training shoes

Nike Metcon 3 DSX Flyknit Shoes Review

IMG_7409

***Click here for the Nike Metcon 3 Review***

What if we made a shoe that was flexible enough to run and jump in, but stable enough to cut and lift in? That is exactly what the original Metcon 3 is made to do. So what’s the DSX Flyknit for? Running, jumping, cutting, and lifting. Wait, what? Yes, the DSX is made to do the same thing the normal Metcon’s do, just with more of an emphasis on running or jumping, and less on stability. A revolutionary idea, except that it’s not revolutionary at all since Nike’s been making more soft and flexible training shoes all along; not to mention ones in Flyknit.

Personally, I’ve never found any Metcon or functional fitness shoe uncomfortable for the runs we’re doing in any given metcon, including something like “Helen” or even “Murph”. Let’s be real, the max you’re ever going to be running in a WOD is maybe 3 miles (exception: “Dragon”), in which case isn’t even that long of a run. If running that much really bothers you that much, you could wear a running shoe. I’m sure most running shoes are stable enough to do pull-ups, push-ups, and squats in anyways. What makes the Metcon 3’s so good, is that they’re the one stop solution for everything fitness, but most importantly they’re great lifting shoe; so why sacrifice that with the DSX Flyknit?

Looks & Construction:

Metcon’s have always had a distinctive silhouette and the DSX Flyknits though new in material, share the same iconic design. At launch the only color way is the even more iconic original volt/grey/black scheme from the original Metcon 1 and boy did Nike do that shoe justice. The DSX Flyknit is definitely one of the best functional training shoe designs to come out in a long time. They’ve gone and taken the tried and true design of the Metcon and twisted it around in Flyknit flavoring, without going too overboard. All the lines and colors synergize well with each other and while the shoe is somewhat louder than the original, it’s also refined and never too gaudy.

I was skeptical about how the Flyknit material would hold in a Metcon shoe because typically they’ve never fit me spot on, but Nike’s reinforced Flyknit for the DSX fits like a glove. It’s not too loose like the Flyknit Racers were in some spots, but not overly tight like the 3.0 Free’s were (the only Flyknit shoes I had to compare with), and does an excellent job holding your foot in place. I think that’s also partly due to the extended TPU heel counter found at the rear of the shoe, which extends almost halfway to the front of the shoe.

IMG_7413

Like on the standard model Metcon, you still get the TPU heel clip for handstand push-ups, drop-in midsole (6mm drop), sticky rubber outsole and Flywire lacing system. I can’t comment on durability, because it just hasn’t been long enough. I’m sure the shoes will last the rigors of daily life, but I’m not sure I want to see how these shoes look after a few rope climbs though.

Unfortunately the squeaky insole problem returns in the DSX Flyknits. Yes, I know there are a bunch of Mickey Mouse way’s you can go about fixing this, but that’s not the issue. The real issue is how this isn’t already fixed, 3 generations into a shoe.


Fit:

Though the DSX Flyknit shares the same basic platform of the Metcon 3, the upper provides a more fitted feel. Initially they might feel tighter than what you’re used to, but that’s how it should be. Sizing the DSX Flyknit should be the same as it is your normal Metcon’s. Here are some of my sizes for reference:

  • Metcon 3/DSX – 9.5
  • Nano 6.0 – 10
  • Chucks –  9
  • Weightlifting shoes – 9

IMG_7414

Performance:

Besides the Flyknit exterior, the main difference between the Metcon 3 and the DSX is it’s drop-in midsole. Basically what that does is it makes the Metcon’s a more modular system with interchangeable midsole densities, except that you can’t actually go out and shop for new ones by themselves. To me, the midsole in the Metcon 3 was perfect; it was decently flat with a 4mm drop, dense, flexible, decently comfortable, and most importantly stable. The DSX Flyknit has a 6mm drop, greatly increased forefoot flex grooves, and an added articulated cushioning system for comfort for “more miles and reps”.

Initially when you put the shoes on, you’ll feel a little bit taller than if you were to stand in normal Metcon 3’s and the midsole does a pretty good job holding your body weight up. I was surprised to find that the DSX were more stable than I had thought they would be, until you start to lift. If you’re a seasoned Metcon vet, you’ll immediately notice that the platform of the DSX Flyknit’s are inferior for lifting. It doesn’t take a ton of weight to make the new midsole start to compress; I felt like I was pushing, but going no where when squatting a reasonable weight. Olympic lifts start okay, but landings have you jostling with the shoe for the right position. I still consider 6mm generally flat and the outsole is still as grippy as ever, so those couldn’t be where the DSX falter. At the end of the day, I can forgive the DSX Flyknit’s for being a mediocre lifting shoe, because that’s not their intended purpose.

