Color: Hyper Cobalt/Volt-University Blue-White
Intended use: All runs except trail and in bad weather.
Surfaces tested on: Road, 20° C/68° F
Upper: Single layer mesh, inner sleeve, welded synthetic overlays.
Midsole: Two different densities of EVA injection stacked over each other.
Outsole: Carbon rubber.
Weight: 290 gms/ 10.2 Oz for a half pair of UK10/US11
Widths available: Only one standard width.
The Nike Dual Fusion is another shoe from the Oregon based brand featuring a multi-density midsole, and given the fact there’s a string of other models doing that, some clarification is in order. No, it isn’t a baby Lunarglide 6, with its angled foam insert. The Dual Fusion doesn’t have any gait correction tricks up its sleeve, it is just a shoe which offers a lot of cushioning while balancing it with stability. Here’s a close-up picture of the educational label which comes attached on the brand new shoe. It points at the use of a comfort core, while being surrounded by a foam structure aimed at providing support. The label needs to be updated though; the new Dual Fusion uses two foams stacked together from heel to toe, and not only till the mid foot as the label suggests.
Till last year, foam pieces were attached to each other using the old school way, which meant sticking them using adhesives. The 2014 version goes glue-free and stacking happens by injection molding two pieces together. There is no midsole paint used here, just manufacturing advancement. And how can we tell? We zoomed in on the line which bisects where the upper and lower foam pieces meet; and the foam pores are clearly visible. When two foams are injected or compressed together, some part of it squeezes out on the sides. Much like making a breakfast waffle; while you can eat the crunchy, squeezed out flatness of the breakfast staple, in the footwear business they just trim that portion with a fast spinning rotary blade. This cuts the smooth upper layer of the foam, exposing the cellular structure which you see in our picture.
It is also worth noting that a brand new pair of Dual Fusion retails at eighty dollars, unchanged from last year. Considering that the price of admission into the running shoe club is $100 these days, you have to ask whether the $80 price tag comes with a catch. There isn’t any. The Dual Fusion is an affordable, versatile and overall sensible pair of Nike, and though we have some minor gripes (which we’ll point out with due diligence), chances are that they won’t prove to be a serious botherance.
The upper, for example, is full of functional goodness. This year’s edition has lost a considerable amount of bulk compared to 2013, replacing prior bits and pieces with elements way lighter in bulk, both aesthetic and actual. The mid-foot has been totally cleaned up by eliminating the windowed, synthetic overlay and instead using a mesh layer which covers most of shoe. Beneath that, there is a full inner sleeve with in-built sponginess which wraps around the foot. Lacing set-up is carried over from Dual Fusion 2, executed by flat straps rising from the upper base and then forming loops at the top. Kind of Flywire-esque, but with flat straps instead of cords. There are leather overlays on the toe bumper, eye-stay and heel, while heat fused layers blends in invisibly around different sections of the upper.
Fit, as befits an inner sleeve is snug, and in this case it isn’t tight at all. There’s plenty of open space in the pointy end of Dual Fusion; the forefoot sides being snug, room opens up around the tips of small toe and side of the big one. Can’t really call the DF true to size, as there’s almost a half size allowance between the front wall of the toe bumper and where your foot ends. The strap based lacing is all around pleasantness, coming together quickly once you tug on the lace ends. And because they’re flat, side pressure is spread over evenly without any hot spots. Lacing pressure over the tongue is non-interfering, with the padded tongue insulating the foot from any top down discomfort.
Coming to the minor gripes we talked about earlier – the collar area isn’t perfect. The upper heel height is rather high, reaching far upwards along the Achilles. While the collar is soft, the corners of the Achilles tab is formed using folds of welded underlays, so there are firm and a bit unyielding. Runners with Achilles irritation issue should check this area before buying. We’ve been on multiple runs in the Dual Fusion, and encountered nothing which can be classified as discomfort. But the area deserves a few more minutes of attention when you’re out trying them on for the first time. That applies when you’re running barefoot in the Fusions – rest of the upper is perfect for doing that, except for the raised Achilles part.
