Nike Metcon 6 review TL;DR: the Nike Metcon 6 only introduces only slight improvements (e.g. better breathability) to an already great design. However, these workout shoes are not a bad choice for those who don't won a Metcon 5.
Apart from manufacturing the best running shoes market, Nike is also famous for producing the best workout shoes and even more specifically, the best cross-training shoes. For example, its Metcon series has long been a CrossFit favourite and the Air Zoom SuperRep was specifically designed for HIIT workouts, providing extra stability and boost when needed.
The Nike Metcon 6 is the latest iteration of the Metcon franchise but it only introduces subtle updates over the Metcon 5: the main appeal is the now more breathable upper and...well, that's it, really. the design team took the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' mentality to the heart when updating the Metcon 5. And, to be fair, the Metcon 5 is a decent workout shoe, but even so, I would expected a bit more innovation from Nike than what I've been presented with here.
Nike Metcon 6: availability and price
The Nike Metcon 6 is available now for a recommended retail price of £114.95 / $130. The shoes come in a variety of colourways and these might differ from one country to another. The Nike Metcon 6 can be purchased directly from Nike US / Nike UK and selected third party retailers such as SportsShoes.com.
The main features of the Nike Metcon 6 include a heel clip that ‘minimises friction during handstand push ups’, a wide heel and Hyperlift heel insert, ‘dual-density’ drop-in midsole, directional traction design on the upper that ‘catches the rope’ and the ‘haptic’ topcoat that ‘handles abrasion on the rope, asphalt or turf’.
Nike Metcon 6 review: design and ergonomics
If you were to place the Metcon 5 and Metcon 6 side-by-side, it would be hard to pick out the main differences. If you need some help, it’s the upper: the Metcon 6 sports an ‘18% more breathable’ haptic topcoat that is as rugged as the Metcon 5’s but lets more air in and out. This might help the swelling of the feet when you perform the WODs, especially indoors and in groups when the air gets really stuffy. Admittedly not a usual sight in 2020 but one can hope the pandemic/lockdown will stop at some point.
The rest of the features are pretty much the same, all the way down to the same Hyperlift insert, introduced in the Metcon 5. This adds an extra 8 mm elevation to the heels which can help when you need to propel yourself forward. In reality, the collar of the shoes sits low around the ankles as it is and adding the Hyperlift pushes your feet out of the shoes even more, which might compromise stability in some cases.
Some more support around the heel would be beneficial in general. The back of the shoes is padded and soft which is great as it reduces chafing but it also lacks support. On the upside, getting in and out of the shoes is super easy, for the same reason (soft heel and low collar). The laces are fine although I would recommend using a double knot to make sure they don’t come undone halfway through the workout.
Nike Metcon 6 review: aesthetics
Nike shoes have a handsome design, I’ll give them that. You might not like all the colourways of the Metcon 6 but the general shape of the shoes is definitely appealing, especially for the target market. The Metcon 6 looks rugged yet exciting to the eye.
The tested Light Bone/Mystic Stone/Total Orange/Yukon Brown colourway looks like a camo paint with orange highlights. The pattern around the heel does look a little bit when you have wine stains on the sofa but apart from that, it is sexy as hell.
The build quality of the Nike Metcon 6 is great: there are no loose threads or ill-fitting parts on display. The angles are sharp and the different materials are worked together almost seamlessly. Despite the industrial amount of rubber used in the Metcon 6, I failed to spot any glue-overspills or any areas where the different materials would come away.
Nike Metcon 6 review: working out in the Metcon 6
One thing you’ll realise straight away when doing a workout in the Metcon 6 is just how great the traction of the outsole is. Having so much rubber under your feet helps but the almost completely shape of the outsole also helps keeping your balance, even when you’re handing heavy weights. Not a bad thing when you have a fully-loaded barbell dangling over your head.
The extra ‘18% breathability’ might sound impressive on paper but in reality, it’s hard to tell the difference between the Metcon 6 and its predecessor. It’s not like there is a built-in fan in the shoes: it’s only somewhat more breathable. It hasn’t gotten worse since the Metcon 5, so that’s good. My only issue was the aforementioned heel/collar: I would appreciate more support around the rear of the shoes, maybe a firmer heel counter.
Nike Metcon 6 review: verdict
Let’s face the facts: the Nike Metcon 6 is a light update over the Metcon 5, at best. It is more breathable and has an updated topcoat that is supposed to be even more resilient than the one found in the Metcon 5. In my humble opinion, the Nike Metcon 6 should be called ‘Metcon 5 Mat Frazer Edition’, as this update is more to do with Nike collaborating with the ‘fittest man on earth’ as opposed to updating the product itself.
All that said, the Nike Metcon 6 retails for the same price as the Metcon 5, meaning you get slightly updated shoes for the same price. From that perspective, the Metcon 6 is a good choice. But not for people who already have a Metcon 5.
Nike Metcon 6 review: also consider
The Under Armour TriBase Reign 2 prevails in all the areas the Metcon 6 falls short. Its sock-like upper and external heel counter hugs the ankles and keeps them secure. The TriBase Reign 2 is also more flexible yet has an ample amount of traction underfoot. And, most importantly, it is cheaper than Metcon 6.
The Inov-8 BARE-XF 210 V3 does everything you would expect from a minimalist cross-training shoe: it's flexible, comfortable and provides excellent grip during workouts. Perfect for lifting sessions, although it might need some getting used to if you never tried barefoot shoes before.
The Under Armour Hovr Apex 3 is 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. They feel stable, supportive and durable while remaining flexible and providing freedom of movement, making them particularly ideal for HIIT workouts.