SummaryThe Nike Free x Metcon 2 is a hybrid of two of Nike's popular specialist shoes, the 'Free' range of running shoes, and the Metcon Crossfit training shoe. It aspires to take the lightweight, flexibility of the Free running shoes, and combine with the flat, stability of the Metcon training shoe range to make a good all round training shoe.
When Nike launched its original 'Free' running shoe range, its mission aim was 'set the 52 muscles of the feet free'. This meant producing a line of shoes that were flexible, moving with the foot, with neutral support, and were low to the ground. They would mimic barefoot running whilst protecting the foot and offering a little support. For this to happen they needed to be lightweight too.
In contrast, Nike's Metcon range was launched to offer high protection for the feet when facing the demands of Crossfit. This includes short runs, weightlifting, jumping and rope climbs, so an ideal training shoe features a dense foam heel, highly durable upper and wide toe box, which also adds to a weightier shoe.
So how has Nike achieved this seemingly impossible combination? Firstly, the upper. This is a bootie like, lightweight construction with an inner sleeve. The upper mesh is flexible and breathable on the foot. The durability, in high abrasion areas, comes from a rubber TPU wrap around the midfoot to which the laces are attached, which assists with the snug fit. This rubber strap extends around the heel to help with fit and locked in feel here too- vital when lifting a heavy weight.
The outsole is a soft rubber with deep grooves for flexibility during fast moves in high intensity interval training. There is also a thicker rubber tread in high wear areas for added traction. This outsole also features a wrap up and around the midfoot to protect both the shoe and the foot when rope climbing, which can destroy a normal pair of running shoes in minutes.
Due to the design of the shoe, it's not going to be as stable under the foot as specific Crossfit training shoes such as the Nike Metcon 5 or Reebok Nano 9, but these two aren't as cushioned for running in as the Free x Metcon 2, so it's up to you which feature you value more.