Reebok Nano 9 vs Nike Metcon 5 Compared Side by Side (Which is Best?)

Here is a head to head comparison of the new Reebok Nano vs Nike Metcon 5 based on the 4 core competency areas CrossFit shoes must be able to perform in:

  • Running
  • Weightlifting
  • Stability and balance
  • Durability

I will tell you where each shoe stands in each area, cover the best features of each and give you my recommendation, as a fellow CrossFit athlete.

Check out the Reebok Nano 9 here and the Nike Metcon 5 here. (links to Amazon.com)

Let’s get started!

Which is Better for Running, the Nike Metcon 5 vs Reebok Nano 9?

The Nano 9 for Running

The Nano 9s are softer than the Nano 8s and are OK for running, while still being stable enough for other CrossFit movements.

They have a stretchy, flexible weave upper that conforms to your foot, along with the flexible forefront of the sole, and just a little bit of bounce in the midsole make this CrossFit shoe adequate for running.

Remember: CrossFit shoes are NOT running shoes and you will only be running for short distances. If a shoe is great for running, chances are it sucks for CrossFit.

The Metcon 5 for Running

Metcons have had a bad reputation of being uncomfortable and feeling like running with planks strapped to your feet.

Nike has tried to remedy the situation with the dual-density midsole, which really makes these Metcons better to run in than the Metcon 4.

They were able to make this shoe more comfortable to run in, while maintaining the stability Metcons are known for.

Running CrossFit Shoe Verdict

While the Metcon 5s are an improvement over the Metcon 4s in terms of running, I feel the Nano 9s did slightly better in this category because their insole has a little bit of energy return, making them a little easier to run in.

But I emphasize, the advantage is just slight, as both shoes are OK to run in.

Want to see more CrossFit shoes that are good for running? I have a list of my favorite’s right here.

Which is Better for Weightlifting, the Nike Metcon 5 vs Reebok Nano 9?

female athlete performing weight lifting exercise at gym

How the Nano 9s Perform for Weightlifting

The Nano 9s feel more stable to lift in than the 8s. They have a 4 mm drop and feel very grounded and stable for Olympic lifts and other heavy lifts.

They give a locked-in feeling at the heel, thanks to the higher sock-like bootie which wraps up over the ankle and holds it in without restricting movement.

One of the Nano 9s best features, the wide toe box, is excellent for lifting, allowing your toes to splay while you lift so your feet create a solid stable base.

Bottom line, this shoe is excellent for lifting, unless your feet are really narrow.

How the Metcon 5s Perform for Weightlifting

The Metcon 5 also has a 4 mm drop with a low flat wide heel. At the widest point on the sole, it is as wide as the Nano 9, but the metcon 5 narrows from there.

This iteration of the Metcon has a new feature, the Hyperlift insert. The Hyperlift insert adds 8mm of lift in the men’s shoe, and 6 mm of lift in the women’s shoe.

This added lift from the Hyperlift insert can help replace traditional lifting shoes for those used to weightlifting with the higher heeled “lifters”. Also, they are good for people with ankle mobility issues who want to transition to a functional fitness shoe only, and do away with lifters.

The higher heel helps maintain heel contact with the ground so you have better balance and stability while you lift.

If you are curious about what lifters are, or want to see a list of weight lifting shoes reviewed, they are right here.

Weightlifting CrossFit Shoe Verdict

Both shoes are excellent for weightlifting. While I like the Hyperlift of the Metcon 5, it’s not necessary, but is a good tool to have as you work through ankle mobility issues.

  • If you have really wide feet, the Nano 9s are the best CrossFit shoe for weightlifting.
  • If you have narrow to really narrow feet, the Metcon 5s are the better choice for weightlifting.

Which is Better for Balance and Stability, the Nike Metcon 5 vs Reebok Nano 9?

Nano 9 for Balance and Stability

The Nano 9s have improved their stability game from the previous Nano 8s. The outsole is wider and has more contact with the ground. These shoes have sidewalls that extend from the midsole that cradle the foot. This feature, combined with the flat outsole provide excellent lateral stability.

They keep your feet in place when squatting, and provide stability for other side to side type movements.

Another characteristic of this shoe that I really like is that even though the upper is softer, the base stays solid and stable, and I think that has to do with the midsole wrap which allows the sole to be more solid and inflexible, while allowing the upper and front to flex.

Metcon 5 for Balance and Stability

Metcon 5s are known for their stability. For wall balls, box jumps, squats, they perform beautifully.

The new Hyperlift insert adds stability, especially for those with ankle mobility issues, because it keeps the heel connected better with the ground during squats and helps with balance during wall balls and thrusters.

