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Hands-on Gear Review

Nike Metcon 4 - Women's Review

Price:   $130 List
Pros:  Excellent for lifting and rope climbs
Cons:  Not comfortable for running
Bottom line:  The Metcon 4 is a solid performer for lifting workouts, but is lacking when it comes to running and jumping movements.
Editors' Rating:   
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Upper:  Breathable Flymesh
Weight (Measured) (One size 6.5 shoe) (Ounces):  8.25 oz
Heel to toe drop (mm):  4 mm
Manufacturer:   Nike

Our Verdict

Since shaking up the CrossFit shoe world with their first version of the Metcon in 2014, Nike has fallen a little behind the competition in the quest to have the best shoe in the category. Most significantly, the Metcon is quite stiff, and thus our reviewers felt that it doesn't perform as well for running. However, what they lack in running they make up for in weightlifting. We liked their support on our heavier lifting days. The Metcons really can't be challenged with their performance on rope climbs and their durability. The sticky rubber that wraps up the instep of this shoe will help you climb that rope in no time!

New Version of the Metcon
Nike updated the Metcon 3 shoe in a number of ways to create the new Metcon 4, pictured above. Check out our side-by-side comparison below.


RELATED REVIEW: Best CrossFit Shoes for Women of 2018


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Audrey Hammond

Last Updated:
Friday
March 2, 2018

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The Metcon 3 vs. The New Metcon 4


Nike updated the Metcon to improve its durability while keeping the same outsole and underfoot cushion. Here's a rundown of what changed:

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Nike Metcon 3
 
  • More Durable Upper — Nike printed haptic star shapes on high-wear areas to help the shoe laster longer while letting other areas breath through flexible mesh.
  • More Comfortable — Additional cushioning in the upper hugs the foot and the tongue gets more fabric to keep the laces from creating pressure points.
  • Precise Lacing — Nike added a set of eyelets for a precision controlled fit.

Hands-On Review of the Metcon 3


The Nike Metcon 3 is a solid choice for lifting metcons as the name would imply, but won't be your go-to shoe for runs. While the stiff sole is a hindrance while running, it does add some support on the lifting platform. You will also be hard-pressed to find a better shoe for rope climbs. Your feet will not slip on the rope with these sticky rubber soles.

The Metcon 3 is a solid choice for moderate to heavy metabolic conditioning workouts. They feel solid even on the heavier lifting days.
The Metcon 3 is a solid choice for moderate to heavy metabolic conditioning workouts. They feel solid even on the heavier lifting days.

Weightlifting


The Metcon was one of the more solid shoes for heavy lifting. Most hybrid style shoes designed to handle CrossFit style workouts are often too soft or lack the support to take on heavier loads. Our Best Buy winner, the Speed TR, for instance, is great for lighter weight, high rep movements but isn't sturdy enough to push heavy. We were able to keep these shoes firmly planted as we screwed our feet into the ground. While the Speed TR has a slimmer sole, the Metcon sole has a more substantial feel like that of a traditional lifting shoe.

Running


The first version of the Metcon was a little more comfortable for running than their latest release. These soles feel somewhat stiffer than their predecessors. We still liked running in the Metcons over running in the Nano 7.0's however. The Nanos were almost our least favorite for runs. If your workouts involve heavy lifting as well as running, then check out our Editors' Choice Winning NOBULL Trainers. The NOBULLs are even better than the Metcons for lifting, but feel light and fast on runs instead of stiff and clunky like the Metcons.

Sensitivity


We aim for a shoe with good "sensitivity" in our search for the best shoe for CrossFit. This measure describes how easy it is to feel your weight balanced on your feet. In the battle for the best CrossFit shoe, one category that helps the Metcons stand out is that of sensitivity. Whereas the Nanos have a wider toe box that can feel sloppy and make it hard to keep your bodyweight strategically positioned where you need it, the Metcons gave us much better feedback. The Nanos simply did not give us the solid body awareness that we felt in the Metcons. Of course, the sensitivity of the Metcons did not reign supreme over our two lifting specific shoes in this review. Our Top Pick for Lifting WODs is only slightly heavier than the Metcons but will deliver better sensitivity on the lifting platform.

