7 Best Nike Hiit Shoes in 2024

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo on
7 Best Nike Hiit Shoes in 2024
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If you need shoes that can handle the heat of punishing workouts, the Nike HIIT shoes will definitely fit the bill. The intense nature of this cardiovascular training regimen pushes your body to the limits. That’s why you need the right footwear that’s specifically built for this purpose.

The great benefits of high-intensity interval training are undeniable. But it also requires shoes that can handle the complexity of these high-impact workouts. From Nike Free Metcon models to the ZoomX SuperRep series, you have solid choices to select from that deliver performance, ankle support, and extra comfort.

With so many great options available, picking the ideal shoes that suit you best can be confusing. To help you with that, we bought and tested Nike HIIT shoes in the market. We scrutinised every little detail we could find about the shoes, whether during HIIT exercises or while testing them in the lab. Check out our top picks.

How we test training shoes

To make our recommendations, we put in hours of work to wear test the shoes in the field and inside the gym. We also take the time to double-check the quality of materials and technologies integrated into the shoes. Here’s exactly how we approach our selection process:

  • We purchase HIIT shoes from Nike from our own savings. This ensures our 100% objectivity when writing our reviews for all the shoes.
  • We clock up around 10-20 hours for each model using it for HIIT-style training sessions, which usually include sprinting, skipping rope, box jumps or burpees, and weight lifting. We take note of the shoes’ cushioning, support, traction, durability, et cetera.
  • After all the performance tests, we proceed with mechanical tests done inside our lab. Our process in the lab requires cutting the shoes into pieces so we can have an extensive view of what we are working on plus we can measure the parameters more accurately.

Best Nike HIIT shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Among all the Nike shoes that we’ve tried, it’s the Free Metcon 5 that hits all HIIT requirements: it's lightweight and immensely flexible with a plush footbed! That's why it's our #1 Nike pick for HIIT.

Our weighing scale in the lab gauged the weight of this shoe at 10.5 oz or 298g, which makes it even lighter than the already light 11.2 oz or 317g average. With its weight, the shoe never got in our way when we ran, jumped, and performed agility exercises.

We consider flexibility as the most surprising offer of the Nike Metcon 5. According to our digital force gauge, this shoe only needs 8.8N to bend at 90 degrees. This is way lower than the 22.5N required by the average trainer. Because of this flexibility, we were able to bend our feet as much as we needed when we did planks, push-ups, mountain climbers, and burpees.

Our lab assessments showed that the midsole is indeed a lot softer than the average. The midsole registered 17.4 on the HA durometer. This is again far lower than the average, which is 27.0. The soft feeling underfoot provided us with the amount of compression needed to keep our runs comfortable.

One thing that we didn’t like about the shoe was the flimsiness of the upper. After 12 seconds of Dremel drilling, the upper already exhibited considerable damage. Fitness junkies who drag their toes too much are at risk of destroying their pair of Free Metcon 5s way too early.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Not for long runs (2-3 miles max)
  • Upper lacks durability
Full review of Nike Free Metcon 5

Best Nike HIIT shoes for speed

What makes it the best?

The Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 from Nike delivered a lot of good things. Besides outstanding breathability, this shoe also had a stable platform. But it’s its speed-orientedness that impressed us the most. Hence, we pick it as the best for speed among all the Nike HIIT shoes that we worked out in.

We couldn’t say anything more about the breathability of the upper besides it being perfect! It’s a 5 out of 5 from us, and we super loved that our feet stayed fresh and dry even when we incorporated a lot of running and jumping in our regimen.

Wider by 2.0 mm at both the heel and forefoot, the platform of the Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 surely delivered a lot of stability. We never had problems with our light to moderate lifts while wearing this Nike trainer

The combination of a thin cushion and highly bouncy Zoom Air unit made this shoe a perfect ingredient for our speed exercises. Our calliper showed that the cushioning unit is only 22.9 mm thick at the heel and 15.2 mm at the forefoot, making it 1.7 mm and 3.1 mm thinner than average. 

While this shoe was good for light to moderate lifting, our confidence in it fizzled when we went for heavier lifts. Its torsional rigidity is just not it, getting only a 1 out of 5 from us.

Pros

  • Bouncy Zoom Air in the forefoot
  • Good for short runs
  • Perfect for jumps and aerobics
  • Stable for moderate lifting
  • Excellent flexibility
  • Amazingly breathable
  • Durable outsole

Cons

  • Upper is not durable rope climbing
  • Heavy for a "speed-oriented" trainer
Full review of Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2

Nike HIIT shoes with the best energy return

What makes it the best?

