Altra Instinct 3.5 3.5 Review Altra Instinct 3.5 Recommended $115 4.9 9.3 15.2 24 23 0 4.5 6
Altra Instinct 4.0 Review Altra Instinct 4.0 Worth considering $120 6.0 9.8 15.3 29 25 -1 5.9 6
Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review Asics Kainos Worth considering $130 10.0 6.9 10.7 17 27 9 6.8 7
Saucony Kinvara 8 Review Saucony Kinvara 8 Best of the Best $110 9.3 8.6 13.4 26 31 3 8.0 6
Nike LunaRacer 4 Review Nike LunaRacer Recommended $90 9.9 7.0 10.9 22 30 7 6.9 6
Nike LunarSpider R5 Review Nike LunarSpider Recommended $125 6.9 6.7 10.4 17 21 3 4.6 7
Hoka Mafate Speed Review Hoka Mafate Best of the Best $170 7.6 11.9 18.5 39 40 4 9.0 3
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review Pearl N0 Highly Recommended $100 7.9 6.5 10.1 14 20 4 5.2 8
Saucony Nomad Review Saucony Nomad Worth considering $110 4.3 10.5 17.2 25 27 2 4.5 5
Hoka Odyssey Review Hoka Odyssey Highly Recommended $130 8.5 9.4 14.6 37 45 5 8.0 4
Altra Olympus Review Altra Olympus Highly Recommended $130 5.4 11.8 18.4 27 27 3 6.4 4
Altra One 2.5 Review Altra One Highly Recommended $100 8.5 7.1 11.1 22 25 2 6.0 8
Altra One 3.0 Review Altra One Review Pending $100 6.1 8.8 13.7 23 23 0 5.4 7
Altra Paradigm Review Altra Paradigm Highly Recommended $130 6.4 9.9 15.4 25 25 1 6.4 4
Asics Piranha SP 5 Review Asics Piranha Recommended $100 10.1 4.2 6.5 11 15 3 4.2 9
Brooks PureFlow 5 Review Brooks PureFlow Worth considering $110 6.0 9.7 15.1 26 29 5 5.8 8
Salming Race Review Salming Race Worth considering $130 6.9 6.5 10.1 16 19 4 4.5 7
New Balance RC1600 v2 Review New Balance RC1600 Highly Recommended $110 8.8 5.6 8.7 15 21 5 4.9 8
New Balance RC5000 Review New Balance RC5000 Best of the Best $125 12.2 3.4 5.3 13 17 3 4.2 8
New Balance RC5000v2 Review New Balance RC5000v2 Best of the Best $125 14.2 4.0 6.2 13 21 6 5.7 8
Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review Skechers Ride Worth considering $85 5.9 8.5 13.2 18 28 6 5.0 9
Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review Inov-8 RXT-220 Worth considering $120 5.2 8.0 18.2 14 17 3 4.2 9
Topo ST-2 Review Topo ST-2 Highly Recommended $90 8.2 7.3 11.4 20 18 0 6.0 8
Hoka Stinson Lite Review Hoka Stinson Highly Recommended $160 7.3 11.6 18.1 35 40 6 8.5 2
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review Nike Streak LT Best of the Best $80 8.8 5.4 8.4 16 21 4 4.8 6
Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Highly Recommended $160 7.7 6.6 10.2 17 21 4 5.1 6
Altra Torin 2.0 Review Altra Torin Worth considering $125 5.8 9.6 14.9 28 25 -1 5.5 5
Hoka Tracer Review Hoka Tracer Recommended $130 7.2 7.4 11.5 21 24 2 5.3 6
Merrell Trail Glove 3 Review Merrell Trail Glove Best of the Best $100 2.9 6.9 24.7 11 11 0 2.0 9
Topo Tribute Review Topo Tribute Recommended $100 5.9 7.3 11.4 20 18 -1 4.3 7
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Mizuno Universe Highly Recommended $125 10.7 3.1 10.6 9 12 1 3.3 9
Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Review Merrell Vapor Glove Highly Recommended $85 2.1 6.1 27.6 6 5 0 1.3 10
New Balance Vazee Pace Review New Balance Vazee Pace Worth considering $110 6.0 8.6 13.4 18 24 6 5.2 6
Asics TartherZeal 3 Review Asics Zeal Worth considering $140 10.9 6.3 9.8 17 27 9 6.8 7

It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot.
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, New Balance 980 Review, Brooks Transcend 2 Review.
Reviews of shoes that are not worth including on the table: Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review.