Verdict from 100+ user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Looks: The Nike Varsity Compete TR3 is lauded for its appealing design.
  • Heel design: A lot of wearers praise the shoe for its slightly raised heel, which provides adequate balance for squats and deadlifts.
  • Comfort: Many owners applaud this training shoe for being comfortable.
  • Durable: A number of users find the Varsity Compete TR3 to be long-wearing and able to withstand abuse.
  • Support: Some reviewers laud the pair's excellent support for short distance and light running.
  • Quality: A few buyers like the model's excellent quality in materials and craftsmanship.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Breathability: One commenter says that the materials do not allow enough airflow.
  • Lacing system: A user does not feel confident with the shoe's laces as the upper materials crunch up when it is super tightened.

Bottom line

On the aesthetics department, this shoe is an irresistible Nike product. But there's more to it as it offers impeccable support, stability, and comfort. The Nike Varsity Compete TR3 is also praised for its traction and durable construction.

With all that said, its subpar breathability kept it from being perfect. Overall, the pair's many advantages render the cons to be quite insignificant.

Tip: see the best training shoes.

Good to know

What is it for? This pair of Nike training shoes is designed to keep up with high-intensity types of workouts. It has a rubber outsole that promotes stability and traction on gym floors. The foam midsole is responsive, which allows wearers to keep going.

People who might enjoy using the Nike Varsity Compete TR 3 include those:

  • who are looking for a cheap pair of workout shoes;
  • that prefer trainers with a simple style;
  • that want ample cushioning but not very thick sole units.
  • who are just starting in their fitness journey and not sure what footwear to get.

Reliable grip. The underside of the Nike Varsity Compete TR 3 is covered in rubber. This compound provides traction, preventing slips while performing rep after rep after rep of burpees, mountain climbers, planking, or even squat jumps.

The tread pattern on the outsole resembles the greater than and less than symbols. They aim to deliver multidirectional grip and make quick lateral cuts possible.

Movement and steadiness. The rubber extends to the front of this training shoe to make planks more bearable as the toes are locked in place. As for the heel, it is structured to be flat. It keeps the person stable while squatting or doing deadlifts. The back of the heel is beveled, making foot landings softer and guides the foot to midstance with little effort.

Comfort. An EVA foam is used for the midsole of the Varsity Compete TR 3. This unit is crafted to absorb shock. Inside, the footbed adds a layer of cushioning that keeps the foot protected against impact.

Stability. The midsole features a low-profile construction. The low-to-the-ground built aids in keeping the foot steady while doing quick movements, and keeps wearers planted when they need to stay upright.

Cozy wrap. A mesh fabric forms the top of the Nike Varsity Compete TR 3. This material has been engineered to withstand abrasion. Despite its toughness, it allows air to pass through and keep the foot fresh no matter how intense the training gets.

Protection and containment. As this is meant for rigorous training, some areas of the upper are reinforced with synthetic overlays. These elements work in two ways: first, to strengthen areas against friction; second, they help retain the shape of the top, especially at the toe box, so the foot doesn’t slip and slide inside the footwear.

Lockdown. The lace-up closure features punched eyelets. A strap that wraps around the heel integrates with the eyelets at the top. When the wearer tightens the shoestrings, the strap locks the heel in place, reducing excessive movements.

Light padding is applied to both the tongue and the collar. The plushness of these sections helps deliver a snug fit and enhance comfort.

For HIIT fanatics

Another Nike trainer to consider is the Air Max SuperRep. Like the Varsity Compete TR 3, this trainer is also built for circuit training. The Air Max SuperRep caters to people who are serious about high-intensity interval training and has unique features which include:

  • the burpee break under the toes that makes planking and burpees easier to accomplish;
  • the Containment Shield at the forefoot. These massive wheels in front help stabilize the foot during side-to-side movements;
  • a chunky heel that helps reduce impact during foot landings;
  • The Flyplate in the midsole propels the foot forward to keep you going.

For CrossFit enthusiasts

CrossFit is also an intense workout routine but has different physical demands than circuit training. A good footwear to choose is the Reebok Nano X. Reebok has been making CrossFit shoes for 10 years now and each iteration only gets better. The Nano X features:

  • the Metasplit outsole construction which aids natural foot movements;
  • a compressed EVA midsole that provides both shock absorption and steadiness;
  • a rope protection to prevent early deterioration of the upper;
  • the Flexweave top that keeps the foot fresh and also delivers a sock-like fit.


How Nike Varsity Compete TR 3 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 20% workout training shoes
All workout training shoes
Bottom 22% Nike training shoes
All Nike training shoes
Bottom 19% cross-training training shoes
All cross-training training shoes


The current trend of Nike Varsity Compete TR 3.
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Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.