Our verdict


If buying shoes were like investing, then you should really be putting your hard-earned cash into the Nike Free Metcon 5. The returns of investment on this trainer come in the form of high-level performance that does not compromise on style and looks. Its service to you does not end even when the workout is over. It can still be a reliable companion at work or even for casual strolls around town. Profit maximization is simply what you get!


  • 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


  • Not for long runs (2-3 miles max)
  • Upper lacks durability

Who should buy the Nike Free Metcon 5

Given the high levels of support and stability that this shoe provides, serious weightlifters are surely not going to have problems with the Free Metcon 5. This shoe will keep their feet firmly planted on the ground as they hoist the staff and plates overhead.


Aside from being a lifting-ready shoe, the Free Metcon 5 is also a good buy for the following people:

  • athletes who love training shoes that have a close-to-the-skin fit
  • fitness enthusiasts who are so particular about ankle support
  • practical folks looking for a stylish trainer that can double for daily wear

Who should NOT buy this training shoe from The Swoosh

The Free Metcon 5 from Nike is definitely not a running shoe. A reviewer says that it's not even that good for short-distance runs. The Reebok Nano X2 is a better pick for those who include running in their workout program.

Just to be clear, this shoe definitely has a handsome look. However, there are users who say that at least for some colorways, the posted pictures do not really match the appearance of the actual shoes.


The Free Metcon 5 is all that you need

"I wouldn’t change a thing about these shoes," says one happy wearer. This indicates that everything that this shoe offers works just fine with her. Another review shares that he is thankful for this shoe because it makes him feel like he's "taking things to another level."

So serious about stability

An expert reviewer thinks that the Free Metcon 5 is fantastic for weightlifting because it delivers "next-level stability." Other users agree, saying that this training shoe is "ultra-stable" and can deliver "great stability and balance."

In this regard, the Free Metcon 5 is becoming a solid competitor to the brand's flagship Metcon 8.

What makes the foot feel like a planted tree in the Free Metcon is its wide base, particularly in the heel.


Fact check

Using a pair of calipers, we found that in the widest part of the heel, this shoe is 7.9 mm wider than the average! At 95.1 mm, it is even wider than the average of dedicated lifting shoes (89.6 mm)!

Here is the photo of the Nike Romaleos 4 lifter for reference.


Fact check

In the forefoot (107.5 mm), the Nike Free Metcon 5 is of the same width as most cross-trainers (108.7 mm) and lifting shoes (108.1 mm).


We also looked at the difference in height between the shoe's heel (24.2 mm) and forefoot (17.8 mm), a.k.a. the drop.


While there is no information about the drop on Nike's official product page, we found it to be 6.4 mm in the Free Metcon 5 (right at the average of cross-trainers). This is the optimal offset for training because the foot sits relatively flat for stability but the heel is slightly raised for comfier squats.

Special shoutout for ankle lockdown

An athlete is thankful that the Nike Free Metcon 5 is "extremely supportive around the ankle." Because of this, workouts that need the ankles and feet to stay still are a lot easier to execute. "Excellent ankle support," claims another reviewer.


It is impressive to see how this shoe provides such a high level of ankle support with minimal features.

First of all, there is no stiff heel counter at the back. In our manual assessment, we rated this part of the shoe as only 2 out of 5 (where 5 is the stiffest).

Thus, we assume that the ankle support in this shoe is achieved through a combination of features including:

  • internal webbing in the topmost eyelets that works together with the laces to lock down the foot
  • padding throughout the ankle collar
  • high sidewalls extending up from the midsole


Sufficient breathability

Wearers with sweaty feet have nothing to worry about. A good number of the shoe's testers report that the upper of the Free Metcon 5 is breathable and keeps the foot well-ventilated all the time.

Nike Free Metcon 5 (3/5) vs. Reebok Nano X2 (4/5)

Fact check

Looking at the results of our smoke-machine test, we can state that the shoe's breathability is just average (3 out of 5). It won't make you sweat like crazy but it's also not the airiest out there.

Comfort is a sure highlight

A happy gymgoer shares that this Nike trainer delivers the "perfect balance of comfort and support." Other users are also happy with their experience wearing the Free Metcon 5.

The following are just some of the good things that they say:

  • "incredibly comfortable"
  • "seriously so comfortable"
  • "super comfy"

The Nike Free Metcon 5 is just so comfortable that several wearers opt to use it at work. Even those who are standing or walking for the most part of their shifts have no complaints.

Plushness, lots of it

According to one wearer, the insole that comes with this shoe is noteworthy because it is "super comfortable."

