Nike Metcon 3 Review
updated January 1, 2019
The Nike Metcon 3 is the next evolution of the very popular Nike Metcon range of training shoes. In this article we’ll provide a full review of the Metcon 3, with a focus on its application in a gym setting. We’ll also put the Metcon 3 head-to-head with three of its closest competitors, so you can make the best decision about what to put on your feet when you hit the gym.
The Nike Metcon 3 Up Close
The Metcon 3 is a stylish looking shoe. Of course it features the iconic Nike swoosh and comes in at least 12 different colorways. The sole of the Metcon 3 comes up way higher than on the Metcon 2, providing you with a whole lot protection when you are performing exercises such as rope climbs.
The Metcon 3 is a very durably constructed shoe. The upper of the shoe is mesh, not, as has been erroneously reported, flyknit. The thermal wrap that was a feature of the Metcon 2 has been minimized. The wrap is useful in that it afforded a measure of rigidity, but users found that it began to crack over time and was quite heavy and thick. The thermal wrap is now less of a feature. It is more pliable and not as likely to crack.
The revamped thermal wrap gives you a more comfortable shoe. The toebox of the Metcon 3 is covered in the same mesh as on the Metcon 2, which provides the shoe with a good level of moisture wicking control and breathability.
The thing that really sets the version 3 Metcon apart from its predecessor is the addition of TPU plastic on the heel. The heel clip which protruded from the heel of the Metcon 2 has been reworked due to customer feedback. It has been placed lower and less of a prominent feature. This clip was designed to assist on exercises like handstand push ups to keep your feet from slipping on the wall. It is no longer a bright separate color, so it is clear that Nike are de-emphasizing this feature, which turned out to be a bit of a dud.
The heel clip adjustment on the Metcon 3 has allowed for the addition of rigid TPU plastic to enhance the rigidity. This does give you a locked in feel but it does not completely get rid of he slight heel slip problem that customers have complained about with the previous incarnation of the Nike Metcon.
The outsole of the Metcon 3 is a standout feature. It extends up the sides of the shoe to protect from rope burn, making it very functional. Besides that, it looks great. The insole, however, is another story. They have not changed one iota from the it and 2nd versions of the Nike Metcon. That means that the squeaking problem which plagued those former versions has not been addressed, yet alone resolved.
In terms of performance, the Metcon 3 performs very similarly to the Metcon 2 in the gym. However, its big advantage is that it feels lighter, almost as if you are training in socks rather than shoes. This is a good things and is largely due to the minimization of the toe wrap, which added considerable bulk to the front of the previous version of this shoe.
As mentioned already, the problem of heel slippage which was an issue with the Metcon 2 is still there with this one. However, you do get a better locked in feel on this shoe, thanks largely to the TPU plastic that has been added to the heel area.
Alternatives to the Nike Metcon 3
The Men’s Reebok CrossFit 2.0 is that company’s attempt to bridge the gap between a general workout shoe, such as their Reebok Nano, and a dedicated Olympic lifting, or Oly, shoe. It is designed to allow you to transition from moves like the Clean and Jerk to a 50 yard sprint and then burpees with no loss of performance.
Unlike most lifting shoes, the heel on the CrossFit 2.0 is not emphasized. Reebok have introduced a spring system to the heel of this shoe. This has an element of cushioning which compresses when you begin to squat or perform an overhead lift or deadlift. This does not provide as much stability as a more rigid heeled shoe and will result in a degree of power dissipation through the bottom of the foot.
The fastening system for this shoe uses a single strap. This works extremely well, doing a great job of locking in the top of your foot. You will have no problem with the sizing of the Reebok Lifter 2.0, as it fits true to size. This is a relatively wide shoe, so it provides a comfortable fit with no pressure of the toes. With this version, the zig zags on the bottom of the shoe have been removed.
In terms of performance, the Reebok Lifter 2.0 does a good job in the gym. You will, indeed, be able to quickly transition between cardio and power work with no appreciable loss on lifting or performance quality.
