Reebok Nano X2 Review

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It’s no secret that I was not a fan of the Nano X1’s from last year. Yet despite putting them towards the end of my Nano rankings, I still wore them because I’m a fan of Reebok. Also, I’m not training as seriously as I once was. For all things that didn’t include a barbell, they did fine.

Throw a barbell in and well…I would take even take Nano 7’s over them.

The problem with the X1’s was that they were just too hard to lift in due to the way the sole was shaped. That being said, we saw glimpses of what could have been with some of the special releases that came out based on the platform. The Froning X1 Nano felt like a completely different shoe, despite not having any modifications to the midsole/outsole. The Pursuit’s slightly changed up the feel enough to make them more usable as well. It seemed like all they really needed to do was change up the design of the upper to allow for better control at the front of the shoe.

Like all the Nano shoe cycles, the Nano X2 are a refresh of it’s odd numbered predecessor. It’s built on the same tooling as the outgoing model and in turn, doesn’t look drastically different than last year’s model. This always freaks people out because visually, the models look like they should feel the same, but in the past we’ve seen instances of dramatic difference between odd and even numbered shoes; most notably 7 to 8.

Construction

This year we get an updated Flexweave knit that is more or less a combination of the classic Flexweave and the knit that was introduced last year. In an interesting turn, instead of going with a more modern single piece upper design like the X1’s, the upper consists of a few key materials. Flexweave knit covers up much of the front of the shoe, while a TPU piece covers the middle of the shoe (making up part of the vector), and a nylon ripstop-like material is at the back of the shoe. Honestly, the mix of materials doesn’t bother me because I think it gives the shoe a lot more character than last years design.

With the change in upper fabrics, I did notice a decrease in breathability. Not to the point where my feet are overheating, but it’s a notable difference.

Like last year, the midsole is comprised of Floatride Energy, inside of a more dense carrier foam. As far as I know, nothing has changed with the amount or density of the foam, but to me the shoe feels generally flatter and more cushioned at the toe. I can confirm that these shoes still have a 7mm drop. When I asked Tal Short if anything changed, he told me that they didn’t increase the foam nor change the toe spring, which leaves me to believe that the only real difference is in how the upper allows your feet to control the front area of the shoe. Maybe theres more of it, causing it to not pull up on the toe as much? Who knows, but it feels a lot better.

A major point of contention in last years model was the heel rake. For a lot of people, it went up too high and was angled too far in, causing blisters or cuts at the Achilles tendon. It wasn’t that bad of an issue for me and my skinny ankles, but it still irritated that area. They fixed that area with the X2’s by cutting it down and minimizing the amount of padding. It almost never makes contact with my Achilles now, so I have reason to believe other people shouldn’t have an issue anymore.

Probably the most disappointing thing about the X2’s is that they still suffer from the weak point at the medial side RopePro. Since they use the same exact outsole design, the lip where the RopePro is seems to be breaking loose for quite a few people after not that much use according to what people have sent to me. Not only that, the inner TPU piece that makes up the vector is already showing hard wear after only a couple rope climbs on my shoes. Even though I think the X2’s have great traction up the rope, I would recommend staying away from rope climbs with them.

One of the best parts of the X2’s is that they still weigh a lot less than most training shoes right now at only 11.7oz/331g for a men’s size 10.

Fit

When you first get your Nano X2’s in, they might feel a little bit more fitted due to the change in upper materials. After a little bit of break-in, they relax a lot and I would say these shoes still run on the big side. For most people I’m going to recommend a half size down than your normal training shoe size. If you have really wide feet, I would probably just go true to size. For those familiar with Nano’s of the past, these have comparable with to Nano 2, 3, 5, 9.

Even with the half size down, I still felt like there was more than adequate space for my toes to splay. The shoes never feel like they’re constricting your forefoot, but they might have more arch support than some people would like. If you have extremely flat feet or collapsed arches, it might bother you a little bit with repeated bounding movements or running. For me, it was only a little bothersome during double unders.

My sizes for reference:

  • Nano 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – 10
  • Nano 1, 3, 5, X1 – 9.5
  • Metcons – 10
  • Chucks – 9.5
  • Strike Mvmnt Haze – 10-10.5
  • R.A.D. – 10-10.5

Flexibility/Comfort

An area that I praised the X1’s in was in just how flexible they were and how good they were to run in and the X2’s are no different. Actually, they’re probably even a little bit better.

Though nothing has really changed in the midsole, the added amount of toe control makes them feel like they’re better to run in for a mid/forefoot striker like myself. The changes to the shoe’s pattern makes it feel like you can push all the way through your stride and get the benefit from the forefoot Floatride. I thought running in the X1’s wasn’t bad at all for a training shoe, but I actually like running in the X2’s. The comfort plus how light they are makes me feel like they’re a shoe I’d want to actually take on a dedicated run.

