Our verdict

I found the Nike Free Metcon 3 a pretty comfortable training shoe but definitely not a great CrossFit trainer. If I'm talking about general gym use, this shoe performs amazingly! This is my top choice for high-impact workouts, agility training, and sprints. But if you're an avid CrossFit athlete who lifts a lot, the OG Nike Metcon shoe is definitely a better choice.

Pros

  • Light
  • Breathable
  • Great for jumps
  • Great for sprints
  • Very comfortable
  • No heel slippage
  • Good lateral support

Cons

  • Not for heavy lifting
  • Not for rope climbing

Audience verdict

88
Great!

Who should buy the Nike Free Metcon 3

It is a great choice for workouts that include dynamic exercises with lots of jumps, sprints, lunges, and moderate weightlifting. It is also recommended for Bootcamp, HYROX, fieldwork, and similar programmes.

Who should NOT buy it

Based on my wear tests, I think you should look for alternatives if:

Nike Free Metcon 3 vs. Free x Metcon 2

It’s like a brand-new shoe! The third iteration received a total overhaul and now it's more about the Free tech and secondarily the Metcon. Famed for its extreme flexibility, the Nike Free design is even more prominent in this version:

Nike Free Metcon 3 vs. Metcon 2

What got better

  • much more flexible
  • lighter by 1 oz
  • softer cushioning
  • better for running
  • wider platform for more ground contact

What got worse

  • no protection for rope climbing
  • not as stable for weightlifting

The Free Metcon 3 is better if you want a more running-ready cross-trainer, but the Free x Metcon 2 is more versatile.

Exceptional Nike Free flexibility

The brutal flex grooves in the forefoot section of the Free Metcon 3 make it one of the most flexible cross-trainers on the market. We actually think that it is more on par with Nike Free running shoes than with CrossFit trainers.

There is a tonne of flexibility in the forefoot which makes doing lunges, planks, and mountain climbers feel like you are barefoot!

Feels more stable than it looks!

We must let you know that the foot does not sit on top of that big chunk of the midsole but is rather nestled inside it. The foam creates tall sidewalls for side-to-side stability.

Nike Free Metcon 3 black and white

The shoe's platform was significantly widened offering extra stability and making us feel much more grounded and connected.

Outsole on Nike Free Metcon 3

All the comfort you wished for

Most training shoes come on the firm and even harsh side for enhanced stability. But the Free Metcon 3 still manages to remain comfortable. It feels quite plush inside. Paired with flexibility, this is what makes the Free Metcon 3 suitable for coaching or simply walking around.

Upper design on Nike Free Metcon 3

Contributing to the comfort is the padded ankle collar that prevents any kind of heel slip.

Best cross-trainer for running

From our experience, the Nike Free Metcon 3 feels most at home on short runs. It is sufficiently cushioned and flexible to comfortably take you through a 2-mile run, treadmill, or outdoors.

Free Metcon 3 is excellent for jumping

The shoe's unique sole design makes the Nike Free Metcon 3 a great choice for all sorts of jumps. It is an excellent choice for doing bodyweight workouts that involve burpees, box jumps, double unders as well as exercises in which you have to move your feet a lot.

Not good for weightlifting

Even though we managed to pull out some moderate squats from the Nike Free Metcon 3, the heel simply didn't feel stable enough. Thus, we do not recommend any serious weightlifting in this Nike shoe. 

Nike Free Metcon 3 inner side

The main reason is of course the shoe’s overly flexible design which creates a tendency to lean forward when lifting heavy.

Also, the shoe's midfoot has a raised arch that doesn't touch the ground which undermines stability even further.

For hardcore Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, One Rep Max, and similar consider Nike Metcon 8 or dedicated lifting shoes.

A no-no for rope climbing

Another thing that puts the Free Metcon 3 further away from CrossFit shoes is the lack of any kind of rope guard on the sides.

Nike Free Metcon 3 midfoot design

We cannot recommend climbing the rope in this shoe as its exposed EVA foam will just burn right off. The mesh upper is also too delicate for handling such an abrasive activity.

Not for rowing and handstand pushups

We noticed that the Free Metcon 3’s flared heel with a lip doesn’t fit all the way into the rowing machine boot! It also gets in the way when doing handstand pushups.

A fairly light training shoe

At 10.5 oz (298g) for a men’s US size 10, the Nike Free Metcon 3 is the lightest in the Free x Metcon series, even though the bulkier design makes it seem heavier.

This Nike shoe is also more than an ounce lighter than training shoes on average. In fact, once you get it on foot, you kind of forget all about the shoe.

Nike Free Metcon 3: snug but true to size

Generally, we found that the Free Metcon 3 runs true to size.

Nike Free Metcon 3 fit

However, the shoe does feel a little snug at first. It takes some time to stretch and provides very a sock-like and secure fit afterwards.

However, wide-footed reviewers may have to get half a size larger from the start.