Medial (inner) side of the collar has some slack, and isn’t snug. Lesser foam padding seems to be the reason, and a better level of snugness can only be achieved by using the last row of eyelets. But doing so puts a noticeable amount of lacing pressure on the tongue top, besides making the whole area look very busy with lacing overlaps. It is not a deal breaker, but certainly an area which could do with some improvement.
Purely from a cosmetic perspective, the upper mid-foot comes across as loose. There are two synthetic leather swooshes welded on upper mesh, and they are relatively thick. The logos bend in waves along their length, raising the thin mesh and making area look slightly puffy. Frankly, no one would have noticed if Nike took off the medial swoosh overlay and replaced that with a small printed logo on the rear quarter panel – similar to what they have used on its heel. Would have saved some cents in product cost, which could have been used to place a reflective strip somewhere, which is currently not a fixture on Dual Fusion.
So coming to the centerpiece of Dual Fusion Run 3 – its dual density midsole, how does it ride underfoot? Before answering that question, we’d like to go through the construction basics of the midsole. The blue portion is the firmer foam and while it extends right from toe to heel, the bulk of it is used only from heel to forefoot (see outsole picture below). The blue foam is supported on the sides by a softer white foam, which wraps around till the forefoot, where it (internally) extends downwards. Looking at the Dual Fusion paper label, we first assumed the blue foam to be softer and vice versa, but it isn’t. Regardless, there isn’t much difference in the firmness between the two layers of foam. What you get are soft heel landings, and the softness extends all the way to the forefoot. The shoe does not attempt to correct foot strike, it just keeps the heel centered during all that compression, something which all running shoes are supposed to don in the first place. The Dual Fusion provides agreeable levels of stability in heel and forefoot, with smooth transition coming from the uninterrupted coverage of outsole rubber beneath.
Liberal use of rubber also translates into better durability. The midsole molding results in the outsole surface being recessed somewhat inwards in a concave shape, so the wear tends to happen on the edges first. The compound used is regular carbon rubber, with a level of recycled content mixed in.
Arch support is substantial, especially felt inside the upper. But it feels a little out of place, and we mean it literally. The medial (arch side) midsole curves in sharply from the rear, so it ends up making the rear mid foot area quite narrow. When the foam sockliner is overlaid atop it, it tends to ride up the upper sides, creating a lump which feels like arch support, but just placed a little backwards. The initial runs felt a bit strange, but we got used to it after sometime. Not ideal at all, though. If the intention, which we’re sure, was to provide arch support, the curve should be moved slightly forward. If you’ve worn the Dual Fusion Run 3, let us know in the comment box below so that we know this isn’t an one-off thing.
That said, the Dual Fusion Run 3 is good value at $80, a sensible buy if the firm Achilles part isn’t a hurdle. It’s got a well cushioned ride, the sleeved upper fits well, is considerably lightweight for its category (290gms/10.2 oz) and has enough outsole rubber to go the distance.
You might also want to check out the Dual Fusion Lite 2, which has a similar construction, but with a toned down volume of firmer midsole foam.
(Disclaimer: Solereview paid full US retail price for the shoe reviewed)
Note on ratings: Our numeric scoring of 8/10 is based on a total of weighted averages. The attributes namely transition, stability and fit contribute to 69% of total scoring weight, which we see as more important than material (7%), cushioning (7%), traction (12%) and weight (5%). Hence the scores will not add up when simple average calculation is used.
So is it more stable that pegasus but still in the same neutral category?
Is it good for slow long runs?
Yes, something like that. Except that the Dual Fusion cushioning isn’t as responsive, and that’s why we have docked some points out of cushioning’s total score.
Yes, will perform well on comfort runs.
Does this shoe provide a softer ride reminiscent of the Pegasus 29?
Yes, the heel cushioning feels similar in softness, but without the spring of Zoom Air bag.
