Nike Metcon SF Shoe Review

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Out of the blue Nike dropped a new Metcon shoe on us – the Nike Metcon SF.

This is the first ever all-terrain Nike Metcon shoe.

(Some vendors are calling this the Nike Metcon X SFB – but Nike lists it as the Nike MetconSF – so there might have been a late breaking name change.

The Nike Metcon SF (also called Nike Metcon X SFB) - the first all-terrain metcon training shoe.
The Nike Metcon SF features an aggressive tread, speed lacing system, and is guaranteed to drain water quick thanks to outsole drain ports.

As you may know, the Metcon line has primarily been best for indoor usage (with the exception of the Nike Metcon Sport.)

The other metcon shoes don’t have a really deep, aggressive tread.

But no so with the new Nike Metcon X SFB.

The Nike Metcon SF has a very aggressive boot-like tread - for all-terrain use.
The Nike Metcon SF features a very aggressive deep tread. The widely space lugs won’t get clogged with mud.

This is the metcon shoe meant for mud runs, obstacle races, and getting in the mud or the water will not be a problem.

These would also be great shoes for the beach, fishing trips, kayaking, and any other activity where your feet will get wet.

Our review pair has arrived – and our first “hands on” test drive is complete.

Let’s take a look at these Metcon shoe models:

Nike Metcon X SFB Shown in Medium Olive/Sepia Stone/Black/Dark Grey colorway.
Nike Metcon X SFB Shown in Beechtree/Velvet Brown/Kinetic Green/Pure Platinum colorway.
Nike Metcon X SFB Shown in Atmosphere Grey/True Berry/Gunsmoke/Pink Blast. This is the colorway shown in most of the photos of this review.
Nike Metcon X SFB Shown in Black/Light Current Blue/Black colorway.

Let’s talk about what makes these training shoes unique in the Metcon line.

Nike Metcon SF – Hands On Review from our YouTube Channel

Check out our hands-on review on YouTube:

Part 2 covers running in these in all-terrain conditions:

Deep Aggressive Tread for Traction in Mud

Let’s start with the most important feature – a really deep, aggressive tread.

As you can see in the outsole view – those lugs are deep.

Nike Metcon X SFB - Deep tread on the outsole for all-terrain capability - including mud!
Nike Metcon X SFB – Deep tread on the outsole for all-terrain capability – including mud!

Nike even goes so far as to label it “anti-clog traction.”

And that’s precisely what you need when you are trail running, running obstacle courses, or taking part in mud runs.

Those wide spaced lugs won’t get clogged easily – and they are deep.

Sole of the Nike Metcon X SFB (Nike Metcon SF) training shoe
The sole is labeled “Anti-Clog Traction.” I believe it.

Historically, the Metcon shoes haven’t had tread good for the outdoors – take a look here.

Nike Metcon Sport has a very aggressive tread intended for outdoors use - the Nike Metcon 5 is less so.
The Nike Metcon 5 (on the left) has a minimal tread depth – that makes it super stable for lifting weights. The Nike Metcon Sport has a much more aggressive, deep tread – but nothing that compares with the Nike Metcon X SFB.

The Nike Metcon Sport has a more aggressive tread – but that’s for grass and turf.

It’s not going to work as well in the mud.

The Nike Metcon X SFB will give superior traction in mud.

But, there’s more to this shoe than just a deep boot-like tread.

Nike has incorporated many of the principles of the metcon line.

For example, there’s a rope wrap section of the shoe. That’s where the super-tough outsole wraps up and around at the mid-foot.

Rope Wrap area on the Nike Metcon SF - Closeup.
You know it’s a Metcon shoe because it has the “rope wrap” – which is where the tough outsole wraps up and around the midfoot.

This gives you better grip on rope climbs – but just as important – it ensures the upper doesn’t get shredded from friction with the rope.

These also have minimalist cushioning.

That makes them great for heavy load bearing activities because your foot isn’t mushing down into the pillow-like padding that a running shoe would have.

Water Drain Ports

Here’s another key feature – if you are running in the mud that means your shoes are going to fill up with water.

And there’s nothing worse than waterlogged feet and shoes.

It’s murderous on your skin, and it’s extra weight to carry around.

The Nike Metcon X SFB solves this issue in two ways.

First of all the mesh upper looks to be the same breathable fabric (with 3D haptic print) that offers water a way to escape.

Upper of the Nike Metcon SF
The upper is thin, light, and breathable. This also makes for quick-drying shoes.

But even better, there are actually water draining ports incorporated in the outsole.

Water drain ports on the Nike Metcon SF
Close-up view of the water drain ports on the Nike Metcon SF. These pump out water with every step – and they work very well.

And that’s how you get the ultimate mud run shoe.

Do these water drain ports work as advertised? Yep.

After total immersion – I created this puddle of water streaming from the drain ports by simplying pressing down in the forefoot repeatedly.

Water drain ports on the Nike Metcon SF really work.
The drain ports in the forefoot work as advertised.

Speed Lacing System

The Nike Metcon X SFB incorporate’s a speed lacing system.

Speed lacing system on the Nike Metcon SF
Here’s the speed lacing system of the Nike Metcon SF. Also notice the high and tight gaiter – this keeps waterborne debris out of the shoe when you step in the swamp.

This should make it very easy to adjust the fit on the fly – especially if you get a large item – like a stick or rock – inside the shoe.

Couple this with the pull tabs on the front and back of the heel and you’ve got the fastest shoe change you can possibly do.

But you’ll notice there’s a gaiter high up on this shoe – and that will help ensure no debris gets inside in the first place.

