The Nike Metcon 7 claims to be the toughest and most stable Metcon yet- the gold standard for weight training. Having recently put the 5th and 6th version of the Nike Metcon, and Nike’s React Metcon Turbo to the test, I was really excited to see if, and where improvements had been made and if the shoe could stand up to some serious strength training.
For the runners here who add in any type of strength or plyometric training to their programs, it’s vital to have a different pair of shoes for this strength training for both sets to remain fit for purpose.
In short, most running shoes are designed to cushion and absorb a landing, give an explosive toe-off and move the foot forward through the optimal running gait. A training shoe needs to be more structured and supportive around the heel so the foot doesn’t sink into a squidgy foamy base, with a low drop to give good ground feel and stability, which the likes of the Reebok Nano, Nobull Trainer and Nike Metcon’s have been designed exactly for.
The first thing to note about the Metcon 7 is a couple of big feature changes. The rope wrap on the medial side has been extended to fully wrap up and give better grip and durability, and velcro lock laces have been added to the tongue to keep the laces in place. Visually the shoe also looks much more akin to a running shoe than ever before with a chunkier sole containing React foam and a sleeker upper design.
The divided upper and angular rope wraps have gone and been replaced with a sleeker aesthetic. These changes were expected, with Nike making significant design alterations on every odd-numbered iteration. This has resulted in significant technical and performance improvements. Nike clearly wants to shout about these new technical features so much, they have printed them on their launch lilac and grey colorway with a numbered guide to show you these details.
Nike Metcon 7 First Impressions
When putting on the Metcon 7 for the first time, it does feel on the snug side both in length and width, despite going my usual Nike (training and running shoe) size, it left me wondering whether I should have sized up.
After a few wears though there were no signs of rubbing and it felt like it had loosened up, so I’d recommend going your usual size and trusting it. On the first session in the gym, the Metcon 7 did its job as expected, was comfortable and light enough to forget about when working our at high intensities.
Weight-wise, the Metcon 7 comes in similar to other models from Nike. Training shoes are never going to feel like the lightest shoes you’ll wear due to all the features they’re packing, and the fact they’re not built for speed or to be worn for endurance.
Nike Metcon 7 Sole Unit
One of the big changes in the Metcon 7 is the midsole. The sole unit now has added React foam to offer better cushioning that previous versions for high intensity cardio, and to make running workouts that little bit more comfortable. The plastic heel plate aims to distribute weight evenly from side to side and deliver stability under pressure for a secure feeling when lifting. The open spring air unit maintains stability without compressing by using a bone like structure to remain light.
On the foot, this feels a little more comfortable than other training shoes but still solid and dense enough to give the foot the structure and support it needs.
Another new addition to the sole unit is the Hyperlift heel. Previously these were inserts, to go underneath the insole to increase your range of motion if you had somewhat limited ankle mobility. Not a feature I found too useful as it caused a bit of heel slip over time, so I’m glad this has now been incorporated in a more functional way. In the Metcon 7 this looks like a hard TPU heel to give the features and benefits of a weightlifting shoe, whilst remaining light and flexible enough in the rest of the foot for running.
The outsole tread is made from a thick, sticky rubber, and gives good grip on all surfaces- again trying to find that sweet spot between indoor workouts on wood, rubber matting or astroturf, and outoor workouts on asphalt, concrete, gravel and trail. There are flex grooves throughout the forefoot, just the right size to bend comfortably and not pick up stones.
The handstand push up clip around the back of the heel does the job well and your feet can slide up and down a wall effortlessly.
Nike Metcon 7 Upper Unit
The lightweight mesh upper has tough overlays in areas that are prone to wear and tear such as the toe box and lace eyelets. Whilst the chain patterned upper is tough, breathable and flexible, the extra overlays have already started to show some signs of weakness and wear after some long rope climb workouts. This is visible in the toe box, on the rubber overlays, and also in the sole unit too. I’ve been wearing these shoes for a couple of months and they already look much more worn in than other training shoes (perhaps going for the white colourway wasn’t the best decision).
Flywire lacing down the lateral side of the lacing helps to keep the midfoot locked down and secure. Underneath these flywire eyelets, a reinforced Swoosh, surrounded by more overlays and an extended sole wrap up the outside of the shoe to protect the foot and make rope climbs a breeze. This is contrasted on the medial side of the shoe with an unsightly (but highly functional) transparent extended sole which, if you’re working out in a CrossFit gym with lots of rope climbs programmed, is a big benefit vs other training shoes. After a couple of months its holding up well to friction but has showed signs of discolouration to a yellowy shade.
The laces are a little on the short side, but the new lock lace feature keeps them done up and tucked away. The tongue is a simple half bootie design which is comfortable padded and stays put.
Nike Metcon 7 Conclusion
Nike Metcon 7 for RUNNING
I hate running in a training shoe, there’s no two ways about it.
I find them heavy, hard and tight, so looking for one I can tolerate here is key. And the Metcon 7 is…fine.
The React foam gives some cushioning and responsiveness, the shoe stays put on the foot and feels light enough to forget about for a bit. The upper suits short runs and is fine for sprinting.
If you’re a heavy heel striker, the plastic heel is likely your worst enemy here, so aim for a midfoot or forefoot strike to improve efficiency on those sprints, or choose a different shoe for running. Any workout with a run over 400m I’d choose a running shoe.
WEIGHTLIFTING with the Nike Metcon 7 (Squats and Deadlifts)
The Metcon 7 is the dream when it came to lifting. Subtle improvements in heel and midsole features have produced a shoe that works for both heavy weight training, and longer Metcon training work with barbells, dumbells and kettlebells.
Loved the shoe for this and will continue to wear for all heavy weight based training. The flat, wide sole gives plenty of ground feel when lifting. It’s easy to keep the full foot in contact with the insole, and the full outsole in contact with the floor throughout all moves. I felt balanced and the shoes weren’t hindering natural movements or adjusting my center of gravity.
Nike Metcon 7 for HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING (Burpees, Box Jumps, Skipping, Lunges)
For plyometric and body weight work the Metcon 7 is also at the top of the pack.
I loved the flywire lacing to keep the foot and tongue in place. The foot felt supported but able to flex where needed thanks to the outsole grooves and flexible forefoot midsole.
When doing burpees in a workout, the extended outsole stretching up over the front of the toe gave great grip and there was no sliding around. For skipping and box jumps, laces stayed put and the foam midsole preserved energy so you don’t tire as quickly as a regular training shoe. The grip on the top of the wooden box was great, and the landings felt safe if a little noisy due to the wide flat sole and plastic heel.
With every annual training shoe launch they seem to get better and better, which is mostly the case with the Metcon 7s.
For all-around training, functional fitness, and CrossFit these are one of the best shoes you can buy at the moment. I scored the Nike React Metcon Turbo’s higher in a recent review and stand by the fact they edge ahead due to being lightweight but highly durable thanks to premium materials (albeit at a premium price) and a superb aesthetic design.
Since gyms are back open post-covid and I’ve thrown more at the Metcon 7s when it comes to putting them through their paces for this review, but even so, they have shown more wear and tear than expected.
I’ll be keeping them in mind for predominantly weightlifting WODs or rope climb practice. The aesthetics of them grew on me over time and I still think the Metcon range is the best looking of training shoes out there whilst maintaining world-class functionality.
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Nike Metcon 7 at Running Warehouse with our own money.