Probably the second most anticipated CrossFit shoe release, only second to the original Nike Metcon, is upon us:
The Nike Metcon 2
Of course it would be, the hype machine is back with it’s second iteration. The pair I’ve got to test is from Japan, and as it seems,
the United States release will look a bit different from it’s earlier launching counterparts. EDIT: The US version is the same as these. Hopefully the feature set won’t change too much, but if it does and I get my hands on some of the domestic release, I’ll change the review to reflect the differences. Like always, I’ll be updating this review as I spend more time and do more workouts in the shoes. When I did my unboxing video, I wasn’t blown away by the design of the Japanese release. As much as I wanted to be, the shoe just looked almost exactly the same. I thought that was odd so I went back to look over some of the stock pictures to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and sure enough, the US versions have a different look to them. From what I can tell, the differences are just cosmetic, with a much different styled upper from both the Metcon 1 and JP Metcon 2.
The release I have don’t look exactly like the 1’s, but they’re very, very similar. The upper has the same basic construction. The forefoot area has it’s ballistic nylon that extends up the side of the shoe slightly higher. Flywire construction is still prominent, same eyelets for the shoe laces to give you that locked down fit. The instep of the shoe probably looks the most different with a much smaller swoosh with it’s abrasion resistant film more apparent. The toecap looks to be reinforced a little bit more with that same film. Another thing that remains the same is the sticky rubber outsole, but thats not a bad thing seeing as how that’s one of the best features of the original shoe.
Coming around to the back of the shoe is where the biggest change seems to be. Many people complained about their heels slipping out of the Metcon 1’s, it definitely happened to me too but I never thought it was that big a deal. Nike added a little bit of cushioning to where the area of the pull-tab was; which isn’t there anymore. This helps immensely with the fit and the Metcon 2’s don’t slip at all. Granted, I do miss the pull-tab, but I’ll survive. Probably the most interesting addition to the shoe is the plastic plate that’s been added to the back part of the heel. The purpose as it would seem, is to provide less friction going up the wall while doing handstand push-ups.
In my unboxing video I mention a lot about how the shoe feels the same, and I’m pretty sure you’ll think the same when you get your feet into them for the first time. Do a workout and this all changes. The insole, which looks exactly the same, is actually much improved. Gone is that creaky insole of the Metcon 1! Not only that, but it’s also more dense; there is virtually no give to it anymore and the stability is just that much better. First test WOD being “The Seven” (look it up); my heels were totally planted in the ground making the thrusters felt great. One thing that I found disappointing was the little plastic plate on the back of the heel, I just didn’t feel like it helped me slide up the wall any better. Even with the sheets of metal on the walls at my gym, I didn’t notice that much of a difference.
Squat testing the Metcon 2 yielded positive results. Late last year I hit a 345# 1 rep PR in my old beat up Metcon 1’s; so we know they’re very capable shoes already. With the Metcon 2’s, I hit a double at 315# with some gas left in the tank. Heels stayed planted, without any kind of rocking around. Not to say I couldn’t have done this in my 1’s, but the 2’s are very confidence inspiring shoes to squat in. They’re every bit as good as the originals, but with minor tweaks and upgrades, leading to a more refined feeling trainer.
1/21: Finally! My spring green Metcon 2’s came in today, the domestic shoe, and I can honestly report that the shoe is the exact same as the overseas model is. I wasn’t really sold on the green until it came today; it looks much, much better in real life. Pictures don’t do the shoe justice. I was a little tired today, so I just snatched in the 2’s for the first time. Wasn’t the best day, but not the worst either. Snatches felt good going up but I couldn’t get under the bar, like I said, it was one of those days.
Running, rebounding box jumps, and double-unders all feel pretty much the same. As to be expected with the same outsole and the basically the same upper. If you never tried the original Metcon’s, let me get you caught up. Running is doable in the Metcon’s, toe off is great due to the grooves in the forefoot, but overall the experience is clunky due to the rigid outsole; pose running is encouraged. Fine for short running WOD’s, but I would throw some racers on for the long treks. Response is great, rebounding in box jump yields excellent power delivery. Double-unders feel great due to those same grooves in the forefoot area. We all hate them, but burpees for some reason feel amazing in the Metcon 2’s.
When sizing the Metcon 2’s, I believe you should stick with the same size as your original shoes. However, keep in mind that they fit a little bit more snug than their predecessors did. If your 1’s were a tight fit, meaning your toes made contact with the front of the shoe, size up. I tested a 10 (which fit okay) and my normal size, 9.5, and the original shoes in 9.5 fall somewhere in between those sizes. Maybe only a few millimeters, but it’s worth noting that the 2’s are a bit more fitted. Probably due to the extra cushion at the achilles. I weighed the original Metcon’s at 11.5 oz but the Metcon 2’s slighty, and I mean slightly edged them out at 11.46 oz; totally negligible.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype that is the Nike Metcon 2’s, so I’m going to try to be frank when I say this:
They’re the same shoes.
Sure they more refined, they fix all the issues that plagued the original shoe, and are definitely better than the original, but that doesn’t make them the an entirely new shoe. They fit the same, share the same platform, and do the same things (better, but the same). Does that make me like them any less? Nope, I still think they’re the best training shoes around. You can’t fault Nike for doing this; even if you look at the history of Reebok and the Nano, you’d see that two generations of shoes are always similar, then you get a radically new one. It doesn’t make sense to come up with a brand new shoe every year. The original Metcon had it’s faults, and the 2’s address all of them; all the ones that bothered me for the most part.
Are the Metcon 2’s worthy of an upgrade if you already have 1’s? Yes. I’m sure you’ve got multiple pairs of 1’s anyways, might as well buy a pair of 2’s to go in that collection. You’ll notice the differences immediately. If you’ve somehow managed to hold off on Metcon’s until now, you’re in for a treat with the 2’s. For anyone that hated the Metcon 1’s for any of the faults previously mentioned, try them out now. If you just completely hated the 1’s and preferred Nano’s, you’re probably not going to change your mind about the 2’s.
Sadly, Nike decided to raise the price to $130 to be in line with the Nano 5.0. At least now you also have the option to customize yours for $170. Custom orders take about 5 weeks, but at least you can get the exact thing that you wanted. Still, I think that’s a fair price to pay for a pair of trainers you’re going to wear almost every day. You can do everything from running to oly in the Metcon 2’s, which makes them perfect to have as a designated CrossFit shoe, or even just a globo-gym trainer. There are a lot of capable shoes for functional fitness out there, but if you’re overlooking the Metcon’s, you’re missing out on something special.