Reebok really came out with a doozy with the Nano 7.0, but not in a good way. It quickly became the shoe that everyone to loved to hate. Okay, maybe not everyone, but the vast majority. I swear I didn’t HATE it – the 7.0’s definitely did a few things well and it had it’s uses, but I sure as hell didn’t love it either and would consider it close to the 5.0 as being my least favorite Nano’s. Reebok had a pretty big chance to rectify the 7.0 situation with the Weave; but it was only slightly better. Only correcting the upper and leaving the larger issue, which was the midsole, untouched. I still find it extremely hard to believe that someone over there at Reebok thought that the 7.0 was an upgrade over the 6.0 – but I digress. At this point, hating on the 7.0 is like beating a dead horse. A really, really dead horse.
On the bright side, the only place that Reebok could go from the 7.0’s was up! That is, if anyone even chose to give them a chance, which again at this point looks pretty bleak. The disappointment that was the Nano 7.0 stems past the actual shoe itself, because releasing that shoe, meant the early demise for a fan favorite and one of the best training shoes of all time, the Nano 6.0. Not only that, but since shoe life cycles work in 2 year increments, early views of the Nano 8.0 show that for the most part, it follows the same design as the 7.0.
So you mean to tell me that the most hated Nano, is back for another year?!
Well, not exactly. If you don’t plan on going to the store to try them on (people still do that?), you’re pretty much taking a shot in the dark, and since the shoe looks the same, it’s easy to assume it is the same. But looking back to all of the Nano releases, pretty much every odd number isn’t amazing and the even numbered model that follows it, goes down in history as being some of the best training shoes. Also, a lot of design cues between the odd/even shoes always remain the same, but you can’t argue that the feel of the shoes is very different (sans 3/4). The history is there, so I would give a little more credit to Reebok’s track record in creating shoes.
Despite being shrouded in negativity, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.0 is still a thing, they’re almost here, and they’re good.
***Note: This review was done on an early production sample, final release product might vary.***
Build Quality/Construction – 6/6
Looks can be deceiving…
To say that the response from the community about the way the Nano 8.0’s look has been polarizing, would be quite the understatement. The appearance of the shoe is very much a love it or hate it kind of thing and it seems like no matter what your opinion is on it, you’re on the wrong side. I never hated the way the 7.0 looked, the Weave was better, and I do like the 8.0’s look. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s the best looking shoe in the world, but it’s definitely not the ugliest (see: Altra HIIT XT). Still, I think Reebok could use some help in the design department (if anything, help with colorways), but I appreciate them trying to be different.
Returning with the Nano 8 is Reebok’s Flexweave upper that we first saw on the Nano 7 Weave and JJ2’s. It varies from the previous model in that the thicker weaves run from heel to toe rather than side to side of the shoe, and that it’s one uniform pattern throughout . The change to the weave direction makes the 8.0’s feel like they’re flexing with your foot and not against it. Another change to the upper is that it’s also separated at the ankle from an internal booty more similar to the design of the Grace TR. I’m assuming fit issues around the ankle prompted the change for a more cushioned collar and to keep the harsh edges of the Flexweave away from your foot; though there is a slight bit of heel slip now. Though the Nano 7.0 too had an internal booty, the Nano 8.0’s version is FAR more cushioned throughout the upper so you don’t feel any ridges from the weave upper flexing like the 7.0. The softer internal booty combined with the updated Flexweave upper make the Nano 8.0’s the most comfortable and flexible Nano’s to date.
Initially when I tried the 7.0’s out, I thought the reason why they were so stiff was because of the upper, but with a little bit more examination, I figured out it was from the combination of the midsole and Nanoshell midsole wrap. Part of the reason why the previous Nano’s were so successful was because they all used dual density midsoles. Softer, more flexible CMEVA in the forefoot for running or bounding and stiffer CMEVA in the heel for stability in lifting. As far as I know, the 7.0 used a single, stiff density midsole that made the shoe feel like it was working against your foot, rather than with it. The Nano 8.0 brings back the dual density midsole, though it is a bit more disguised than it’s ever been. The only giveaway is a little notch in the foam where the Nanoshell midsole wrap seems to end and the softer forefoot foam begins. Even the rear foam and Nanoshell midsole wrap got softened up making the shoe less stiff than even the Nano 6, and bringing the overall feel closer to the 3/4. It’s still plenty rigid for the most demanding of lifts but fans of the 7.0 might lament at the change.
