Our verdict

If buying shoes were like investing, then you should really be putting your hard-earned cash into the Nike Free Metcon 5. The returns of investment on this trainer come in the form of high-level performance that does not compromise on style and looks. We can attest that its service to you does not end even when the workout is over. We found that it can still be a reliable companion at work or even for casual strolls around town. Profit maximization is simply what you get!


  • Impressively stable
  • Noteworthy ankle support
  • Awesomely close-fitting
  • Roomy toebox
  • Nice and airy upper
  • Comfortable for all-day wear
  • Quite cushiony
  • Notably lightweight
  • Exceptionally flexible
  • Stylish design and overall look


  • Not for long runs (2-3 miles max)
  • Upper lacks durability

Audience verdict


Who should buy the Nike Free Metcon 5

Given the high levels of support and stability that this shoe provides, serious weightlifters are surely not going to have problems with the Free Metcon 5. This shoe will keep their feet firmly planted on the ground as they hoist the staff and plates overhead.


Aside from being a lifting-ready shoe, we believe that the Free Metcon 5 is also a good buy for the following people:

  • athletes who love training shoes that have a close-to-the-skin fit
  • fitness enthusiasts who are so particular about ankle support
  • practical folks looking for a stylish trainer that can double for daily wear

Who should NOT buy this training shoe from The Swoosh

The Free Metcon 5 from Nike is definitely not a running shoe. We discovered that it's not even that good for short-distance runs. The Reebok Nano X2 is a better pick for those who include running in their workout program.

Just to be clear, this shoe definitely has a handsome look. However, for some colorways, the posted pictures do not really match the appearance of the actual shoes.


The Free Metcon 5 is all that you need

We are amazed by how this shoe makes us feel like we are taking things to another level whenever we are wearing it during our workout sessions.

So serious about stability

The Free Metcon 5 is fantastic for weightlifting because it delivers next-level stability. We realized that this training shoe is ultra-stable and can deliver great balance.

In this regard, the Free Metcon 5 is becoming a solid competitor to the brand's flagship Metcon 8.

What makes the foot feel like a planted tree in the Free Metcon is its wide base, particularly in the heel.


Using a pair of calipers, we found that in the widest part of the heel, this shoe is 7.9 mm wider than the average! At 95.1 mm, it is even wider than the average of dedicated lifting shoes (89.6 mm)!

Here is the photo of the Nike Romaleos 4 lifter for reference.


In the forefoot (107.5 mm), the Nike Free Metcon 5 is of the same width as most cross-trainers (108.7 mm) and lifting shoes (108.1 mm).


We also looked at the difference in height between the shoe's heel (24.2 mm) and forefoot (17.8 mm), a.k.a. the drop.


While there is no information about the drop on Nike's official product page, we found it to be 6.4 mm in the Free Metcon 5 (right at the average of cross-trainers). This is the optimal offset for training because the foot sits relatively flat for stability but the heel is slightly raised for comfier squats.

Special shoutout for ankle lockdown

We are thankful that the Nike Free Metcon 5 is extremely supportive around the ankle. Because of this, workouts that need the ankles and feet to stay still are a lot easier to execute. 


It is impressive to see how this shoe provides such a high level of ankle support with minimal features.

First of all, there is no stiff heel counter at the back. In our manual assessment, we rated this part of the shoe as only 2 out of 5 (where 5 is the stiffest).

Thus, we assume that the ankle support in this shoe is achieved through a combination of features including:

  • internal webbing in the topmost eyelets that works together with the laces to lock down the foot
  • padding throughout the ankle collar
  • high sidewalls extending up from the midsole


Sufficient breathability

Wearers with sweaty feet have nothing to worry about as we discovered that the upper of the Free Metcon 5 is breathable and keeps the foot well-ventilated all the time.

Nike Free Metcon 5 (3/5) vs. Reebok Nano X2 (4/5)

Looking at the results of our smoke-machine test, we can state that the shoe's breathability is just average (3 out of 5). It won't make you sweat like crazy but it's also not the airiest out there.

Comfort is a sure highlight

This Nike trainer delivers the perfect balance of comfort and support. Due to this, we are very happy with our experience wearing the Free Metcon 5.

The Nike Free Metcon 5 is just so comfortable that we also opt to use it at work. Even when we were standing or walking for the most part of our shifts, we had no complaints.

Plushness, lots of it

We noticed the insole that comes with this shoe is noteworthy because it is super comfortable.

