With the third generation of the Freedom ISO, Saucony has made the change to its new PWRRUN+ foam and the difference is immediately noticeable. With the transition away from the heavier EVERUN, the Freedom now doesn’t pay the weight penalty that it once did. You still get a lightweight, flexible upper and responsive yet soft midsole – just in a package that weighs much less.
The Freedom 3 follows the same formula as the original 2 Freedoms – a pretty minimal, high-tech midsole with a light and flexible sock-like upper. The fit and feel of the shoe is similar, but there are some changes:
Saucony Freedom 3 vs Saucony Freedom ISO 2:
With its flexible mesh upper, the Freedom has always been a versatile shoe from a fit perspective. Version 3 is no different. The mesh is as comfortable and secure as it ever has been, so while it will never feel like a traditional trainer upper, your feet stay as locked in as they need to be. The Freedom 3 is in line with current running shoe sizing. Width is about the same as the first 2 versions, and the Freedom 3 maintains the flexible upper mesh that will accommodate a range of foot widths.
Saucony created a really unique shoe in the original Freedom 1 and 2s with their full (Boost-like) EVERUN midsole providing a responsive, soft, and durable ride combined with a very flexible upper. While the Freedom 3 switches foam technologies, it doesn’t deviate from that feel – providing a performance-feel that should last not only for the full duration of your runs but also over more lifetime miles than a traditional EVA midsole. The flexibility of the upper also continues to be a defining characteristic of the Freedom. It’s both soft and responsive, fast and cushioned. It does have an unusually (for trainers) low drop, so you should be careful in transitioning from a standard-drop trainer. Calves and achilles should be monitored as you transition as the low drop puts more pressure on them.
The Freedom 3 remains a shoe best suited for neutral runners. We haven’t seen anything in the PWRRUN+ foam that indicates much inherent stability.
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Saucony Freedom vs Kinvara:
Both shoes are low-drop Saucony neutral trainers and the most recent update to the Freedom has brought the two as close as they’ve ever been. Since the Freedom’s shift to PWRRUN+ midsole technology, the weight cost of the Freedom has been largely mitigated. The Freedom has also gained structure in the upper, making it feel more like a traditional trainer. In the Freedom 3 vs Kinvara 11, the big difference is the midsole feel. Heights in the forefoot and heel feel about the same, weight no longer is that big of an advantage for the Kinvara, and the uppers are now both flexible knits with a little bit of structure. So is the $50 difference in price worth it for the Freedom’s midsole? Maybe. It gives the Freedom both cushion and responsiveness, making it feel about as fast as the Kinvara yet suitable for any amount of daily training you would want to throw at it. Another big difference is the inherent stability found in the Kinvara is nowhere to be found in the Freedom, with the Freedom only being appropriate for truly neutral runners.
Saucony Freedom vs Triumph
While the Triumph and Freedom both share Saucony’s PWRRUN+ foam as well as a pretty high price tag, they are very different shoes. Basically on the complete opposite ends of the trainer spectrum, the Freedom is a lightweight, minimal, fast-feeling trainer with a sock-like upper while the Triumph is a max-cushion, full-structured-upper, very protective trainer. The common foam does mean that they share a responsive, soft overall ride (for what they are), but there’s simply so much more of it in the Triumph that they simply are for very different runners.
Saucony Freedom vs Ride
While the Ride is Saucony’s traditional standard-weight trainer, the Freedom uses their new PWRRUN+ foam to create a unique balance of cushion and energy return. The Freedom is also much more minimal and flexible while the Ride feels much like a traditional trainer. Some runners might gravitate toward the protective, standard feel of the Ride while others may like the unique characteristics of the Freedom.
Saucony Freedom vs Liberty
Built on the same platform, the Liberty takes the Freedom’s overall design and adds a small amount of stability to make it more appropriate for runners who experience some amount of pronation in their gate. Because of how unstable the Freedom platform had been, we at Phidippides have felt that the Liberty has always been a compromised concept. While Saucony has improved on both the feel and function of the Liberty over its few generations, there’s just not that much stability that you can add to the Freedom platform. Because you’re starting with such a minimal architecture to begin with, any additions that you make are going to have a pretty significant effect on the overall feel of the shoe as well.