Even with the multi piece upper, Reebok managed to cut a little bit of fat off the Nano 8.0, bringing it down to a slim 11.18oz per a men’s 10 compared to the 12.35 from the Nano 7.0 Weave. The drop remains the same as it always has at 4mm.
So, everything looks the same, but is different? Pretty much. Even the outsole, while retaining the exact same tread pattern, is made from a softer and more flexible compound. The anatomical insole almost looks identical, but is slightly thicker and gives your foot another layer of buffering. I never had an issue with the tongue from the 7.0, but the 8.0’s has a more “airy” feel to it too. Speaking of airy, not that I ever had an issue with the breathability of the Nano 7, but your feet will never get hot inside of the 8.0’s; they breathe extremely well. Do you see where we’re getting at here? The Nano 8.0 might resemble it’s predecessor from a looks standpoint, but is a complete 180 in the way it feels.
Interestingly enough, only change to the TPU heel counter is that now it just reads “Nano” on one side and “Reebok” on the other, instead of “CrossFit”. A sign of things to come or trying to broaden their horizons? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Fit – 5.5/6
Those changes to the upper construction make the Nano 8.0 feel the most sock-like out of any Nano before it. The upper feels like it’s giving your foot a gentle hug, but at the same time, never feels like it’s constricting your toes. Duck footed people rejoice! While the base of the shoe remains the same dimensions as the 7.0, they’ve increased the width of the upper around the metatarsal joints of the foot and toe box. This is a godsend for me because I have a bunion on my right foot and this area can get tight after a workout. For comparison sake, I’d say the 8’s width closest to the Nano 3.
If it wasn’t for that slight bit of heel slip caused by the new ankle collar, I’d say these were the best fitting Nano’s too. You can alleviate most of the problem by just tying your shoes tighter, but the heel doesn’t feel totally secure around your Achilles. Personally, I’m a “never untie and slip on your shoes” kind of guy (lazy) so I’m not too picky that the heel slips a tad. It’s definitely not as bad as another popular training shoe.
I got the 8.0’s in a size USA 10 and the fit is perfect, I would say they run true to size.
Here are my sizes for reference:
- Nano – 10 (I can fit 9.5 in 3.0’s and 5.0’s)
- Metcon – 10 (I can fit 9.5 but I like a little space.)
- Speed TR 2.0 – 10
- NoBull – 10
- Inov-8 – 10
- Legacy Lifter – 9.5
- Converse – 9.5
Performance (Flexibility&Stability) – 6/6 & 5.5/6
Nano’s are back.
Like I said before, I never absolutely hated the Nano 7.0’s, but I never loved them either. They had their uses, namely pretty much anything that had to do with a barbell, but weren’t much useful for anything else. Nano’s were built for CrossFit, where movements are ever changing and you need to be do anything at anytime. Not saying you couldn’t do that in the 7.0’s, it’s just when you lean so heavily in one direction with a shoe, you have to sacrifice other things. In the case of the 7.0, in exchange for best in class stability, you had to give up most of your flexibility and all of your comfort. Running in the 7.0’s was godawful, bounding wasn’t any better and they made your feet hurt just walking around, let alone working out in them. Even for me, a guy who favors just lifting things, the trade off was too big.
By bringing back the dual density midsole, the Nano 8.0’s retain most of their lifting talent and smoothly blends it into a shoe that can not only hang on the platform, but also on the track. The sock-like Flexweave upper moves with your feet without hindering movement and combined with the all around softer midsole cushioning and extremely flexible forefoot, makes running in the 8.0’s the most comfortable that it’s ever been in a Nano. To put it simply, these are some of the best training shoes for running, period.
That same level of comfort and cushioning carry over to things like plyometric movements. Box jump rebounding is cushioned yet still responsive. You probably won’t get sore feet from doing hundreds of double unders because of how flexible the 8’s are now. Burpees, well they’re still burpees, but the flexibility of the 8.0’s makes doing them a little less painful.
So let me reiterate – despite the way the Nano 8.0’s look, they’re probably the most flexible Nano yet.
The main question that you might have by now is probably: “With the softening of the shoe overall, does it have enough structure to handle big lifts”
The quick answer is: Yes, but not as well as the 7.0’s or 6.0s.