The DSX Flyknits are lighter than the standard models by an ounce, but also more flexible and generally comfortable to walk around in. I spent the whole day walking around the mall with the DSX on and don’t have any complaints as far as breathability or comfort go; they’re great casual shoes. Once you really start get moving in them is when things change. Running in the DSX Flyknits feels just like it does in normal Metcons with the short runs I’ve done; I’m probably not going to go run a 10k with these shoes on, neither will most people, so that’s not something I’m going to test them with. After a workout with 250 double unders and 75 burpees, but my plantar fascia’s felt like they were on freaking fire. I gave the shoes a pass there because that’s going to be hard on your feet in any shoe, but I got that same feeling after a workout with wall balls, snatches and muscle-ups too. I think the idea is great, but the added cushioning does nothing more than make the shoe less responsive, making your feet work overtime trying to find positions; a problem I’ve never had with the more stable Metcon 3’s.

IMG_7419


Value & Conclusion:

Retailing for $160, the DSX Flyknit’s are not a cheap shoe, definitely not one you’re going to want to thrash. So, if the DSX Flyknit’s are uncomfortable and less stable than the normal Metcon 3, but cost $30 more, what’s the point? As a shoe, they’re awesome to look at, well made, generally okay to lift in – globo’ers will love them…but I think most box goers will find that the normal Metcon 3’s are still the way to go.

A Metcon, made for metcons…

Great idea, except when you’re sacrificing what make’s the Nike Metcon’s such an excellent shoe: their stability. Let’s be clear about this, the DSX Flyknits were never meant to be shoes to replace the original Metcon’s. They’re designed for lighter WOD’s that have an emphasis on running and plyometrics, with occasional lifting thrown in the mix. Which they’re generally okay at, but they’re no better than the normal models and aren’t even all that comfortable for anything other than casual use. If you want to do distance runs, go get a real running shoe. I think the DSX Flyknit’s would be better if they kept the Flyknit upper, but had the normal Metcon 3’s midsole. Which you could switch for yourself if you had both shoes, but most people aren’t going to buy both of them (or you could use your Metcon 1/2 midsoles). If I had to recommend one, it would be the standard Metcon 3, which is lighter, more flexible, and more comfortable than its predecessors.

I value stability in a shoe above all else and typically prefer more minimal platforms. If you’re like me, you probably won’t like the DSX Flyknit’s.

IMG_7416

IMG_7449

IMG_7453//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Inov-8 F-Lite 235v2 (Late 2016)

IMG_7012

With all the talk about Nano this, Metcon that, it’s easy for Inov-8 to get overshadowed by the bigger companies. The grand papi of minimalist training shoes, and really the first functional fitness shoe (besides Vibrams), Inov-8 just keeps on chugging along making great trainers that often get overlooked because their marketing budget just isn’t quite as big as the other giants. They’re still producing the widely loved and well regarded 195, which you can find being worn in many boxes to this date. The 195 was a workhorse of a shoe that just did everything right, without any fancy bells or whistles.  Sure, it has it’s share of shortcomings, but if you wanted flexible, comfortable, minimal and lightweight, the 195 is the shoe to get…well…until Inov-8 brought out the 235.

Last year’s model of 235’s took Inov-8’s training shoe know how and upped it 100%. Many issues that plagued their previous training shoes were addressed, and it was one of the finest training shoes I had ever used. The 250 was a spin on the 235’s, and ended up being one of my favorite training shoes of the year. Fresh off the press, the 235v2’s look to up the ante by improving on everything that made the 235’s excellent to make a play for the title of the best functional fitness shoe.

IMG_7013

Looks/Construction/Fit:

Quite possibly the only thing that’s going to prevent the 235v2’s from being a star in the functional fitness world, are it’s hate it or love it looks. Personally, I don’t hate the way the shoes look, but I don’t love them either. I can appreciate them trying to do something different with the styling, which to be honest, is pretty true to Inov-8’s standards. Most people are not going to see it the way that I do and will go for one of the more “safe” choices. The actual silhouette of the shoe isn’t awful, but some of the colorways don’t quite get along with the lines of the shoe. The grey/blue/black scheme that I got is definitely the best of the bunch and I have gotten compliments on it. Though I have heard quite the opposite about some of the others. This can easily be remedied down the line, as Inov-8 usually does this and then adds in more “safe” colorways later on.

