Reebok Nano X1 Vegan review: one of the best cross-training shoes around for HIIT and CrossFit workouts

The Reebok Nano X1 is a versatile workout shoe that’s suitable for all kinds of workouts – and it’s sustainable, too!

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(Image credit: Reebok)
T3 Verdict

Reebok’s Nano X1 Vegan is a sustainable cross-training shoe that delivers supreme cushioning, comfort and versatility. Just like its non-plant-based brother, the Nano X1, it delivers exceptional grip and lateral support, so it’s a great all-around shoe for functional fitness activities including HIIT and CrossFit workouts.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Highly versatile shoe

  • +

    Phenomenal grip and stability

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    It’s made from plant-based materials

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    Stylish design

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the most breathable cross-training shoe we’ve tried

Building on the huge success of the Nano X1, Reebok has taken its ultimate cross-training shoe and given it a sustainable makeover with the release of the Nano X1 Vegan. 

If you’re not fussed about sustainability, you can skip this review and head straight to our verdict on the Reebok Nano X1, which also appears in our best cross-training shoes guide, or you can check out our choice of the best workout shoes in 2021. 

But if you like to make more planet-friendly purchases, read on to find out how this shoe can put some serious plant-based power into your workouts.

And while you’re here, you might also want to read our review on another excellent eco-friendly workout shoe that is kind to your feet and the planet: the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III.

Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Review: Price And Availability

The Reebok Nano X1 Vegan is available now for a recommended retail price of £120 / $150 / AU$240. It is available in male- and female-specific fits and sizes and comes in a variety of colourways that vary across genders. The Reebok Nano X1 Vegan can be purchased directly from Reebok UK / Reebok US / Reebok Australia and selected third party retails such as SportsShoes.com.

The heel of the Reebok Nano X1 Vegan

(Image credit: Reebok)

Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Review: Design And Ergonomics

The Reebok Nano X1 Vegan features the same technology as the Nano X1 and retains all the key performance attributes you’d expect of this award-winning silhouette – it’s just that the materials used to make it have had a sustainable, 100% animal-free upgrade. 

Featuring a minimum of 40% USDA-Certified bio-based materials, the Floatride Energy Foam midsole is made from plant-based castor bean oil and EVA foam, and the outsole is made of natural rubber, while the Flexweave upper is knitted from cotton and wood.

It might not sound much, but these small steps will hopefully add up to bigger sustainable strides from shoe giant Reebok. And boy, do we need them, when you consider the figures that show over 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown away in the UK each year, with the majority going to landfill (trainers are a main culprit here because they are made from multiple man-made materials that are practically impossible to recycle).

One of the great things about the Nano X1 Vegan is that they require zero break-in time, so you can hit the ground running across a variety of workouts. The cushioning is also insanely springy which, when combined with the super-soft yet durable upper, adds up to one extremely comfortable package.

The shoe’s tongue is also really cushioned, but in a good way, in that in moulds to the top of your foot without adding extra bulk. Add this to the Flexweave upper with its integrated support for quick lateral movements, and you get a really secure yet comfy fit that feels glued on without causing discomfort – great for fast changes of direction.

The shoes are true to size, and the toe-box is generously roomy with lots of wiggle room for greater stability. If you normally size up in workout shoes or runners, you’ll want to avoid that practice here or you’ll be returning them for a smaller size.

Close up view of the Reebok Nano X1 Vegan

(Image credit: Reebok)

Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Review: Aesthetics

The Reebok Nano X1 Vegan is a seriously stylish shoe, and much better looking than the synthetic Nano X1. You could chalk this up to the ‘natural’ vibe the shoe gives off: something about the ‘hero’ design’s off-white, blue and tan colourway – combined with the flat soles, sleek silhouette and lack of plastic bits - feels really old-school, almost like a pair of Stan Smiths. 

This means they look great worn with your gym kit and equally as good teamed with a pair of blue jeans, so they’re not confined to the gym (as many snazzier gym shoes are). That said, ladies and gents who like their shoes to be bright and bold will prefer the all-black design which has various blocks of colour on the soles. 

And for those with quirkier tastes, you might like the new unisex Reebok x National Geographic Nano X1 Grow Vegan style which recently dropped on October 19th and features a pattern of berries, moss and other plants found in the Arctic tundra. 

Close up view of the laces on the Reebok Nano X1 Vegan

(Image credit: Reebok)

Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Review: Workout Performance

Just like the Nano X1, this Vegan iteration is a fantastic all-round gym shoe that works for multiple kinds of workouts. Before I tried the amazing Under Armour TriBase Reign 3 shoes, I’d never had great experiences with cross-training shoes and generally preferred to wear workout-specific shoes, i.e., weightlifting shoes for when I hit the heavy metal, and runners for, er, running. 

However, I found that the Nano X1 Vegan shoes measured up extremely well in comparison to the Regin 3, and they’re ideal if you’re looking for a hard-working gym shoe that takes an ‘apprentice of all things and master of none’ approach. The grip is phenomenal, and a lightweight heel clip cradles your foot to provide extra stability during fast multi-directional movements.

As previously stated, the Floatride Energy Foam provides brilliantly responsive cushioning, so these shoes are great for explosive jumping moves, plyometric exercises and hill sprints. You wouldn’t want to wear them for a marathon, but they’ll be great for a 5k.

In fact, it’s insane just how cushioned the Nano X1 Vegan’s are when you consider how good they are for lifting. Some criticism has been levelled at the Nano X1’s by hardcore lifters for not offering the same support as previous generations of the shoe. And while it’s true that I would never attempt a squat PB wearing the Nano X1 Vegan shoes - and you probably wouldn’t want to go higher than around 85% of your 1 rep max in them - I’d argue that you should be wearing specific lifting shoes for that intensity of training anyway. 

The only downside of the Nano X1 Vegan I found is that it doesn’t provide the same level of breathability as the Nano X1 or the Under Armour TriBase Regin 3. Feet can feel comparatively sweatier after an hour of training, and I wonder if this reduction in breathability can be attributed to the natural fibres of the upper. But if you want a sustainable cross-training shoe, that’s the pay-off. 

Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Review: Verdict

If you want an all-round training shoe that offers support for every type of functional fitness workout and is sustainable to boot, you’ll love the Reebok Nano X1 Vegan. Just like the hugely popular Nano X1, it is responsive, fast, super-cushioned and lightweight and - save for a little reduction on breathability – its performance isn’t compromised by its use of plant-friendly materials.

In terms of design, the Nano X1 Vegan looks really good (way better than its plastic-looking predecessors), and you’ll want to show them off outside of the gym as well as in it. In fact, they’re so comfy, you might never want to take them off. A reliably solid ‘jack of all trades’ workout shoe that won’t let you down during fast-pace workouts like HIIT and CrossFit.

Reebok Nano X1 Vegan Review: Also Consider

The Nike Metcon 6 introduced smaller changes over the Metcon 5 and we can't not recommend it for people interested in CrossFit or HIIT. The shoes offer some great features and a slightly updated design for the same price.

The Under Armour Hovr Apex 3 is chunkier than the Nano X1 and it's a dependable pair of cross-training shoes that’ll handle everything you throw at them during workouts while looking great inside and outside of the gym.

Joanna Ebsworth
Joanna Ebsworth

Jo is a London-based freelance writer and content creator on all things fitness, health and lifestyle. She is a qualified Personal Trainer, trend seeker and gym kit junkie.