New for 2018, the Nike Free x Metcon shoe combines the lightweight flexibility of the Nike Free running shoe line with the durability and stability of Nike Metcon shoes. It’s now available online via Rogue Fitness.
With three shoes to choose from in the Nike Metcon line, which one is the best for you? We’ve already reviewed the Nike Metcon 4 and the Nike Flyknit 3, so let’s talk about how the Nike Free x Metcon is unique.
This is the Metcon Running Shoe
In our previous articles we’ve already examined in depth the features of the 2018 “Metcon” line – so let’s start with where the Free stands out.
This is the running shoe of the Metcon line. While the Metcon 4 and DSX Flyknit 2 are relatively lightweight and flexible, they really are better at sprints and short runs only (400 meters or less). They just don’t have the cushioning for distance running. Not so with the Nike Free x Metcon. By incorporating key features of the “Free” running shoe line, we get a soft foam midsole with firmer carrier and a inner sleeve for a sock-like fit.
And this makes these not only the best running shoe for the Metcon line, but also the most comfortable for all day wear.
Performance is often about tradeoffs. How does this extra cushioning impact your ability to lift in these shoes? Based on user reviews, it seems not that much. These shoes are noticeably less stable in the heel and midsole when compared to the Metcon 4 and DSX Flyknit 2, but you can still use them to Oly lift, squat, deadlift, and much more.
Do your workouts incorporate more running or lifting? Do you want to wear them all day or for long distances? That’s the key decision criteria. Want the ultimate in stability? Go Metcon 4 XD. Want more cushioning? Go Free x Metcon. Want something in between? The DSX Flyknit 2 is probably your choice.
Special Features of the Nike Free x Metcon
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the other features of the shoe.
We believe the Nike Metcon line is the best CrossFit training shoe for 2018. Functional fitness workouts incorporate a wide variety of activities – running, rope climbing, weight lifting, jumping. You name it, it can happen in the WOD. And these Metcon training shoes are made for all of that.
Rope climbs can tear up shoes quick – especially the upper. The Free x Metcon incorporates a wrap-around outsole just like the other shoes in the line. And this lets you grip the rope with your feet using the toughest, most durable material of the sole, and it rides up around the sides of the shoe.
The Free x Metcon also incorporates Nike’s FlyWire. This innovative material is a super durable (5 times stronger than steel) but lightweight filament that runs in a criss cross fashion inside the shoe. It integrates with the laces and keeps your foot locked in to the shoe. It fulfills much the same function as the midsole strap in a purpose designed weightlifting shoe. But this isn’t just a benefit for weightlifting, FlyWire helps in any side to side movement as well.
Nike Free x Metcon Heel Drop
In the Nike Free x Metcon the “heel to toe drop” (meaning the difference in height between the toe and the heel) is 5mm. That’s only about .2″. This can be described as “low profile” in shoe terms. And this is great for a midfoot landing. In comparison, the Nike Metcon 4 has a 4 mm heel drop, the DSX Flyknit 2 a 6mm drop.
We also need flexibility in the sole. Why? Not just for running, but also how about rope skipping, box jumps, sprints, and sled pushes? The way this is handled in the Metcon line is via pre-formed flex grooves in the forefoot, and the Free x Metcon has them as well.
In addition, from the side you can see laser-siped flex grooves in the forefoot to maximize natural motion and flexibility. Siping is a well-known technique used in many models of running shoe.
The outsole of the shoe shows how it delivers omni-directional traction.
You can also see the wrap-around sole at the center. That’s how the shoe handles those brutal rope climbs.
The heel doesn’t have the hard TPU clip of the other shoes. But like most good running shoe, it’s got a strip of reflective material to maximize visibility when you are running in the dark.
With the release of the Nike Free x Metcon you now have 3 outstanding options for a cross training shoe in 2018.
And the Nike Free x Metcon is going to be the runner’s choice in cross training shoes in 2018.
Fit At Midlife Bottom Line:
The Nike Free x Metcon is the best running shoe option in the 2018 Nike Metcon line.
It has more cushioning in the sole and midsole when compared to the Metcon 4 and DSX Flyknit 2.
Because of the extra cushioning, it’s also the most comfortable for running long distances, walking, and all day wear.
The Nike Metcon 4 model is still the stability champ – and is the best option for lifting heavy weights, but the Free x Metcon seems fine for most people for use in the WOD.
- Nike Free x Metcon product photos are courtesy of Nike.
- Some product imagery on this page is property of Rogue Fitness and provided by Rogue Fitness.
- This website is not affiliated or associated with CrossFit, Inc. CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc.