As someone who normally wears HOKA on road and on trail, I’m sometimes surprised when I like a more inexpensive shoe with medium cushioning.
But with the NB Nitrel v3, for your money, you get a decent shoe that delivers more than an average entry-level performance.
It’s the type of shoe you can keep in your car for those times you just want to get in an impromptu trail run on single-track trail without really having to think about how it will do.
I was able to put my arch support insoles into the shoe and just run. Since my insoles are a little thicker in the heel, it may have changed how well the heel of the shoe was originally supposed to fit.
But I didn’t find I got any blisters or rubbing in the heel area when I used my insole. The heel cup is not really made for a narrow heel, but I’m sure there are ways you can get around that.
I did find that the midfoot was a little loose for my narrower foot. However, when I tightened the shoe just a little more than I normally do, it worked well enough to short runs comfortably.
If I didn’t tie them tight enough, though, my feet tended to feel like they were sliding forward on downhills.
One issue I did notice was that after running through water or mud puddles, the shoe stayed too damp for my liking. I like a shoe that drains and feels like it dries quickly.
The upper on this shoe seems to keep moisture inside more than I would like. Even sweat didn’t seem to air out easily, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
The sole is pretty soft, so it’s not as comfortable on large gravel and rocks. But it worked great for easy, dry trail without a lot of sharp rocks and roots.
I found it was comfortable at different speeds, as well.
I was able to trust the tread on hills, for the most part, but I did find that the tread wasn’t enough for mud that’s more than an inch or two deep. It also wasn’t great on wet leaves and wet, flat rocks, but (again) it’s great on dry terrain.
A couple of other reviewers commented that the toe box was on the narrower side, and I agree. But, again, it wasn’t a deal-breaker for shorter, easy runs.
I even used these shoes for a trail half marathon, and they still hold up well.