Profile of the Nike React Metcon

Can you combine responsiveness and stability in one shoe? Nike tries to answer that question with its React Metcon trainer.

This is the first model in the Metcon line that employs Nike React, one of the brand’s most comfortable and responsive cushioning technologies. It helps to bounce the foot during jumps but doesn’t compromise stability because it is caged inside a flat and solid rubber outsole.

What is Nike React Metcon good for?

Built with versatility in mind, this shoe is suitable for both weightlifting and high-impact exercises. The React component also makes this model a bit more friendly for short-distance runs. The trainer is flexible enough for lunges and burpees and is fairly light for speed training. Equipped with large side panels, it can also withstand rope climbs.


Rock-solid platform. Because the shoe uses the exact same outsole design as its predecessor, you can expect an equal level of stability, traction, and durability. Its sticky rubber and flat construction keep the foot glued to the ground during squats and deadlifts. Meanwhile, the flexible forefoot accommodates jumps, runs, lunges, and other exercises.    

Protection against the rope. Tearing the footwear apart on rope climbs will be the least of your worries with the rubber side panels. These are made of resilient material to guard the shoe upon descent and feature aggressive lugs to bite the rope as you climb up.


The first Nike React for training. If you are familiar with the bouncy feel of Nike React running shoes, you may be surprised at the firmness of this particular React. But because it is a CrossFit shoe, it needs that rigidity to provide stability for weightlifting. However, you can expect the foam to reveal its responsive properties once you get to jumps and sprints.


Forged Flyknit. This is not the first cross-trainer from Nike that uses Flyknit. This lightweight and adaptive yet supportive fabric is commonly found in the brand’s trainers. However, the React Metcon footwear is one of the few that uses a one-piece, sock-like Flyknit upper.

There are no laces, or straps, or Flywires that are typical for other Metcons. Instead, this design is meant to move smoothly with the sole to provide a sense of integrity and flexibility.

On the medial side, the Flyknit is covered with melted polyurethane. This shiny layer contributes to the materials’ wear-resistance.

Speed lacing. For those who can’t stand fiddling with the laces, the Metcon React offers a solution: bungee laces. Another untypical feature for CrossFit shoes, this easily adjustable mechanism allows for quick fit regulations on the go.

Nike React Metcon vs. Nike Metcon 5

Based on several expert reviews, these two flagship models come head-to-head in terms of performance. While there is no verdict as to which one is better, it all boils down to the wearer’s preference. Presented below are some of the key features that characterize the two trainers.

Exact same outsole  

The React Metcon inherits the much-praised rubber outsole of the 5th Metcon. Thus, the trainers share the exact same outsole materials and design, including even the side panels. But the similarities end here.

React vs. dual-density midsole

The dual-density sole of the Metcon 5 has a very clear distinction between the heel and the forefoot. The barely compressible heel ensures stability for squats and lifts, while the plush and highly flexible forefoot helps with the dynamic exercises.

The Nike React, on the other hand, is a single-density component. It offers the same type of support from the heel to the toes. The foam is essentially firm, but when it comes to high-impact moves, it is ready to compress, absorb impact, and return to its shape in an instant. It also makes for a fairly stable base for weightlifting as it is enclosed in a firm rubber outsole with side panels.

Flyknit vs. Haptic mesh

Both materials are said to offer a snug and breathable coverage for the foot. So, the choice here comes down to personal preference.

The Haptic mesh on Nike Metcon 5 appears to be a more heavy-duty choice with its TPU chain link covering the entire upper.

The Flyknit on the React Metcon makes for a more pliable material that moves seamlessly with the foot.

Sock-like bootie vs. regular lace-up

The Metcon 5 comes with a traditional lace-up design. It has six pairs of eyelets that can be used to micro-regulate the fit. The additional Flywire cables work together with the laces on both sides of the shoe. They create an even firmer hold in the midfoot section.

As for the Nike React Metcon, it offers a tongue-less bootie design with a pair of bungee laces to secure the fit. While this may be a good option for those with narrow and medium-sized feet, people with wider feet and voluminous ankles may not appreciate it as much. Because the collar doesn’t stretch too much, it can be a challenge to put on the shoe. On a positive note, the presence of bungee laces makes fit adjustments very easy once the trainer is on.

Facts / Specs

Weight: 375g
Use: Crossfit / Gym / Cross-training
Width: Normal
Release date: Nov 2019
Features: Slip On
Collection: Nike Metcon
BRAND Brand: Nike

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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, 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.