Nike’s marketing pitch: Refined stability and durability for serious strength training.
Upper: Perforated mesh, hook-and-loop strap, Flyease heel clip.
Midsole: React foam, TPU Hyperlift heel, rubber wrap for rope climbs.
Outsole: Carbon rubber.
Weight: 401 gms/ 14.1 Oz for a half pair of Men's US 10/UK 9/EUR 44/CM 27.1.
Widths available: D - regular (reviewed).
The Metcon 5 was an interesting shoe, or dare we say, an insole.
Because without its unique insole, the Metcon 5 was just another training shoe that would have been lost in the ever-churning sea of mesh, foam, and rubber. If you haven’t read our review yet, here’s where you can find it.
Sure, there were other features like the wrapped midsole (for rope climbs) and a TPU heel stabilizer, but the removable insole was the highlight of the last two Metcon versions.
The Metcon 5 and 6 featured a special insole with firm and soft zones. The forefoot had a softer durometer, whereas the rearfoot was noticeably firmer. Nike also supplied a separate heel raiser called the Hyperlift for moving the center of gravity forward during strength-training sessions.
In retrospect, it was a slightly complicated setup, but one that worked. Since both the Metcon 5 and 6 shared the same chassis, their behavior on the gym floor was identical.
The Metcon 7 is a vastly improved model, and well worth the upgrade.
It replaces the insole-based form factor with a midsole-focused design, and has several other features that make it more versatile than the previous model.
We’re reviewing the Flyease variant of the Metcon because it’s more fun.
Instead of the standard Metcon with the laced entry, the Flyease upper has a wide hook-and-loop closure along with a heel clip that makes slipping into the shoe much easier.
(Related read: The best Nike training shoes for the gym.)
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE NIKE METCON 7 AND METCON 6
The midfoot rubber wrap was the visual calling card of the Metcon 6, and the 7 has that as well.
But the design has evolved; it now covers a wider part of the upper for better protection and coverage during rope climbs.
The insides are a completely different story. The Metcon 7 substitutes the thick insole and foam Hyperlift pad with a React foam midsole and hard TPU Hyperlift under the heel. The forefoot gets a few flex grooves, and the insole is a regular kind.
These updates make the Metcon 7 a firmer shoe with noticeable improvement in stability. The TPU Hyperlift delivers better performance during lifting sessions, and the increased flexibility makes the midsole more versatile for short treadmill runs and plyometrics.
Since the Metcon 6 was not sold in a Flyease edition, it makes sense to compare the uppers of only the standard versions.
Unlike the Flyease model, the regular Metcon 7’s lacing is connected to loops (Flywire) to make the cinching more secure, and there’s a ‘lace tab’ on the tongue to secure the laces. Even in this era of high inflation, the retail price stays constant at $130.
THE SOLE MATERIAL AND TECHNOLOGY
If you were expecting to find a thick insole inside the Metcon 7, you’ll be disappointed.
There’s a removable molded sockliner over a fabric lasting, but it’s a regular kind instead of what the Metcon 5 and 6 had. The fabric lasting has a very thin layer of padding, but its contribution to the overall cushioning is negligible.
By the way, Durapontex is an EVA foam made by Dah Sheng Chemicals – a Taiwanese company known for supplying cushioning materials. New Balance and Skechers also use Durapontex insoles for some of their products.
This time, nearly all the cushioning is outside the Metcon – and by that, we mean the React foam midsole.
However, this change doesn’t increase the cushioning softness.
The Metcon 7 is firmer than the V6. While surprising at first, it does make sense. The thicker insole of the previous models placed a lot of cushy softness right under the foot, whereas here, it’s just an ordinary insole.
Also, not 100% of the rear React midsole is involved in the cushioning delivery.
Unlike the forefoot, the rear sidewalls are much higher than the insole line, so there’s only a thin layer of React directly under the heel.
That being said, the Metcon 7 acquires newfound flexibility. The Metcon 5 and 6 had a ‘cupsole’ midsole without deep flex grooves under the forefoot; the V7 does not.
Having a proper foam midsole with deep channels has a positive influence on flexibility.
The redesigned model also has a brand new component under the heel that was absent on the previous models.
The ‘Hyperlift’ is no longer made of foam, but of a solid plastic that’s likely TPU. There’s another stiff wedge above it, separating the soft React foam from Hyperlift. This is new for the Metcon, but is commonly found in weightlifting shoes.
