Not quite out with the old: Reebok Crossfit U-Form Nano & Nano 2.0


So, some guy sees me trying on Nano 3.0’s in the Reebok booth at the games and comes up to me to ask/tell me:  “Those shoes are SOOOO much better than the old ones, huh?”

“Uh, sure.” I reply, hesitantly.

Him and his wife walk away triumphantly, as they think they’ve done me a favor by selling me on the idea of the Nano 3.0’s.

Little did they know that I already own a pair, that I decided to not wear that day.  And, that the 3.0’s aren’t, actually, in my humble opinion,  “SOOOO much better than the old ones”.

(Guy, if you’re reading this, I know you meant well.  For that, I thank you!)

With all the buzz going on in the crossfit community about the release of the new Reebok Crossfit Nano 3.0 and Nano Speed’s, it’s easy to forget about what got us to where we are.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t started crossfit before there was a legit crossfit specific shoe out on the market.  When I started, there were already two “official” shoes available: the U-Form Nano and the Nano 2.0.  Of course, not knowing any better, I opted for the newer choice when I had decided to take the plunge.  I mean honestly. why would you even want to buy the older shoe?  A generation later, I’ve found that answer:

Because they work.

Of course this is me talking about the Nano 2.0’s in relation to the Nano 3.0’s, but it still works for you die-hard U-Form people.  I know you’re out there, because I know who you are.  Don’t get me wrong, I own two pairs of U-Forms and only a single pair of 2.0’s.  I like them too, just not as much as my 2.0’s.  Why do I have two pairs then?  I like the colors (Game of Death and Tony the Tiger. Yes, I named them.)  Why haven’t I bought another pair of 2.0’s?  I generally dislike the color combinations and the ones I do like always elude me.  Also, the pair I do have is holding up quite nicely.  Anyways, I’m not here to debate which shoes are superior to the others; rather to state that the older choices are just as good for the most part, as the new(er) ones.  Why?  Well, let’s take a look.

U-Form Nano:

The OG’s of Nano’s.  People favor these ones due to their stability, probably due to having U-Form and the most minimal amount of padding.  Upon putting these things on, you’ll definitely notice that these are a pretty wide shoe, also lending to the stability factor.  These guys are also the heaviest of the bunch, excluding the Speeds.  Supposedly they made the 2.0’s more breathable in comparison, but I’ve never had a problem with ventilation wearing these shoes.  Like most crossfit shoes, you would put these (and the other Nano’s) in the minimalist catagory.  9mm at the heel to 5mm at the forefoot still feels like a pretty flat shoe compared to Nike Free’s.  I’ve never had a problem doing any movement with these on (admittedly, I’ve never climbed a rope in mine).  As far as styling goes, to each their own.  I mentioned before that I liked the color schemes that the U-Forms offered over the other shoes.  They look functional, no nonsense and ready to get down to business.

What don’t I like?  They retain smudges like crazy; try to wipe a smudge away and you just end up making it worse.  Also, for being tied for the most expensive of the bunch, they feel the cheapest.  The upper’s feel thin (minimal) and cheap.

Nano 2.0:

My first Nano, my favorite shoe.  That’s right.  Favorite.

I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell? You’ve said so many good things about the Nano 3.0’s, how could these be you favorites?”.  Well, they might not be the best shoe (as I don’t believe Reebok would release an inferior shoe, ie: Nano 3.0); but they’re the best shoe for me.  Honestly, I never noticed a huge stability difference between the U-Form’s and  2.0’s, despite the 2.0’s being noticeably more cushioned than the former.  Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t A LOT of cushion, but a little goes a long way here.  To me, these feel the most natural on my foot.  The “cheap” upper feeling on the U-Form’s is not present here; this shoe feels like it forms around your foot from all sides.  There’s no such thing as a break in period with the 2.0’s, as they’re the most flexible out of the lot, right out of the box.  I basically learned crossfit with these shoes, so once again, no problems performing anything.  Heel to toe drop and heights are the same here, as they are with the U-Form and 3.0’s, but these are the lightest of the three.

What could possibly be wrong with my favorite shoe?  Not a whole lot, but if I had to nitpick, the side Reebok logo looks cheap-o.  It looks like an iron-on decal, in white especially.  I think some of the color combinations are down right hideous.  The prints?  GTFO (Spealler and USA Flag models excluded).  I guess that’s why they came up with the custom color program.

There’s a lot good about the past shoes and not a lot wrong with them.  The best part though, is that you can usually find them discounted!  Look, people were doing crossfit in other shoes before the invention of crossfit specific shoes; so there really isn’t an athletic shoe out there incapable of performing crossfit in.  This holds true to the U-Forms and 2.0’s, you can do everything in them that you can do in the 3.0’s (minor upgrades aside)!  So before you go out there thinking that the end-all be-all shoe for crossfit is the Nano 3.0’s, you might want to take a look at the previous iterations.  You might actually like them more and get them for less!  It also doesn’t seem like Reebok is getting rid of the older models anytime soon, as they keep releasing new colors to refresh the line-ups.

This is all just a suggestion, of course.  if your heart is set on 3.0’s, by all means, get them.  They’re great shoes. 🙂

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