Air Zoom TR 1 impressed us with the best energy return among Nike’s HIIT lineup. We felt that our jumps, sprints, and other footwork were a lot more efficient and powerful because of it. The shoe’s bounciness together with its soft cushioning and grip made it such a good trainer for high-intensity workouts.

When we were skipping or skipping rope, we never had to spend so much energy to bring ourselves up or forward. We felt thoroughly energised by each strike. Our cut-in-half midsole reveals an Air Zoom unit, which explains the consistent explosiveness of the platform. Upon landing, a velvet cushion bids our feet hello, and our durometer confirms it’s 24.6% softer than average.

It was easy for us to perform other exercises that required more agility and foot-bending. Our 90-degree lab test explains why and shows that Air Zoom TR 1 is 8.8% more malleable than the average trainer.

The outsole delivered remarkable traction that’s hard to doubt. We felt confident in performing planks and mountain climbs knowing we won’t slip. This is crucial in maintaining our balance and control so that we execute the exercises with the proper form. Our durometer reveals a softer-than-average measurement of 75.6 HC, translating to more grip.

Unfortunately, this shoe will only feel comfortable in cold weather since the impermeable upper leaves airflow out and traps our body heat in. 

Pros

  • Dependable bite on gym floors
  • Pretty durable toebox
  • Good impact protection
  • Nice lateral stability
  • Secure heel hold
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transitions
  • OK for occasional outdoor use

Cons

  • Not breathable at all
  • Not for wide-footers
  • Not for heavy lifting
Full review of Nike Air Zoom TR 1

Best minimalist Nike HIIT shoes

What makes it the best?

Out of all the HIIT shoes from Nike, it’s the Flex Control 4 that feels the most minimal. From its weight down to its cushioning, the barely there feel is unmistakable. We also appreciated that the whole structure is flexible enough to allow the natural flexions of our feet.

When we were working out in it, we never felt the Flex Control 4 weighing us down. When we put it on the weighing scale, we were in awe that it weighed only 9.77 ounces or 277 grammes, which is far lower than the 11.18 ounces or 317 grammes average. 

The cushioning also feels pretty minimal as it is thin and sits pretty close to the ground. Using our calliper, we learned that the whole cushioning system is thinner than average by 5.6 mm at the heel and 2.7 mm at the forefoot.

Structurally, the Flex Control 4 is true to its name. Based on our flexibility test, this Nike trainer needed only 13.6N of force to bend at a 90-degree angle. This figure is much lower than the 20.6N that the typical trainer would need. 

Stability-wise, this Nike shoe gave us something to worry about. Its base earned only a rating of 2 out of 5 for torsional rigidity, which means that the probability of us twisting our feet is high. We will never use this shoe for heavier weightlifting.

Pros

  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Lighter than average
  • Very flexible
  • Foot feels planted
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good grip
  • Simple aesthetics
  • True to size

Cons

  • Durability issues
  • Not for serious workouts
Full review of Nike Flex Control 4

Best budget Nike HIIT shoes

What makes it the best?

The Nike Legend Essential 3 is sold for only £70 per pair, which is far lower than the £100 average price of Nike HIIT shoes. The price alone made this shoe a real steal, but the fact that it’s 21% lighter than the average trainer and that it offers a good deal of breathability sealed the deal for us. Hence, we declare the Nike Legend Essential 3 as the best HIIT shoe for those who are on a budget.

This shoe’s lightness surely deserves the spotlight. At only 8.78 ounces or 249 grammes, this shoe is a lot lighter than the average, which currently stands at 11.18 ounces or 317 grammes. This trainer had a featherlight feel on the feet, and it allowed us to do sprints, box jumps, and mountain climbers quite smoothly.

Hours and hours of intense training did not heat up our feet too much, which tells us that the upper remained well-ventilated throughout the sessions. True enough, when smoke was blown into the shoe during a breathability lab test, it easily escaped through the vents in the tongue. In the gym, even if we did high-knee runs in place for several minutes, our feet still felt like it’s chilling on a breezy beach! For breathability, the Legend Essential 3 got a solid 4 out of 5.

Unfortunately, the shoe is too flimsy to be used for more serious weightlifting. Its heel counter only got a score of 2 out of 5 for firmness after we manually gave it a good squeeze in the lab.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Super lightweight
  • Breathable upper
  • Enough cushioning for jumps
  • Wide platform
  • Flexible
  • Good grip

Cons

  • Lacks durability
  • Not for heavy lifting
Full review of Nike Legend Essential 3

Best Nike HIIT shoes for weightlifting

Nike Metcon 9
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What makes it the best?

We tested Nike’s HIIT shoes against punishing high-intensity workouts to find the best weightlifting trainer — Nike Metcon 9 undoubtedly claims this throne. While it's versatile enough for other workouts, it shines in weightlifting the most. Our lab results show it provides the most solid foundation for all types of lifting with its wide and steady base, firm foothold, and unwavering outsole.

