7 best Nike crossfit shoes

Based on reviews from 61 experts and 2,588 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Nike crossfit shoes. Updated Dec 2018.

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Nike CrossFit shoes  - these words aren’t something you’ll see on the brand’s product page not because they are not investing in CrossFit, but because they are not legally allowed to market their products as such. Reebok has a 10-year deal with CrossFit, making it the only company legally allowed to use the CrossFit brand on their products.

Founded in 2000, CrossFit has grown immensely all over the globe thanks to its cult-like following. It is a combination of various forms of exercises that aim to condition the body to properly store and release energy, as well as burning more calories after each session. CrossFit has become a philosophy for many fitness enthusiasts who want to improve their physical well-being, but it is also a competitive fitness sport for some box members; thus there’s an entire event dedicated to it, the CrossFit Games.

The CrossFit Games started in 2007 from a small community of CrossFit aficionados. Participation has hugely increased over the years, thanks to the growing popularity of the sport, but also because of the burgeoning prize money. When Reebok entered the game in 2011, the prize money went up from $25,000 to $250,000.

The CrossFit-Reebok deal not only made the shoe brand popular in the CrossFit community, but they became the official shoe and apparel sponsor for the sport. It was the only sporting brand legally allowed to use the CrossFit name in their products back then. It meant that other brands like Nike had to be creative in naming their products targeted at this audience. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is the reason Nike CrossFit shoes are named Metcons. But why Metcon?

The Metcon

best Nike CrossFit shoes

Best Nike CrossFit shoes - November 2018

The metabolic conditioning, or metcon, is one of the core principles of CrossFit. Contrary to what some might believe, metcon is not just about going hard and fast with exercises. To truly achieve metcon, one should follow a structured amount of sets, repetitions or reps, and rest periods to reduce body fat and improve one’s performance.

All Nike CrossFit shoes are designed to be able to provide steadiness during strength training, flexibility for plyometrics, grip during rope climbs and quick movements, and an overall locked-down fit for high-intensity workouts.

Though the Metcons were built with CrossFit in mind, they were not allowed to be worn by athletes during the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games because of Reebok’s exclusive deal with CrossFit. What happened next was viewed as either petty or a genius marketing strategy: Nike placed ad trucks at the StubHub Center where the event was held with the slogan "Don't ban our shoe, beat our shoe," as an apparent shot at Reebok. The ban was eventually lifted and CrossFit Games participants can now wear any brand during the event as long as it doesn’t infringe the Reebok x CrossFit brand.

Similar features shared by Nike CrossFit shoes

Sticky rubber

The outsoles of Nike CrossFit shoes are made of sticky rubber. This compound allows the shoe to grip the surface of both indoor and outdoor surfaces, so the wearer can make quick direction changes without worrying about slipping. The tread pattern used on the latest Metcon models is the tri-star pattern which affords multi-directional traction and flexibility.

Rope guard

The rope guards on the medial and lateral sides of the midfoot is a dead giveaway in determining a pair of Nike CrossFit shoes. Rope climbing is an integral part of CrossFit and this exercise takes a toll on not only the body, but also the footwear. Durable rubber rope guards keep the shoes from getting easily shredded while also assisting the wearer in climbing ropes with ease as the material grips the line. It also prevents the shoes from sliding down too fast.

Drop-in midsole

Nike CrossFit shoes are designed to provide a stable platform for the foot. In order to do this, the Metcons are designed with a low-profile sole unit that is mainly made of the rubber outsole. Except for the Nike Metcon Repper DSX, all Metcons utilize a drop-in midsole instead of a fixed one to minimize the weight and retain the low-to-the-ground construction. The drop-in midsole sports a dual-density characteristic. It is flexible at the forefoot for plyometrics but firm in the heel, presenting a steady base needed for weight training.

Beveled heel

Another design specific to the Nike CrossFit shoes is the beveled heel. The rounded heel facilitates smooth handstand wall pushups as it prevents the sole from dragging when it moves up and down the wall.


The uppers of Nike CrossFit shoes are made from either engineered mesh or the Flyknit. On their own, the materials offer wrapped-up support, but the use of the Flywire cables with the lacing system amplifies that. The Flywire cables are thin yet strong filaments that are embedded in some parts of the upper to deliver support and structure without adding weight. The Flywire is spread at the quarters and sometimes wraps around the heel. When the laces are tightened, the Flywire mechanism becomes taut thereby enhancing the locked-down feel and lateral support of the upper.

Top Nike CrossFit shoes

Nike Metcon 4

  • The fourth iteration of the Nike CrossFit shoes features the same grippy rubber for the outsole with the tri-star tread pattern that provides multi-directional traction and flexibility. It wraps up the medial and lateral sides of the midfoot, assisting wearers during rope climbs and descents.
  • The 4-mm drop-in midsole is similar to the ones used in the previous model. It adds a layer of shock attenuation and foot protection.
  • The upper is made of a sandwiched mesh with a layer of 3D-printed haptic technology on top of it. The textured surface aims to amplify the durability of the top of the shoe.
  • The Flywire still integrates with the lacing system. An additional eyelet has been added for a more tuned in fit.
  • Like the previous version, it still uses an external heel clip that holds the rearfoot steady during dynamic movements, but it is not as extensive as the one used on the Metcon 3.

