The Nike Metcon 8 continues the widely recognized success of the Metcon line. This shoe is dependable in different training contexts, though it stands out the most when used in CrossFit and lifting. The money spent on this model is surely not money that goes to waste.
- Most stable cross-trainer for weightlifting
- Ideal for CrossFit
- Responsive for jumps
- Great for rope climbing
- Highly durable structure
- Solid grip
- Flexible forefoot
- Convenient lace lock
- Pretty clunky heel
- Not for running (1 mile max!)
- Not for wide feet
Who should buy the Nike Metcon 8
The Nike Metcon 8 is the brand's flagship training shoe that is nicely suitable for the following folks:
- Fitness enthusiasts who are into CrossFit and lifting
- Those who enjoyed the Nike Metcon 7
- Gymgoers who are looking for a versatile trainer
Who should NOT buy this training shoe from Nike
Those who love the Metcon 7 will surely love the Metcon 8. But buying a new version that does not offer that much difference might not be the most practical move. "You are definitely not missing much at all," an expert assures. Hence, those who still have their Nike Metcon 7 intact can just continue using it and just wait for the Metcon 9.
Athletes who prefer more smooth steps are not going to be happy with the clunkiness of the Nike Metcon 8's heel. They are better off with the NOBULL Trainer or the Reebok Nano X3. The latter is also a better option for wide feet.
No doubt, the Metcon 8 is a beast!
The Nike Metcon 8 delivers pretty well on aspects that matter to an avid gymgoer.
It offers a higher-than-average level of support and stability as well as comfort. One expert even reports that this Nike shoe is "so close to being the perfect fitness shoe."
Support and stability? No problem!
The stability and support that this shoe delivers are among the main reasons why athletes choose it for CrossFit and lifting.
It gives just as much confidence as the proper lifting shoes (minus the elevated heel). Here is what experts say about it:
- "Better... than the 90% of the other training shoes out there."
- "This is one hell of a solid lifting shoe."
The support features that this shoe has are surely doing a great job. For one, the Metcon 8 has a lace lock that adds "an extra layer of peace of mind" according to an expert, and "gives the shoe a cleaner aesthetic," says another.
Climb rope with confidence!
The shoe's capacity for rope climbing is one of the many standout features that the Metcon 8 gets from the 7.
Experts note that despite the missing medial rope guard, the Metcon 8 is:
- "still a good shoe for rope climbing"
- "still some of the best shoes [they've] ever used for climbing the rope"
In return, the brand covered the shoe's mesh with a highly durable TPU overlay to protect it from abrasion.
Durability is off the charts in the Metcon 8
An expert observes that the Metcon 8 from Nike is durable and "seems pretty strong" in different contexts. He credits the "reworked upper" for this very welcome update.
Another avid reviewer is also happy with the durability of this shoe. He notes that whatever was done to improve the upper results in it being "much less likely to rip" even during the most intense workouts.
Equipped with a Dremel, we sure did try to put a hole in the upper. But after 12 seconds of drilling (we apply the same speed and force to all shoes for consistent results), the upper barely got a dent! This is incredible compared to what the tool does to an unprotected mesh upper.
Nike Metcon 8 (left) vs. Nike Flex Control 4 (right) after the same durability test. We put a piece of white material inside the shoe to make the contrast more visible.
With all that protection, breathability is average
An experienced reviewer mentioned that the Metcon 8 feels "airier" than the Metcon 7.
However, based on our breathability test which involves pumping smoke through the shoe's upper material, the Metcon 8 is average at best. We rated it as 3 out of 5 (where 5 is the most breathable), which is the most common breathability rating for cross-training shoes.
Nike Metcon 8 (left) vs. Reebok Nano X2 (right): the Reebok shoe beats the Metcon with its 4/5 breathability rating.
And looking at the previous Metcons, the most breathable version ever appears to be the 6th.
It's hard to beat the Metcon 6 in breathability.
The Metcon 8 offers responsiveness and ground feel
Almost all expert reviewers agree that the midsole of the Nike Metcon 8 is quite firm and responsive, but they differ in their appreciation for it.