The Inov-8 Bare XF 210 Cross Trainer is a CrossFit specific shoe which also works well as a barefoot running shoe. The advantage of the shoe for the sport of CrossFit is that it does not have a raised heel. Neither does it have an aggressively upturned toe. This allows you to ground your feet really well. The bare aspect of the Inov-8 Bare has seen it get rid of the midsole and basically bend the outsole to a side rubber protection. This protection, which is a feature of both sides of the shoe, is ideal for rope climbs.
The Inov-8 Bare 210 XF Cross Trainer is very breathable. The mesh fabric of the shoe keeps them extremely well vented, meaning that your feet don’t get overly hot. The shoe is also very flexible in the toe box area. The sole of the Inov-8 Bare is extremely flat. It is made from sticky rubber to accentuate floor gripping potential. They shoe is also very, very light. It provides virtually nothing in the way of cushioning, allowing CrossFitters to feel like they are flat on the ground. This allows for more leverage on the heavy lifts while keeping the athlete light on their feet for sprints.
The toe box of the Inov-8 Bare 210 Cross Trainer is a bit wider than the F-Lite so that the trainer doesn’t feel as if they are caged in at the toe. When sprinting, this shoe will allow you get right up on your forefoot for quick movement. The flexible toe box allows the shoe to flex with your foot really nicely. Overall, the XF 210 is a multi purpose shoe that is great for plyo and general weight training.
The New Balance Men's MX20v3 Minimus Cross-Training Shoe is a minimalist cross training shoe that provides a barefoot feel while providing the support to allow for strong, confident lifts. The Minimus is a durable shoe that provides a good fit, with solid arch support and some cushioning. The 4mm heel drop allows you to be in a neutral position during Oly lifting. This is a solidly constructed shoe that will do the business both under the heavy iron and on the track.
The New Balance Minimus 20v3 is the training shoe for the exerciser who requires flexibility in their footwear. It offers 4mm heel drop to put you in just the right mechanical position for Olympic lifting while also offering the flexibility for middle distance running. Considering that your normal running shoe offers a 12mm drop, this is quite a radical innovation, allowing the runner to stay back on his heels and get more contact with the ground.
The sole of the New Balance Minimus MX20v3 is made by Vibrum, the people who put out the extremely popular 5 finger shoe. You don’t even feel like you’re wearing shoes when you slip into these. The fabric of the shoe is a see-through mesh which adds to the lightness and minimalist feel of the shoe. Interestingly the Minimus provides more lateral movement stability and control than the Five Finger range that is also made by Vibrum.
On earlier versions of the New Balance Minimus shoe, durability at the front of the shoe became a problem. The front or sole of the shoe would sometimes end up being torn when an athlete repeatedly performed certain cross training exercises. Problems were also seen with lateral support. Athletes who would go to do a change of direction exercise would almost roll out of the shoe. The MX20v3 solves these issues with extra lateral stability, extra reinforcement at the front of shoe as well as an additional lacing eyelet at the top of the shoe that allows you to stay back on your heels.
The insole of the New Balance MX20v3 has been fortified with anti-microbial properties. A lot of athletes wanted to wear the shoes without socks, with the smell becoming an issue. This truly innovative move eliminates the odor issue.
Lightweight breathability is a key feature of the Minimus MX20v3. The RevLite midsole foam is 30% lighter than most traditional foams. The thicker and softer a midsole foam is, the softer and weaker your foot becomes. That’s why the Minimus keeps you low to the ground with a responsive midsole. This allows the foot to stay stronger and more balanced as you work out. The breathability of the mesh side fabric also helps to keep your feet dry.
The Nike Metcon 3 is a solidly performing general purpose and CrossFit shoe that will allow you to perform all facets of your workout well. There will always be some compromise between performance on Oly moves and cardio / plyo based ones, but this shoe just about gets it spot on in terms of balance between rigidity and flexibility. The nagging squeaky problem of the Metcon persists with the shoe, but, with its minimalist feel and high performance factor that is a small price to pay.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.