The F-Lite 235 is a completely new shoe designed specifically for functional fitness, but it still carries on the creed of the 195, with enhancements for today’s athletes. Sporting the new “Standard” fit, the 235v2’s has a wider base and much denser heel for stability during lifts. A well known issue with the 195’s was the durability; a few rope climbs and you’d see some pretty substantial damage to the shoe. Inov-8 added the Rope-Tec guard a little bit later on in the 195’s life, but honestly it didn’t do a ton to fix the issue as you couldn’t always count on the rope being in that exact spot. The redesigned 360 Rope-Tec system now carries onto the 235v2’s upper and with the inclusion of the much denser outsole, provide excellent tracking and durability against rope climbs.

IMG_7018

On the feet, the 235v2’s feel just as well built as any of the top fitness shoes on the market. You can definitely feel the solidity of of the Powerheel, but also how incredibly flexible the new “AdapterFit” technology upper is. During movement the upper conforms to your foot and provides one of the most natural feeling shoe experiences around. Upon entering the shoe, you’ll notice the midfoot “hug” from the Met-Cradle, which provides a more customized fit in the midfoot. Also new to the 235v2’s is the external heel counter that was present in the 250’s, working hand in hand with the Powerheel to up the shoe’s stability.

The flat laces are more dense but have the tendency to become untied unless you really tighten them up. Another slight annoyance is that the toe area of the shoes have a tendency to attract dirt and marks that take a little more than water to wipe away; nitpicking here, but it drives my clean shoe OCD crazy.

This time around, I went with a size 10 compared to my normal size of 9.5. I’ve been finding myself needing to size up lately as deep into workouts, my feet have the tendency to swell and my toes jam up into the front of them. The front toe guard is kind of a double edge sword here: it’s gives extra protection when doing burpees, but if you’ve got Morton’s toe like me, it’s inability to flex will end up smashing your second toe. Only an issue I had deep into workouts with the 250’s, but isn’t an issue with my size 10 235v2’s. The fit is comfortable and never feels too big, so consider going up half a size ONLY if your second toe is longer than your big toe.


IMG_7014

Performance:

Zero drop.

The 235v2’s are FLAT, just the way I like it. Since the fall of “minimal” shoes happened (Vibram?), there hasn’t been a ton of zero drop shoes on the market. Personally, I like to do everything in flat shoes, and the flatter the better; granted this might not be the same for everyone, especially those with poor mobility. Is this a huge departure from the popular training shoes on the market? Nope, most of them have a 4mm drop, which is pretty darn close to nothing, and it doesn’t take long at all to get acclimated to a zero drop shoe. What is quite different than most of the shoes out there, is the amount of ground feel that you get from the 235v2’s due to its low (10.5mm/3mm insole) stack height. The 235v2’s are as close to “barefoot” shoes as you can get without sacrificing protection. This makes for a very responsive, if not the most responsive feeling training shoe out there.

The outsole brings back some familiar technology in the Meta-Flex split grooves and Dynamic Facia Band (DFB). The latter keeps you in motion while the former makes it so your foot doesn’t feel constrained doing it. The pattern used is designed to maximize the contact area of the shoe’s sticky rubber outsole, giving you a sure step every time.  Traction in any terrain has never been an issue and is maximized if you’re stepping into a gym with rubber flooring. Tread with confidence.

IMG_7016

Power delivery is excellent with anything from Olympic lifts to plyometric movements. This has been my “go-to” shoe, and I haven’t ever looked back towards any of my big named shoes. Not saying they’re not excellent picks either, but the 235v2’s are just as good, if not better at things. Squatting in the 235v2’s couldn’t feel any better due to the zero drop and extremely dense Powerheel. I’ve saved some snatched that had gone awry from the 235v2’s keeping my feel planted into the ground. Did I mention that these are the most flexible trainers I’ve ever used? I did, but just so you know, moving around in the 235v2’s is like a breath of fresh air. Speaking of which, the 235v’2s are also the most breathable shoe I’ve ever used. Probably awesome during the summer, but also could be a bad thing if you live in cold areas. It’s getting California cold (50-60 degrees, lol), and sometimes my feet can get really cold.