There is one who is not happy that the tooling is "hard as a rock." But there is another who appreciates that the setup gives the shoe "a nice responsive fit and feel." It's clear that this is just a matter of personal preference.
Based on our durometer measurements, the Metcon 8 is indeed harder than training shoes on average, but only in the heel. It is 6% firmer than average and 29% firmer than the Reebok Nano X3.
Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement four times and calculate the average. The photos show only one of such measurements.
We know that cross-trainers often have a firmer heel and a softer forefoot to provide a good balance of stability and cushiness. Thus, we checked the forefoot softness too. It is 17% softer than the heel and 9% softer than other trainers in the forefoot.
The Nike Metcon 8 also feels much more grounded compared to other trainers. This is courtesy of its lower stack and heel-to-toe drop.
Using a pair of calipers, we measured the sole thickness in both the heel (21.8 mm) and the forefoot (17.6 mm). It is indeed a low-profile shoe. The average stack height of trainers is 24.5 mm in the heel and 18.6 mm in the forefoot.
The difference in stack height gives us a 4.2 mm drop. This is a very common offset for the market's flagship Crossfit shoes. While not a zero-drop, it still keeps the foot nearly flat on the ground to promote a sense of stability, especially when lifting heavy.
Disclaimer: All of our stack measurements are taken with the insole included. The insole of the Metcon 8 is 4.1 mm thick in the heel, a little cushier than average (3.7 mm).
The more recent Nike Metcons ditched the drop-in midsole design. Instead, they now have a regular insole which is separate from the main cushioning unit. This way, you can easily remove the insole and insert custom orthotics.
A good flex for planks and lunges
"Noticeably more flexible than the Metcon 7," notes an expert reviewer. He explains that the flexibility of the Metcon 8 extends all the way to the midfoot, whereas the 7th version only bends upfront.
The pliability of the Metcon 8 is indeed noticeable in our manual assessment. Bending and twisting the shoe, we rated both longitudinal and torsional flexibility as 1 out of 5 (where 1 is the most flexible).
We also double-checked our findings in a controlled lab test. We bent the shoe to a 90-degree angle and measured its resistance with a gauge. The result is quite shocking - Nike Metcon 8 is 126% more flexible than training shoes on average!
Disclaimer: We take four measurements with the gauge and calculate the average. Only one of the measurements is shown in the video.
The Nike Metcon 8 has a dependable bite on the floor
"Grip was excellent," an expert gleefully shares, adding that he is able to do much sled-pushing without issue. Other commenters also point out that the nice grip also contributed to the shoe's stability especially when they are lifting weights.
The heel is a clunker
An expert points out that the 8 and 7 are so similar that the 8 still has the "heel blockiness" that made the 7 less desirable. Another expert has a stronger opinion, saying that he will "NOT drive, walk, or run in these" because of the clunkiness of the heel and the overall rigidity of the midsole.
In addition, another reviewer warns that "the super-stiff heel will clip-clop on any hard surface."
That very same Hyperlift piece that makes the shoe so stable and incompressible when lifting makes it feel so awkward. PLEASE NOTE: The Hyperlift is now embedded into the sole, it is no longer a removable piece.
Having a stiff heel counter (we rated it as 3 out of 5) also contributes to the bulkiness of the heel area.
A Crossfitter who tried running a couple of miles in the shoe strongly advises against doing so. He immediately started to get shin splints and believes that anything more than a mile is a terrible idea in the Metcon 8.
Not for wide feet
Expert reviewers point out that the Nike Metcon 8 is not for those who have wide feet. Its toebox is even narrower and more pointy than in the Metcon 7. You might want to get half-size up or consider the roomier Reebok Nanos instead.
But length-wise, it is reported as true to size and you are safe getting your regular Metcon size.
Too many similarities with the Metcon 7
Even with its totally praise-worthy performance, the Nike Metcon 8 still fails to excite the Metcon fans 100% simply because it doesn't seem to veer too far away from its predecessor. "This shoe looks and feels exactly like the previous model," an expert says. Another avid reviewer adds that "there’s nothing revolutionary" about this new release.