Nike Metcon 5 Reviewed and Rated

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Nike Metcon 5 Reviewed and RatedReview Facts

Nike introduced its Metcon series in 2014 when CrossFit competitor Josh Bridges sported a pair during the CrossFit Games as part of an endorsement. Bridges dominated the competition and have vouched for the shoe’s durability. To stay at elite levels, Bridges and athletes like him train enough hours weekly for it to count as a full-time job. Bridges told Nike News that the Metcon is the only shoe he can trust not to develop holes and tears, especially after rope climbs, burpees, and other exercises that tend to make parts fall off of shoes.

After Bridges’s 2014 triumph, at the Games, Nike introduced the Metcon 1 in 2015. The Metcon 2 dropped in 2016, with an average of one new Metcon release thereafter. Now on its 5th iteration, the Metcon has been vetted and wear-tested by a whole team of CrossFit competitors in addition to Bridges.

The end result is a Nike performance shoe second only to the lifting-only Romaleos in terms of durability. The Nike Metcon 5 can keep going, and keep you gaining, through any harsh workout you dream up. Is it for you? We broke down the features, pros and cons, and performance of the Nike Metcon 5 to help you decide.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

The shoe is quite comfortable with just the right amount of support

Provides a stable foundation, prevents hyperextension injuries, but is not restrictive

Rubber outsole, fabric uppers provide traction even during rope climbs and lateral exercises

Upper is made of Nike Flyknit, which is breathable and flexible without adding extra weight

Phylon sole creates stability in the midsole (look for an explanation of Phylon below)

Extended triangle shaped heel clip provides support, keeps foot aligned during lunges and squats

Suitable for most gym workouts and short outdoor runs

Each pair comes with insertable wedges, to go inside the shoe and give a mechanical advantage for standing barbell squats

Cons

Wider toe box more suitable to lifting, less to runners (Metcon 4 had a tighter toe box)

The Rundown

The Rundown

One of the key points of difference, which came up again and again in reviews, was the use of the Phylon midsole. The midsole is the part of the shoe between the very bottom of the fabric upper and the outsole or bottom of the shoe. it is not the heel clip, which is made of plasticized rubber and has little give to it. The heel clip is flat but deep, looking similar to an insole insert but with a lip to go around the bottom of the foot. It is separate from the heel cup, a rounded piece of plastic beneath the inner lining that conforms to the rounded shape of the rear foot. The heel cup is also made of plastic, and the ones on the Metcon 5 will never actually touch your feet because of the durable fabric stitching.

Back to that Phylon midsole. Phylon is made of foam pellets. The pellets are composed of tightly compressed ethylene-vinyl foam acetate. This foam is known for its heat resistance, rigidity, and ability to absorb shock without breaking or losing shape. To make the Phylon, the foam is heat-treated, melted, and injected into a last or midsole shape. When it cools and hardens, the Phylon forms a near-indestructible shock-absorbing midsole that cushions your feet without letting them sink in, the way memory foam or a more giving material would.

As far as the application, Nike wanted to offer an affordable shoe that you can wear for everything. With cross trainers we have looked at, there is almost always a compromise or trade-off. The Reebok Nano series is great for CrossFit and jumping or plyometric workouts, but not so much for dedicated heavy lifting. You also cannot run very far in most cross-training sneakers. But the Metcon 4 will take the place of several shoes, for the average fitness junkie. The wedge inserts, which come with the shoes, are a unique touch. You could technically place the inserts, which look like tiny doorstops, into any shoe with a relatively flat sole and flexible uppers. But the Metcon 5 naturally adapts to a lifting role, even for heavyweights, because the padding is not too severe for toes to splay. The toe box is roomy, not narrow, but still provides a snug enough fit to keep runners happy.

Although overall the Metcon 5 is more runner-friendly than others in the line, Nike knew enough not to fix anything that was not broken. The Metcon 5 retains solid traction with star-shaped lugs on the outsole and matching fabric ones in the uppers. That gives the shoe as much grip as any heavy-duty work rubber work glove we have seen. The outsole has a slightly sticky coating, too, so the whole package keeps you upright and anchors you during movements like lunges.

Cushioning comes from the Phylon midsole we talked about, according to Nike. It does not come from outsole foam, which is standard for too many cross-training shoes (and almost all running shoes). The trouble with exposed foam is that it will get torn up during obstacle courses, rock climbing, rope climbs, and events like Tough Mudder where you are scrambling in different positions a lot. Instead, the design of the Nike Metcon 5 both adds traction and support for those events and resists tearing and fraying under all indoor or outdoor conditions. The Flyweave is like a lightweight, flexible exoskeleton for your feet.
Comfort/Construction

Comfort/Construction

Nike opened and widened the heel for this shoe, making it a bigger platform for weightlifting while not adding thickness. The Mercon 5 is not a zero drop shoe, but the height difference between heel and toe is minimal. This further makes the case for the Metcon 5 as the non-Romaleos sneaker most likely to appeal to our friends who lift. We are very impressed with how Nike opened the Metcon for lifters and runners, making it an all-purpose shoe that can handle anything. In many ways, this is the Swiss Army Knife of performance footwear. Nike may be the only company that could have done this, too, without sacrificing or compromising on the CrossFit capability that is at the heart of the Metcon family.
Who It Is For

Who It Is For

We rarely say that a shoe is for everyone. If your main exercise is walking around your neighborhood, for example, you do not need to spend $100 or more on a shoe. Usually, any rugged shoe with a bit of arch support will be plenty for walking. On the other end, you need specialist shoes to be a committed long-distance road biker. And cycling shoes will not be suitable for getting off the bike and walking any real distance.

So, the words "this shoe is for everyone" are not something you will hear from us often. It is the same with any gear--as much as we appreciate Rogue Monster racks, many of our friends and readers would rather stand on a wobble board than load up a barbell. We never want to exclude anyone; those of us who commit to exercise and healthy eating all want a better quality of life, and that unites us. But for this shoe, we really, really have to say that this shoe is for everyone. Anyone reading this can purchase the shoe and see an improvement right away, in terms of comfort, stick to it give-ness, and maybe even performance. If your ankles do not wear out as quickly, or if you use the squat wedges, lifting 3 or 5% more is not unheard of.

Before you write us off as inconsistent or Nike-crazed fans, though, we will add that the Metcon 5 can't and won't be every athlete's main shoe. If you routinely run and train for marathons or half marathons, for example, you need something with a lot more stability and cushioning. But you would still benefit from the Metcon 5 in shorter runs, indoor cardio, and of course the cross-training that all of us need to do regardless of our main sport or activity.
What People Are Saying

What People Are Saying

Reviews of the Nike Metcon 5 are generally favorable. There were a few picky gripes about the toe box being wider than expected, but nobody questions the shoe's performance, durability, or blend of firm support and flexibility for all manner of jumping and lateral workouts. We looked at Amazon, the Nike site, and several other big-box retail sites as well as personal blogs and commercial fitness websites. Nike Metcon enthusiasts include both fitness and health-oriented users, and competitive or semipro athletes. Few shoes hold up under intense gym workouts as consistently as this shoe does.
The Final Word

The Final Word

There is not much more we can add about the Nike Metcon 5 without repeating ourselves. Construction is durable and engineered for performance. The Flyknit upper will stay grippy, clean, and intact, no matter what activities you put the shoes through. Functional fitness athletes have tested, endorsed, and helped with the design of every Metcon shoe since 2014. The DNA and pedigree deliver a shoe for all athletes, and the price point is affordable when you consider not having to buy 2 or 3 pairs of gym shoes to cover all your bases.