Fact check

We measured the shoe's insole at 4 mm in the heel. It is actually a little thinner than the average 4.5 mm.


Another gymgoer says that the combination of the insole and whatever foam is built into the midsole makes this shoe "super well-cushioned."


Fact check

As you can see from the photo above, there are two layers of foam underneath the blue insole: the lighter one and the darker one.

The lighter foam comes in contact with the foot first and provides all that plushness the reviewers talked about. Using a durometer, we measured it to be 49% softer than cushioning foams on average! It is also the softest among all training shoe foams we've lab-tested so far! 


Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement four times and calculate the average to ensure accuracy. The photo reflects just one of the measurements.

Fact check

The outer foam was made firmer for a good reason - to cradle the soft cushioning inside a stable cage. We found that it is 50% harder than the first foam.


You can almost roll this shoe up into a Cinnabon

The insane flexibility of the Free Metcon 5 is obvious at first sight. Pulling cues from the brand's famous Nike Free series, the shoe features extra deep cutouts throughout the sole, allowing the foot to bend freely as if there were no shoes on.

Fact check

Bend it or twist it, this Nike shoe is extra bendy either way. We rated both longitudinal and torsional flexibility as 1 out of 5, where 1 is the most flexible.

Fact check

Backing it up with a gauge test, we checked how much force it takes to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. Turns out, it is 169%(!) more flexible than training shoes on average! It is even 55% more flexible than its predecessor, the Free Metcon 4. 

Planks, lunges, burpees, and stretches are all accommodated with this Nike trainer.


Only good for short runs

The reviewers have pointed out that the Nike Free Metcon 5 is not suitable for running. Despite the plush foam underfoot, the rest of the shoe's design makes it way too clunky on any distance longer than 2-3 miles.


The shoe only works for a quick jogging warm-up run or a short cardio burst on a treadmill. 

Feels featherlight!

In a men's US size 9, the Free Metcon 5 tips the scales at 10.5 oz (298g) which is notably lighter than the average 11.1 oz (314g) of training shoes.


The wearers of this Nike shoe report that it doesn't weigh them down at all. In fact, one of them even shares that this shoe is "super lightweight."

Durability is just average

A fitness buff says that the Free Metcon 5 feels "super durable." He doesn't worry about wear and tear even if he uses this shoe daily for workouts and other stuff.


Having put the shoe through a series of tests, are cannot wholeheartedly confirm that it is a highly durable one. However, if you only use it several times a week at the gym and avoid highly abrasive exercises like rope climbs, the Free Metcon 5 should last a good while.

Fact check

First, we checked how wear resistant the upper is by applying a Dremel to its toebox for 12 seconds. The good news is that it did not end up with a through hole, but on the downside, it did receive notably more damage than the Reebok Nano X3.


It is enough to take a close-up view of the shoe's mesh to get an idea of its potential shelf life.


Microscope shot of the Nike Free Metcon 5


Microscope shot of the Nike Metcon 8 (one of the most durable trainers)

There is also no full-length outsole on the shoe, only strategically placed rubber pieces on the high-wear areas.


Fact check

These rubber compounds aren't very thick either. We measured them at 2.9 mm whereas the average for training shoes is 3.9 mm.

But luckily, the outsole rubber on the Free Metcon 5 is quite hard. Based on the durometer measurement, it is harder than 67% of our lab-tested shoes.


Disclaimer: We take four measurements with the durometer, exclude the outliers and calculate the average. The photo above shows one of the measurements.

Close to the skin but spacious in the toebox

A couple of gymgoers report that this shoe is "perfectly snug" and "form-fitting." Another wearer points out that the pair was able to fit "perfectly the first time;" there was no need for a break-in period.


The tongue is fully incorporated into the shoe's upper, contributing to that sock-like fit that makes the shoe feel as one with the foot.


At the same time, the shoe's close fit doesn't squish the toes anymore!


Fact check

Measuring both the widest part of the toebox and its width around the big toe, we are happy to announce that the Free Metcon 5 falls into the medium-to-wide range!

  Nike Free Metcon 5 Average
Max width 107.9 102.3
Big toe 79.4 78.3

This is where the Nike Free Metcon 5 has really improved since the preceding 4th iteration, infamous for its narrow fit.


Work out in style? Why not?!

A couple of reviewers say that this shoe has a "clean and crisp" and "very on-trend and eye-appealing" look. Many others are happy with how this Nike training shoe looks. A gymgoer is even thankful that this shoe allows him to be "more in-tune with the latest trend."


It must be noted here, though, that there are times when the pictures and actual look do not match. This is not a deal-breaker, but it's good to keep in mind when purchasing a pair.