Nike React Metcon Shoe Review

Nike has released the Nike React Metcon Training Shoe.

Will this training shoe be ideal for running and many impact-heavy CrossFit WODs and other functional training?

That’s the promise of Nike’s React foam cushioning system.

But this shoe also brings along other great features of the Nike Metcon shoe line.

Nike React Metcon CrossFit Training Shoe has React foam cushion.
The Nike React Metcon has the functional fitness training features of the Metcon line plus Nike’s React foam cushioning system.

We’ve completed our hands-on review. Read on for the results.

Here’s the styles currently available.

Nike React Metcon Training Shoe - Black/White New for 2019, the Nike React Metcon combines the features we love about the Nike Metcon 5 with a speed lacing, light-weight FlyKnit, and Nike's React foam cushioning.
Nike React Metcon Training Shoe - White/Atmosphere Gray/Black Nike has dropped a limited selection of new styles for 2020 - including White / Atmosphere Gray / Black.
Nike React Metcon Men's Training Shoe - Light Blue Here's a new mens color combo for 2020. We like the more subtle "NIKE" lettering on this color combo.
Nike React Metcon Women's Training Shoe - White/Black This is the Women's version of the shoe, new for 2020. We like the more subtle "NIKE" lettering on this color combo.

Let’s take a closer look at the Nike React Metcon – by first understanding what the React foam system is.

Nike React Metcon – React Foam Cushioning

First of all, the big draw with this shoe is the use of the React foam system.

Drop-in midsole of the Nike React Metcon includes the React foam cushioning system.
Nike’s React Metcon has the React cushioning system – a first for the metcon line.

What is that?

Nike explains it best:

“Nike React is an unprecedented foam cushioning innovation and our most responsive foam yet. In fact, Nike React is 11% softer and offers 13% more energy return than our previous softest and bounciest cushioning. It’s also more durable and more lightweight. Basically, Nike React is instant go—a contagious sensation that makes you want to run.”

So, it’s a soft and bouncy foam – that sounds great for running, jumping, sprinting, and skipping rope.

But, does it work?

In our hands-on testing we compared the Nike React Metcon to another React foam shoe – the Epic React Flyknit 2.

How did it fare? You can watch our video to see the full explanation, or read on.

I’m afraid to say the React foam is a bit of a disappointment, at least for me.

I believe the problem is that there simply isn’t enough of it.

Shown below is the drop-in midsole of the Nike React Metcon (this is the foam.)

Nike React Metcon foam cushion system
Another view of the React foam cushion – this is the drop-in midsole.

If you compare that to a shoe like the Epic React Flyknit 2 – a purpose designed running shoe which has a ton of React foam. The entire outsole and midsole are made from React foam.

That shoe has the bouncy, energetic feel of a proper React shoe.

I’m afraid the Nike React Metcon simply does not measure up. It’s a rare swing and a miss for Nike on this one.

It feels subtly more cushioned and “reactive” – when compared to the Metcon 5. But, it doesn’t feel like the React running shoes.

Having said that, you may not need a full bore running shoe. So let’s continue on and talk about the other aspects of the Nike React Metcon. It is still a stylish, comfortable, and useful WOD shoe.

Nike React Metcon Sizing

This shoe is the same basic shape and dimensions as the Metcon 5.

We recommend you go 1/2 size up from your normal size.

For example, I normally wear a Men’s 11 – for the Nike React Metcon (and Metcon 5) an 11.5 fits best.

Nike React Metcon – FlyKnit Upper

The upper is made with Nike’s FlyKnit.

FlyKnit is a lightweight, breathable material that Nike first developed back in 2012.

FlyKnit is a material that Nike can use to create shoes with a very light-weight, form fitting feel. The material is really “knit” from polyester yarn and as such there are hardly any seams.

Close-up of the Nike FlyKnit upper of the Nike React Metcon
Close-up of the Nike FlyKnit upper of the Nike React Metcon

The whole “upper” part of the shoe is therefore better fitting and lightweight.

Overall, it’s a very precise, sock-like fit.

And it’s super-comfortable.

Nike React Metcon uses FlyKnit for the upper
The upper is made from Nike’s FlyKnit – a lightweight, woven material that provides a sock like fit – and great comfort.

It should be noted there is a sort of inner liner on this particular Flyknit shoe – so it is a bit heavier and less breathable than a Flyknit shoe like the Epic React Flyknit 2.

