Today, I’m going to answer a question that nearly every Metcon fan asks “Are Metcons good for running?”
You could do everything in your Metcon in the gym and it ticks all the boxes. However, the major challenge has always been the fact that the Metcons aren’t that great of a running shoe.
Well, not with the new iterations of the Metcon.
Let’s dive right into it…
Are Metcons Good for Running?
Absolutely, Nike Metcons are versatile training shoes designed for a range of activities, including running. While they excel in all gym and cross-training environments activities like weightlifting and high-intensity training, the Metcon’s stability and cushioning make it suitable for short to moderate-distance runs only. However, if you’re looking for a shoe for your serious running endeavors, the Nike Metcon is not the best shoe for that.
I actually think there’s a big improvement versus the previous iterations of the Metcon when it comes to running. It’s down to the fact that the Metcon 6 is quite flexible and to the extra cushioning provided by that dual-density insole.
However, if you’re a heel striker and you really make strong contact with your heels first, it’s going to give you some trouble because the foam underneath the heel is really solid. That stiffness of the heel is fairly uncomfortable for running.
But the front has enough cushioning and it feels quite comfortable for short runs that are about less than a mile.
If you’re running further, I’d definitely recommend you wear your regular running shoes. But if your training regimen has a little bit of running, quick sprints, quick movements, and lifting, then these are probably perfect for you.
So, for longer distances, I wouldn’t suggest the Metcons too much. You need to get a shoe that’s better for running specifically and save the Metcon to provide you with a more stable and flatter sole and connect you to the ground better for heavy lifts.
I did take these for a bridge run and they made it over the bridge with no problem, but I could feel it a little on my knees.
Overall, the Metcons are not my favorite to run because of the stiffness and the lack of underfoot cushioning, but everything else performs great.
Methodology Behind The Nike Metcon Series
I’ve seen a lot of reviews on the Nike Metcon none of which actually break down what the Metcon is.
In this section, we’re breaking down exactly what makes the Nike Metcon such a high-performance and go-to shoe for some if not the best CrossFit athletes in the world and maybe why you’d want them to be your go-to training shoe.
In the cross-training CrossFit world, there’s really three big brands of training shoes Nobull, Nike, and Reebok.
In 2014, Nike entered the CrossFit world by starting the development of what would become the Nike Metcon 1.
What do we expect when we buy Metcons?
Some will buy the Metcons purely for the love of Nike, the great design, or the love for the checkmark.
But despite my respect for Nike’s history of performance, I don’t want to blindly purchase their stuff and expect results. I want to know what the methodology in their design is.
From the get-go, Nike has patented the design of their midsole which plays a role in their partitioned X design with each quadrant serving a specific purpose:
These are each and every major requirement you need to complete all the CrossFit movements.
So, year after year, with each iteration of the Metcon, Nike stayed true to this X design with improvements.
So, let’s get into each of these quadrants.
For the power lifts like squats or deadlifts or the Olympic lifts like snatches and cleans and even the rower and things like wall balls, our power is driven from the heels.
We need a flat but cushioned sole that can transfer the power through the shoe into the ground while also giving us comfort.
Nike sole is more rigid in the back to give more added stability and becomes more flexible as it extends to the toe cap giving tremendous stability in the heel.
With the release of the Metcon 5, they even added these awesome Hyperlift inserts to add some height in the heel to allow the wearer to sit back more.
I wouldn’t say that Nike Hyperlifts replace lifters, but they’re awesome to have during WODs that require any of the power lifts or Olympic lifts along with something more mobile.
Also, just to add how specific these shoes get, Nike added a protruding element to the heel to keep the grippy sole off the wall during handstand push-ups.
Up next, the lockdown…
When I got really into running a few months back, I learned about the runner’s knot and why there’s two lace holes at the top.
Unlike other cross-training shoes, the Metcons have added this feature to their shoes. The purpose of the runner’s knot is to keep a much more secure fit that also keeps the heel at the back of the shoe.
With this added feature, there’s no slipping and sliding in these Nikes.
Nike has even developed a different comfort in the tongue to help lock down the foot but not cut off circulation as well as the lacing feature that biases the laces down for even further security.
Now for the mobility…
I briefly touched on this when talking about the stability. The sole begins to get much thinner towards the front of the shoe allowing for a lot of bend and flexibility.
There’s been no workouts I’ve done that have felt restrictive in these shoes. Also, the tread on the outsole gets stickier as it extends towards the toe box for even more grip.
The upper is incredibly thin and it’s only reinforced by the Screen Print. This haptic coat along with the haptic chain pattern material, as Nike calls it, is abrasion resistant to help with the durability of the shoe and protects the wearer.
