All our testers liked the comfort and plush cushioning of the Gel Solution Speed 3s, although everyone noticed a slightly narrower fit than the previous version. This worked out well for Chris, who has narrower feet. He shared, "I really enjoyed the fit and feel of these shoes. I found a better fit for my narrow feet. Other than some pinching early on around the ankle collar the Solution Speed 3s didn't really require any break-in time. The level of cushioning felt great for me. I felt well protected from the hard court, yet I still had enough court feel to move confidently. The uppers did a better job of holding my feet compared to the previous version, but they did run a little hotter. It looks and feels like there is more supportive material over the mesh, which provided that added locked-in feel (and perhaps is also what gives these shoes their narrower feel). The arch support was adequate. Ideally, I like shoes to be a tad stiffer under my arches, but these shoes provided enough support. Their flex gave them a very fast feel."
While he found the Gel Solution Speed 3s shoes comfortable, Jason, who has wide feet, preferred the fit of the previous version. He said, "For lightweight shoes the Gel Solution Speed 3s provide a nice, well-cushioned ride. Like with the previous model, I had no issues with overheating or with the medium arch support. I really only had one knock on these shoes, and that was how they fit in the forefoot. They felt slightly narrower, or at the very least, they narrowed more sharply than the Solution Speed 2s. The fit resulted in a bit of rubbing on my pinky toes."
A big fan of previous versions of the Gel Solution Speeds, Andy also raved about the comfortable feel of the Gel Solution Speed 3s, but he also noted the narrower fit. He explained, "Once again, the Gel Solution Speed proves to be among the most comfortable shoes on the market. These shoes fit like a glove and offered a soft, plush feel all around my feet. There was plenty of arch support to keep my feet comfortable even when I wore them all day. However, I didn't find them as comfortable as the previous version for a couple reasons. First, the full TPU wrap across the uppers caused the shoes to run a bit warm during play. Second, this version fit a little narrower and squeezed my feet a bit up in the forefoot area."
Our team found exceptional support and stability from the Gel Solution Speed 3s, with the new upper design locking in their feet better than ever before. "Excellent as always!" Jason exclaimed about the support and stability. "They felt even more stable and supportive than the previous version, maybe because they fit more snugly than before or maybe because of the full PU upper. They definitely inspired confidence in me to move aggressively into and out of shots, knowing that they would keep my feet locked in."
Andy sang the Gel Solution Speed 3s' praises. He said, "I found these shoes to move very naturally with my feet and offer exceptional support in every direction. The new full PU upper locked my feet in a bit better than the previous version, supplying even more stability for lateral movements. This shoe line has always been exceptional in this category, and this update is no exception. Even the most aggressive movers will feel very protected in these shoes."
Chris also had no complaints in this category. He said, "I enjoyed the support these shoes offered. The uppers did a better job of holding my feet in place and I felt more secure when making lateral cuts. I also liked how the uppers held my feet. I never had any excessive sliding inside the shoes when I was making aggressive stops. They didn't feel ultra stiff and stable, but the high level of support kept my feet safe while the flexibility allowed me to change directions quickly."
We were very pleased with the durability of the Gel Solution Speed 3s given that they are lightweight and speed-oriented, which typically indicates they won't hold up quite as well as some heavier options. "I was pleasantly surprised with the durability of these shoes," Jason praised. "I'd say the duability is about the same as the previous model or slightly better. I put about 15 hours on these shoes, and there is still plenty of tread left."
Chris is normally very hard on his shoes, and his pair of Gel Solution Speed 3s held up very well throughout the test. He raved, "I was amazed at how well the outsoles and toes held up on these shoes. These have to be some of the most durable speed shoes I've worn. The toes still look great and have resisted abrasion from the court very well. Likewise, even my typical high wear areas of the outsoles still look great. I put a lot of hours on the shoes, and considering how light and fast they feel on court, I would expect to see tons more wear. I was very, very impressed."
