Nike Metcon 6 Intro
Last year we started reviewing training shoes in addition to our ‘bread-and-butter’ running shoes.
The aim was to guide runners who are working out in a gym environment or doing any strength training to choose the right shoe for their exercise programs.
These types of accessory exercises are super important for runners looking to improve their speeds or prevent injuries (which is everyone right?!) and the typical running shoe just doesn’t cut it.
Not only will it wear out your running shoes more quickly, but you also risk injury to the lower body if for example, you’re squatting in your running shoes.
So far we have found the most popular training shoes to be superbly fit for purpose across almost all areas, bar their weight, their wide, clumpy feel on the feet and breathability.
Nike’s launch of the Metcon 6 aimed to change this.
When we reviewed the Metcon 5 we loved the stability underfoot (especially when lifting weights) comfortable, wide fit, durability and general aesthetics of the shoe.
The only reason it didn’t get a full 10/10 was its performance during a run, even a short one, as part of a workout or warm-up. The Metcon 5 felt heavy and stiff when it came to moving through the running gait.
Whilst not a huge amount has changed on the 6th version, what has been changed seems to have addressed these issues of feel underfoot.
The biggest change has come in the form of a much superior and breathable upper, made with large ventilation holes to increase airflow and also give a much lighter feel on the foot.
The durability here has also been considered with a thicker screenprint pattern over the areas of high abrasion.
The weight of the shoe is 12.6oz (Men’s size 9) and feels lighter than the Metcon 5 both on the foot and in the hand.
Nike Metcon 6 First Impressions
Before even purchasing the shoe, my first impressions of the Metcon 6 were pretty mixed…
There appeared to be a few style updates on the upper, but everything else seems pretty similar, just a few tweaks to improve an already great shoe.
The launch colorway of leopard print (women’s sizes), camo print (men’s sizes) and a dark Mat Fraser special edition was not to my taste at all.
But thankfully these were followed by some subtler designs, and also a custom design should you choose to pay a slight premium.
When the shoes (in my much-preferred colorway of football grey/ hyper jade/ black/ flash crimson) arrived I was really impressed with the small changes and upgrades from the previous version.
After testing the Metcon 5, the Reebok Nano X launched so I had been wearing that and these felt quite different. More on the comparison of the Nano X and the Metcon 6 here…
Out of the box, there’s a lot going on in the Metcon 6, much of which you may love or hate. It’s busy to look at, packed with lots of design and functional features.
Stand out is the extended sole wrap, seam overlays in contrasting colors which divide the shoe into two very separate parts, and large zig-zag lace overlays
The fit was true to size- I went ½ size smaller than my Nike running shoes and the width and length felt perfect.
The low heel height at the back did give some heel slippage to begin with but now no longer bothers me as the shoe has softened up and moulded to my foot better.
To begin with the shoe does feel stiff both in the sole and around the heel cup, so I’d recommend wearing them around the home or for a short walk outdoors before a long workout, and risking any rubbing or hotspots.
If you’re currently using the Metcon 5 as a training shoe and wore one on each foot, I’d challenge you to be able to find many differences in the sole feel.
The dual-density foam remains, thicker under the heel to support on lifts, and slightly more cushioning on the forefoot to absorb the impact during high-intensity workouts.
The Metcon 6’s come with hyperlift inserts, to put under the insole under the heel to assist with mobility and stability when squatting with weights.
After testing these inserts a few times with the Metcon 5’s these weren’t something I ended up using as I didn’t notice much difference other than a looser heel fit.
So I didn’t opt to add in the inserts on the 6’s either for my first workout in them.
During this first workout, I did a short treadmill run, back squats, kettlebell swings and box jumps and was hugely impressed by their performance.
Nike Metcon 6 Sole Unit
The sole is a complete copycat of the Metcon 5. Starting with the outsole, flex grooves in the heel and the forefoot give good flexibility and grip, and the carbon rubber feels thick and durable.
This outsole wraps up the foot on the medial and lateral sides to protect the foot and make the shoe last longer on rope climbs, and gives added support for lateral movements.
The outer heel has a plastic coating for structure, and good glide when doing handstand push-ups.
The Metcon 6 (and also Metcon 5) features a dual-density foam insole, which is firmer under the heel, and softer under the forefoot, to cushion high impact moves.
By adding the hyperlift inserts, the heel is raised more to give 6mm more heel to toe drop for added mobility during squats.
Nike Metcon 6 Upper Unit
The upper is a dual layer mesh, more visible in colorways with contrasting uppers, but this remains thin and super breathable.
The open ventilation holes are so large in fact that light travels through to create a shadow in on the insole. Compared to the Metcon 5, for me this felt much lighter and overall a more comfortable shoe.
Flywire lacing is also back, where the laces are pulled through an extra wiring system in addition to their standard eyelets to help with locking down the foot securely.
The tongue is attached in a partial bootie to the upper, meaning it stays put when working out and makes getting the shoe on and off easily.
Both the heel cup and tongue materials were thick and maintained their structure meaning the shoe still looks brand new out of the box after over a month of wearing.
The feel of the upper is rigid and structured to give support, much more so than a running shoe, which may take some getting used to.
I had a few issues with rubbing on the heel of one foot the first couple of times I wore them, but this went as I wore them in and gives me no problems now.
Nike Metcon 6 Conclusion
When it comes to concluding and rating the Metcon 6, we’ve rated it against the main criteria for a all-round training shoe…
Nike Metcon 6 for RUNNING
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy running in the Metcon 6… but I actually didn’t mind it. For short bursts (less than 5 minutes or so at a time, the Metcon 6 is more than fit for purpose.
If you’re a harsh heel striker, the firm heel is far from ideal, but the sole does offer some cushioning, the shoe stays put on the foot, and I managed to get in some speedy sprints in them, both on a treadmill and outdoors.
On a par with the Nano X here for sure, with a slightly lighter feel.
WEIGHTLIFTING with the Nike Metcon 6 (Squats and Deadlifts)
When lifting weights a training shoe like this feels a world away from a running shoe, and is much more comfortable and safer on the joints.
The Metcon 6 gave plenty of support and structure under the heel, and enough room in the forefoot for the toes to move and give the feel of the floor through the whole foot.
The sole in the Metcon 6 seems to have found the perfect balance between running and lifting job descriptions.
Nike Metcon 6 for HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (Burpees, Box Jumps, Kettlebells, Lunges)
My favorite thing about this type of training in the Metcon 6 was the large solid base the shoe gives you, meaning you can crack on with your workout and not give your feet a second thought. Grip, tick.
Lateral foot support, tick. Durability, tick. I struggle to find fault here in the Metcon 6.
The Metcon 6 has only one standout competitor, the Nano X, which I scored a 10/10 in my review earlier this year. If I could give Metcon 6 half marks it would be a 9.5/10.
It’s an improvement on the Metcon 5, fixing all the niggles I didn’t enjoy.
To draw a comparison I just prefer the feel on the foot from the higher heel cup and tongue of the Nano X, and prefer Reebok’s classic design and more subtle sole rope wrap.
Performance-wise you’re onto an absolute winner whichever of these shoes you choose.
We purchased a pair of Nike Metcon 6 using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
Nike Metcon 6 Price Comparison
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