Pegasus style cushioning? The Dual Fusion Run 2 I tried had cushioning that wasn’t half as soft for me as the Pegasus. Gotta try these out.
Partly, since we refer only to the similarity in heel cushioning. Need to manage expectations since there’s no Zoom Air in the DF. Biggest difference the DF 2 and 3 is the way midsole has been constructed. DF 2 had two separate parts, in DF3, it is one.
Try them on in the store, would be helpful to know what you think.
after some clarification here, been looking at these, but I need some for medium OP, different sites i have seen these on say that are for medium OP/flat arch and others dont have them in that category. Anybody clarify which they are good for and if not, which Nike ones are best for what i need, as a lot of other brands styles are pretty ugly, lol
also, forgot to say these are just for general use and mild fitness. dont go running often, but do insanity so need something that will give me good support as i have had some plantar fascia just across my arch on right foot in the past and although its better, still not 100%. Thanks again
The Dual Fusion Run 3 is a neutral shoe, which does not have any feature to keep the foot from rolling in – any more than a regular running shoe. It is just very well cushioned with a moderate level of stability built in.
You could try the Nike Lunarglide 6, which is more supportive. However, we think for workouts like Insanity, flatter, flexible and broader soles do very well, like a pair of Nike Free 5.0’s from Nike’s Men’s training line.
thanks for the reply, i did check out the lunarglide 6, going to try some on shortly see what i think. thanks for the input on the others, i will check them out also
great review site by the way, very detailed
No worries at all, do let us know if we can help! Thanks for dropping by.
Hi, my question is (which has been hard for people or I myself to find the best answer to even with all the research I have done) which shoe(s) are best for flat feet guys? I am a fitness trainer who specializes in athletic training. I do it all i.e. Stairs and/or stadiums, train inside/outside on all surfaces (mainly track and turf). The best shoes to date for me has been the Nike free trainer 5.0. But silly me, should’ve and do know better, used the shoes for too long and now I’ve build up plantar fasciitis. Smh. But I just ordered the new trainer 5.0s, had previously the 2013. Was that a good choice?
First off, very sorry for missing this comment – we just realized this question was unanswered this morning. We usually reply within 24-36 hours, so this was an obvious slip through the cracks.
Best shoes for flat feet are those which combine arch support and stability, by which we mean a firm ride. The arch support has to come from the upper (by fit and insole support), and the midsole, which could have a flare supporting the arch, or have a filled in midfoot area. The Brooks Transcend is a great example.
If you’ve built up PF, besides the recovery process, you should select a shoe which flexes only under the ball of forefoot, and not in the center, like what the Nike Free does. The rest of the midsole should be firm too, with rigidity just under the arch – which means if you try the wring/twist the shoe using both your hands, it should be resistant to such an action.
Thanks for the review. I am trying to make up my mind on my next running shoe. Have just recently started going beyond 10K runs and aim to reach 25-30K. With my 10K runs, I have realized my calves and knee pain a bit. On reading online, I learnt about pronation. (I feel ignorant:)) I am a mild Over-Pronator. With an aim of running only 25-30K, and some problems of mild over-pronation, do you think Dual Fusion Run 3 could be of help for me? I tried it in the store and it felt great. Am not sure how seriously should I take the issue of pronation. PS: I currently run on roads and in a Puma Mobium. Thanks in advance!!
In our opinion, running form combined with muscular conditioning is much more important than a shoe which prevents or influences pronation. There are many variables involved in running, so many shoes might not work as advertised.
Before building up mileage, the focus should be (ignore if you’re doing so already) to strengthen your quadricep, hamstrings and glutes, along with soleus/calf muscles. Also need to incorporate Achilles and Plantar stretch to prevent injuries.
If that (above) is taken care of, then most shoes should do it for you, including the Dual Fusion.
May I ask, whether it is water repellent-resistant or not?
Hi – these shoes are not water resistant. You should try the Nike Pegasus 31 Flash or Lunarglide 6 Flash instead.
