For the 10th installment of the longstanding CrossFit staple shoe, the Nano, Reebok has decided to pull an Apple and change the naming scheme to roman numerals to confuse half the population out there. This is the Nano 10, not “ex”. No there will not be a separate Nano 10. (At least to the best of my knowledge.)
Also, since it’s the 10th version of the Nano flagships, it also marks the end of the 10 year contract of the Nano being the “official” CrossFit shoe. We saw very minimal CrossFit branding with the 9 and this year, it’s lessened even more with the only two traces of the partnership being a delta at the front of the toe and inside the shoe, printed on the footbed. Long live the Vector.
Nano’s have a way about the even’s numbered shoes being much better than the odd’s. Part of that is largely because the odd’s are always a completely new shoe and the even’s just improve on that same tooling. After the the disaster that were the 7’s, I had to try to convince the world that even though the 8’s looked the same, they were a completely revamped shoe. The 9’s actually were a completely different shoe so there was also a lot to talk about there. This time around, the shoe looks vastly different than any Nano from before, but it’s basically an extra Nano 9.
Maybe they went with X, for extra.
When I first saw the Nano X through some early shots Tal had sent me, the first thing I thought was “Wow, that doesn’t look like something the typical Reebok shopper would like”. The appearance of the X is daring; it has a lot of concepts going on with it and is a far cry from the plain design of the 8 and 9. Pesonally, I like it, but I consider myself to have somewhat eclectic taste in things. It’s a little bit retro, a little modern. A little Yeezy, a little Nano. Altogether, it’s just extra. I’m not trying to convince anyone to like the way the shoe looks. Like I said, I already knew there would be a lot of people that didn’t like the design.
This years stretch Flexweave is a little more stretchy, though the only way it can really go is up and I don’t really know anyone that picks their toes up when they do things. It feels a little more comfortable on top of your toes, and like it doesn’t bunch of as much, but it’s a pretty small difference. There’s some overlays on each side of the metatarsals for extra foot containment which make the toebox more narrow than the 9’s; a difference you’re sure to feel. Oh and I have to mention the weave is in an X pattern now.
Where the X differs the most in the upper is around the rear quarter, where they removed the Flexweave in place for a stiffer polyurethane backed nylon with some mesh thrown in here and there. Presumably for ventilation because it doesn’t stretch much. The PU material stems down throughout the lace eyelets towards the toes where you’ll find an extra piece of PU leather stitched on.
Gone is the piping around the ankle collar and now we have a much more polished looking bootie. There is extra cushioning (high density foam) here now compared to the more minimal bootie of the 9’s. The tongue in the X is a bit taller and has a more angular design to it, making it fit over the front of your ankle flush and comfortably. Let’s not forget the elephant in the room, the turned out Achilles that’s making everyone think these shoes are a mid-top. I’ve never had issues with the back part of my shoes rubbing my Achilles, but this has been a thing in running shoes to make that more comfortable. And it is, but it’s probably wasted on me, though I do think it helps me slide my feet into the shoes without unlacing them, so thats a plus.
In addition to the raised lateral sidewalls of the TPU carrier, there’s now a piece of PU leather around the back for a heel counter and a little pizzaz. The midsole looks like it’s the same but feels slightly different, because there’s an extra added EVA rim. At times the shoe feels more comfortable, in shoe comfort that is, but other times it feels like it doesn’t want to flex as much; but that could also be from the extra materials on the upper. The outsole and TPU carrier remain the same and presumably the drop is the same as it’s always been at 4mm.
Another extra for you, the Nano X weighs in at a hefty 14oz for a mens 10; a full ounce heavier than the 9 (399g vs 371). That’s the heaviest a Nano’s been from what I can remember.
You knew that with all that extra material, there had to be some differences in the way the shoe fits, right?
Everything extra that’s been added to the X, makes them feel more form fitted (read: more narrow). I will admit, my first thought when I put the shoes on was that they might be a little bit on the small side. They did get more comfortable after a a short bit of wear, but they are definitely more narrow fitting than Nano 9. A difference you’re going to mainly feel in the toe-box of the shoe, but is also felt around the shoe as well. At this point the shoe is comfortable enough for me, though I do notice my toes getting pressed up into the front of the shoe during certain things. I also tried a half size up and the shoe becomes too long.
Surprisingly, I didn’t notice the TPU carrier pushing into the instep of my foot on these like I did the 9’s. That eventually went away with wear on the 9’s, but I can’t remember it ever being an issue with the X. Maybe it’s because there’s that EVA rim already cupping your foot in place.
Kankles, I do not have. So I can’t really speak to whether or not the shoe’s opening/ankle collar will be comfortable for people that have thicker ankles. I have fairly bony ankles and I find the opening to be really comfortable, but I know with other shoes that had similar ankle collars, people with thicker feet have had issues where I didn’t.