The Metcons are a good pick regarding sensitivity during Olympic lifts. We found it easy to be able to discern subtle weight shifts in these shoes.
The Metcons are a good pick regarding sensitivity during Olympic lifts. We found it easy to be able to discern subtle weight shifts in these shoes.


Support


The demands of CrossFit require a supportive shoe. The shoes must be able to handle the weight of the athlete plus the additional barbell weight. One of the common problems when lifting in non-lifting shoes is that they lack the support you need to stand up out of the bottom of a squat. The squishy soles of the Minimus 40's, for instance, pushed our weight forward onto our toes causing us to dump the bar on heavy front squats. The Metcons were still no match for the NOBULL Trainers in the support category.

Protection / Durability


We want shoes that will not fall apart, and we want shoes that will protect our feet. Those are our main goals when ranking shoes for protection and durability. Rope climbs and double unders are two of the movements where we took these goals into consideration.

These shoes seem indestructible to rope climbs. The sticky rubber instep shows no damage at all.
These shoes seem indestructible to rope climbs. The sticky rubber instep shows no damage at all.


These just might be the most indestructible shoes we have seen for CrossFitters. The friction from rope climbs that often shreds shoes and rubs feet is no problem at all for the sticky rubber sole that wraps up around the middle of the Metcon. You will find that many shoe companies are catering to the demands of CrossFitters by adding protective rope barriers. For instance, Asics has an added layer of "Rhyno skin" to protect their Conviction X shoes from rope friction. Unfortunately for Asics, that material is super slick and made rope climbs way harder without our feet being able to grip the rope. The Metcons were far better at gripping onto the rope than any other shoe in this review. Our feet felt protected from the friction of rope climbs as well as the sting of double unders in the Metcon.

Our reviewers noticed that they could climb the rope much faster wearing the Metcons than in the other shoes in our review.
Our reviewers noticed that they could climb the rope much faster wearing the Metcons than in the other shoes in our review.

Breathability


As we compared our test shoes, we paid close attention to the breathability of each shoe. We know you will be working hard in your new shoes for CrossFit, and we want to help you stay cool. The Metcon ranked on the lower end of breathability in this review. It doesn't look like the one-piece construction of the uppers on the NOBULL Trainers would be more breathable than the mesh on the Metcons. However, the NOBULLs were much more breathable. The Metcons were superior to their close competitor, the Nanos, in their breathability rating.

Comfort


We can't talk about shoe without addressing comfort. Comfort is rated equally important as sensitivity, durability, and breathability. Our reviewers ranked the comfort of the Metcon right at average for a shoe for CrossFit. Part of what held them back in their comfort rating was the stiff feeling sole for runs and jumps. As for standing around in all day, the Metcons could use a little more arch support as well. Our Best Buy winner, the Speed TR, would be a better pick if you need to spend the day standing around in your shoes for CrossFit. The Metcons were still more comfortable than the newest Nano shoes, which were some of our lowest ranking shoes for comfort.

The Metcons were not really our favorite shoe for running or box jumps. These shoes are much better suited for some lifting.
The Metcons were not really our favorite shoe for running or box jumps. These shoes are much better suited for some lifting.

Best Applications


Moderate to heavy metcon workouts would be the best application for the aptly named Metcons. You also will not find a shoe with more grip for you rope climbs than what the Metcon provides.

A solid shoe for lifting  the Metcons are a good choice for heavier workouts.
A solid shoe for lifting, the Metcons are a good choice for heavier workouts.

Value


Retailing at $130, the Metcons are on the upper end of the shoes in this review. If you are willing to go with a solid color of the NOBULL Trainers, then the NOBULLs would be a more comfortable, much more versatile shoe than the Metcons.

Conclusion


The Nike Metcons have slipped a little in their competition with other shoes for CrossFit since our last review. They are still a solid pick for moderate to heavy weight workouts, and they are fantastic for rope climbs, however.
Audrey Hammond