If you’re looking for a true, minimal training shoe, this is the one. Zero drop, flexibility of a Yogi, reflexes of an F-1 car and light as a feather at 8.2 oz.

IMG_7015

Value:

The F-Lite 235v2’s run for a standard price of $129.99 per pair. This puts them in direct contention with the major manufacturers. I know you’re thinking you might as well go with the popular options for that price, but if you’re looking for a minimalist fitness experience, the big names just can’t deliver. Don’t get me wrong, they’re excellent shoes and some people might be looking for a little more support, or like the styling better, but give the 235v2’s a shot and I promise you won’t be disappointed.  The purist experience just can’t be replicated by anything other than the Inov-8 F-Lite 235’s.

Now to check out the crazier All-Train 215’s…

Check out Inov-8’s F-Lite 235v2’s product page!

Reebok JJ1 Review (J.J. Watt Shoes)

DSC06197

I love surprises.

When surprises come in the form of well made, great performing, competitively priced shoes – it’s even better.

When the the JJ1’s first launched, I hardly batted an eyelash at them. Truth be told, I’ve barely watched a season of football for the last 5 years, mainly because Los Angeles doesn’t have a team and I don’t want to be a bandwagoner.  That being said, who doesn’t know who J.J. Watt is?! He’s one of the greatest defensive ends to grace the sport and all around insanely elite level athlete. The man can put up a 700lb backsquat, run the 40 in 4.83, and has a 61″ box jump; that is no small task at 6’5″ 290lbs. So why didn’t I care about a shoe made for such an athlete? I’ve just tried too many trainers that weren’t CrossFit specific and been disappointed. Not to mention, the first colorway was kind of wack. Even with that, the JJ1’s managed to sell out…and that got me interested.


At the beginning of the month of August, the JJ1 “Preseason Training Pack” launched with a much, much better colorway; who can resist the colors of Old Glory? Since they only retail for $99, I said what the hey, at least they look good to wear if I couldn’t train in them. I was literally trying them out on a whim with the lowest of expectations. Boy, was I surprised. These are some of the best all around training shoes that I have ever tried. Period.

DSC06205

Looks & Construction:

I could not emphasize that these shoes are great looking enough. Everyone that sees them doesn’t even bother asking what they are, they just compliment them. I’m not sure if it would have been that way in the original colorway, but I think the blue/white/red colorway goes with the lines and shape of the shoe perfectly. The blue/white paint speckles on the midsole give the shoe some character without being too loud. I would not mind wearing these around the town, coaching, or on a hot date. Okay, maybe not the last one.

On Reebok’s website, there are a whole lot of technical mumbo jumbo names for features the JJ1’s have, so I’m just going to try to simplify them as best as possible. The upper is mainly put together with synthetic materials, some mesh,and some nylon bits. Overall, it’s very breathable and does a great job in keeping your foot where it needs to be. Since these were probably made with agility as well as stability in mind, your foot not spilling over the sides during lateral movements was probably crucial in designing the shoe.

DSC06198

The JJ1’s are a whole lot of shoe, but that never keeps them from feeling light enough and being easy to move around in.  Flexibility is almost about as good as Nano 6.0s, maybe more on par with the Speed TR’s, which to me are a little less flexible. There’s an interesting lacing system that connects the medial and lateral sides of the shoe together on top (or on bottom I should say) of your typical shoe laces. Minimal trainers these are not, the insole is thick and outsole gives you at least a good inch of height. The “LiquidFoam” insert provides an ample amount of comfort, but at the same time is dense enough so that you never feel off balance. Since the shoes are mid-cut, the ankle area is well padded and the “internal bootie” system keeps any of the synthetic upper from creating any hot spots on your feet. The tongue is reminiscent of the Nano 5’s, which I didn’t mind at the time, until I tried the Nano 6’s. While not a huge deal, this is probably where the JJ1’s suffer most. Overall, these are still very comfortable shoes to wear on a daily basis.

DSC06200

Performance & Fit:

The majority of testing I did with the JJ1’s was during metcon’s since the past couple weeks I had been using the Lifter PR’s for strength. While not marketed towards Crossfitters, or not even being a minimal shoe at all, the JJ1’s are still a shoe bred for performance in all areas that an elite level athlete would need to excel at; in which case, Crossfitters should take notice. In my time testing the JJ1’s, I have not had any second thoughts about what shoe I need to wear to the gym for anything, they just perform excellent given any task you throw their way. Admittedly, I stuck to mainly just WOD’s in the beginning because I wasn’t so sure how they would handle throwing weight around, but as my confidence in the JJ1’s grew, so did the range of movements I would try in them.