We measured the shoe's insole at 4 mm in the heel. It is actually a little thinner than the average 4.5 mm.


We found that the combination of the insole and whatever foam is built into the midsole makes this shoe super well-cushioned.


As you can see from the photo above, there are two layers of foam underneath the blue insole: the lighter one and the darker one.

The lighter foam comes in contact with the foot first and provides all that plushness we feel inside. Using a durometer, we measured it to be 49% softer than cushioning foams on average! It is also the softest among all training shoe foams we've lab-tested so far! 


Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement four times and calculate the average to ensure accuracy. The photo reflects just one of the measurements.

The outer foam was made firmer for a good reason - to cradle the soft cushioning inside a stable cage. We found that it is 50% harder than the first foam.


You can almost roll this shoe up into a Cinnabon

The insane flexibility of the Free Metcon 5 is obvious at first sight. Pulling cues from the brand's famous Nike Free series, the shoe features extra deep cutouts throughout the sole, allowing the foot to bend freely as if there were no shoes on.

Bend it or twist it, this Nike shoe is extra bendy either way. We rated both longitudinal and torsional flexibility as 1 out of 5, where 1 is the most flexible.

Backing it up with a gauge test, we checked how much force it takes to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. Turns out, it is 169%(!) more flexible than training shoes on average! It is even 55% more flexible than its predecessor, the Free Metcon 4. 

We found that planks, lunges, burpees, and stretches are all accommodated with this Nike trainer.


Only good for short runs

Nike Free Metcon 5 is not suitable for running. Despite the plush foam underfoot, we observed that the rest of the shoe's design makes it way too clunky on any distance longer than 2-3 miles.


The shoe only works for a quick jogging warm-up run or a short cardio burst on a treadmill. 

Feels featherlight!

In a men's US size 9, the Free Metcon 5 tips the scales at 10.5 oz (298g) which is notably lighter than the average 11.1 oz (314g) of training shoes.


It doesn't weigh us down at all. In fact, we don't know a better way to describe it but super lightweight.

Durability is just average

The Free Metcon 5 feels super durable and it seems like we don't have to worry about wear and tear even if we use this shoe daily for workouts and other stuff.


However, having put the shoe through a series of tests, we cannot wholeheartedly confirm that it is a highly durable one. However, if you only use it several times a week at the gym and avoid highly abrasive exercises like rope climbs, the Free Metcon 5 should last a good while.

First, we checked how wear-resistant the upper is by applying a Dremel to its toebox for 12 seconds. The good news is that it did not end up with a hole, but on the downside, it did receive notably more damage than the Reebok Nano X3.


It is enough to take a close-up view of the shoe's mesh to get an idea of its potential shelf life.


Microscope shot of the Nike Free Metcon 5


Microscope shot of the Nike Metcon 8 (one of the most durable trainers)

There is also no full-length outsole on the shoe, only strategically placed rubber pieces on the high-wear areas.


These rubber compounds aren't very thick either. We measured them at 2.9 mm whereas the average for training shoes is 3.9 mm.

But luckily, the outsole rubber on the Free Metcon 5 is quite hard. Based on the durometer measurement, it is harder than 67% of our lab-tested shoes.


Disclaimer: We take four measurements with the durometer, exclude the outliers, and calculate the average. The photo above shows one of the measurements.

Close to the skin but spacious in the toebox

We recognized that this shoe has a perfectly snug and form-fitting fit. It fit us perfectly the first time and there was no need for a break-in period.


The tongue is fully incorporated into the shoe's upper, contributing to that sock-like fit that makes the shoe feel like one with the foot.


At the same time, the shoe's close fit doesn't squish our toes anymore!


Measuring both the widest part of the toebox and its width around the big toe, we are happy to announce that the Free Metcon 5 falls into the medium-to-wide range!

  Nike Free Metcon 5 Average
Max width 107.9 102.3
Big toe 79.4 78.3

This is where the Nike Free Metcon 5 has really improved since the preceding 4th iteration, infamous for its narrow fit.


Work out in style? Why not?!

This shoe has a clean and crisp yet very on-trend and eye-appealing look. We are happy with how this Nike training shoe looks. We even feel like this shoe allows us to be more in tune with the latest trend.

It must be noted here, though, that there are times when the pictures and actual look do not match. This is not a deal-breaker, but it's good to keep in mind when purchasing a pair.