We performed all types of lifts — heavy squats, deadlifts, power snatches, and clean and jerks — feeling confident throughout. Metcon 9 has a vast platform and wide toebox for our natural toe splay, enhancing control and improving our balance. Our calliper confirms above-average measurements — 116.9 mm forefoot, 95.0 mm heel, and 108.0 mm toebox.

Metcon 9 has sturdy sidewalls wrapped along the sides to firmly keep our foot in place and avoid ankle rolls. Under the heel lies a non-compressible Hyperlift plastic for extra stabilisation when lifting heavier loads.

Below Metcon 9 stands a reliable grippy outsole that ensures steady landings and jerks so we can lift with the proper form. We have the confidence to push our limits since the outsole protects us from unwanted slips.

Given the shoe’s build, we found it quite chunky and heavy for HIIT workouts focused on cardio and aerobic exercises. At 13.3 oz (378g), it’s heavier than the 11.2 oz (318g) average.

Pros

  • Exceptionally stable for weightlifting
  • One of the most durable cross-trainers
  • The best shoe for rope climbs
  • Reliable foot containment
  • Very comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Nice grip on gym floors
  • Accommodates wide feet (finally!)
  • Surprisingly flexible

Cons

  • Heavier than average (and previous Metcons)
  • Not great for cardio workouts and rope jumps
  • So-so breathability
Full review of Nike Metcon 9

Nike HIIT shoes with the best comfort

What makes it the best?

Among Nike’s HIIT trainers, we discovered that SuperRep Go 3 offers the best comfort. It’s versatile for athletics and moderate lifting and feels great for all-day wear. It’s a fuss-free trainer with its light build, supportive and responsive base, and superb fit. Best of all, it supports the green initiative since it’s built with sustainable materials.

This pair breaks in fast and easy, so we immediately took it to our walks and HIIT sessions. It has a strong and supportive base that makes it a great training partner, even for moderate lifts.

It’s extremely light on the foot — enhancing our agility and allowing us to move quickly. We can’t help but notice how responsive the cushion is during our box jumps and jump ropes. This highlights efficient energy use because the power we exert is returned to us.

SuperRep Go 3 has a superb fit that feels cosy and secure. It provides a firm foothold, allowing us to perform fast interval workouts and lateral motions confidently. While this trainer fits most foot types, we recommend those with wider feet than usual check other accommodating options for a more comfortable training experience.

Pros

  • Awesome all-day comfort
  • Very nice overall fit
  • Dependable support and stability
  • Provides good springback
  • Break-in is fast and easy
  • Made with sustainable materials
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Issues with lateral stability
  • Durability concerns
Full review of Nike SuperRep Go 3

What to look for in a Nike HIIT shoe

To make sure you get the most out of your HIIT sessions, it is important to consider the following parameters in an HIIT trainer:

  • cushioning
  • support
  • breathability
  • flexibility
  • durability

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Cushioning

A good HIIT shoe must provide adequate cushioning to absorb impact and protect your feet during high-intensity workouts. Nike offers a range of cushioning technologies, such as Zoom Air and React foam, to provide cushioning and support.

It's up to you whether you want to go with a highly cushioned and bouncy model like the Nike Air Zoom SuperRep...

...or the more minimal and grounded option from the Nike Metcon series.

Support

HIIT workouts are very demanding, so it is important to look for a shoe with adequate support to prevent injury and provide stability. Nike's HIIT shoes often come with reinforced midfoot support in the form of synthetic overlays or sturdy sidewalls.

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They make sure that the foot stays in pace during the most dynamic movements.

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Breathability

Breathable materials are important for HIIT shoes, as they will help keep your feet cool and dry during intense workouts. Nike uses a combination of mesh and synthetic materials to create shoes that are both durable and breathable.

Some Nike HIIT shoes tend to be better aerated than others. We use a smoke-pumping machine to assess each shoe's breathability.

Flexibility

A good HIIT shoe should have enough flexibility to allow for natural movement during your workout. Nike uses a variety of construction techniques, such as dynamic forefoot grooves, to create shoes that are flexible and provide a natural feel.

The most flexible HIIT trainer from the brand is the Nike Free Metcon.

Durability

HIIT workouts can be demanding, so it is important to look for a shoe that is durable enough to withstand the demands of high-intensity training. Nike uses high-quality materials and construction techniques to ensure their shoes are durable and can withstand the demands of intense workouts.

A Dremel durability test helps us find out how wear-resistant each Nike HIIT shoe is both in the upper and in the outsole.

Author
Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo
Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.