Nike Metcon 5 Intro
The name ‘Metcon’ is short for metabolic conditioning, which is a workout style made popular in recent years by Crossfit. It is a form of high intensity interval training over a short period of time, up to around 20 minutes.
The aim of a metcon is to increase performance of the metabolic systems of the body, and how the body uses up energy. In short, it trains your body to work faster, stronger and more efficiently.
A typical metcon work out will use a combination of weights, kettlebells, running, rowing and bodyweight moves.
So, what is the best footwear out there to take on all of these challenges and provide good stability, durability, and power?
The market was dominated by the Reebok Nano until Nike bought out its heavily anticipated first version of the Metcon in January 2015.
Since this first version there has been an update each year, which has added improved technology and taken on board extensive feedback from Nike’s top Crossfit sponsored athletes and also fans.
The main changes from the Metcon 4 are the 3D printed upper, dual density foam insole, and slightly extended sole wrap around up around the sides of the shoe.
Oh and the extra little gift in the box of the Hyperlift inserts, which go under your heel when lifting super heavy stuff, and also fit in any other previous versions of the Metcon that you may own.
Nike Metcon 5 First Impressions
Upon opening the box, the first major change I notice is that the Metcon 5 now comes with an attached ‘Hyperlift’ insert. This is to go underneath the heels to add offset to use for lifting, and adds 3mm to the heel to toe drop.
There aren’t any instructions on how to use this but I went for underneath the insole, taking the insole out and replacing it after putting in the insert.
As there are no instructions I turned to google to check I was doing it right and it seems no one can agree where in the shoe this is meant to go.
I wore it under the insole and had no problems with it moving around at all so I’d recommend there.
The fit was great and true to size, as I find with all Nikes. For reference I wear a UK 6.5/ EU 40/ US 8.5 in regular shoes and tend to go half a size up in running or training shoes.
I ordered the EU 40.5 in the Metcons and they fit perfectly, if a little on the large side, but I wouldn’t want to go a half size down.
Compared to the Reebok Nano’s (which I wear an EU 39- they’re massive) they come in much more true to size.
They are also slightly narrower on the toebox than the Nano’s, but still fairly roomy here, and immediately comfortable.
Due to the wider fit, when lacing up, the lower laces caused the material to crease slightly where there was excess space where the toes flex.
The color and design are eye catching and stylish, characteristic of Nike.
The shoe comes in many colorways, including limited edition designs, and design your own where you can pick from even more colorways, and even write your own message on the tongue for a $20 premium.
Walking around in they felt stable and solid, but flexible where needed at the forefoot.
On wooden floors the heel makes quite a hollow sound on contact, like a heeled boot, and added to the feeling of a rigid heel, with differing density cushioning throughout the shoe.
Nike Metcon 5 Sole Unit
The sole unit in the Metcon 5 is one of the changes from previous models. It now features a dual density foam insert, which is firmer under the heel, and softer under the forefoot, to cushion high impact moves.
This can be clearly seen when you remove the insole with the two different colors showing the 2 differing densities, and makes the Metcon 5 feels hugely different to any other shoe.
With the addition of the solid Hyperlift insert this feels very much a specialist shoe.
The outsole pattern has completely changed from the uniform pattern over the whole sole on the Metcon 4, to added grooves for flexibility and grip on the Metcon 5.
Still made of carbon rubber, and featuring a sole wrap to protect both the foot and the shoe upper for durability on rope climbs. The forefoot features a ‘Sticky Rubber’, labelled as such, and ‘Get Stronger Everyday’ on the sole.
Under the heel, a more durable rubber with the Swoosh design wraps up the side of the foot to create a large sole unit.
On the back of the heel is a plastic panel cupping the lower heel, which aids traction if handstand push ups are your thing.
Nike Metcon 5 Upper Unit
The Metcon 5 upper is packed with technology and design. It has a 3D printed upper which feels very durable, and has a pattern, featuring a denser design in areas more likely to wear down faster, such as the sides and the toe.
The Flywire lacing is a system by which the laces are pulled through two separate holes rather than just one, which balances out the sole wrap well, and helps to keep the laces tight and feet secure in the shoe.
I did have a few issues with the laces coming undone when walking and running unless they were done up very tightly.
The AMP edition which I purchased have a neon green design which glows in a dark studio, and had stayed super bright after a month of wearing. The tongue is flat, and didn’t move around at all whilst working out.
If not custom design, it reads ‘Metcon’ down the tongue, although once laced up isn’t very clear, so your personal message would stay personal.
The heel is padded, and caused no issues with rubbing, although it does feel quite loose and low, especially compared to the Nano which came much further up my ankle.
This is exacerbated when the Hyperlift inserts are added, and you can see much more of your sock underneath. This didn’t impact the performance though, so is a matter of personal preference.
The shoe is also labelled with some stats on the back of both shoes which adds to its modern design and emphasis on performance.
Nike Metcon 5 Conclusion
Performance-wise, the shoe is designed to take on A LOT. So does it do everything it promises, or fall short in some areas? Here’s how it did over a month…
I wasn’t a fan of running in the Metcons at all. The differing density foam in the heel and forefoot feels very strange to run in, and I could feel the hollow feeling in the heel I first felt when trying them on.
There is no cushioning at all in the heel, and this isn’t possible to ignore on a run. They’re not a running shoe, and don’t claim to be at all, but even a short run felt slow and heavy.
Weightlifting (Squats and Deadlifts)
This is where the Metcons came into their own. I lifted in them using the Hyperlift and without. In both instances the heel felt stable, and I felt I confident.
The only difference being your centre of gravity feels further forwards on with the Hyperlift inserts. Performance wise I didn’t notice a massive difference so will be going without the inserts in future.
The high density foam under the heel keeps its shape, and keeps your still, and the wide toe box means the toes can splay to ‘grip’ the floor.
High Intensity Training (Burpees, Box Jumps, Kettlebells, Lunges)
When it came to doing a Metcon workout these shoes have clearly been tested the 9030 hours that it states on the heel. They are MUCH more suitable than wearing a running shoe, or basic training shoe for this type of workout.
If you’re working out in this way regularly I would definitely recommend the Metcon’s. For jumping in, the grip felt really strong and stable.
I wasn’t scared of slipping, although they didn’t give me that bouncy, light feeling like other shoes might, and my legs felt tired quite quickly.
This may have been down to more of the energy being absorbed by the very dense foam underfoot.
To draw a direct comparison with the Reebok Nano 9, for me the Nano 9’s edged just ahead. This was solely down to being a slightly better all rounder.
The Nano 9 feels much more comfortable on a run, and doesn’t sacrifice stability on lifts.
However, if you are the person that is in the gym to heavy squat and deadlift on the regular (and not interested in buying a pair of lifting shoes specifically for this) the Metcon 5 would be a great, solid choice.
To conclude, if you’re looking for a durable training shoe that you can lift heavy in, is packed with features and technology and looks arguably the best out there, the Metcon is the one.
If you’re looking for something that does all of this, and you can do a little more in when it comes to running, I’d buy the Reebok Nano.
Either way, both are fantastic training shoes and will make your workout safer and more enjoyable!
We purchased a pair of Nike Metcon 5 using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
Nike Metcon 5 Price Comparison
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