For things like double unders, I found that the shoes felt like they had more forefoot cushioning over the outgoing model; even if there isn’t actually any more. Whatever change they made to the shoe makes it better utilize the amount of cushion thats there. Despite feeling plush underfoot, it still remains responsive and never too mushy.

One slight step back is that the upper doesn’t feel as light or flexible as last years. It took me wearing both shoes at the same time to really notice, but if you were a fan of the X1, you might notice right away. Upon getting your X2’s, you’ll feel the panel of OG Flexweave pressing down on your toes. Rest assured, that will go away with some wear but the upper now promotes more of a locked in feel than the X1’s easier fit.

Stability

The weakest area of the X1’s was just how unbalanced the shoe could feel. Laterally, it wasn’t actually all that bad of a shoe, but the way that the toe angled upwards could make for some precarious positions if you got on your toes at all. Barbell lifts suffered the most, but pretty much anything that involved balance was affected by it; even just leaning forward and seeing if you can catch yourself is hard to do.

Immediately after putting on Nano X2, I noticed that they made the shoe feel generally flatter. They’re not as flat as any Nano of the past at all, but much more so than last year, around where the Froning X1’s felt like. I was blown away to hear that they didn’t do anything to the midsole or toespring angle. What they did was adjust the shoe’s pattern to allow the toe to sit further down (read: added more upper fabric around toes), in turn making the forefoot of the shoe easier to control.

If you disliked lifting in the X1’s for any reason other than the way the forefoot felt, you probably still won’t care for the X2’s, but personally, that was the only thing I really hated about the outgoing model. The lateral stability was good, cushioning was dense enough, and you did get a mechanical advantage using them; despite the fact that they were a little tall.

Right away, I felt much more stable during barbell movements. Barbell cycling no longer leaves me chasing after the barbell during resets. The margin of error isn’t nearly as slim when catching snatches. Being able to get my feet completely set without rocking around through my pull is not an issue anymore. Where the X1’s made you move a certain way, the X2’s let you move the way you want.

I didn’t think slower lifts were as big a problem as dynamic ones, but the shoes are still a little tall and can sometimes feel a bit disconnected. Responsiveness is good, but you do feel like you’re pushing through the range of motion a little more. I noticed a bit of a forward lean for my deadlifts, which is controllable, but does require a little bit more work than some of my flatter shoes.

The only real weak area I found while lifting in the X2’s was during high torquing movements like devils press or even muscle snatching dumbbells. The forefoot does want to compress a lot more than the mid/heel of the shoe, making your toes shift a lot when you’re driving them down. It’s saved by the lateral stability, but doesn’t feel comfortable when you’re doing the movements.

Conclusion

The Nano X1’s were the first real departure from the typical Nano formula of a low to the ground, high stability training shoe, designed around CrossFit. They called it the “Official shoe of fitness”, which actually would have made a lot of sense if it was anything other than the Nano. For those that weren’t interested in moving a heavy barbell, it was actually a pretty good shoe: it was light, had a great midsole, and was comfortable day to day. The shape of the shoe was its Achilles heel, which made it too hard to lift in, or literally destroyed your Achilles.

Reebok took basically every reason you had to dislike the X1’s and fixed them with Nano X2.

You can now run, jump, lift, and live in the X2’s. They’re not just usable for your workouts anymore, they’re actually good now.

The issues that plagued the X1’s are no longer present. The adjustment to the shoe’s upper makes the toe sit flatter with the ground, no longer pitching you forward when you lift. The heel cup has been cut down and the cushion reduced so that it no longer eats up your Achilles tendon. Better construction elements have been added in to also make them more stable to lift in. The one unfortunate thing they didn’t change was the weak outsole construction; just don’t rope climb.

Another thing that changed for the worst is the price; they now sell for $135. Honestly, with all the issues with the global supply change, I’m not really bothered or phased by the change. There was a time when Nano’s costed $110, then $120, then $130. At those times, there was no supply chain issues, the shoe just gained popularity. Price increases are obviously not what we like to see, but that’s the way it always goes.

Still, for the price you’re paying, you get a relative bargain because now the X2’s can compete with some of the higher end trainers, such as the Froning X1’s and my current favorites, the R.A.D. and Haze. Sure, some people might still prefer the flatter profile of the Metcon 7 and it’s lower price point (don’t expect that for too long), but if you’re a Reebok fan, you’re not missing out on any of the other shoes by going with the X2’s. They’re easily one of the best trainers out right now and with the tweaks Reebok made to them, they might be one of the best Nanos yet.

If you’re a Reebok fan, or just someone that’s looking for great training shoes, you owe it to yourself to try the Nano X2.

Get yours here!

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