The ground feel is decent with the Metcon 5s because even though they have more cushion than previous models, the cushion is firmer at the heel, and your feet are still well connected to the ground because the cushion easily compresses so you can still feel where your feet are and perform double unders and box jumps securely.

The Metcon 5s also have an extra eyelet you can lace as an option to get a more locked-in feel.

Balance and Stability Verdict

I slightly favor the Nano 9s for balance and stability. I like that the External TPU cup wraps up providing that excellent lateral support and the overall wider base of the Nano 9 feels more stable to me.

Which is More Durable, the Nike Metcon 5 or the Reebok Nano 9?

two women doing workout at CrossFit gym

Nano 9 for Durability

I personally have not experienced any of these issues, but some folks have been saying that the sole of the Nano 9 tends to peel away from the flex weave upper.

This issue may be because the sole is so solid and stable, and the upper more soft and flexible that the stress between the moving upper and the sole that stays put encourages the materials to begin to separate.

That said, the extensive external TPU carrier does add durability in the area the rope touches during a rope climb.

Metcon 5 for Durability

Sadly, the Metcon 5 suffers the same issue with durability that the Nano 9 has, the outsole tends to peel away from the upper.

Probably for the same reason, a soft flexible upper paired with a hard, relatively inflexible sole creates tension where the two are joined and causes premature peeling or separation.

Bummer.

Durability Verdict

Truthfully, I think both shoes need work in this department. A shoe can be great in all other areas, but once the sole separates significantly from the upper, the shoe is toast.

Neither shoe won in this department because of this issue.

If you want a CrossFit shoe that does not suffer from durability issues, I recommend the NO BULL trainer here. (link to Amazon.com) The design of this trainer rarely changes and its durability is legendary.

Pros and Cons of Nano 9 and Metcon 5

Outside of the 4 core areas I talked about above, here are some things I and others like and do not like about the Nano 9 and Metcon 5.

What do You Love about the Nano 9s?

Many athletes love the wide toe box of the Nano 9. This shoe has plenty of room to splay your toes while lifting and works great for people with wider feet.

Thanks to the Flexweave upper, the Nano 9 is the more breathable of the two shoes.

The Nano 9 is designed with a sock-like bootie I mentioned earlier. This bootie comes up higher on the heel and hugs your foot so the shoe stays snug and secure.

What do You Hate about the Nano 9s?

While both shoes are relatively heavy, the Nano 9s are more boxy than the Metcons. They even have a more square sole shape. Honestly, this is great for stability, but the boxiness takes some getting used to.

Nano 9s don’t fit great if your feet are really narrow. If you have narrow feet, the Metcon 5s are for you.

The durability issues I mentioned above, that the upper tends to separate from the sole. Both shoes have this issue.

The wide toe box and high toe box clearance combined with the Flexweave upper can do some strange things, like if you pull the laces tight, the material crumples or creases a bit and you may not ever feel your toe touch the top of the shoe, since the toe box is high and wide.

What do You Love about the Metcon 5s?

The Metcons are comfortable to run in for short distances, as mentioned earlier, plus this model does NOT squeak. Previous models seemed to develop an annoying squeak but that has been fixed with this model.

The forefront of this shoe is more flexible than the Nano 9.

The sole is harder in the heel area and softer or stickier in the front. This gives you traction when you need it, like for doing a tire flip or sprint and stability when it’s needed, like when you are lifting heavy.

According to famous CrossFit athlete Mat Fraser:

It’s the little things: the thickness of the new tongue that holds my foot in place, the new traction pattern that gives me exactly what I’ve been looking for to reduce slipping… the attention to detail makes this an amazing shoe.Mat Fraser

What do You Hate about the Metcon 5s?

The Metcons have the same issue with regards to durability as the Nano 9s. The sole tends to separate from the upper.

Metcons tend to run a tad small. I should also mention they fit well if you have narrow feet.

The Metcons weight slightly more than the Nano 9s, even though both shoes are relatively heavy.

Bottom Line: What Shoe do I Recommend?

At this point you may wonder what shoes I chose.

I gotta be honest, I go with the Reebok Nano 9s.

Granted, the Nike Metcon 5s are better looking, and more comfortable to wear for long periods of time, but in the end, the Nano is better in terms of performance, at least for me.

They are both great shoes, and if you have narrow feet, the Metcon 5s will probably be your best bet, but if you, like me, have wider feet, give the Nano 9s a shot.

Article Summary

If you can’t decide to go with the Reebok Nano vs Nike Metcon why not take a look at some other great CrossFit shoes.

I have a list of the best CrossFit shoes for women here and for men here.

If you are not into CrossFit, that’s cool too. I have the best workout shoes for all sports here and a list for the best women’s workout shoes here.

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