Even though the shoe has indeed lost most of its rigidity, I found that lifting in the Nano 8.0’s is about 90% as stable as the 6.0’s (85ish% Nano 7) in almost every lift and I had no issues. They do retain the Nanoshell midsole wrap which aids in stabilizing the foot, but it’s not as effective as its 7.0 implementation. Laterally, they don’t have the same stability of either the 6.0’s or 7.0’s due to the more flexible upper but even still, the difference is slight and you wouldn’t be able to really tell unless you had both shoes on at the same time. Response isn’t quite as quick as it is in the 7.0 or 6.0’s due to the slightly softer midsole, but I had no issues putting up the same kind of numbers as I have in my 6.0’s or 7.0’s. You will notice a little bit of squishy-ness when it comes to heavier squatting and deadlifting, but nothing that will make you feel unstable or like you wouldn’t be able to handle that lift.
One thing I was surprised to struggle with, was rope climbs. Gone is the medial guard on the shoe, but I never really felt like that did much anyways (or maybe it did?). Even though the tread pattern is the same from the Nano 7.0, which I thought was an excellent shoe to climb ropes in, the softer outsole compound doesn’t quite grab the rope as well as it used to. It could also be from the less rigid midsole not being hard enough to grab at the rope. Either way, I struggled to find as solid a grip as I did in Nano 7.0’s. On the bright side, my Nano 8.0’s were left without a scuff from doing 14 pretty much back to back rope climbs.
- Nike Metcon 3 – Pick the Nano 8 if you want a wider and more minimal platform. Metcon 3’s have better energy return for things like box jump rebounding and double unders, but aren’t nearly as flexible or comfortable as Nano 8.0’s. Personally I like running in Nano 8.0’s more as well. Weightlifting movements are a wash, it really depends on what you’re used to lifting in though you might feel slightly forward in Metcon’s; otherwise power delivery is pretty much the same. Metcon’s definitely look better. Personally, I’d pick Nano 8.0’s, but we’ll see what Nike brings to the table with Metcon 4’s.
- Speed TR 2.0’s – For the money, Speed’s are an amazing, do it all kind of shoe. That being said, I would pick Nano 8.0’s over Speeds because I like that there is more structure for lifting and they’re still extremely comfortable to run in. I would pick Speeds over Nano’s however if you had a narrow foot or were just short on money.
- Nano 7.0 – The only instance I would pick Nano 7.0’s over 8.0’s is if I was just squatting or deadlifting.
- Nano 6.0 – It’s really hard for me to pick anything above one of my favorite shoes, but I think that because the 8.0’s are more comfortable and flexible, not only are they better for running, I’d rather wear them on a day to day basis. This one is almost too close to call, I’d still prefer lifting in my 6.0’s, but I think the all around better shoe are Nano 8.0’s, if you can get past the way they look.
Value – 5/6
Nothing real concrete on value because I’m not 100% certain what they’ll cost. My guess is that they’re going to be the same price at $130, but who can really say? In the USA, the Nano 6.0 has done countless re-releases, actually hurting the value aspect of the 8.0’s. I definitely think the 8.0 is altogether, a better shoe than the 6.0, with a full conscience I can’t tell you that it’s worth spending another $130 on, especially if you just picked up 6.0’s. If you’re out somewhere else in the world and you’ve been stuck with Nano 7.0’s, the upgrade is almost a necessity if you value your performance.
Every time a new Nano comes out, the claim of “the best Nano yet” is made, this is the first year that I actually agree with that since the 6.0. Maybe it’s because the last year was so bad, but there’s no denying that the Nano 8.0 are right up there with the Nano 6.0 as one of the best training shoes. If Reebok puts the 6.0 to rest for good, the 8.0 would be a clear candidate for the top training shoe.
I think that the biggest challenge Reebok will have with the Nano 8.0 is convincing people to try it. What is it going to take to change the minds of the people that have lost all faith in Reebok from what happened with the 7.0? I’ll put my name on line to vouch for the performance of the 8.0 as being one of the best training shoes you’ve ever tried; I just think it would be a shame to skip over the 8.0 because of what happened with the 7.0. No, I don’t work for Reebok (or any other company), I’m just a person that can appreciate a good training shoe and I’d wager that if you’re reading this, you do too.
Reebok has proved in the past that you don’t really need to sacrifice anything to have a high performing trainer, with the Nano 6.0. Widely regarded by the community as the best CrossFit shoe to date, myself included, it was quite simply the perfect blend of stability, flexibility and comfort. After a long, painful year of dodging (or even using) the Nano 7.0, you can finally lay your 6.0’s to rest, Reebok has returned to form with the Nano 8.0.
Total Score: 28/30