Hi, how do these compare to the lunarglide 6? I have some too-small lunarglides and I’m wondering if these would be a better choice. I’m looking for a lot of cushioning. I’m not a serious runner but I need an all purpose show that can handle any athletic needs effectively and comfortably. I also tend to use spenco innersoles, which made my current lunarglides unbearably tight. Any opinions?
As far as cushioning is concerned, the Dual Fusion is softer than LG6. You should be able to retrofit Spencos in the DF, as long as the thickness is more or less consistent with the stock insole.
The Pegasus 31 is also a great all around shoe too. Our favorite for going about our non-running business.
Great review / site – glad I found it. I’ve just received my NDF3 10.5D all black ordered on sale from Footlocker. Your description is spot on. I usually wear new runners for indoor training and casual wear until they’re broken in enough to run outdoors, and these should do fine. As usual for my “working shoes”, I’ve replaced the insole with Spenco sorbathanes.
Fit is snug but right and should break in – for Nikes I’m often a “large” 10.5 not quite 11. No problem at all with the collar, which I rather like, since some shoes will slip down my heel and these do not. I’m mainly writing to confirm the odd placement of the arch support, which is different from any other shoe I’ve had and crowds the rear footpad rather than sitting squarely under the arch – the Spencos help but don’t cure it. This could be enough to put off some runners and I’d recommend a store fitting before purchase.
Thanks for the feedback, the arch area does feel funny, doesn’t it?
Hi Thanks for the review. I have high arched small feet and I am looking for supportive shoes with good cushioning. Would this be suitable for my requirements? I am not a runner but I enjoy walking. Thanks
Yes, the Dual Fusion should do ok, but also suggest shoes like the Nike Pegasus 31, Zoom Vomero 9 and Nike Lunar Launch. Try all of these on at the store and see which one fits and feels best.
What in your opinion between the dual fusion run 3s and st 3? What is a better cushioning system all together or the setup, also what has better traction and heel to toe transition.
Can’t say, because we haven’t tested the DF ST3. Sorry about that!
Is this shoe good for a person with plantar fasciitis?
Generally speaking, shoes which don’t flex in the midfoot (and does so in the forefoot) are suited for PF. Dual fusion behaves as described.
That said, the Dual Fusion has an unusually high amount of under-arch support, so perhaps wise to skip this and go for something like the Pegasus 31 instead.
how does this compare to the pegasus 31? i have the peg31s and love them but i did try these on they felt alright for the price. mostly just looking for good mileage and support for my high arches
The Dual Fusion has a more prominent under-arch support feel (though its position is a bit strange, towards the rear), and the heel cushioning is soft, but less responsive than the Pegasus due to the absence of Zoom Air bag.
Right now I’m using Nike Free 3 v4. I get soreness in my left foot after running 2-3 miles. Is this a better shoe for a bulky person like me?? (194 lbs, 5’8″).. If not please suggest one in Nike or Reebok as my current one is almost worn out.. Preference is for cushioning..
Hard to say why your ankles are sore – they are many factors which can cause that, and not only the shoes. Try and include lower body conditioning/strengthening exercises along with your run, should help. Ask your coach or physio.
Nike Pegasus 31 and Reebok Cushion 2.0 are shoes you can try.
Already try it and for me,The medial (arch side) midsole curves is so tight and narrow. I felt unstable when walk with dul fusion 3. I fear it’ll probably bend my ankle to side when running in damaged roads or swelling my foot because it’s so tight in aech but loose in front and back.
The arch area does feel out of place, so the running experience will depend from person to person.
Does anyone know if these are considered ” non- slip”
These have adequate grip on road, if that’s what you were asking.
But these are not ‘non-marking’ – ie, it leaves skid marks on wooden surfaces.
Hi, can you please suggest shoes for running on road. Looking for a shoe with good support and durable sole to last long road runs (weekly 25 Miles). Preparing for my first half marathon. Budget upto 75$.
You should get the Pegasus 31. The retail is $100, but as the Pegasus 32 releases this weekend, the 31 should be selling in the range of $60-80 at most places.