In my experience, the Nikes used to suffer from soaking up too much sweat, which made the shoe heavier over time and deteriorated with the material.
With the Metcon 6, I just don’t think that’s going to happen.
Lastly, the traction…
The traction in the midsole is provided by a different pattern than the rest of the shoe and wraps around each side of the shoe.
This is specialized for the rope climbs to give you grip on the rope and protection for the wearer.
So, with any future iterations, you’d expect the same baseline structure of the X design with minor improvements from the previous year as Nike continues to tap their top athletes and invest thousands of dollars.
So, when you look at buying a Metcon, that’s what you should know.
Nike Metcon 6 Review
Reviewing running shoes is our bread and butter. Training shoes differ in the way that they’re supporting your feet in a completely different way.
In a training shoe, you want…
- Support under the heel
- A wide toe box so your toes can move out.
- Support around the heel and underfoot.
You don’t want your foot to be cushioned and moving around if you’re lifting heavy weights. So, it’s super important that you find the right training shoe for you when it comes to this sort of activity.
The fit was really true to size and it comes in about a size bigger than the Nano 10.
The toe box is quite wide but not quite as wide as the Nano 10, but it is quite wide on the foot. This means your toes can spread out quite nicely when you’re lifting and it’s pretty stable under the heel as well.
The sole unit of the Metcon 5 is wide and flat and made of carbon rubber. It extends up around the sides, which gives you some protection if you’re doing rope climbs. It also means the shoe won’t get easily worn down or torn and also protects your feet as well.
There’s a plastic protection around the back of the heel as well. This plastic piece glides up and down the wall if you’re doing some handstand push-ups and it doesn’t get stuck there.
There’s a dual-density insole, which means the back part is a thicker density and the front part provides a little bit more cushioning.
So, when you’re lifting, your heel stays really firm and still and you can really feel the floor and help push up through the floor.
But if you are running or jumping in the shoe, there is a little bit more cushioning underneath the forefoot, and that works really well.
The Metcons come with Hyperlift inserts which are inserts that you add in between the insole and the main shoe.
This is supposed to elevate the foot by about three millimeters, which gives you a little bit more ankle mobility when you are doing lifts. It also means you can squat a little bit deeper and it can improve that form a little bit as well.
The upper has completely changed since the previous Metcon. The Metcon 5 had plastic overlays, but the 6 is a thicker but much more breathable dual-layer mesh. The upper has large holes in it and it’s super breathable.
Also, because of the thick mesh, it does stay pretty durable as well.
The upper is divided into two sections, a much tougher heel cup and a much more flexible forefoot section.
The laces are held in place really well by the Flywire lacing technology, which adds an extra eyelet to the normal lacing.
This extra eyelet gives you the opportunity to do the runner’s knot to help lock your foot down well when you’re moving around especially when you’re jumping and your foot’s going sideways as well.
The Nike Metcon 6 is one of the most well-rounded training shoes. You can lift heavy, you can run fast, they’re great for bodyweight movements, and they’re incredibly comfortable.
When it comes to weightlifting, doing squats, and deadlifts, this is where the Metcon is really great.
Your heel will feel protected and it won’t move around. You can really feel the floor underneath your toes to grip the floor.
The Metcon 6 is great for high-intensity work. If you’re jumping, there’s no slipping thanks to the shoe’s really grippy outsole. You land flat and solid and there’s a little bit of cushioning as well in that front part.
The Metcon 5 is the best balance training shoe, which is exactly what you want in CrossFit, and the 6 is just as good with the added bonus of breathing more so you feel better.
The Metcon 6 is going to be your go-to shoe for most workouts especially when it’s hot during the summer and you’re doing everything you can to keep your body cool and comfortable.
One thing I didn’t love in the Metcon 6 was this relatively low heel counter. It did rub my foot at the back to start with, and when I had the Hyperlift inserts, it felt like my foot was moving around a little bit too much.
When I was running, it was slipping a little bit. So, I think that’s maybe an area for improvement especially compared to other training shoes such as the Nano 10 where it’s a lot more secure.
To conclude my thoughts on the Metcon 6, I think Nike is definitely moving in the right direction when it comes to creating the perfect training shoe.
You could wear your black Metcons to the gym, and then you could wear them to work and you would always look presentable.
So, the next time someone asks you “Are Metcons good for running?” You tell them yes but only if you’re doing sprint workouts or running short distances. If you take running seriously and do longer runs, then you should use real running shoes for that.
Happy running & training 🙂