DSC06199

Plyometric movements are the JJ1’s bread and butter. Being able to transition proficiently from box jumps, to kettlebell swings, to wall balls, and to burpees are what the JJ1’s are all about. The ninja star shaped outsole lugs keep you stuck to whatever you need sticking to and despite having such a thick outsole, the JJ1’s are extremely responsive and stable, but not to mention also very comfortable! To my surprise, running in the JJ1’s is probably one of it’s best features due in part to the upwards slope of the forefoot; though I shouldn’t have been surprised, given how much running NFL players have to go through during training sessions. Running is never comfortable for me, but the level of support the JJ1’s have kept me moving without any issue and I actually PR’d my mile time, by a lot!


That same forefoot that is welcome for running, puts you a little bit more forward than I’d like on oly lifts; the shoes are still stable but require you to put a little bit more thought into sitting back on your heels. Overhead squats and snatches required a little bit of adjustment but cleans felt just fine and I think I had an easier time jumping due to the shape of the forefoot. Initially, I was worried that due to the large outsole, heavy squats and deadlift stability would suffer. Squatting up to my 90% yielded no adverse quips in performance, and I thought I was moving weight with more force and feeling more stable than squatting in the Lifter PR’s I had been testing for the past few weeks.

As stated before, the JJ1’s are a whole lot of shoe, probably designed with big people in mind. I had originally ordered a size 9.5 and they were much too big, making me size down to a size 9, which fits perfectly. I’m seeing the trend that if you see Reebok’s with a “pointier” toe, size down. If it has the same shape of Nano’s,  go true to size.

DSC06203

Value & Conclusion:

Where the JJ1’s surprise me the most is the MSRP, they only retail for $99! One would think that due to the name, the shoe would have a premium price tag. The moderate asking price might actually put some people off, as it originally had put me off. I expect to pay at least $130 for a shoe that performs as well as the JJ1’s do, without even having an athlete tied to it. Combine the lower than most price tag, the exceptional looks, the outstanding performance, and the amazing comfort of the JJ1’s and you’ve got yourself one hell of a training shoe. Sure, though not designed with CrossFit in mind, the JJ1’s are made with the same ethos that Reebok uses for all of their excellent training shoes. The type of training that NFL players go through is just as demanding, probably more so than a typical WOD is anyways. For bigger dudes or anyone looking for a bit more support in their training shoes, but don’t want to sacrifice any performance, the JJ1’s are a no brainer.

Get your Reebok JJ1’s here!

Reebok CrossFit Transition/Combine Review

IMG_6189

What are thooooose?!

I’ve seen a ton of wacky shoe designs, but nothing even comes close to the Reebok CrossFit Transition. It looks like a cross between an oly lifter, sneaker, and chukka boot. With looks only a mother could love, the Transitions are probably the most controversial shoe that Reebok has ever put out. Which is what made me most interested in the shoe; I had no idea what to expect from them because they’re so…different. It’s no surprise that people will be turned off by the looks of the shoe. A shame, because there are probably a ton of people that could use a shoe like the Reebok CrossFit Transitions.

IMG_6187

Looks:

I’m probably one of the very few people in the world that actually think the Transitions aren’t the most god awful looking shoe of all time. They’re not thaaaat bad in real life; granted, most people are only going to see them in their stock pictures. You’ll find no Kevlar infused upper here, just a standard synthetic upper with a thermal wraps resulting in a very flexible shoe, that doesn’t look like it would be. The “covert” colorway is just for the most part all (shiny) black with a little bit of camo inside the shoe. The medial strap is the only place you’ll find Kevlar on this shoe, though it doesn’t say anywhere that it uses it. Around the back you’ll find a pretty sizable TPU heel counter that extends to the sides of the shoes, but doesn’t clash with the design and looks quite good.

The outsole design from the side looks very similar to Reebok’s lifter shoes and is probably the only other hint besides the medial strap, to what the intended use of the Transitions is. At the bottom of the shoe you’ll find a diamond lug pattern never seen before on any Reebok shoe.

I’m not going to tell you these shoes look good, but they sure as hell look different.

