New for 2020 is the Nike React Metcon – this great new cross training shoe combines the best features of the Nike Metcon 5 with Nike’s React foam cushioning system.
And now they’ve launched some AMP colorways of the shoe for men and women.
It’s a style upgrade, mostly.
The AMP shoes have all the same great high-performance features of the regular shoe – but give you a bit more style and flair.
And this variation even glows in the dark (but not very much – as you’ll see.)
Let’s take a look at what makes these shoes great for CrossFit WODs and functional fitness style training.
Here’s the styles that are available now.
Let’s take a closer look at the Nike React Metcon AMP – by first understanding what the React foam system is.
Glow in the Dark?
Check out our video hands-on review to see the features of this shoe:
Nike React Metcon AMP – Women’s Cross Training Shoe
The big draw with the React Metcon shoe is the use of Nike’s React foam cushioning system.
Unlike the dual-density midsole of the regular Metcon 5, this foam is a single density piece.
But, it uses React foam – which is supposed to give energy return and rebound with every step.
And you will find out from our hands on review that it does – although not to the same degree as the React running shoes – which use massive amounts of React foam.
But, that’s probably OK, because functional fitness isn’t all about running.
It’s about lifting weights, jumping, skipping rope, burpees, and even climbing ropes too.
So during this visual tour, we’ll tell you a bit about what makes these shoes special.
But first, let’s talk about that Glow in the Dark sole.
Nike React Metcon AMP – Glow In The Dark Outsole
Nike claims that the outsole (the sole) will glow in the dark.
Yes – it glows in the dark. But not very much.
Practical use? Nothing – but it makes you look cool.
(And let’s be honest – if you didn’t want to look good why are you working out?)
How well does it glow? How brightly and how long?
It will glow – but not very brightly and not for very long.
It’s really no different than those glow-in-the-dark bouncing balls you had as a kid.
You “charge” it by leaving it in the daylight – and it will give off a dull glow for a few minutes.
To illustrate which parts of the outsole glow – see these photos.
However, please note – these were done with an iPhone in Night Shot mode. This is NOT an accurate representation of the glow – these are far brighter than what you will obtain.
Ok – so the glow-in-the-dark outsole is a little bit of a marketing gimmick.
But that’s OK, because these are good looking (and performing) shoes even without the glow.
Nike React Foam – Responsive, Dynamic Cushioning
React foam is a recent Nike innovation.
To date it has mostly been used in shoes the Nike Epic React FlyKnit 2 (That’s a mouthful).
As a purpose designed running shoe, the Epic React FlyKnit 2 is light, fits like a sock, and provides excellent “bounce” thanks to the use of lots of React foam.
In the running shoes, the entire midsole and outsole are made from one contiguous piece of react foam.
In the React Metcon, in contrast, the React foam is a relatively slim slab that goes into the shoe.
So, there’s a lot less React foam – and you still have the regular rubber outsole like the Metcon 5 uses.
What does all this mean?
The Nike React Metcon doesn’t feel as light and bouncy as a proper React running shoe.
Instead, it offers a more subtle, fine tuning of the cushion provided in the Metcon 5.
The “Dual Density” midsole of the Metcon 5 is very noticeable in comparison. There’s a distinct difference between forefoot and heel.
The React foam does provide energy return in the Nike React Metcon – just don’t expect it to feel like a React running shoe.
Nike React Metcon AMP Special Features
As we mentioned, the AMP colorway is simply a style upgrade from the regular Nike React Metcon.
But that’s OK, because Nike’s Metcon shoes are great. They are the best CrossFit shoes for most people in 2020, in my opinion.
The Nike React Metcon has a 4mm heel to toe drop.
This minimal “offset” means it is a versatile shoe.
A lot of heel raise is nice for squatting – but not great for jumping, running, etc.
So a “low-profile” shoe with a firm heel is really the best compromise for WOD style training.
The heel is firm enough to lift heavy weights – think PR deadlifts, squats, and the Oly lifts – the snatch and clean/jerk.
All can be done in the Nike React Metcon.
The Nike React Metcon, because of the foam, have a better feel for impact activities – think box jumps, skipping rope, sprinting, etc.
And the Nike React Metcon has that massive “rope wrap” around the midfoot as well.
Rope climbs can shred regular shoes (upper and sole) – so the Metcon line make great climbing shoes.
Nike has opted to use their yarn-like FlyKnit material for the “upper” of this shoe.
The upper is the part that covers your foot.
And because this is a training shoe – you want it to be light and breathable.
FlyKnit in the Nike React Metcon AMP largely is those things – but it’s double layer – not like the single layer in most of the Nike React running shoes.
To be honest, the FlyKnit upper in the Nike React Metcon feels more like the regular Nike Metcon 5 upper than it does FlyKnit.
The Nike React Metcon has no traditional laces – instead it utilizes a quick-close lace system.
This is great for making fit and feel adjustments on the fly – but you are not going to be able to tighten these as effectively as the Nike Metcon 5.
The Nike Metcon 5 line uses regular laces with Nike’s FlyWire system.
It’s a very effective combination for tightening up the whole structure of the shoe when you tie the laces.
The React Metcon borrow’s the heel from the Nike Metcon 5 too – and it’s got the tough but slick TPU for minimum of wall drag.
Nike React Metcon AMP – Sizing
The React Metcon shoes have a very similar form factor to the Metcon 5.
(So much that the drop-in midsoles are swappable between the two models of shoe.)
As such, these are not the greatest shoes for people with very wide feet.
And in fact, I recommend going 1/2 size up to ensure a comfortable width.
In general, the current crop of Nike Metcon shoes (save the Free x Metcon 2) are much narrower than the Reebok Nano 9 in the toebox specifically.
Nike React Metcon AMP – In Summary
The Nike React Metcon AMP is a fun variation of the Nike Metcon shoe.
The AMP colorways give a great look and style – especially with the glow in the dark outsole.
But make no mistake, the glow in the dark isn’t bright – nor does it last long – so it is not a safety feature.
These shoes are highly functional too – with all the performance you need for the CrossFit WOD (or lifting in the gym.)
The only real mark against the Nike React Metcon – you might not be able to tighten them enough due to the lack of traditional laces.
These shoes are a bit on the expensive side as well – you are paying a $20 premium over the Metcon 5 for the “React” foam – and then another $10 premium for the AMP colorways.
Nike React Metcon AMP – Photo Credits
- Some Nike React Metcon AMP product photos are courtesy of Nike.
- We are a Roadrunner Sports affiliate – if you buy shoes after clicking links in this article we receive a small fee – at no additional cost to you. This helps support our work in bringing you great product reviews and information.
- 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.
Tim is the founder of FitAtMidlife.com – an avid gym rat for 30+ years, he’s a reviewer of many, many shoes – and founder of the Speed Bag Gathering – the world’s only gathering of speed bag punching enthusiasts. See more gym reviews at Tim’s YouTube channel.