Nike React Metcon – Speed Lacing

The React Metcon uses Nike’s Speed Lacing system.

Speed Lacing is convenient – that’s for sure.

Speed lacing system on the Nike React Metcon
Close-up of the quick pull speed lacing system of the Nike React Metcon.

This is another area where I’m a bit disappointed.

All the other Nike Metcon shoes use traditional laces and FlyWire, or a mid-foot strap.

They all give a very secure fit.

But, the Nike React Metcon doesn’t have those things – it only has the speed lacing.

And I’m afraid that means the shoe doesn’t quite fit as securely as the others in the Metcon line.

Nike React Metcon Training Shoe for CrossFit and functional workouts
Nike React Metcon uses a speed lacing system rather than conventional shoe laces.

In summary, the speed lacing system is OK for casual use and comfort, but you might be missing the very locked in fit and feel of laces + Flywire, or a mid-foot strap, as in the Nike Metcon Sport.

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon 5

Nike’s flagship of the Metcon line is the Nike Metcon 5.

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon 5 Training Shoe
Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon 5 Training Shoe

This Metcon shoe is meant to be an “general purpose” shoe for the CrossFit WOD or functional training.

It’s got a stable heel for lifting heavy weight.

It has a monster sized rope wrap (wraparound outsole) for rope climb traction (and durability).

And it has a dual density drop-in midsole.

This clever innovation from Nike let’s them put very firm foam in the heel – so your foot doesn’t sink into the foam when lifting heavy weights.

But, the forefoot has a different foam – that has a lot of cushioning.

Dual density foam of the midsole - Nike Metcon 5 vs Nike React Metcon
The drop-in midsole of the Nike Metcon 5 is on the left – you can see the dual-density foam. In contrast, the Nike React Metcon uses React foam for the entire midsole (Blue, on the right).

And this makes it great for running, box jumps, skipping rope, and more.

The Nike React Metcon borrows heavily from this shoe – and per our earlier comments on the React foam system it feels very similar.

The problem is that the React foam just doesn’t differentiate enough from the cushion in the Metcon 5, in my opinion.

In fact, the Metcon 5 actually has more cushion in the forefoot – and I prefer it for running (I am a heavy fore-foot striker.)

I would recommend you try these on in a store, if possible (or be prepared to return if you buy over the Internet.)

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon 5
Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon 5

We also covered the lack of laces on the React Metcon.

Nike’s laces and FlyWire on the Metcon 5 give a very secure fit, which I prefer.

Meanwhile, you can see there is a LOT of carry over from the Nike Metcon 5.

Outsole tread pattern on the Nike React Metcon
Outsole tread pattern on the Nike React Metcon – It is identical to that of the Nike Metcon 5.

Things like the sole with pre-formed flex grooves looks identical to the Nike Metcon 5.

Nike React Metcon - Sole
The sole of the shoe is identical to the Nike Metcon 5 (we’re not complaining.)

That mega rope wrap is there too.

That’s the wrap around outsole that protects the sides of the shoe from friction during rope climbs.

Rope Wrap on the Nike React Metcon
The “Rope Wrap” (the section of the outsole that wraps up around the middle of the shoe) is the same as on the Metcon 5. It’s huge!

But, you can also see the high-traction tread pattern is there too.

And lastly, the heel has that “knife edge” of slick TPU (plastic) material – for a bare minimum of wall drag when doing Handstand Push Ups (HSPUs).

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon 5
Both the Nike React Metcon and Nike Metcon 5 have the “knife edge” heel to minimize wall drag when doing HSPUs.

In short, I don’t recommend the Nike React Metcon at a $20 premium over the Metcon 5 – based on performance, fit, and feel.

But, your experience may be different.

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon Sport

At first glance, the Nike React Metcon looks a lot like a shoe released earlier this year – the Nike Metcon Sport.

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon Sport
There are some similarities between the Nike React Metcon and the Nike Metcon Sport. Both are slip-fit – without traditional laces.

The Nike Metcon Sport is a training shoe meant for agility – it has the most aggressive tread pattern of any Metcon shoe (save the SFB – which is more like a boot).

Nike Metcon Sport has the most aggressive outsole tread pattern.
The Nike Metcon Sport has the most aggressive outsole tread pattern of any Metcon shoe (Except for the SFB – which is more like a boot.)

