Our verdict

For $90, we were very much impressed with the Nike Air Max Bella TR 5's performance. This ladies' gym shoe combines a supportive bootie upper with a highly stable platform, helping us focus on rocking those barbells and weights. We cannot recommend it for jumping-oriented workouts but it is a perfect match for stationary weight work. Plus, it has a very promising durability for its price point.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Stable for moderate weightlifting
  • Secure and supportive foothold
  • Highly wear-resistant for the price
  • Solid grip on the gym floor
  • Glove-like fit
  • Cool-looking Max Air unit

Cons

  • Not for cardio and aerobic workouts
  • Lacks breathability

Audience verdict

82
Good!

Who should buy

Having tried and tested the Nike Air Max Bella TR 5, we can conclude that it's best for the ladies who:

  • want an affordable yet striking pair of gym shoes
  • need a stable shoe for training with moderately heavy weight
  • would love to see a Max Air unit in their trainers

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 review

Who should NOT buy

The Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 is not for those who are fond of cardio exercises. This shoe just doesn't have enough cushioning for that and its heel is quite clunky. We recommend checking out the Nike SuperRep Go 3 or the Nike Zoom SuperRep 4 for high-impact routines.

While the Air Max Bella TR 5 is a good and cheap alternative to the Nike Metcon, it doesn't live up to the flagship's stability, durability, and overall cross-training performance. If you've been working out for a while and need an upgrade, the Metcon is going to feel like a quantum leap.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 lab test

Breathability

The Air Max Bella TR 5 is likely to disappoint ladies who prefer airy training shoes.

Based on our in-house breathability test, this Nike trainer doesn't let the heat escape so easily. Pumping smoke through its upper, it passes much slower through the textile compared to other trainers. This made us lower the shoe's breathability score to only 3 out of 5 (a bit lower than average).

To back up our initial findings, we also hovered the shoe's cut-in-half upper over a light bulb. As you can see in the video below, there is not a single ventilation hole in this shoe! Even the light finds it hard to pass through.

If you expect better breathability from your trainers, we recommend the New Balance TRNR 2 or the Adidas Dropset.

Further investigation with our microscope revealed that the shoe's upper textile is incredibly densely woven!

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 microscope

Stitch to stitch, with no space to breathe.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 microscope upper

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

But there is an upside to the shoe's densely woven fabric - it is not so easy to tear apart.

Using a Dremel with a highly abrasive sandpaper tip, we drilled the shoe's upper at the toebox for 12 seconds. For consistency, we always apply the same speed (5K RPM) and pressure (3.2N).

And while you can see the damage, it is not a see-through hole! The shoe's upper didn't lose its integrity and still proved to be wearable. For that, we rated the shoe's toebox durability as 3 out of 5. That's a higher-than-average score.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Toebox durability

You can feel more at ease about slashes or toe drags as the Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 will not give up so easily. 

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 3
Average 2.7
Compared to 21 training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The quality of the shoe's inner lining was a very nice surprise, especially given the shoe's lower price point.

Having drilled the collar lining for 4 seconds at the speed of 5K RPM, we were amazed at how minor the blemish was.

On a scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is the most wear-resistant, we rated the Bella's heel padding durability with nearly the maximum 4 out of 5.

Looks like this trainer is not afraid of regular friction, so you don't have to worry about wearing holes inside the shoe too soon.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Heel padding durability
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 4
Average 2.5
Compared to 19 training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Now let's check if the trainer's outsole lives up to the durability of the upper.

Hardness is one of the key parameters that help to predict the outsole's abrasion resistance. Pressing a durometer against it, we got a reading of 91.5 HC. This is a good sign as the rubber turns out to be firmer than average.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Outsole hardness
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 91.5 HC
Average 83.2 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
57.5 HC
Outsole hardness
94.5 HC

Outsole durability

The next step was to apply our mightly Dremel at a high speed of 10K RPM to see if the rubber resists it.

Once again, the result was pretty reassuring. We measured the depth of the dent with a tread gauge and got 1.2 mm. Given that trainers twice as expensive as the Air Max Bella TR usually get 1 mm of damage, this is a splendid result!

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Outsole durability
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 1.2 mm
Average 1.2 mm
Compared to 17 training shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

This Nike trainer doesn't skimp on the amount of rubber either. Our caliper shows a thickness of 3.4 mm which is within the average of training shoe outsoles.

Overall, we are impressed with how well the Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 stood up to every durability challenge in our lab. For an MSRP of $90, this shoe exceeded our expectations!

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Outsole thickness
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 3.4 mm
Average 3.7 mm
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
5.1 mm

Weight

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Weight

Cushioning

Heel stack

Seeing Nike's Max Air unit in a shoe always translates to a higher platform. And this is exactly what you get in the Air Max Bella TR 5.

Measuring the shoe's stack height in the heel, our caliper showed 30.2 mm. This is 20% higher than a typical cross-trainer and is on par with the Nike SuperRep 4 (29.5 mm).

