A semi new shoe review for a change. Yes, they are the Forza 3, but they are the Houston marathon special edition and I bought them for a very reasonable price from Running Warehouse.
Unfortunately, they are a running shoe that doesn’t work for me, just the way it works sometimes. However, due to too many factors that do not work for me, they are a shoe that I don’t look forward to running in.
I have run treadmill workouts, double-digit long runs, medium distance runs outside in the rain, dirt roads and sand/salt mixtures on the side of the roads (a present from sanding the roads last winter). So I have a pretty good idea of how the Forza 3’s work for me on a variety of conditions and runs.
The Short Version
The Forza 3’s are a pair of running shoes that I can run in, but don’t look forward to using and as a result of my experiences in them have decided that they make better walking shoes than running shoes for me.
The Rest of the Story
There are three primary reasons for this:
1. Firmness: The Forza 3’s are a very firm running shoe, very close to being harsh for me. During the run my feet feel more uncomfortable than I want and after running I just feel as though I am more beat up than I do in some other shoes for similar distances. I had hoped that they would break in a lot more by 50 miles, but they do not seem to have improved much in this department.
Putting in a thicker insole helped a little, but not enough to make them as comfortable as I would like on my long or easy runs – the primary purposes I got the Forza 3’s for. I have other shoes that work better for me for running faster.
2. Outsole: I am not a fan of the outsole, it collects sand, grit, or pebbles and out on the country roads that I run most of the time on, the Forza 3’s had difficulty with grip when transitioning from the road shoulder or sandy sections back to asphalt.
What happens is that I get a bunch of “stuff” stuck in the grooves on the bottom of the shoes, especially if there is more sand on the road, the grip is not there. I attribute (at least partially) my fall the other day to this lack of grip and I have slipped (spun out), slid multiple times on turns or when returning to asphalt after a car zips by.
Something that I have not had a problem with in other shoes on the same courses or turns. I can be clumsy, but it seems I am more clutzy in the Forza 3’s.
3. With the flared heels on the Forza 3’s I tend to wack the insides of my other leg, especially when I am getting tired. Due to my stride, shoes with a sharp flare have always caused me issues and make my runs a lot less enjoyable.
You can see the flare on the heel of the Forza 3 compared to the Gravity 3 or GRR7’s.
The combination of those three reasons are why I have decided to not use them as running shoes going forward. So the search for “my” running shoe continues.
Now that I have talked at length about what doesn’t work for me, what else is there to talk about the Forza 3’s?
I probably could have gone true-to-size 8.0, since I have more than a thumb’s width of shoe left-over in the size 8.5 that I ordered.
They weigh right where I want my running shoes to be.
Sole / Outsole
I have a feeling that the full-length outsole is going to easily outlast the midsole. I love that they are very quiet on the road, but I due to the way the outsole is designed, I would not use them on more technical trails, mud, sandy/asphalt conditions or snow.
The outsole is a pebble magnet and you do have to clean them out from time-to-time. I had to use the leather punch on my Leatherman to finish cleaning them, because I broke my thumbnail attempting to get some of the pebbles out.
The feel of the Forza 3’s are very firm, but provides a very nice pop when running at faster paces – a very good thing. While I don’t really notice the stability component, the Forza 3’s do provide good stability as I tired and my form deteriorated at the end of my long runs in them. However, for me and how my foot works, I need a more cushion for my right foot, otherwise it does bother.
The upper has a bit too much volume for my foot based on how closely together the lace loops are when I snug down the upper. For many runners this wouldn’t be the issue that it is for me. Other than that I do like the upper a lot, it securely holds the foot, without being overbearing. My forefoot has room to splay nicely and doesn’t bother the Tailor’s Bunionette on my right foot.
I did change out the laces, I didn’t like the blue on blue (boring) and initially changed it to a red lace, which was too long, I ended up with a shorter whilte laces, which made for a nice contrast to the blue upper.
Contrary to some other runner’s opinions, in my opinion the Houston edition of the Forza 3’s are a very nice looking running shoe. Despite what some might say, how a running shoe looks to a particular runner is a consideration in whether we will buy it or not. If a shoe is fugly I am more than likely not going to buy it to run in – sorry just being honest.
The reality is
The Forza 3’s even though I have run decently in them, they are not the running shoe for me. The firmness is too much, the outsole doesn’t provide the grip that I want and clipping the inside of my other leg with the flared heel is annoying. Add those into some other minor annoyances that I would typically ignore, it is a running shoe that does not work for me.
I can see how for many other runners the Forza 3 would be a great running shoe for them. However, whether a pair of running shoes works or not depends too much on personal preferences and what works for that runner. In this case the Forza 3’s didn’t work for me.
Who knows maybe the Forza 3’s will be like my old Pearl Izumi N2 Roads, that I disliked so much after the first 50 miles because they were so firm, that I put them into the back of the garage for almost six months. When I tried them later, they became great shoes for me and were one of the few that have made it over 400 miles.
However, I am not planning on putting them in the back of the garage, instead I have made them my primary walking shoes and they are doing quite well in that capacity.