Shoe buying is hard. You have to find the best pair of shoes for your needs, and you never know for sure if the ones you choose will hold up for the tasks you need it to. Luckily, if you’re in the market for CrossFit shoes, there are two excellent choices you can take a look at: the Nike Metcon 3 and the Reebok Nano 7.
There is typically very little price difference between these two shoes (though you can find either pair on sale at some point), so price isn’t the best way to determine the right pair for you. Reebok has exclusive rights to the CrossFit name, so their design is specifically tailored to CrossFitters’ needs. On the other hand, the Metcons may not sport the CrossFit name, but they are obviously meant for CrossFit.
There are strong, outspoken supporters of both of these shoes, so there’s no shortage of reviews or discussion boards filled with athletes arguing passionately for their favorite. You probably have several people in your gym who will give you their review, as well. That being said, shoe preference is incredibly personal. Let’s take a look at these two head to head and get you started on your decision-making.
Picking one pair as the most comfortable is an easy task – the Metcon 3 wins, hands down. The Nano 7 tends to be stiffer and tighter. The Metcon has an overall comfortability that makes them great for a number things. You can put them on and get moving right away. They also stand up to longer workouts, with no seams or pressure that get irksome after wearing for a while.
What Metcon has going for them is better cushioning, a wider toe box, and improved grip. The Nano is much stiffer, and the weave makes them feel like they are not very flexible. And, while neither shoe is great for longer runs, the Metcon is much better for sprints and short runs than the Nano.
This category goes again to the Metcon primarily because of the comfort factor. You can wear these for nearly any workout you do without experiencing discomfort or slip. The Metcon has good grip for rope climbing and it provides the stability needed for lifting.
The Nano isn’t our pick for versatility because they are so uncomfortable to run in. They do have good stability for lifting, but many athletes would need to change shoes to run. For a CrossFit shoe to be versatile, it needs to take you from most workouts to the next without a thought of changing your footwear.
Reebok’s Nanoweave material, combined with a reinforced toe clip and stable, solid soles make the Nano the winner of the durability category. The features that make the Nano more durable also aid it in being great for protection, too. The Metcon isn’t flimsy by any means, but the Nano appears to have better all-around durability.
This same durability is what makes the Nano a bit uncomfortable to some athletes, though. They might need a bit more breaking in than other shoes; however, the updated Weave helps them be a bit less stiff than when the shoe first came out. These are great for weightlifting because of the durable construction, so if you do a lot of lifting you’ll definitely appreciate the design.
Both of these shoes offer good stability. When we talk about stability, we’re usually discussing lifts. The Nano’s outsole and the Metcon’s TPU heel cups are the keys to good stability on the respective models. The Nano has a minor edge in this department because the ankle support is slightly better for movements like overhead squats.
The Metcons excel in lateral stability and heel height; the Nanos have better than average stability between the sole and upper. If you’re looking specifically for stability in your CrossFit shoe, you can’t go wrong with either of these – though we do admit that the Nano has the potential to be a bit more stable during lifts.
Of course, style is very subjective, so it’s tough to make an overarching assessment about which has a better style. Even so, we can’t help but prefer the Metcons for several reasons. First, the color options are more attractive and understated. Both the men’s and women’s versions feature several color options that look good and aren’t too flashy. The profile of the Metcon is a bit sleeker, too.
The Nanos, on the other hand, are obviously CrossFit shoes by the looks of them, and for good reason – Reebok is the official CrossFit outfitter, after all. In terms of style, if you want to let the world know that you do CrossFit, the Nanos are the better choice (no judgment here!). The Nano 7’s branding isn’t quite as blatant as previous versions, though.
Fit is another subjective category – it depends completely on your unique foot size, shape, and width. However, you can take into account a couple of things as you make your decision: weight, laces, toe box, and how true to size each model is.
The laces on the Nano are far better than the Metcon’s, which tend to be slippery and come undone. Both shoes fit best if you go up a half size (for most athletes). Both have toe boxes with enough room for the average foot, though the Nano is slightly narrower.
Based on our review of the Nano 7 versus the Metcon 3, our overall pick is the Metcon thanks to its comfortability, versatility, and style options. The Metcons get slightly better reviews across the board on Amazon and elsewhere, but the Nanos have their own fans who swear by them.
The Metcon is a good all-around CrossFit shoes that will work well for the majority of your workouts. There are more color options and a more appealing style, making them shoes that you might actually wear outside of the gym.
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The Nano is great for lifting, so it might be a good choice for you if it fits and is comfortable – you’ll have the stability and support you need for all kinds of lifting. While the style isn’t our favorite, it is still a good looking shoe and has several color choices.
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