See the verdict below.
When I ran in the Reebok OSR Harmony Road – a shoe that I was impressed with, I kept wondering what it would be like to run in a lighter, slimmer version of the shoe. To some extent, that’s what the Distance 3.0 trainer is.
It weighs just 8.7 ounces compared to the 10.4 ounces of the Harmony Road, and it sports an 8mm heel drop compared to the 10mm drop on the Harmony Road.
And so, I had some optimism about the Distance 3.0.
The Distance 3.0 has a seamless knit upper that looks both relaxed and stylish.
It makes use of the same KOOSHRIDE tech in the midsole and heel for protective resilience found on the Harmony Road, and one’s feet rest on a durable high-abrasion outsole.
(The sole of the Distance 3.0 differs in one respect from that on the Harmony Road, as will be noted below.)
The Distance 3.0 has asymmetrical lacing which eases any potential pressure on the top of the runner’s foot, and the fit of the shoe is comfortable – the fit is neither too snug nor loose.
One noticeably odd aspect of the Distance 3.0 is the angle of the top of the heel counter. I have no idea why it bends back as it does; the padded heel counter material above the bend pushes in on the Achilles tendon.
I never felt it affect me during a run; however, some runners may find it to be a hindrance.
On The Road
In general, the Distance 3.0 offers a protective and cushioned ride. It is also quite stable despite being labeled as a neutral running shoe.
While the sole of the Distance 3.0 looks relatively flat, it offers good grip in tricky situations.
At one point I found myself running in a business park. Some trucks had come through carrying heavy loads of sand and rocks, and large amounts dribbled out to cover the asphalt streets.
This made the tarmac somewhat slippery and perhaps dangerous, but I had no trouble safely maneuvering along these streets in the Distance 3.0.
The Distance 3.0 provides a nice, steady feel on asphalt. It’s not hard to surmise that this is a clearly capable shoe for tackling marathons.
The Power Pad
When I ran in the Harmony Road, I could not feel nor figure out the use or uses of the Power Pad that sits in the forefoot.
But on the Distance 3.0, I could feel it come into play.
The Power Pad is a small spot that provides some additional cushioning and grip.
It’s like a cat’s paw that sits on the sole; the Nike Air Ghost Racer of several years ago had a similar, but circular, pad on it.
And, so, the Power Pad is a small, unique feature that provides an added bit of confidence for the runner.
Confidence is a key word when it comes to running shoes.
As I increased my travel in the Distance 3.0 – both in terms of time and distance – I felt more and more confident in the shoe’s properties. This is a good thing.
The Achilles Heel
I’m using the term Achilles heel here not as a reference to an injury of the Achilles tendon, but as a colloquial reference to a weakness or flaw.
The Achilles heel of the Distance 3.0 is an overly-firm sole section at the rear of the shoe, the section that sits under the heel.
While the high-abrasion rubber sole of the Distance 3.0 is protective, it’s more than firm at the rear of the shoe. This overly-firm base winds up pounding on the heel bone after many miles of running in the trainer. It’s not the best feeling.
Keep in mind, that I’m a person who loved the stiff, firm polyurethane heel on the Nike Air Pegasus of earlier years.
More recently, I liked the “poly” heel on the ON Cloudsurfer. But the heel padding on the Distance 3.0 is far firmer.
I’m hopeful that by the time the Distance 5.0 is released, Reebok has remedied the problem by placing some softer rubber in the rear quarter of the sole, or by building up the heel area with soft rubber as Brooks has done on the Glycerin 15.
My interim remedy built out of necessity, was to remove the sock liner that came with the Distance 3.0, replacing it with a Dr. Scholl’s Athletic Series running insole incorporating a soft rubber pad at the heel.
The $80 price on the Distance 3.0 is unbeatable.
The springiness of the Distance 3.0 allows for quick toe-offs and it reminded me of the New Balance Fresh Foam line of running shoes.
One could not ask for a more stable ride in a trainer.
Versatility: B to B+
The Distance 3.0 permits one to run however feels natural to the individual runner, and it can serve as a slow pace recovery shoe, a mid-pace trainer, or as a fast-paced race day shoe.
The Reebok OSR Distance 3.0 is a shoe that displays multiple strengths while being hampered by one flaw – the overly stiff/firm/hard rear sole section which can feel bruising to one’s heel or heel bone.
Yet it meets its promises of serving as both a tempo run and long distance shoe. It’s also light enough to use as a race day shoe.
The Distance 3.0 is a bargain-priced shoe that will hopefully be improved in subsequent editions so that it will be found on the feet of new and young runners training for organized runs from 6.2 to 26.2 miles.