Nike Metcon 3

  • This pair of Nike CrossFit shoes is designed with The Murph in mind. The Murph is a workout of the day that consists of a mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 squats, and was named after fallenS. Navy Seal Michael Patrick Murphy who did this workout wearing a 20lb vest which he calls the “Body Armor.”
  • The Nike Metcon 3 shares the same silhouette as its predecessor but instead of printed overlay, the upper now features embroidered textiles that add durability to the shoe.
  • It retains the low-to-the-ground sole unit which brings stability to the wearer. The drop-in midsole adds shock absorption and keeps the heel steady during exercises.
  • Durable rubber protects the underside, and like all Metcons, it wraps to the sides of the midfoot, creating a rope guard that makes it easier for the shoe to grip the rope.
  • The external heel clip on this version almost wraps around the back to prevent the rearfoot from slipping to the sides during training.

Nike Metcon Repper DSX

  • For those looking for more cushioning in their Metcons, this pair of Nike CrossFit shoes uses the incorporated Phylon midsole instead of a drop-in one. This ethylene-vinyl acetate-based platform offers more shock attenuation and adds a little bounce to each step.
  • The outsole is made of sticky rubber that extends upwards at the lateral and medial sides of the midfoot, serving as a rope guard that not only protects the footwear but also assists users in climbing up and down ropes with ease.
  • The upper uses breathable mesh reinforced with synthetic overlays that protect the key areas from extreme abrasion during workouts.

Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit 2

  • This pair of Nike CrossFit shoes is the current iteration of the Metcon DSX Flyknit. Unlike other Metcons, it is crafted to be lighter because of the Flyknit upper. The material conforms to the shape of the foot to deliver maximum coverage and support.
  • Like other Metcons, it sports an external heel clip that holds the foot steady during dynamic movements.
  • The outsole uses sticky rubber that wraps the midfoot to form the rope guard.
  • It retains the low-profile sole unit by utilizing a drop-in midsole for shock absorption and support.

Frequently asked questions about Nike CrossFit shoes

Why are Nike CrossFit shoes called Metcons?

Nike is not legally allowed to label their products with the CrossFit brand because Reebok has an exclusive deal with the said brand. Nike CrossFit shoes are named Metcons, after metabolic conditioning, one of the core principles of CrossFit.

What activities are Nike CrossFit shoes good for?

Nike CrossFit shoes are designed as an all-around workout footwear. Nike aims to eliminate the need to bring separate weightlifting shoes and training shoes. The brand wants athletes to be able to jump from one activity to another without having to waste any time because they had to change their shoes. Nike CrossFit shoes are crafted with a low-profile sole unit for stability, a flat heel for steadiness during strength training, flexibility at the forefoot section for plyometrics and sprints, sticky rubber outsole that grips the surface during quick cuts, and a breathable upper that keeps the foot chamber well-ventilated even during the most strenuous workouts.

How to clean Nike CrossFit shoes?

Nike CrossFit shoes are designed to withstand the usual dirt associated with high-intensity training. A simple wipe-down using a clean damp cloth should clean the exteriors of the footwear. If there is any staining or hard-to-remove dirt, a solution of warm water with mild detergent is used to remove it. Just dip a clean cloth or soft-bristled brush into the solution and use that to remove the caked-in dirt or stain from the shoe. After that, use a clean, damp cloth to remove the soapy solution from the footwear. Air drying the footgear for 10 hours or more ensures that all parts are completely dry before use. If the shoe has any foul odor, make sure to remove the insole and clean it the same way as you would the exterior and air dry it too. It is not recommended to machine wash the trainer or use any heat source to dry it off as these could degenerate the overall construction of the shoe.

Are there other Nike CrossFit shoes aside from the Metcon?

Aside from the Metcons, Nike offers the Tech Trainer for CrossFit and other high-intensity workouts. It is manufactured with soccer and football players in mind and is intended for gym workouts. Though the description does not mention CrossFit or metabolic conditioning, the rope guards are present on the medial and lateral sides of the midfoot. Akin to the Metcons, the presence of these structures is a dead giveaway that this is marketed for CrossFit enthusiasts.

Is it necessary to use Nike CrossFit shoes for CrossFit?

There are no strict rules regarding what footwear one should use when doing CrossFit, but wearing the right footgear could mean beating your personal record for WODs. Nike CrossFit shoes are created for high-intensity workouts that involve plyometrics, weightlifting, running, calisthenics, and more. The trainer is constructed with durable materials that can withstand rope burns and other types of abrasions. On the other hand, regular cross-training shoes are not made of the same durable materials which could mean that if you use them for CrossFit, they will not last that long.

Can Nike CrossFit shoes be used as dedicated running shoes?

Athletes are more likely to run for extended periods using dedicated running shoes since the midsole has more cushioning and bounce. With Nike CrossFit shoes, though users can run in them, the low-profile sole unit may cause foot pain for people who are not used to running with not much underfoot cushioning.

Can I customize Nike CrossFit shoes?

Yes, Nike CrossFit shoes can be customized. Just go to the Nike website, hover on the “Customize” tab and select “Training” from the drop-down menu to see which of its training shoes can be customized. Currently, only the Nike Metcon 4 is available for customization. Shoppers can personalize the color of the upper, the outsole, the Nike logo, Flywire, and the heel clip. These bespoke Nike CrossFit shoes retail for $150 but with sales, the price can go for as low as $130, about the same price as the regular Metcons.

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