We must warn you that a higher platform like that makes the shoe less than ideal for most dynamic exercises, especially those with multi-directional movements.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Heel stack
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 30.2 mm
Average 24.3 mm
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
13.7 mm
Heel stack
36.2 mm

Forefoot stack

Putting our caliper to the shoe's forefoot, we got a measurement of 16.8 mm. This is close to the training shoes' average and hits a good balance between impact protection and flexibility.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Forefoot stack

Having performed a few rounds of rope jumps in the Bella TR 5, we cannot wholeheartedly recommend this trainer for this activity. The reason is not so much the forefoot cushioning but the heavy-set heel. We just didn't feel as light on our toes.

Shoes like the Nike MC Trainer 2 and the New Balance TRNR v2 are more suitable for workouts involving rope jumps.

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 16.8 mm
Average 18.4 mm
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
27.7 mm

Drop

Looking at the cutaway Nike Air Max Bella TR 5, you can clearly see how high its heel is compared to the forefoot. This is exactly how the shoe feels on the foot too.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Drop

To be precise, we measured the shoe's heel-to-toe drop at a whopping 13.4 mm. This is significantly higher than the average cross-trainer and is more on par with weightlifting shoes.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 weightlifting

For that reason, we think that this Nike trainer is more suitable for static workouts with weights than it is for high-impact cardio.

The shoe's raised heel creates a more beneficial alignment for your ankles and knees as you squat with a barbell. You get to focus more on the exercises and less on the ankle strain.

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 13.4 mm
Average 5.9 mm
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
1.8 mm
Drop
13.4 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The shoe's primary midsole foam is made of a moderately firm material. It is not too hard and has a little bit of give to cushion landings.

Our durometer recorded a measurement of 28.4 HA which is a typical hardness for a cross-training shoe.

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 28.4 HA
Average 27.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
17.4 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
47.0 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

If you think that the Max Air unit is going to squish like a marshmallow the moment you step on it, we've got proof of the opposite!

Pressing our durometer against the material around the Air pockets, we got an exceptionally high reading of 71.5 HA! That's not very far from the average firmness of dedicated lifters (around 80 HA).

As long as you keep the load moderate, there will be no compression under the heel.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 71.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Insole thickness

The insole padding is rather generous in the Air Max Bella TR 5. We measured it at 4.6 mm in the heel. This is a little thicker than average but is a nice touch for the overall in-shoe comfort.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Insole thickness
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 4.6 mm
Average 3.8 mm
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Insole thickness
5.7 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

We highly appreciated the Bella TR 5's thick, sturdy, and flat platform for weightlifting as it made us feel quite surefooted.

In addition, the shoe's one-to-one fit made us feel properly supported at all times. The laces, the overlays, and the no-tongue bootie upper further reinforced the shoe's support capacities.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 support

But on the downside, we are worried that the structure may be inappropriate for cardio because it is quite thick and unyielding.

Torsional rigidity

This lady is tough!

Attempting to twist the shoe with our hands, we could feel how much stiffness is hidden in its platform. There is no such thing as wobbliness or rolling the ankle in the Nike Air Max Bella TR 5.

This trainer earned the highest 5/5 score for torsional rigidity.

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 5
Average 2.7
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Unlike its platform, the shoe's heel counter turned out to be quite soft and pliable. Pushing and squeezing it in our hands, we rated the heel counter stiffness as only 2 out of 5.

But there is no need to worry about heel hold in the shoe. We found that it is very well compensated for by other stabilizing features. We also haven't experienced heel slips in this trainer.

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Flexibility

Stiffness

Even though the Air Max Bella TR 5 is absolutely unyielding in the heel and midfoot, it still has the necessary give in the forefoot. We were able to walk around the gym and get into planks and lunges quite comfortably.

To compare this trainer against others, we measured its flexibility with the help of a force gauge. According to the tool, it takes 17.8N to bend this Nike trainer to a 90-degree angle. That's about 15% less than it takes a training shoe on average.

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 17.8N
Average 18.6N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 31 training shoes
Number of shoes
6.8N
Stiffness
37.9N

Grip / Traction

We see no glaring issues with the shoe's grip on gym floors. It worked fabulously for both forward movements (like forward and back jumps) and lateral ones (like skater lunges).

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 outsole

Size and fit

Tongue: gusset type

The Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 has a very form-fitting bootie-style upper. It wrapped around our feet very securely, eliminating all worries about the tongue sliding or heels slipping out.

However, ladies with wider feet should watch out for the tapered toebox. We measured it to be slightly narrower than that of the Nike Zoom SuperRep 4 and the Nike SuperRep Go 3.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 Sock like

Comfort

Tongue padding

This Nike trainer's tongue is quite reasonably padded at 4.9 mm. An average thickness for a cross-trainer.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Tongue padding

As you can also see in the video below, the Bella TR 5's upper is not particularly padded in general.

Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 4.9 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 32 training shoes
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
10.4 mm

Heel tab

Given the shoe's no-tongue upper design, it can be very tricky to put it on. That's why the finger loop at the back is so handy in this model.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Heel tab
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 Finger loop

Removable insole

To amplify comfort or and arch support, you can remove the shoe's stock insole and replace it with a custom orthotic.

Nike Air Max Bella TR 5 Removable insole
Test results
Air Max Bella TR 5 Yes

Misc