Nike Free X Metcon Review
It is hard to believe, but the Nike Free family of shoes has been with us since its introduction in 2006. The first Nike Free was not meant to be your only running shoe. It was a minimalist shoe, to be rotated with your other running shoes. The Nike Free was Nike's answer to the barefoot running resurgence of the mid-2000s. The uppers and outsoles featured minimal rubber, stitching, and fabric. The idea was that running barefoot, or close to it, would improve the strength in your legs. Similar to what your editors heard about the Paleo Diet, friends would say “the ancient cavemen didn't wear shoes.”
Of course, cave people typically didn't live to be 40 either. Science has come a long way in the past 5,000 years or so. And now, if you want to, you can enjoy the scientifically engineered Nike Free X Metcon, which is a combination of the original Free's lightweight with the rigid stability of a cross-trainer. You can go for short runs, complete a CrossFit WOD, lift weights, and jump around in a group cardio class, all without changing your shoes.
The shoe is remarkably comfortable and conforms to the shape of your foot for a tight fit
Two top eyelets are part of a saddle/wing that wraps around the shoe for extra firm lacing
The shoe uses Nike Flywire on the lace eyelets (no metal grommets), which adds flexibility and support
Synthetic mesh uppers are durable enough to wear outside and also for rope climbs
Flex grooves on the outsole (bottom) promote flexibility and help the shoe mold to your feet
Gusseted tongue is part of the uppers and will not move or chafe against your feet
Alternated raised/indented star grooves on outsole aid in traction and climbing
Soles can compress during heavy lifts
Shoe not suitable for longer outdoor runs
Won't keep feet warm in cold weather
Rope climbs are aided and enhanced by rubber that goes up the side of the mesh. This protects the uppers from damage when you wrap your feet around a rope or hold onto a medicine ball for crunches. The shoe will get you through either activity with no worries about damage. The mesh, too, makes for a breathable shoe. The Nike Free X Metcon is not waterproof, though, which is another reason it has limited outdoor use. The mesh is flexible all over and has reinforcement to make high use areas durable.
Like similar cross trainers and hybrid shoes, the Nike Free X Metcom has grooves up and down the outsole. These aid in flexion and flexibility, while not compromising the stability and foundation of the shoe. The grooves help with lateral flexion, so you won't burst any stitching during side to side jumping movements. The shoe can expand to accommodate you and your movements, while also not allowing you to hyperextend any joints or cause an overuse injury.
A sleeve inside the shell gives you the socklike, second-skin fit we have come to expect from cross-trainers. This means it will not come loose, but won't constrict your feet or make you sweat excessively. The midsole, the part between the uppers and the bottom or outsole, is made of soft foam with harder foam at the center. It adds stability while keeping the shoe flexible so you don't get injured.
Who It Is For
Runners, too, will want to look elsewhere. But, and we will never get tired of saying this, we all need to cross-train and we all need cross-training shoes. Do you regularly run 10Ks? That is great, but you may be able to run them faster and with less soreness if you improve your gait. That means recruiting all your muscles, including the ones in your glutes and trunk. Bodyweight or barbell training twice a week will pay off on the track, trail, or road. By the same token, weight pile devotees shouldn't neglect cardio. 20 minutes on a bike will help power you through tough lifts because, when it comes down to it, every form of exercise asks your heart and lungs to do something. So we all need both cardio and strength training, in addition to building our balance, endurance, and flexibility. The Nike Free X Metcon happens to be in a lot of "best cross-training shoe" lists that we found, meaning it is useful for just about any physically active person.
What People Are Saying
Customers also praised the support, durability, and style of the shoe, with a few even wearing it with casual clothes or for going out. The shoe is comfortable, and the black color will go with anything (The Nike Free X Metcon comes in black, blue, red, and a few other primary colors).
One criticism we saw more than once is that the shoes do not fit properly. Some reviewers said they are too loose, and others that the heel cup does not offer enough support. From what we can tell, these problems are more prevalent at larger sizes. Nike offers the shoe up to a men's size 16 on their website.