Hi, can you please suggest shoes for running on road? with good support and durable sole, to regular training (3x per week). Price between 50 and 65 euros
Suggest the Nike Pegasus 31. This is last year’s model, so it should be available on discount online at around Euro 50-65. The new Pegasus 32 isn’t that different, so the Pegasus 31 is currently a great buy.
Also look for last year’s adidas Supernova Glide 6 Boost, another great shoe. The 7 has been out for some time, so Glide 6 is available at bargain prices.
What is the heel drop of this shoe? I love minimalist shoes but they aren’t enough cushion on my feet. Was hoping these would be a better option -as long as not too built up in heel, which makes my knees hurt. Thanks.
Not sure about the exact drop, should be in the vicinity of 10-12 mm.
Just wanted to chime in regarding the awkward arch support on the DF3. I recently picked up a pair and found it a little weird (starting early from the rear or “pushed back” almost under the heal so to speak) so wanted to check some reviews to make sure I wasn’t the only one. Excellently thorough review here, I’ll definitely be back to check with you guys before future purchases now that I have a good benchmark to compare with your data.
Thanks for the feedback! Yes, we concur – the way in under-arch support is delivered is very strange on the DF3.
I’ve been looking to purchase my first pair of shoes for running and I was wondering if you could give some advise. I have very low arches, walking for even a moderate amount of time can be quite painful, so it seems with the arch support being a bit off in this pair that these aren’t the ones for me. Could you perhaps point me in the direction of another pair of shoes as I’m not quite sure what shoes give support for flat feet. Thanks.
You could try the Nike Zoom Structure 18, and also the Brooks Transcend 2.
I’m curious because this is a shoe, along with others like the Flex Run line and now the Tri Fusion, that very few seem to talk about. Is it just because they’re cheaper, “entry-level” Nike models that don’t have technologies like Zoom Air or Lunarlon? If so, are they worth considering for running as opposed to lifestyle?
Correct, usually lower priced shoes don’t get talked about. But functionally, there is nothing wrong with running in them, these shoes do as good a job.
We would also love to review more of these, but since we buy our own shoes (costs money) and have limited review resources, we often don’t.
Admittedly, one won’t get the ‘springy’ or cushy feeling which is experienced on more expensive models, but none of these are necessarily inferior.
Within Nike’s ‘core running’ line-up, the Dual Fusion 3, Downshifter, Flex run and the Winflo are shoes you should be looking at.
I am a nurse and purchased these shoes for work. I wore them for 13hrs today and was on them for at least 11hrs. Today was the second day in a row I wore them for this length. I walk at a relatively quick pace all day. Today I found quarter sized reddened area bilaterally just in front of the arch and it is slightly swollen.I’ve never had this happen from a pair of shoes before. I have realitively wide and moderately flat feet. I tend to wear my shoes out in a few months. Has this happened to anyone else. Does anyone have a suggestion on a good runner for my needs. Thanks :)
We haven’t faced that problem under the arch area with our DF, but for all day walking, the Nike Pegasus 31 or Zoom Vomero 10 seem better choices. The Pegasus 31 is last year’s model, so you should be able to get one for less than the price of a DF.
And if you like something really, really soft, then the Asics Gel Nimbus 17 is the shoe.
I am a Surgical Technology student and I have a pair of the DF lites, I was just wondering if you know how they differ from the newer models. I love the lites, they are the best pair of shoes I’ve ever worn, but the adhesive holding the rubber traction strips at the bottom has come undone and my shoes seem like they are falling apart beneath me! I need new shoes for clinicals, since my favorites are falling apart!
Sorry Tara, have no idea about the DF Lites!
How about the 2014 Nike Pegasus 31, there still should be plenty of those available online! (for DF lite prices)
Why does my dual fusion x2 is hurting my arch .?
Can any one help me.
Does it get better after a while of using it?
Because the position of arch-support in the midsole is very unusual, pushed towards the back. Doubt the shoe will change, but your feet might adapt.
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