The size I’m sticking with is my true to size US 10, which is what I wear all my shoes in for the most part. At least, all of my Nano’s have been this size. Size of the X most closely resembles the 4s. If you sized your Nano 9 down, you’re definitely going to want to go back to your normal Nano size. If you have really wide feet, consider going with a half size up with your X.
This might be the first time in history that the even numbered shoe isn’t as flexible as the odd. If the Nano 8’s were really, really flexible and the Nano 9’s were really flexible, then the X’s are just flexible.
Just about everything I’ve mentioned in the construction area of this review leads to the reason’s the Nano X just aren’t as flexible as the 9’s. Sure, the Flexweave has a little more stretch to it, but all the panels and overlays make the shoe more rigid. Along with extra EVA foam rim, you have a shoe that’s more suitable for lifting but feels less agile. This might seem like I’m picking on the X, but the truth is that it just isn’t as flexible as any of the other even shoes.
Don’t fret – they’re still plenty fine to train in. If you got to try the Beast pack 9’s, the Nano X feel similar to those in terms of flexibility or even like the Froning 1’s. Personally, I prefer running in the X to the 9 because they don’t feel as cumbersome on my foot, but they do feel heavy (I don’t like running in either). Partly because they are actually heavier, but also because the upper just feels like there’s a lot to it. The decoupled heel is still there so heel striking is preferred in this shoe, which for me is actually a little bit easier to do than in the 9’s because of how they fit around the ankle now.
Plyometric movements feel comfortable enough, but because the added weight and bulk of the shoe, wouldn’t make them my first pick. I thought doing double unders was fine, the bounding didn’t seem to get me any more tired than I normally would be. For burpees, you can definitely feel the bulk of the shoes. They move with your feet well, but it does kind of feel like you’re dragging your feet around when getting up or going down.
In shoe comfort of the X is actually pretty good considering that I don’t think they’re quite as flexible as 9’s. The fitted upper and extra cushioning feels nice and to me is an upgrade akin to what you’d expect from a pair of basketball shoes. I’ve spent days walking around in the Nano X with no problems. Couple that with the street style of the shoe and I think I would rock these on the daily.
I already thought the Nano 9’s were damn near the pinnacle of a training shoe that I would want to lift in. Wrong, the Nano X are. Dare I say they feel like a hybrid of Nano 9’s and Metcon 4’s? I dare.
While the added bits and pieces in the Nano X make them feel a little bit less athletic, they make up for it all in with how good they feel to lift in. The extra weight here makes the shoe feel more planted and the more secure upper provides better containment for your feet.
We already knew that the 9’s had an awesome platform to lift on and the X just takes that and elevates it by adding a few key pieces. Since the quarter of the shoe isn’t Flexweave anymore, the more rigid textile here and the ankle collar secure your heel in place much better than in the 9’s. You’ll feel this the most when you’re landing Oly lifts but also helps in getting your feet drilled into the ground for your slower lifts.
Lateral stability is even better than from the 9’s because the extra security you get from EVA cup paired from the already angular outsole design. I never got the feeling like my foot was bleeding out of the sides of the Nano X like I did with the 9’s. While I still wouldn’t be doing any hard cuts in these shoes, they’re better for things where you have to pivot – namely weighted box step overs – a movement that we’re seeing more often.
Midsole response is excellent as it was in the 9’s. Even though it does feel like there is a little more thickness to the midsole foam, response still feels tack sharp and I highly doubt anyone is going to dislike lifting in these shoes. They’re the best lifting in Nano’s has ever been, even more so than the 7’s because they fit better.
If there’s any reason to pick up a pair of Nano X, it should be to lift in.
Is the Nano X better than the 9? That really just depends on who you are. Shoes are a subjective bit, but this year it’s pushed to the brink of personal preferences and even just anatomy.
In my opinion, I would almost always pick the Nano X over the 9’s just because they fit my feet better. I think 9’s are pretty comfortable to throw on because of the generous toe-box, but for training purposes, I think the form fitting X takes the W. For me, they’re better to run in and better to lift in. I’m also in the boat that thinks they look WAY better than the ho-hum 9’s.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t think a lot of people will still like 9’s better. I’m positive that there’s going to be a huge hold out of 9’s fans, it was the first thing that came to mind when I put the X on. They’re more flexible, they fit wider, and they have a safer design. Not to mention they’re dirt cheap.
So at $130, should you pick up a brand spanking new pair of Nano X if you’ve already got a trove of 9’s? If you didn’t care for the way the Nano 9’s fit, loved Metcon 4’s, or you just liked the style of the X, I think it’s worth it. It’s arguably a better shoe depending on who you talk to, but it’s not going to be for everyone.
Wait til you see those colorways though…