Nike Metcon 8: One minute review
This is TechRadar’s Nike Metcon 8 review. We’ve gone hands-on with the shoe to find out whether it’s worth the dosh. Spoiler: it is.
The Metcon 8 seamlessly blends practicality and style, delivering both performance and aesthetics for gym enthusiasts. With its iconic wrap-around outsole, this shoe stands out over its competitors for its unique design and it’s also customizable if you fancy parting even more cash for these babies. Still, the Metcon 8’s aesthetic appeal doesn't compromise substance. Each of the shoe’s design elements serves performance, too.
Performance-wise, the Metcon 8 closely resembles its predecessor - the Metcon 7 - maintaining a low profile and 4mm drop, with consistent React foam responsiveness in the midsole, which makes it a top pick for just about all types of indoor, gym-type activities. It's certainly one of, if not the, best gym shoes for most people.
Another noteworthy feature is the revamped heel design, which enhances stability for lifting, particularly in squats and deadlifts. There’s flexibility for high-intensity cardio, too, when required, thanks to a revised upper. It's this that also helps the shoe feel more secure, giving a more locked-in feel across the midfoot. This is a nice touch as it feels like you’re getting more support, especially during dynamic movements. Although, beware that it’s not going to offer a great fit for those with a wider fit. Similarly, it’s not best suited for extensive running either due to limited cushioning.
Overall, the Metcon 8 excels across most gym settings, especially in weightlifting and CrossFit-style classes, where it does what it was made to do very well.
Nike Metcon 8: Specifications
Nike Metcon 8: Price and availability
The Nike Metcon 8 gym shoes are available to buy now directly from Nike, globally, for a recommended retail price of £124.95 / $130 / AUS$190. However, you can expect to find them a fair bit cheaper from selected third-party retailers such as Sports Direct and WIT Fitness. Deals can be found very often, which means that even though elite-tier cross-training shoes can be found for a similar price as the above RRP, the superior quality of the Metcon and the discount means it's great value.
Value score: 4/5
Nike Metcon 8: Design
Practical design features made stylish
Similar construction to the Metcon 7
Wide spectrum of colourways available with custom options
There are few gym shoes out there that are both practical for weight training and stylish all at the same time, but the Metcon 8 pulls it off, and effortlessly. Take, for instance, the iconic rubber outsole that the Metcon series has become known for. Wrapping around the shoe and right up the sides, it’s there to offer wearers a better grip during rope climbs. However, Nike has been bold and made this design feature a focal point, giving the shoe an edge and setting it apart from competitors.
The Metcon 8 isn’t a matter of style over substance, either. Both the aesthetics and technicality of this shoe work hand-in-hand, with each design element serving a purpose relating to performance, from the aforementioned wraparound rubber outsole to the stabilizing exaggerated heel and React foam cushioning in the midsole. But more on performance later.
In terms of construction, the Metcon 8 isn’t a million miles from its predecessor, the Metcon 7. In fact, the two share most of the same makeup. You’ll find a wide and flat heel for stability during lifts, a rubber outsole, and cushioned midsole, a flexible forefoot, and a heel clip to support handstand push-ups.
Perhaps one of my favorite design additions in the Metcon 8, however, is the Lace Lock tab, which proves to be satisfyingly practical, securing laces firmly while keeping them tucked away.
In true Nike style, you’ll find a wide range of color options available for the Metcon 8, too - and for all genders. There’s also an option to personalize these yourself with Nike ID, letting you add metallic or marble finishes, for example. Although this customization does come at an extra cost, of course.
All-in-all, it’s pretty hard to fault the Metcon 8’s design.
Design score: 5/5
Nike Metcon 8: Performance
Nike React foam brings comfort and agility
Tweaks in heel design elevate lifting performance
Locked-in feel across the midfoot offers stability and support
As previously mentioned, the Metcon 8 largely mirrors its predecessor - especially in terms of construction. The same can be said about performance since they both boast the same outsole, stack height, grip, and fit. Both share a low profile and a 4mm heel-to-toe drop while the consistently lightweight and bouncy Nike React foam in the forefoot and midsole enhances agility for dynamic movements like sprints and HIIT training.
So what has Nike done differently this time around?
Although subtle, the fitness trainer giant has made a noteworthy update to the shoe’s heel structure, which has been incorporated to elevate performance for lifting enthusiasts. You’ll now find a revamped inner plate in the broad, flat heel, offering better weight distribution and flexibility. This adjustment will mostly benefit weightlifters because it should enhance their stability in squats and deadlifts.
Still, no single gym shoe can meet everyone’s needs. Dedicated lifters, for instance, might still lean more towards specialized lifting shoes despite the stability boost the Metcon 8 gets to the heel. Likewise, runners shouldn’t switch out their kicks for these shoes – or any Metcon model for that matter - and instead stick with proper running shoes. The Metcon series lacks the cushioning requisite for runs beyond a mile.
Another performance feature worthy of note is the Metcon 8’s re-engineered upper, which is now supposed to offer more breathability than previous iterations of the shoe. This difference wasn’t too obvious in my experience, but I did find the toe box a little more restrictive than previous Metcon shoes while performing more high-intensity fitness activities. Saying that this revised upper does help make the shoe feel more secure, giving a more locked-in feel across the midfoot. This is a nice touch as it feels like you’re getting more support, especially during dynamic movements.
All-in-all, I found the Metcon 8 to thrive in just about all gym settings, but especially during weightlifting and in CrossFit-style classes. You can really tell the shoe has been designed for these domains and it’s here that it truly shines.
Performance score: 4.5/5