Which CrossFit shoe is King?

There’s plenty of room for healthy competition when it comes to your training. Whether you’re looking to beat a workout partner’s time or beat your latest PR, a little spirit of play is always a nice touch to your fitness journey.

The same can be said when it comes to training gear – and in recent years no brand has gone head-to-head like Nike and Reebok. With each iteration of their Nano and Metcon lines, the two athletic brands are constantly compared to each other, especially in the eyes of CrossFit enthusiasts.

I’ve been a huge fan of both teams since their inception, with the latest iterations – Reebok’s Nano X2 and Nike’s Metcon 7 – ranking among the best Gear Patrol sneakers and best CrossFit shoe roundups. But in the spirit of competition, as well as the next CrossFit Games 2022I decided to pit these two gym kicks against each other to ultimately figure out which sneaker stacks better.

Ben Emminger

Across multiple training and disciplines, I compared the two shoes in lifting scenarios, as well as their abilities in agility or run-based training. Finally, I took a good look at the overall construction of each silhouette, highlighting durability components as well as comfort and overall aesthetics. Here is what I learned.

Metcons are slightly better at maximizing your heavy loads

It’s very clear that the Nano X2 and Metcon 7 were designed with the gym in mind. Through multiple strength training modalities, I felt a great sense of support and stability thanks to the exclusive features of each version. Both feature a heel clip and a grounded feel thanks to limited drop – 4mm in the Nikes, 7mm in the Reeboks – and I was able to get proper footing with one or the other of the soles ready for training.

Similarities aside, though, I felt better underfoot in the Metcon 7s, especially when doing squats or deadlifts. One of the main reasons for this is the integrated Hyperlift construction in the heel for a firmer and stiffer platform. Additionally, the extended rubber overlay in the medial and lateral portions of the Metcon 7 gave more of that locked-in experience, which I prefer in a lifting shoe.

nike metcon 7 black and white

Ben Emminger

Nano X2s keep better pace, but neither do daily runners

Naturally, however, your CrossFit workouts aren’t all about strength movements. There are many agility-based modalities and sprints that make up a well-rounded diet. In these scenarios, I felt the Nano X2 outperformed the Metcon 7 due to a more comfortable midsole construction. The Floatride Energy foam used in the Nano X2 offered the perfect blend of responsiveness and cushioning, making plyometrics and short runs more enjoyable than the Metcons’ Nike React foam.

However, I wouldn’t recommend any of the sneakers for runs over three miles. Due to the stiffer heel profiles, especially in the Metcons, these are best served for shorter jogs and sprints. If you want to maintain a solid training pace with longer runs, I suggest replacing your athletic trainers with a pair of running shoes better suited for higher mileage.

reebok nano x2 shoes red

Ben Emminger

Durability favors Nike, but Reebok is hot on its heels

The Nano X2 and Metcon 7 feature exceptional uppers that should last for several seasons of intense training. However, the chain-link mesh upper in Nike’s offering features multiple overlays, which helps them stand out in terms of durability.

I also liked the extended rubber in the medial and lateral portions, which helps protect the foam midsole during agility training. Although the Nano X2’s Flexweave upper is strong enough for normal training routines, I prefer the added security offered by Nike.

That’s not to say, however, that Reebok hasn’t created a worthy shoe for extended wear. Although I personally prefer the Metcon upper, the fit is more aligned with my footprint. As is the case with other Nike silhouettes, the midfoot runs on the narrower side. For instance not training related, I often found myself wearing the Nano X2s for that extra space and comfort.

So if you’re a person with wider feet or don’t prefer a more locked-in athletic feel, this is something to consider. There’s a lot of durability built into Reeboks for everyday wear and general training.

The Verdict: The Nike Metcon 7 Win

I want to preface this conclusion by saying that the Reebok Nano X2 and Nike Metcon 7 are After than capable of handling even the most intense training regimens. Whichever one you choose, you can rest assured that these kicks are ready for the job at hand.

However, thanks to the integrated Hyperlift heel plate and more athletic silhouette, the Metcon 7 takes the crown in this CrossFit duel. The stability and support, along with the improved rubber medial overlay, make it hard to deny how well this sneaker performs in the gym. If you’re looking for a premium shoe option, Nike always takes the cake.

The 2022 CrossFit Games begin on Wednesday August 3 and end on Sunday August 7. Be sure to be on the lookout for these quality shoe options. They may just be the deciding factor when it comes to winning the title.


Nike Metcon 7 Training Shoes

  • Hyperlift heel construction provides excellent stability for heavy lifts
  • Athletic profile more suitable for serious training
  • Stiff heel not as ideal for race-based training
  • Narrow midfoot, which could deter athletes with wider feet


Reebok Nano X2 Men’s Training Shoes

  • Durable outsole that provides a great base for training
  • Floatride Energy Foam provides great comfort in sprints and agility training
  • Some might not appreciate the wider toe box
  • Lack of extended medial and lateral grip for rope climbs

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Darryl A. Chapin