Nike Metcon 8 review in a sentence: Now in its eighth iteration, the Metcon is Nike’s go-to training shoe for CrossFit fanatics, gym goers, and lifters who like to mix up their workouts.
Renowned for its versatility, Nike’s Metcon line manages to provide the stability and support needed for squats and deadlifts, the durability to withstand typical CrossFit exercises such as rope climbing and handstand wall walks, and the flexibility required to handle plyometrics and HIIT.
For that reason, the Metcon has been topping lists for the best workout shoes since its launch back in 2015. Indeed, the Nike Metcon 7 won the T3 Award for Best Workout Shoe 2022 after we hailed it ‘the best workout shoe Nike had produced in years’.
But how does the new Metcon 8 compare to its award-winning predecessor? And, most importantly, should you be rushing out to buy it? Read on to find out.
Nike Metcon 8 review: price and availbility
The Nike Metcon 8 is available to buy now directly from Nike UK / Nike US / Nike AUS for a recommended retail price of £124.95 / $130 / AUS$190 and selected third-party retailers, including WIT Fitness.
Nike Metcon 8 review: features and technology
So, what exciting changes have been made to the Nike Metcon 8? Well, not that many, in all honesty, but you won’t hear me complaining about it. The old saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, has never been truer when applied to the Metcon 7.
Instead of a complete reworking, you’ll find several minimal but effective tweaks on the Metcon 8, all apparently based on suggestions from Nike’s roster of pro athletes, hence the writing on the outer heel that reads ‘engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes’.
While the forefoot, midsole, and heel remain largely untouched – great news for Metcon 7 fans who love the shoe for its stability, responsiveness, fit, and versatility – the main changes occur in the upper to improve its wearability, usability, and resilience against wear and tear.
First off, the Metcon 7’s slightly stretchy chainmail mesh and blocky synthetic overlays on the toe box have been replaced by a less stretchy, lightweight mesh featuring a textured, synthetic ‘cross-stitch’ overlay in high-wear areas to make the Metcon 8 more durable. According to Nike, this helps to provide greater protection against abrasions while also making the upper lighter and more breathable.
In another change to the upper, the rope climbing guard running up the inside of the Metcon 7 – which you either love or hate – has been removed and replaced by more synthetic cross-stitch overlays to remove bulk but retain durability.
Conversely, the rope protection on the outside of the shoe now travels further up to encompass the eyelet holes and create a new, more durable lacing system. Instead of Metcon 7’s internal rope loops and Flywire eyelets that were prone to wear and literal tear, the new system on the Metcon 8 purports to be stronger because the eyelets sit within the reinforced upper to reduce the chances of them ripping.
Talking of laces, the extremely practical Lace Lock Velcro tab with a hook-and-loop closure has been updated and thankfully refined. Whereas it used to be double-ended on the Metcon 7’s so you could secure your laces at the bottom as well as the top – which I found could pull my laces downwards for a not-so-great fit - the Lace Lock tab on the Metcon 8 now only secures your laces at the top of the shoe to ensure a secure fit while keeping them safely tucked away.
Finally, and crucially, a small update to the heel sees the introduction of a more stable inner plate to help distribute weight more evenly from edge to edge for improved lifting ability, along with a little more flexibility for greater comfort during cardio and sprints.
Nike Metcon 8 review: style and aesthetics
Personally, I think that Metcons are like Marmite. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em, and I’m still working out which category I fall into. Bold and flashy, they scream ‘Look at me!’ and ‘I take my workouts very seriously!’ in the gym, to the point where you feel like you’re letting the shoes down if you’re not bringing your A-game in public.
Aesthetically and technically, I appreciate the Metcon 8’s construction because I can visibly see and understand how every design detail has a performance-boosting function or purpose, from the rubber outsole that wraps around the sides to the exaggerated heel to improve stability. But the ‘Metcon’ logo on the inside is particularly huge, and the large ‘swoosh’ - created from a fingerprint to signal the shoe’s specially engineered design – makes a major statement.
Available in multiple colourways from the leary to the subtle for both men and women, the good news is you can always create your own personal Nike ID version of the Metcon (there are options to add metallic details and a marbled outsole and sidewalls) if you really can’t find an existing style to suit your taste.
Nike Metcon 8 review: fit and workout performance
Generally speaking, the Metcon 8 is very similar to its predecessor in terms of the outsole construction, stack height, grip, fit, and performance. Both shoes have a low profile with a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, and you still get the same lightweight, springy, and responsive Nike React foam in the forefoot and midsole for enhanced manoeuvrability during multi-directional movements, sprints, plyometrics, and HIIT.
However, the two small changes to the heel construction definitely help to improve performance, especially if you like to lift. The new, more flexible inner plate in the wide, flat heel helps to distribute your weight more evenly and provides a tad more give. This, I’d argue, gives the Metcon 8 the edge over its predecessor for weightlifters, and I definitely find it provides more stability during squats and deadlifts.
Of course, no one shoe can do it all, so serious lifters might still prefer to stick to their lifting shoes despite this improvement in stability. Equally, I’d advise runners to stick to the best running shoes because the heel on the Metcon 8 lacks the cushioning needed to run anything over one mile - and even wear on a daily basis - especially if you strike the floor with your heel or midfoot.
In short, it’s best to save the Metcon 8 for the gym, lifting, and CrossFit classes because that’s exactly where it's been designed to function at its best, and it does it extremely well.
I love the new Lace Lock tab that keeps my laces firmly in place, although this feature is almost a necessity now that the new laces are much shorter (which I don’t mind because everything feels neat, tidy, and secure). Equally, the new handstand clip on the heel seems to do a good job of minimising drag during wall exercises as intended.
In terms of the re-engineered upper, I can’t say I noticed an increase in breathability, but I did find that the fabric of the upper feels more rigid and restrictive across the toe box. Bearing in mind that the Metcon is a close-fitting, snug shoe, this change could put some Metcon 7 fans off from upgrading.
For me, while I didn’t have a huge amount of wiggle room on the toes, I found the new upper only enhanced the supremely supportive, locked-in feel of the shoe across the midfoot and enhanced my confidence, comfort, and ability during multi-directional moves and sled pushing.
Nike Metcon 8 review: verdict
The Nike Metcon 8 has many of the same features as the Metcon 7, so it’s still one of the best cross-training shoes around. However, if you were frustrated by the lack of durability on previous versions of the Metcon, you’ll love the re-engineered upper on the Metcon 8 that improves its resilience and promotes an even more locked-in feel.
A minor update to the wide, flat heel also increases the shoe’s stability, while grooves in the super grippy soles add flexibility so your forefoot can bend more naturally during HIIT and plyometric moves like box jumps.
If you still have plenty of mileage in your Metcon 7’s, you won’t need to rush out to upgrade your kicks. But if you’re a CrossFit fanatic in the market for high-performing, well-built gym shoes, the Metcon 8 will be right up your street.