The Reebok Nano 9.0 Review was well received so I thought, in the interest of fairness, I should review the Metcon 5 as well. Don’t worry, I had them already & so didn’t buy them especially!
As I said in my previous review, I’ve been a long-time fan of Nanos when it comes to training, but recently bought a pair of Metcon 4XD because I liked the design. I was pleasantly surprised, which I’ll go into later, and when the Mat Fraser Metcon 5s were announced I got myself on the WIT Fitness pre-release ballot and snapped up a pair! This does mean it won’t have that same perception as with the Nano, but I’ll do my best.
My understanding is that with repect to construction they are identical to the Metcon 5, only differing in the design. So I hope that this review will help anyone whos contemplating getting some Metcons, especially if, like me you’ve “always worn Nanos & couldn’t wear anything else”.
Impressions on unboxing were good; Nike know not only how to design a good trainer but also package it to look awesome. The #HWPO (Hard Work Pays Off) custom box was a nice extra touch.
With respect to design, my understanding is the limted edition Mat Fraser Metcon 5 differs in a few ways: 1) The one-piece upper is a two-tone design with a red stripe down the middle that runs up the tongue, 2) The collar is black leather, and, 3) the sole is translucent under which there’s another red strip & Frasers signature. Joel at AsManyReviewsAsPossible does a great review of the shoe and talks about some other subtle Mat Fraser design features – check it out if you’re interested.
As with all Metcon 5s, the upper is a light-weight material covered in a flexible geometric print to add durability. It’s hard to imagine this adds much support to the shoe, however this isn’t a problem as the outsole extends halfway up the instep & outstep providing support (and protection for rope climbs). This is also complemented by Nike’s Flywire technology – which brings stability without too much extra weight.
The sole of the shoe is enlarged at the heel and has a sort of diamond shape to it. This increases contact area & thus creates a really stable base when throwing the barbell around.
One thing I’ve found with both the Metcon 4XD & Metcon 5 is the Flywire makes the shoe feel rather snug for the first few outings. I have pretty wide feet which probably makes it worse but it’s not an issue as after a couple of sessions they just feel snug & supportive.
One noticeable difference to the 4XD is the change to a dual density midsole – stiffer at the back whilst softer at the front to make it more responsive. Reebok have used this in their Nano for a few iterations & I wonder if it’s this that gives it the super comfy out-the-box trainer feel – the Metcon 5 captures this, the 4XD did not. Joel at AsManyReviewsAsPossible comments on the tongue of the shoe being larger & rubbing on the ankle; this is not something I struggle with, although I always wear full socks (rather than ankle socks).
The Metcon 5s also break new ground by being provided with a set of Hyperlift wedges. These can be easily inserted under the inner sole to bring an extra 8 mm of heel lift in the men’s shoe – 6 mm in the women’s. That’s a total of 12 mm (or just shy of 1/2 ” if you like imperial) heel-to-toe drop; for comparison, the Reebok Legacy Lifter has a 22 mm (3/4 “) drop. I’ve used them a few times for squat cleans & heavy back squats – they definitely help someone like me who has less than ideal ankle flexion. It can feel a little odd at first as the Metcon already has a lower collar cut than the Nano; then you add the Hyperlift and wonder if they’re not going to fly off mid-WOD. They don’t & neither do I experience any of the dreaded heel-slip!
Only one bad thing I have to say about the Mat Fraser Metcon 5, is that the glue between the outsole & upper is quite visible and in some places looking a little strained. I’ve read/heard other reviews mention this and apparently it’s an early production issue that has been subsequently fixed. I’m not about to send mine back (it’s not like they can replace them!) & will still wear them.
There we go, my thoughts on the Metcon 5. I gave these a run out today after wearing my new Nanos for a week or so & was reminded what an awesome technical shoe they are. Great stable platform with awesome lateral stability. I’m not going to say which I prefer, Nano 9.0 or Metcon 5, I’ll save that for another blog! Safe to say though that these won’t be gathering dust & will be making regular appearances down the gym; I’m even tempted to buy another pair!