Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Review
We wrote elsewhere about the Reebok Nano 7, and about Reebok being the official supplier to the CrossFit games. Much of the CrossFit branded apparel you find will also have the Reebok name and logo on it. The Nano line keeps getting better and better, meaning each new release has more support, greater flexibility, and longer working life than the one before it.
The Nano 8 has a flexible outsole and soft, no-lockdown feel when you wear it. That makes the shoe easier to wear for extended periods, even letting you go on runs beyond sprints or fast mile runs. The lightweight and flexibility also suit the Nano 8 to jump rope workouts. And, of course, you can do CrossFit WODs in them, jumping and running from station to station with no excess ankle fatigue. That includes doing squats and other Olympic lifts. But the softness and bootie style construction gives you more of a socklike fit than you would get with any lifting shoe.
Another defining feature is the Flexweave fabric. Flexweave uses a unique figure 8 stitching pattern and can take on almost unlimited additional fibers. This makes for a remarkably durable, flexible, and breathable trainer.
RopePro on the side uppers withstands pressure of rope climbs with no abrasions
Low cut around ankle area gives you better ankle flexion during squats and box jumps
The heel counter is pliable, so the shoe has more give-- the material is still quite stable
Flexweave wraps around and conforms to your foot, and this is an add on over the previous-gen
Roomy toe box doesn't constrict--lets you splay your toes
Heel/toe are close to zero drop--giving you an advantage when lifting
Increased forefoot cushioning helps keep you moving, reduces soreness
Low drop heel makes the shoe unsuitable for any longer runs
All Nano models get criticized for poor durability (based on reviews we analyzed)
The fabric upper is flexible and tough, thanks to the Flexweave innovation (also seen in Reebok Fast Flexweave model). Although the Flexweave is rough to the touch, it is softer and more flexible than you can imagine until you try the shoe out. There are flex grooves on the forefoot; these are narrow channels running almost the whole length of the outsole. The flex grooves are carefully placed between the regularly spaced lugs that give the outsole its grip. The result may look like an overhead view of a corn maze, but the grooves make for a flexible ride and keep your feet from feeling constricted or locked in. Reebok also put extra protection and stability into the toe areas.
The drop between toe and heel is 4 mm, helping suit it to Olympic lifts. The sole is thick, though, so the Reebok Nano 8 is not for minimalist or barefoot runners. Finally, the shoe helps you travel light, with a pair weighing just 20 ounces. We've worn boxy, blocky runners and trainers that supported us while also increasing ankle fatigue. But the Reebok Nano 8 is light enough never to do that, with all the padding and support you will need to power through most any gym workout.
The plastic heel cup, if you took out the insole and fabric covering, would look like half an over-the-counter insert. The difference is that the permanent heel cup is deeper and does a better job supporting the bottoms of your feet. A heel cup also keeps your feet aligned with your knees, letting your toes do a better job of splaying and supporting your weight. There is no danger of your feet slipping out of the Reebok Nano 8 heel cups, or of the cups migrating, tearing through the fabric, or causing other wear problems.
Different from the heel cup, but easily confused, is the heel counter. The heel counter sits in the very back of the shoe. It is also hard plastic, and also hidden under a layer of soft stitched fabric. The heel counter further promotes alignment, supporting the backs of your feet up to the bottoms of the ankles. Sometimes, on cheaper shoes, the fabric or canvas will develop holes from your feet being in contact with it all the time. Then the heel counter (if there is one) will; be exposed, subjecting it to damage. This will not happen with the Reebok Nano 8, as the fabric is durable and is put together with quality stitching.
Like the rest of the shoe, the Reebok Nano 8 tongue is breathable and lightweight. It is padded, so it will not migrate and cause chafing or indentations on the tops of your feet. The tongue is not gusseted, so it moves independently of the uppers. The lace closure system uses standard eyelets. The eyelet holes are not lined with metal grommets, meaning they will last longer; metal grommets will tear the fabric over time. This is especially likely if you lace your shoes very tightly, as many athletes do.
Who It Is For
We already mentioned that the Reebok Nano 8 is not for runners. Out of all the iterations, it is the one that would cause runners the least discomfort; that is because each new gen becomes more flexible and supportive. But overall, the shoe is just too rigid and lacks enough padding for distance runs. It is suited for sprinters and for indoor cardio. This also means we don't recommend Nano 8 for team sports like basketball or soccer. Wearing them would feel great at first, but likely lead to ankle fatigue and stress injuries over the course of a match.
We also suggest staying away from the Nano 8 if you do any serious powerlifting. For recreational lifts, though, the Nano 8 will keep you from having to change into lifting shoes. The low cut on the ankle means a better range of movement during barbell squats. And the heel is close to zero drop, highly sought after by many weightlifters and bodybuilders.
Yes, lifting shoes typically have less cushioning and padding, to make sure your muscles are doing all the work and to keep you from slipping or falling. A super supportive running shoe will mush your toes into the soft padding as soon as you place a bar across your shoulders. The Reebok Nano 8 is padded, comfy, soft, and snug, but it won't let your toes sink and so we're sure you can get away with wearing it for lighter, less intense standing barbell lifts.
And, of course, you can wear the Nano 8 for indoor cardio, body weight circuits, and most group fitness classes. Our point is that, while it is primarily a CrossFit shoe, you don't need to limit it to that or think that you have to be a CrossFitter in order to buy the shoe. It will be helpful and beneficial for all athletes because we all cross-train (or should be if we aren't).