It’s also laceless – but uses a heavy duty velcro strap to secure your foot.

That mid-foot strap makes all the difference in security.

The Metcon Sport has a better, more secure fit on your foot because of it.

I will say that the Nike Metcon Sport is the most comfortable of the Nike Metcon shoes – at least for me.

And, like the Metcon 5 – the midsole/insole is removable.

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon Sport
Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon Sport

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Free x Metcon 2

Nike combined Metcon features with the Free running shoe line to create the Nike Free x Metcon 2.

Nike Free x Metcon 2 vs Nike React Metcon
The Nike Free X Metcon 2 combines the best of the “Free” running line with the Metcon line. It has a very flexible outsole which can flex along the width and length – and a minimum of cushioning (just like your foot.)

The Free line is meant to better replicate the barefoot running experience.

And it does that via a combination of a very flexible outsole – and a minimum of cushioning – just like your bare foot.

Where the Nike React Metcon is basically a Metcon 5 with a different drop-in midsole, the Free x Metcon 2 is radically different.

There is an entirely different (cushioned) outsole – and it largely delivers on what it promises.

In comparison, the React’s drop in foam midsole is simply ineffective – in my opinion.

As such, I recommend the Nike Free x Metcon 2 as a great running shoe for the WOD.

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Free x Metcon 2
Both the Nike React Metcon and Nike Free x Metcon 2 are meant to be “running” WOD shoes. Which is the champ? Hopefully we’ll know soon.

One key difference with these shoes – the Free x Metcon 2 has a “Free” running style outsole.

This is meant to maximize flexibility along the both planes of the foot.

Nike Free x Metcon 2 vs Nike React Metcon - the outsole of these shoes are very different.
The outsoles are very different. The “free” running shoe is meant to better replicate the barefoot running experience.

Nike React Metcon vs Reebok Nano 9

We’ll compare and contrast the Nike React Metcon with the Reebok Nano 9.

Nike React Metcon vs Reebok Nano 9
Nike React Metcon vs Reebok Nano 9

The Nano 9 claims improved cushioning (as compared to the Reebok Nano 8) – but how does it stack up when compared to Nike’s React system?

One thing we can confirm – the Reebok Nano 9 is still the wide toebox champ:

Toebox on the Reebok Nano 9
Toebox on the Reebok Nano 9 is wide and comfortable – which is why many people with wide feet prefer it.

We’ll find out here.

Nike Reebok Nano 9 vs Nike React Metcon
The Reebok Nano 9 has improved foam cushioning – when compared to the Reebok Nano 8. Shortly, we’ll find out how it stacks up against the Nike React Metcon.

Nike React Metcon vs Nike Metcon Flyknit 3

Word on the street is that the Nike React Metcon replaces the Nike Metcon Flyknit series of shoes.

So, don’t expect to see a Nike Metcon Flyknit 4 … it’s probably not happening.

Nike React Metcon – In Summary

When it was launched earlier this year, the Nike Metcon 5 had greatly improved on previous versions in regards to the cushioning.

The dual density foam in the Nike Metcon 5 is significantly better than that of the previous versions (like the Nike Metcon 4).

The Nike React Metcon incorporates the features you love from the Metcon 5 with a speed lacing system, FlyKnit, and perhaps most importantly Nike’s react foam.

But ultimately, this version of Nike’s React foam just doesn’t work.

As a drop-in midsole, the React foam fails to deliver on Nike’s promise of an energetic, bouncy feel.

(It provides a subtly improved rebound as compared to the Metcon 5 – but will disappoint React running shoe fans.)

As such, we recommend you check out the Metcon 5 first – as that is an excellent shoe.

If you want a true “react” running experience, check out the Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 – but that shoe has far too much cushion to be used for lifting weights.

Why Rogue Fitness Products? We’re a Rogue Fitness affiliate – so if you order equipment after clicking the links in this article we receive monetary compensation. But that’s not why we recommend Rogue. It’s because their equipment is tough, durable, well-made, and offers the “best of the best”. Their innovative designs and diversity of options make your training better – allowing you to reach your personal goals faster. And that’s why we love them.

Nike React Metcon – Photo Credits

  • Some Nike React Metcon 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.

Nike React Metcon
Nike React Metcon – a new CrossFit training shoe from Nike for 2019.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*