The ever popular Nike Metcon line is created primarily for CrossFit athletes and anyone who loves lifting. The eighth edition is a stable shoe that is perfect for deadlifts and squats, and has enough flexibility to handle a bit of running or HIIT. The little details – like lace locks, and other elements that improve its performance with handstands and rope climbs – set it apart.
- Great range of colourways
- Heel clip
- Less flexible than previous Metcons
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At the top of any list of the best gym trainers, ours included, you’ll find the latest version of the Nike Metcon and the Reebok Nano. After reviewing the Reebok Nano X2, I gave it the edge over the Metcon 7 for plyometric moves, but the Metcon won out if you favour big barbell exercises.
After putting the new Nike Metcon 8 to the test, I found it is even more stable than the previous generation and the grip makes it an excellent choice for HIIT workouts. Here’s the detail to help you decide if it’s right for you.
Nike Metcon 8: Price And Availability
The Metcon 8 isn't cheap – $130 in the US and £114.95 in the UK – but to my mind it justifies the cost. It’s in the same price bracket as its rival the Reebok Nano X2 which was released in April 2022 and costs $135/£110.
The Nike Metcon 8 is sold through Nike as well as third-party retailers. The sample for this review was provided by WIT Training.
Nike Metcon 8 vs Metcon 7
The latest and previous generation Metcons are similar, and both feel very supportive and comfortable. Nike says that the eighth version of the shoe has a more breathable upper than the Metcon 7, but I didn’t really notice this.
Both generations have the Nike React foam in the base so there is still that springiness for plyometric (jumping) movements, but I found the sole of the Metcon 8 was tougher. It feels more like a lifting shoe than previous iterations, but I wouldn’t want to overstate that – it’s a very minor difference.
Neither version of the shoe is great for running, although earlier versions of the Nike Metcon were more suitable for runs thanks to a less sturdy heel and a more flexible sole.
All good Metcon workouts include handstands and handstand wall walk-outs, so the Metcon 8 has a handstand clip at the heel. Nike says this helps to minimise drag during wall exercises, but in all honesty I didn’t notice much difference. Still, it’s nice to know my trainers won’t be getting too scuffed thanks to the clip which acts as a buffer.
Like previous generations, the Nike Metcon 8 has rubber around the sides, making it an ideal shoe for rope climbing. The same rubber on the sole also grips gym floors brilliantly.
The laces can be locked with a Velcro strap which features an easily-pulled tab that helpfully says “Lock Laces”. I found this particularly useful for box jumps where I didn’t have to keep half an eye out for stray laces that might trip me up. I also like the laces themselves. They feel strong, unlike the laces of the Reebok Nano X2 which felt quite cheap and thin.
I wore the Nike Metcon 8 in white, which has a colourful blob design around the heel as well as a black Nike tick. As always, there are plenty of colourways to choose from so you can find a style that suits you. I’m not a huge fan of the word METCON emblazoned on the side of the shoe, but it doesn’t affect the shoe’s function, of course.
The Metcon 8 is also very snug – the first time I wore them I didn’t tie the laces and they fit perfectly – so people with wide feet may need to experiment with sizing.
Is The Nike Metcon 8 Good For HIIT?
Without a shadow of a doubt, these are fantastic for HIIT workouts. The sturdiness of the shoe meant that my feet felt fully supported throughout every movement, including during a jump or some form of agility move. The React foam in the midsole also absorbs some of the impact of squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps and the like.
I wore the Nike Metcon 8 trainers on various surfaces at the gym, including deadlift platforms, the carpet on the track, a spongy floor and a tiled floor. On all surfaces, the grip was excellent and my feet didn’t slide inside the shoe at all.
The locked laces are great for HIIT workouts – it was one less thing to think about during my routine.
Is The Nike Metcon 8 Good For Resistance Training?
A firm sole and a slightly raised heel make these ideal for resistance training. I wore these for deadlifting and my hips felt stable throughout, especially as the well-fitting shoes didn’t let my feet sink inwards or outwards. Full disclosure: my deadlift max is around 80kg, so a pair of proper weightlifting shoes will offer a lot more stability for those lifting much heavier weights. But if you’re lifting in a similar range to me, or you’re partaking in CrossFit workouts that include deadlifts and other movements, then these fit the bill.
I also found the Metcon 8 worked well for my squatting routine. Again, my hips felt far more stable because neither of my feet were sinking in. The sturdy heel also made it easy to drive up when rising from the squat.
Is The Nike Metcon 8 Good for Running?
I’m well versed in running shoes and the Nike Metcon 8 trainers don’t possess the traits of a good running shoe, although to be fair, they haven’t been made to be worn for a marathon.
The Nike Metcon 8 will work well for shorter runs on the treadmill, however – the type of short, sharp run you’d find in a CrossFit workout – and I found running 1km on the treadmill was totally fine.
Any more mileage might get uncomfortable, though, because the sole of these Nike Metcon 8s is noticeably less flexible than previous Metcons.
Is The Nike Metcon 8 Worth It?
Yes. The Nike Metcon 8 is a versatile shoe for the gym floor, suitable for HIIT, CrossFit and resistance training. I felt comfortable throughout every workout and at no point did my feet feel like they were going to slide around. Yes, it’s tight-fitting, but I feel this is necessary in a gym trainer.
Don’t plan on running any further than short distances in this shoe, though. If that’s important for you, you may prefer an earlier Metcon, or more of a cross-trainer.
I also love the look of the Metcon 8 and it certainly feels durable. This is now officially my new favourite gym trainer – at least until the Nike Metcon 9 comes out!
Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.