Six years, six iterations of the Reebok CrossFit Nano. My first pair and in some ways still my favorite are the 2.0’s, mainly due to the sentimental value I have for them being my first CrossFit shoe. This should go without saying, but every year Reebok makes a better version of the shoe. Now you might not like the shoe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a better shoe than the previous year’s. From adding in the Ropepro, to the Duracage, and the Powerlaunch toe box, there’s always something Reebok is adding in an effort to make the best CrossFit shoe possible. The thing that I really like about Reebok is that at the end of the day, they were the first to actually invest in CrossFit; without them, you might still be WODing in running shoes.
A shoe design has a typical life of two years, with the Nano 6.0’s being an evolution of the 5.0. This is very apparent if you look at the previous Nano’s as well and something that also applies to other brands of shoes. The big changes from the 4.0’s are still here: we have the Kevlar reinforced overlay, improved Ropepro, and multi-directional outsole. The only thing we’re “missing” is that the 3mm drop has been upped back to the 4mm that’s been the standard for Nano’s. It’s slight, but some people will miss it (including myself), though most people won’t ever notice a difference. What’s new to the Nano 6.0 is a new overall look with a huge Reebok logo, a tough medial guard, a heel loop, slight changes to the fitment, and the new Powerlaunch toe box.
From an aesthetic standpoint, comparing the Nano 6.0 to the 5.0 would be like comparing your freshman yearbook picture to your senior picture. You look the same for the most part, but you’re a little more fleshed out and slightly more mature looking, though you still have a lot of growing up to do. Honestly, when I first saw the Nano 6.0’s, I didn’t think they were as bad looking as a lot of people did; or at least one side of the shoe wasn’t. In my opinion, the delta isn’t as cheesy looking as some people say it is; it’s a hell of a lot better than all the junk they put on the 5.0’s. Going around the the medial side of the shoe is a different story, the new medial guard is an eyesore on certain colorways as it totally clashes with the refined look of the shoe. It’s not so bad on the dark colorways, but it really sticks out like a sore thumb on the brighter colors. Function over form I guess.
You can just tell by looking at the Nano 6.0’s that they’re a bit more sturdy. The quality of the upper feels a lot more premium than the 5.0’s did. Areas like the toe box and the rear of the shoe are more reinforced and a lot harder to depress. The shoe holds it’s form better than the flimsy upper of the Nano 5.0. A huge upgrade that might not sound like much is that the tongue is way more substantial and padded. You won’t have to worry about it sliding to the side like the 5.0’s did. Lastly, the shoe laces are much nicer in general with a wider, flatter, and better looking set. I never had an issue with the laces of the 5.0’s, but the new speckled laces adds some character to the 6.0’s.
It seems to be a pretty normal thing for the first complete overhaul of the Nano to be big and wide, and it’s successor to be more fitted and narrow. That’s not saying much since the Nano’s are wide shoes in general. I’m a fan of the wider fits because I have a bunion on my right foot, but even the more narrow models fit me just fine. You’ll find the biggest change in fitment at the vamp (toe box) of the shoe. The front is now optimally sized for toe splay, without being overly wide and less stable. The upper is now mainly a new more breathable mesh in this area, allowing for greater flexibility over the 5.0’s. These factors essentially equate to the Powerlaunch toe box. What this feels like is a more competition-ready feel, as there’s going to be less of your toes sliding around.
The fitment is generally the same everywhere else, but overall it’s a tighter fitting shoe. Keep this in mind when sizing the Nano 6.0; if the 5.0’s fit you tight, consider going up half a size. Once again, you might notice the difference with the drop being increased back to 4mm, but it’s slight and you’ll probably forget about it in minutes. If you’ve got Morton’s toe, you might need to go up half a size due to the flat shaped front. My second toe rubs a bit in a size 9.5, not totally uncomfortable but I might consider purchasing 10’s in these shoes from here on out.
UPDATE: Purchased a pair of 10’s and they fit much more comfortably than the 9.5’s did. Overall, I would say size up half a size.
Every year a new Nano comes out, everyone in the CrossFit world says the same damn thing.
“This is the best one yet.”
I hate that it’s so cliche, but it’s true. Every year, I find myself liking the new one better than the last; as you or I should. Improvements have varying degrees of usefulness, but they are always improvements. I don’t think I’d actually say the Kevlar introduced on the Nano 5 was an “improvement”, but things like the 3mm drop and the outsole pattern were to me. With the Nano 6.0, you’re basically getting a better version of the 5.0, similar to when Apple releases an “S” version of their phones. For the most part it’s looks the same, but it’s the stuff that you can’t really see that makes the difference.
