Nike is probably best known for its Jordan line and for its commitment to making great running shoes, but what if you aren’t about to step out on the town or run a half marathon?
What if you just want a Nike shoe for gym-based workouts — something grounding and comfortable on your feet when you’re in the weight room or powering through your CrossFit class?
What you may be considering then, is a pair of Nike Metcons.
Are The Nike Metcons Worth It?
The Nike Metcon is a training shoe, ideal for all sorts of gym movements and weightlifting, and certainly good for cross-training.
(In fact, Nike has subtly worked the cross-training ethos into the design of the shoe; if you turn the Metcon to its side profile and squint, you can see an X in how the panels come together.)
They’re also a favorite shoe among the energetic CrossFit set.
Whereas running shoes are built for speed and energy return, the Metcons are built for gym exercises.
They offer a thoughtful combination of stability and mobility, with enough traction to help your feet stay planted on the ground and enough flexibility to help you move how you want to move.
Nike Metcons Anatomy – What Are They Made Of?
The Metcon 6 upper is made of a heavy mesh and is a recent upgrade from the fabric upper of the Metcon 5.
It looks lightweight, and you can practically see your foot through the shoe, but that isn’t to say that it’s not sturdy.
It’s well constructed, durable, and prevents your foot from getting too hot during intense workouts.
In fact, Nike claims that this new mesh makes the Metcon 6s 18% more breathable than the Metcon 5s.
The inner sole has a unique split cushioning, with a soft toe for extra comfort but a very sturdy heel so your foot feels locked into the shoe.
The outsole comes up a bit on the sides, which adds stability and also durability during activities that use the sides of your feet, such as rope climbing.
The Metcons won’t weigh you down, either.
They’re relatively lightweight, coming in between ten and 13 ounces, depending on the exact model you wear.
The line debuted in 2015 with the Metcon 1.
Up until that point, the Reebok Nano was the main player in the cross-training shoe space.
It was thought that another shoe would have a hard time competing with the well-established Nanos, but with Nike’s brand power and name recognition, the Metcons quickly found a pumped up audience.
The Metcons retail for $130, the same price as the Reebok Nanos and certainly not an insignificant sum.
As any athlete can tell you, though, when it comes to what you wear on your feet, you almost always get what you pay for.
As of this writing, Nike is up to the sixth version of the Metcons, though you can often find older iterations of the shoe (mostly 4s and 5s) online at a discount.
Do Nike Metcons Have Good Arch Support?
While cross training shoes typically aren’t known for their arch support, the Metcons do provide a moderate amount, and more than many other training shoes.
However, this is not a shoe that’s designed specifically for people with high arches who need extreme arch support.
The Reebok Nano could be a better option for those who are looking for a little bit more arch support.
The Nike Metcons are a stiffer and more stabilizing shoe, rather than a highly supportive one.
If you like the Metcons but wish they had more arch support, one thing you can try is using aftermarket insoles.
These can provide added padding under the arches and allow you to use the Metcons in comfort.
As always, though, these insoles may change the fit of your shoe and require you to go up half a size to accommodate for the extra material.
As an aside, the modest arch support may help to explain why Metcons haven’t been as readily embraced by the sneakerheads and lifestyle crowd.
They look great, but it’s not regarded as an everyday shoe that you’d coordinate with an outfit because that kind of foot support just isn’t present in this model.
Do Nike Metcons Come in Wide Sizes?
Unfortunately, the Metcons do not come in wide sizes.
In fact, only a limited selection of Nike shoes (and all shoes, for that matter) are available in different widths.
However, just because you have wider feet doesn’t mean that Metcons won’t work for you.
Their mesh upper has a fair amount of give and is designed to comfortably fit a variety of foot widths.
If you have wide feet but are still interested in the Metcons, the best strategy is to try them on and move a little in them: jump a couple times, do a few squats, jog in place, and so on.
That should let you know if these are the right shoes for you or if you need to find a different model that better accommodates your foot.
Are Nike Metcons True to Size? Do Nike Metcons Run Small?
The short answer is yes, Nike Metcons do run true to size.
However, they have more of a sock-like fit that a lot of performance shoes have these days, and some people do find that this feels a little more snug than they’re used to, especially if they wear thick socks.
In this case, it may be advisable to go up half a size.
That’s also the case for people with feet on the wider side.
Again, as with any shoes, it’s always smart to try them on, if at all possible, before you buy them.
Are Nike Metcons Good For Squatting and Deadlifting?
In short, yes — the Metcons are exactly what you want on your feet when you’re doing weight training exercises like squatting and deadlifting.
The cushioning under the toe is soft and comfortable, they’re extremely stable, especially in the back of the foot, and you can feel confident in your body’s contact with the floor.
Also, the Metcon 5s and 6s have a Hyperlift heel insert that gives your heel just a slight boost up. It’s a small detail, but it’s especially helpful for that little bit of lift when you’re doing squats and lifting weights.
Are Nike Metcons Good For Running?
Just as you wouldn’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, you probably shouldn’t judge the Metcons by how well they perform during long-distance runs.
You could certainly do a lot worse for a running shoe – running in the Metcons isn’t like running in penny loafers or anything like that.
These are comfortable, stable, and breathable athletic trainers and they’re totally appropriate for the sprints that are a normal part of a cross-training workout.
However, Metcons aren’t designed to be a running shoe, and they’re certainly not the shoe you want to lace up for your next marathon — for several reasons.
They don’t have the flexibility or energy return that you want in a running shoe, since the main purpose of the Metcons is to ground you when your body is moving, not to help you move across the ground.
They also don’t offer the same level of cushioning that a shoe made for long distance running should have.
Sure, they’re comfortable, but you may not love the way your foot strikes the ground while running in the Metcons.
Also, because they’re intended more for exercises that you’d do without moving your feet a lot, as opposed to rapidly striking the ground over and over during a run, some users have found that running in Metcons causes the shoes to actually wear down much faster than they normally would.
Ultimately, the Metcons aren’t terrible for running or other types of endurance exercises, but if you’ll be running more than a mile at a stretch, you’d probably be better off investing in a quality pair of dedicated running shoes.
Are Nike Metcons Good For Hiking?
Again, the Metcons are a gym shoe in every way, so no, these aren’t ideal for hiking.
For starters, they’re low tops, so you don’t get the ankle support that a sturdy pair of hiking boots provides.
The mesh upper is good for intense gym workouts, but they don’t give the top of your foot enough protection from the elements; dirt and water can go through it to your socks.
Finally, the Metcons don’t provide the right amount of cushioning or support your feet need on rough terrain.
They’re good for exercises on a gym floor or any other even, hard surface, but they’re not what you want on your feet when you’re on rough and rocky trails.
In a pinch, you could wear the Metcons on a spontaneous hike.
However, if you’re a regular and passionate hiker, you’ll want to pick up a pair of dedicated hiking boots that are designed to take whatever the trails can throw at you.