The Gel Solution speed 3s didn't hold up quite as well for Andy, but he still found them to be more durable than some other comparable shoes. He explained, "Durability was fairly average, but that was to be expected since these shoes live in the lightweight, speed-oriented category of shoes with no sole warranty. They were more durable than the Nike Vapor 9.5 Tour, but not quite as durable as the New Balance MC 996v2 or adidas adizero Ubersonic. I put about 20-25 hours on my pair, and the outsoles are showing signs of balding in my typical wear areas. The toe area is beefed up with extra rubber, along with the TPU wrap, and held up extremely well throughout the test."
Everyone noted an improvement in this area for the Gel Solution Speed 3s over previous models. Loving the feel underfoot, Andy said, "Like previous versions, the Gel Solution Speed 3s offer a slightly slicker feel from the outsoles, which I prefer. It's ideal for players who like to slide aggressively on hard courts. I did find the traction to be improved over the previous version, which felt a little TOO slick. These had a more predictable response, and there weren't as many instances of 'spinning my wheels' when trying to accelerate quickly. A nice update here!"
Jason also liked the traction. He said, "The traction is much improved over the Gel Solution Speed 2s. I felt like the first two iterations had a slick outsole that resulted in slippage issues. The 2s were better than the originals, and now the 3s are better than the 2s."
Sharing a similar opinion, Chris said, "I liked the level of traction. The outsoles never felt too sticky, and I was able to find just enough give to comfortably come out of a quick stop or change of direction. When sprinting to the next ball the outsoles offered ample grip throughout the test. I found the traction to be improved over both previous versions of the Gel Solution Speeds."
As with previous versions, the light and fast feel of the Gel Solution Speed 3s proved to be one of these shoes' strengths. "These are among the lightest and fastest-feeling shoes on the market," Andy raved. "I'm hard pressed to think of any shoes that fit more naturally with my feet or allow me to move as fast as I possibly can on court. The low-profile ride kept me low to the ground and in touch with every step. Top marks here, as expected."
Jason agreed with Andy, saying, "No complaints from me here. These are some of the fastest, lightest shoes I've tested in quite sometime."
While not as excited as the others, Chris was also impressed with the fast feel. He explained, "While they're not the lightest shoes I've worn, the Gel Solution Speed 3s did feel very fast on court. I think the flex, grip and give allowed me to moved at top speed. I was also very impressed by how light and fast they felt considering the very impressive durability."
Chris - "I liked the fit, feel, comfort, cushioning, traction, durability and cosmetics."
Jason - "I liked everything except the fit in the forefoot. They're the ultimate game day/match day shoes. Lightweight, stable and supportive, and now with improved traction."
Andy - "Everything I've liked about previous Gel Solution Speeds -- exceptional comfort, support, stability and an ultra-fast performance feel."
Chris - "They ran a tad hot. However, this was a non-issue if I took them off immediately after playing."
Jason - "The Gel Solution Speed 3s fit slightly narrower in the forefoot than previous versions."
Andy - "They're slightly narrower and have less ventilation than the previous version."
Chris - "The Gel Solution Speed 3s are the most supportive, durable and best gripping version of the Gel Solution Speeds yet. I'm still more of a fan of the more stable Gel Resolutions, but these shoes definitely won me over during this playtest and have become a go to choice."
Jason - "The Gel Solution Speed 3s feel like a Gel Solution Speed 2, but with improved traction. I'd put them in the same family as the adidas adizero Ubersonic shoes."
Andy - "Fans of the Gel Solution Speed line have no need to fear. If you liked previous versions and your feet aren't TOO wide, you're going to enjoy the Gel Solution Speed 3s. The midsoles and outsoles are very similar to the previous version, so the ride underneath your feet and the durability is virtually identical. What does feel different are the uppers, which to me felt more supportive and stable but narrower and less breathable. Other than that, they're another extremely nice Gel Solution Speed shoe and continue to be (in my opinion) the premier lightweight performance shoes on the market."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
|Overall Comfort||4.6||Overall Sole Durability||4.3|
|Overall Comfort||4.3||Overall Sole Durability||4|
|Overall Comfort||4.6||Overall Sole Durability||3|