I’ve been a fan of the Nike metcons since they first came out. They’re an awesome hybrid shoe that function well for lifting as well as calisthenic and plyometric movements. Plus, Nike always brings the style factor. I have several pairs of previous generations of the metcons, but Nike recently came out with a totally revamped third generation that of course I had to test drive.
I’ve been wearing the metcon 3 for my workouts for the last month or so to get a feel for the new design. Here’s my review.
Metcon 3 fit, feel, and performance
I purchased my 3’s in a size 6.5, which is the same size I wear in both street and fitness shoes, including my other metcons. Like the previous versions, these fit dead on. In terms of fit, there aren’t any significant differences between the metcon 2 and 3. I recommend going with your usual shoe size.
The shoe’s sole is firm and supportive. Don’t expect any cushiness or spring. Although the shoe doesn’t feel bouncy, it still responds well and is supportive enough for lots of jumping movements. I have high arches and the shoe provides moderate arch support.
My pair was comfortable right out of the box with no break-in period. The firm sole does start to flex more after a few wears. The upper is made of a flyknit material, which offers tons of flexibility through the upper.
Like previous generations of the metcon, I do NOT recommend these for running. Very short distances are ok, but anything more than a mile or so will likely be uncomfortable.
Metcon 3 changes versus metcon 2
Nike completely overhauled the materials used in the new metcon 3. The upper of the 3’s are now made entirely of flyweight material. I wondered if this might make the shoe lighter, so I weighed my old 2’s and my new 3’s. It turns out that the weight difference is tiny: they’re only around 5% lighter, which isn’t noticeable when worn.
The fully knit toe box offers just slightly more flexibility versus the “seams” on the metcon 2’s toe box, but it’s extremely subtle.
I had read some complaints that the previous metcons were not durable and that some areas would peel. I’m guessing some of the changes to the materials were intended to address that. That said, I haven’t had any issues with my previous metcons (which I’ve worn a lot), nor have I had any issues with these so far.
Fortunately, one thing that didn’t change with the new generation is the price. The metcon 3’s will run you $130, the same retail price as the metcon 2.
Nike changed the pattern of the sole, which shows on the arch and outer edge of the shoe. I didn’t notice a significant change in the traction of the sole.
From the back view, Nike updated the reflective bars with “metcon” text. I think this makes the shoe look more masculine, which I think is a negative. Many athletic shoes, especially CrossFit-oriented shoes, have the downfall of being designed for men with a women’s version just thrown in as an afterthought. Previously, I liked that the metcon was nicely gender neutral, so I hope future version of the metcon don’t continue to be more masculinized.
In fact, pretty much the whole heel area has been updated. There’s now an additional swath of plastic that flanks either side of the heel, which adds structure and stability. The heel cup on the shoe is very secure and does not slip at all. The heel clip is also more subtle now, and feels less a little less sharp to the touch–I’ve kicked myself with the heel clip on my old ones too many times to count.
And if you like to wear your Nikes loud and proud, now you’ve got full-sized swooshes on both sides of the shoe.
So, do you need to run out and get the metcon 3 right now?
In my opinion, if you already have the metcon 2 and you like it, you don’t absolutely need the 3. Despite the significant changes to the materials, the functional differences between the metcon 2 and 3 are minimal. I like both pretty much equally.
With that in mind, if you like the metcon 2, you’ll more than likely be happy with the 3 when it comes time to replace your shoes. Not to mention, metcon 2’s are on sale everywhere right now, so you can save a few bucks by going with the older model and still get a fantastic shoe.
I’m also interested in trying Nike’s flyknit version of the metcon, but there isn’t currently a color scheme I like, so I’m not in a big hurry.