IMG_6191

Fit:

I’ve learned nowadays to just stick with my normal size of 9.5 for most shoes and I’ll be good. Little did I know that these shoes are modeled more after Lifters and not Nano’s so my typical size fits me a little loose. It’s usable, but just keep in mind that these should be sized more like a Lifter (half size down).  Though they are a mid-cut shoe, they don’t really feel like a mid shoe but there is quite a bit of ankle support, not that you’d go play any pick-up games in the Transitions anyways. The insole is quite thick, but not enough so that I could say these are any more comfortable than any other trainer.

IMG_6193

Performance:

The day I got the Transitions, I still had no clue what their intended use was. CrossFit shoes always kind of have the same product descriptions so reading the specifications was pretty useless. The first thing I did with the shoes was take them on a run. As stated before, they’re a lot more flexible of a shoe than they look like and the run was surprisingly comfortable throughout.

All the movements that I’ve put the Transitions through have proved them a worthy CrossFit shoe, but even more so a competent WOD shoe. The wide platform is very stable for overhead movements and oly lifting, but the responsiveness of the shoe is also great for rebounding box jumps and double-unders. While Reebok left out the heel clip on the Nano 6.0’s, the Transitions retain it in the way of the TPU heel counter. Not only does it act as a buffer for handstand push-ups, it adds another dimension of lateral stability for your foot. Flexibility is probably the Transitions best suit since you can do all of the above and go on a fairly long run comfortably. Surprised? I was too.

IMG_6199

It wasn’t until I got back home that I got word what the intended purpose of this shoe was: a cross between a trainer and lifter. The Transitions have a heel height of .70″, which is the same as Reeboks lifters, but has a more standard EVA outsole for more versatility like a normal training shoe. With the omission of a TPU heel, the Transitions also get a slight weight reduction at 14oz. .Like with all Reebok lifters, it’s kind of hard feel the raised heel because of how gradual the drop is. Basically, if you had bad mobility, but you wanted a shoe that you could also WOD in, the Transitions would be your go-to.

Are they a replacement for a true oly shoe? No. Are they a replacement for Nano’s? No.

They’re a slightly worse off lifter, but a more stable trainer with a raised heel.

IMG_6197

Value:

Personally, I try not to wear oly shoes because I don’t want to get reliant on them. My mobility isn’t bad, but certain movements like overhead squats and pistols get the best of me because I have weaker hamstrings. Giving me a little extra to lean against helps me out a bit, but not having the hard heel still makes me have to work for it. This puts the Transitions in a weird spot value wise as most people have Nano’s and oly lifters, making them a “specialty” shoe. If you don’t have a pair of Lifters yet but don’t like the idea of not being able to comfortably run in them either, you would probably want to consider the Transitions. They’ll set you back only $119, which is cheaper than Nano 6.0’s but you can pick up a pair of Reebok Lifters for much cheaper than that.

I’d only recommend this if you were just a shoe whore, or you feel the same way that I do about oly lifters.

Pros:

  • Elevated heel and stable platform.
  • Good for just about everything WOD’s throw at you, including running.
  • You won’t have to change your shoes often.
  • Cheaper than Nano’s.

Cons:

  • Not as stable as oly lifters.
  • Nano’s are more comfortable for most WOD’s.
  • They cost more than oly Lifters.
  • Looks can be subjective.

IMG_6200

The fatal flaw about the Transitions is that they just don’t fit perfectly anywhere, but I almost guarantee anyone that tried them out would be a fan of the way they perform. Most people aren’t going to want to spend full price on a shoe that looks like this, given that they are pretty impressive performers. Hopefully, Reebok comes out with some colorways that are a little less bland or ups their marketing campaign on the Transitions. I don’t think the latter is happening anytime soon, as I do feel like these shoes are more of just a test that’s already being discontinued given the lack of publicity behind the Transitions. If you’re interested in them, chances are they’ll be on sale pretty soon, in which case I’d say go for it. Otherwise, if you’re content with switching between your Nano’s and Lifters, you can probably skip over the Reebok CrossFit Transitions.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 6.0 Review + Video Review

IMG_6124

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.


IMG_6116

Looks:

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.

IMG_6120

Fit:

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.

IMG_6118

IMG_6117

Performance: 

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.


IMG_6179

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.

IMG_6183

Compared to:

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.


Value:

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.

IMG_6177

Conclusion: 

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.

Please help support these reviews and use my links to purchase your gear!