Pull tabs on the front and back of the heel ensure these shoes are easy to take on and off.

I can confirm that the gaiter maintains a flexible, but tight hold around your ankle.

I’ve not taken these into the swamp yet – but I’ll be they’ll work as they should when the time comes.

The other big factor with these – they dry very quickly.

Nike has purposely made them such that there are few materials that actually absorb water.

The very thin drop-in midsole doesn’t absorb much water – and you can remove it and dry it separately.

After dunking these shoes in the pool – they dried in under an hour under a fan.

Rope Wrap – For Climbing, Swinging, and more

You’ll notice as well that Nike kept a lot of the design elements of the Metcon line.

For example, the wrap-around outsole is visible at the mid-foot of the shoe.

Wrap around outsole (or the rope wrap) is great for climbing and swinging on ropes.

This means it’ll be easier to climb a rope (or swing on a rope) as needed in an obstacle course race.

The outsole is the toughest part of the shoe and having it wrap around like that ensures the shoe’s upper doesn’t bear the brunt instead – because it will get shredded.

Side view of the Nike Metcon SF
Side view – you can see the rope wrap.

Nike Metcon SF for Running?

Can you run in the Nike Metcon SF?

Yes. But ….

Remember this is a “Metcon” shoe – that means it is a cross trainer.

And one hallmark of Nike’s Metcon line is that they are versatile shoes with minimal cushion.

They can be used for heavy weightlifting, jumping, sprinting, and running – at least for short distances.

I would not recommend these for running long distances.

Get regular trail running shoes instead.

What would I recommend these for? Short runs, and activities where you know your feet are going to get WET – not just a little bit wet, but soaking wet, fully submerged, etc.

Personally, I like to wear mine fishing – because they drain quick, have great traction in mud, sand, and muck, etc.

Nike Metcon SF vs Nike Metcon Sport

OK, let’s compare these to the other outdoor shoe – the Nike Metcon Sport.

Nike Metcon SF vs Nike Metcon Sport
Nike Metcon SF vs Nike Metcon Sport

You can see that the shoes are of a similar size.

The Metcon Sport is our previous champ for having a high-traction outsole.

But it’s really just good for turf, grass, etc.

Deep tread on the Nike Metcon SF as compared to the tread on the Nike Metcon Sport.

The Metcon SF is clearly the best choice for mud and rough outdoor trails.

As discussed previously, it’s built for water immersion too.

How about weight?

Nike Metcon SF vs Nike Metcon Sport – Sport has a velcro strap and slip fit, the SF has the Speed Lacing system.

The Nike Metcon SF is lighter at 13.0 oz. The Nike Metcon Sport weighs 13.8 oz.

That’s for a Men’s size 11 Sport, and an Men’s size 11 for the Metcon SF.

Nike Metcon SF is the all-terrain Nike Metcon.

Nike Metcon SF vs Nike Metcon 5

Ok, the Metcon SF is really in a class of it’s own. It’s deep, boot-like tread, water shedding ability, and light-weight define it as an obstacle course race (OCR) or mud run shoe.

However, we’re going to compare it to the Metcon 5 just so you can get a sense of the size, weight, etc.

They are two very different shoes…

Nike Metcon 5 vs Nike Metcon SF
These two metcon shoes are very different – but for a size comparison this gives you a good idea.

The Metcon SF is lighter than the Metcon 5 – 13.0 oz vs 13.6 oz for the Metcon 5.

This is probably due to the bigger rope wrap, and much bigger mid-sole on the Metcon 5.

The SF is made of a minimum of materials – to prevent water logging.

Sole of the Metcon 5 vs sole of the Metcon SF
The Metcon 5’s sole is made for indoor gym or dry use only.

The Metcon 5 is going to be your choice for use in the gym and most normal situations.

Nike Metcon 5 vs Nike Metcon SF
Despite it’s larger appearance, the Nike Metcon SF is actually lighter than the Metcon 5.

Nike Metcon SF – In Summary

Nike has addressed a clear cut need with the new Nike Metcon SF / Nike Metcon X SFB – this is the outdoor, all-terrain metcon.

With a super-aggressive, no-clog tread, water drain ports, and speed lacing system this is a shoe meant for outdoor adventures and water immersion.

Mud runs, obstacle courses, and just about anything else you can do outdoors should not be a problem with these new training shoes.

These are likely going to be great shoes for any OCR (Obstacle Course Race).

The Nike Metcon SF (also called Nike Metcon X SFB by some.)
The Nike Metcon SF (Nike Metcon X SFB) features an aggressive tread, speed lacing system, and is guaranteed to drain water quick thanks to outsole drain ports.

Nike Metcon SF – Photo Credits

  • Some Nike Metcon X SFB / Nike Metcon SF 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.


  1. Honestly – unless you KNOW your feet are going to wet and submerged I wouldn’t recommend them. As a cross trainer they really don’t have much cushion. If you do get them, try them on something short first. These shoes are really cross trainers that drain water – they are not really running shoes – in my opinion.

  2. I don’t believe it can – at least not in my testing. The mesh doesn’t really have very large openings.

  3. Thanks for the review!

    Do you think there is enough cushion for a half marathon trail run?


  4. Can sand get inside the shoe through the mesh that’s under the honeycomb pattern?

    Btw, I just watched the YouTube review. Great vid!



  5. No – my thinking was without socks they’d shed water better – which is true – but they rub too much. I only recommend them with socks. There’s way too much rub, especially when wet to use otherwise.

  6. So are this shoes meant to be worn barefoot?
    I ordered a pair will have them Thursday. I got them for hiking.

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