Crossfit—a high-intensity functional training or sport of functional fitness—has become very popular in recent years around the world.
Reebok has been on the sideline since the start, and the Reebok Nano’s are their proposal for a shoe that will survive various types of exercises such as burpees, rope climbs, weight lifting, and running.
I have been a huge fan of the Reebok Nano 4, and they have been used for almost five years. They just won’t breakdown and are still fully reliable. So, years passed by, but why are we not looking at the Reebok Nano 9?
Just like fine wine, the Reebok Nanos are aging with grace and is one of the most popular models on the market.
The Reebok Nano is using a split-finger outsole that allows your toes to move freely around and creates a feeling like you are “touching” the ground.
Another ideal aspect of the outsole is that it allows a lateral flex, meaning that you can easily navigate in various directions and still have good contact with the surface. This will enable you to squat all day long with great comfort or even run without the shoe “slapping” to the ground.
There is also added a TPU layer outside to protect the shoe and give stability during training. I really like this because it is made in a visually appealing way compared to the Reebok Nano 8.
Size has been reported as large, even larger than the previous models. I personally stepped a size down to get the perfect fit, although it is still noticeably wide in the forefoot. Thus, make sure you can return the shoes or order multiple sizes for trying.
The grip is just about perfect. The shoe will make you fly through burpees and other high-intensive exercises in your box. Don’t worry, if you hear a sticky sound. That is just the shoes working as they should.
Comfort has been upgraded in this model, and there is an inner shoe with additional EVA foam that feels nice on the feet. The midsole is soft and shock-absorbing, despite the outer sole as very stiff.
This makes it a comfortable training shoe right out of the box. It does not require a break-in period before it can fit perfectly.
However, please note that if you have wide feet, you will enjoy the freedom in the forefoot, whereas people with narrow feet may feel like skating on ice.
Flexibility is important as you want your shoes to act as your best friend during workouts. The sole in the Nano 9 is extremely stiff. Despite the stiffness, the toe can bend when it is necessary.
Stability is a fundamental need for a crossfit shoe. The heel is tall and very stable. It allows heavy lifting, where you don’t want to risk wobbling.
Shock absorption is together with stability, maybe the most important aspect of a good crossfit shoe. In crossfit, you need to lift heavy, run short distances and jump up on boxes.
Dare I say that you will love the performance of the Nanos. Though the absorption is done by the material inside the shoe, not in the sole, which makes me wonder how the shoe will keep up in the long run.
Material that goes without saying is the flexweave upper. It feels good, looks amazing and allows your feet to breathe. It is also very durable and will make the Nano outlive the competition.
Color options are somewhat limited on the Reebok Nano 9 compared to the previous iteration, Nano 8. This is especially true for the male selection, which is a very neutral set. So, prepare yourself to peacock in a different way.
Nano 9 is a good choice for the crossfitter with a broad foot. You may want to consider the Nike Metcon 5 instead if you have a more narrow foot.
The design is, from my perspective, the most pretty Nano out there, but it is far from the design of the Nike Metcon 5 (sorry to say). This is also, why it divides the community in two, as you have a preference toward one or the other.
Good to know
At first glance, it is hard to believe that these two trainers come from the same series of Reebok CrossFit footwear. Even if you put them side-by-side for a more in-depth comparison, you will only find a few similar-looking features. However, at their core, these two Nano models have been crafted with the same principle in mind: to serve a comfortable, do-it-all CrossFit trainer that would bridge the gap between weightlifting and running.
A considerable number of users have already agreed that the Nano 9 feels as if it does everything that the Nano 8 does, but better. So, what are the key ingredients that help the latest edition step up the game?
- Enhanced stability. One of the most apparent alterations in the Nano 9 is the translucent rubber wrap found on both sides of the midsole. It replaces the NanoShell heel clip of the previous Nanos. The new wrap has been widened out and extended closer to the midfoot. That way, it covers a larger area, helping the foot feel more steady during weightlifting and multi-directional movements. By checking the back of the shoe, you can also discover that the heel section has been broadened significantly. The edges of the sole have been made more clear-cut and less rounded, making the shoe’s platform resemble that of a weightlifting shoe. All of this has been made for the sake of stability.
- More running-friendly design. Despite the reinforced stability department, Reebok has also found a way to improve the trainer’s performance for running. It has added more cushioning into the midsole portion by using a single-density injection-molded EVA foam. To put it simply, this type of foam has a lighter and more flexible characteristic and offers more rebound than the harder foam used on most cross-trainers. While it doesn’t turn the Nano 9 into a dedicated running shoe, it makes the trainer more responsive for short runs (1 to 3 miles) and jumping exercises. At the same time, the afore-mentioned rubber side panels do not let to compromise stability. Unlike the old NanoShell, the new wrap is decoupled at the back, meaning that it consists of two pieces which are not connected at the rearfoot. This design twist also aids in making the heel-to-toe transition much smoother.
- Improved foot containment. The already acclaimed Flexweave material receives a new life in the Reebok Nano 9. It has undergone a transformation which gave it a more stretchy quality. The fabric itself has been made thinner and tighter to conform to the foot shape more seamlessly.
- The heritage logo is back. The brand brings back the classic Vector logo onto the lateral side of the trainer. According to Reebok’s Senior Product Manager, the new design makes the shoe appear slimmer and faster. It is also meant to give the trainer a more sneaker-like vibe.
The ninth iteration of the brand’s flagship CrossFit shoe came out under the “Designed for all” slogan as well as the “NanoForAll” hashtag. These mottos represent Reebok’s endeavor to create a shoe for every level of CrossFit engagement: from newcomers to the Fittest Men and Women on the planet. Thus, the brand has worked closely with the CrossFit community to get all the feedback first hand. This is how years of experiments and testing have helped the company shape its “best Nano yet.”
Traction. Both types of rubber that are found on the outsole are meant to grip the gym floor efficiently. To enhance this asset, the shoe employs a diamond-shaped tread pattern which is also reminiscent of the barbell knurling. It is designed to bite into the surface and help the wearer stay glued to the floor or stop short during dynamic movements.
Protection. One of the rubber compounds extends up on the front and medial sides of the shoe. At the front part, it forms a shield for the toes which protects the wearer against painful toe bumps. On the medial side, the rubber bears the RopePro add-on. It assists the athlete during rope climbing exercises. It grips the rope on the ascent and prevents the sole from burning out on the descent.
Low drop. To help the wearer feel more connected to the training surface, the shoe uses a low-profile sole unit. The 4-mm heel-to-toe drop places the foot nearly flat on top of the midsole. This differential is typical of CrossFit footwear as it provides a better sense of control for the constantly varied exercises.