Though it sounds gimmicky, the Powerlaunch toe box feels great during lifts; which probably has to do with it being more fitted, so you’re not bleeding power all over the place. Like all Nano’s the outsole is dense and extremely responsive. My squat volume has been down lately, but I still went up to my 95% back squat at #385 without any hesitation or missed lifts. I had some troubles with oly on the first day I used the shoes (probably lack of mobilization), but after getting used to the platform, the 6.0’s are nothing short of confidence inspiring. Every jump feels effortless, every landing feels stable as a rock. Moving throughout WOD’s with varying movements is no short task for any shoe, but the Nano 6.0’s prove to be the worthiest of contenders. Box jumps and double under rebounding feels as responsive as ever and since the flexibility has been increased, my feet don’t hurt as much after repeated bounding. Win.
The redesigned mesh area at the vamp doesn’t crease in any way that it would ever make your toes uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, these are still Nano’s and Nano’s are clunky due to the general shape of the shoe and density of the outsole. Running in them is just okay, but that’s on par to how they’ve always been. I wouldn’t gripe too much about this because there are still only a handful of shoes that you can really do any and everything a WOD throws at you, in. Nano 6’s being at the top of that list. Unlike all other Nano’s, they’re also actually pretty comfortable to just wear on the daily. Though I am in the process of reviewing these shoes, I find myself actually wanting to wear them at all times.
Nano’s have always been rough and tumble shoes, just a workhorse designed to take a beating and keep on ticking. The 6.0’s are no different feeling. This alone is probably why I like Nano’s so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Metcon’s, but if the WOD came to throwing around tires, getting dirty, or climbing ropes, I’d be coming with my Nano’s that day. (I’m not going to comment on the medial guard until I get some solid time on the rope.)
UPDATE 7/28: Finally got to testing rope climbs and I have to say that these are the best rope climbing Nano’s yet; previously the 4.0’s were my favorite. The inclusion of the heavily textured kevlar medial guard provides excellent “grip” when climbing the rope, though it does require some positioning with your feet. I found it most beneficial while I was fatigued and needed to take “breaks” as I was climbing. Best of all, it does an AMAZING job of attenuating the amount of friction the rope has on your shoes. After all the rope climbs I did, my shoes have almost no signs of wear!
Personally, I weighed the shoes in at 10.94oz for a men’s size 9.5, though I’ve seen lower listed weights. Not the lightest of the Nano’s yet, but not as heavy as some of the competition either.
Nano 5.0 – If you weren’t a fan of the ultra wide toe box of the Nano 5.0, you’ll definitely like the 6.0’s. Otherwise, the difference in the drop is only going to be noticeable to the pickiest people. Looks wise the 6.0’s are also better, but that’s always subjective. If you’re a Nano fan, the 6.0’s are a must buy, but if you’re not in need of an upgrade, the 5.0’s (or any Nano prior) will do just fine.
Speed TR – Nano’s are a little bit wider and more squarish at the front than their agile younger brother. I would opt for the Speed TR’s if you have a very narrow foot, or if you have Morton’s toe, or if you just wanted a bit more midsole cushioning. They’re still a great performer day to day, but if you really wanted to move serious weight, I’d go Nano.
Nike Metcon 2 – The Nano 6.0’s are a more minimal feeling shoe with a slightly lower outsole height. Both are great performing shoes, but if you have issues with your toes jamming up in the front of Nano’s due to the flatter front, you might want to look towards the Nike’s. Otherwise styling is subjective, but most people tend to think the Metcon’s are a better looking shoe.
NoBull Surplus – The Nano 6.0’s are a flatter shoe overall with less cushioning, but the feel is very similar to NoBull’s Surplus trainers. The fit is similar to the Metcon’s though. If you’re looking for something that’s kind of a cross between the Metcon’s and 6.0’s, that’s the NoBull Surplus trainers. Beware of the slight upwards slope in the front outsole of the NoBulls; if you’re constantly on your toes, you might want to look into the flatter 6.0’s or Metcons.
Just like the 5.0’s, the Nano 6.0’s carry a fairly hefty price tag of $130. Most people are used to this by now, but I remember what it feels like to be a first time buyer of CrossFit shoes. Reason it out like this, if you’re at the box more than 5 times a week and spending multiple hours a week working out, you’ll probably want to be wearing the best that’s out there. If you’re that person, you probably don’t need much persuasion to get the newest Nano’s though. For the more casual person that goes around 2-3 times a week, you could opt for the still great Nano 5.0 that you could easily snag for just around $50 nowadays.
Reebok has been on a roll lately with the Speed TR’s and now, Nano 6.0’s. I haven’t found myself as in love with another shoe since the Nike Metcon 1 came out. Fitment preferences aside, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 6.0’s are simply one of the best shoes out there, if not the best shoe, for CrossFit. It took a while, but the Nano’s are finally starting to mature into that senior about to leave for college. Styling still has a bit of ground to make up before catching up to Nike, but it’s getting there; you can’t really fault Reebok for sticking with that bulldog-ish look. Where the Nano 6.0’s shine the brightest, is where it matters the most, performance. You can argue all day and night that the Nano’s aren’t a good looking shoe, but no one can question the Nano 6.0’s ability to perform any task given.
Hats off to you for reeling me back in, Reebok.
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