In a way, the Metcon Hyperlift is a diluted version of shoes like the Romaleos 4 and Savaleos.
This makes the rearfoot stiff and very stable; the cupped midsole design also helps. It’s also worth mentioning that the outsole has a fair bit of negative space under the heel, and that also helps center the weight.
The rest of the outsole surface is flat and broad from the heel to the midfoot to maximize the contact area.
The outsole also forms a part of the upper; the ribbed rubber wraps the midfoot to make the Metcon durable enough for J-hooks during rope climbs. The stiff midsole also prevents the foot from being squeezed during climbs.
Overall performance summary: Weight training, Elliptical trainer, stationary bikes, treadmill
During lifting sessions, the Metcon 7 is far superior to the 5 and 6 – thanks to the stiff Hyperlift heel design. The green TPU insert does not compress at all, and is capable of withstanding 275 lbs /125 kg of squats and deadlifts. The flat outsole grips well for a planted foundation on the gym floor.
While its performance can be extended beyond that weight range, we recommend products like the Romaleos for serious powerlifting instead.
The React foam midsole does not interfere with the stability, because it’s just a thin layer on top. There’s another TPU wedge that wraps around the heel for added stability. For most strength-training workouts, the Metcon 7 has all the stability that one needs.
The wide and flat outsole geometry is a near-perfect fit for elliptical and rowing machines. The wide footprint offers optimal traction and power transfer to the pedals. The same goes for stationary bikes as well.
On the treadmill, the Metcon 7 feels clunky. Even though the forefoot is more flexible than the Metcon 6, the stiff rearfoot makes running on the treadmill a struggle.
The Metcon prioritizes strength-training capabilities over everything else, and that reflects in the design.
If you’re looking for a Nike training shoe with greater versatility, this buyer’s guide should help.
Compound exercises: Squats variations, Deadlifts, Kettlebell swings, push-jerks
We’re glad that Nike replaced the foam insole of the Metcon 6 with the ultra-stiff Hyperlift.
This added stability vastly improves the shoe’s performance during squats and deadlifts. The midsole has some cushioning, but in just the right quantity. The foot doesn’t need to compensate for the shoe; the Metcon does all the heavy lifting.
The wide base and stiff components result in rock-solid stability during lifting; there’s no nervous side-to-side compression that usually occurs on softer shoes. The herringbone geometry of the rubber outsole also keeps the foot planted.
While we don’t know what the heel-to-toe offset is, we’re guessing it’s in the vicinity of 10-12 mm – high enough to add a safe level of forward bias for squats and deadlifts. This includes squat cleans and push-jerks as well – the foot stays supported during the weight transfer process.
The same stability is useful during kettlebell swings too. The heel lift adds a forward bias, while the wide and supportive outsole keeps the foot planted when in motion.
Plyometric training: Box jumps, regular jumps, and burpees
The Metcon 7 is marginally better at jumps than the previous model. The flexible forefoot, thin outsole, and fabric lasting help achieve a better power transfer to the ground. All this helps make it a better jumping shoe, but only in a relative sense.
The bulky design struggles during box jumps. Here, a lighter training shoe will deliver superior performance. The same is true for burpees as well. Even though the Metcon 7’s forefoot is partially flexible, the rest of the outsole isn’t. Sure, the Metcon 7 works for weighted lunges – the flexible forefoot and rigid mid to rearfoot are perfect for that.
However, burpees require a shoe with a higher level of flexibility, and that’s where the Metcon falters.
IS THE NIKE METCON 7 DURABLE?
Unlike running shoes, you’re not going to putting a lot of miles. However, the shoe needs to be durable because of the friction, compression, and shear-inducing movements that occur on the gym floor.
Rope climbs aren’t kind on shoes on mesh uppers, and here’s where the rubber over-wrap comes into play. Though the outsole wraps both sides of the upper, the inner side is more durable due to the thick urethane panel.
Most of the stack under the heel is not React foam, but stiff layers of molded TPU that compress very little, if at all. The upper, though mesh, is reinforced with a fused bumper and outsole lip.
THE UPPER DESIGN AND FIT
The Metcon 7 has a true-to-size fit with a snug forefoot fit. Optional widths aren’t available, so wear a thin pair of training socks for best results.
While both the Flyease and lace-up variants have a secure midfoot fit, there are a couple of noteworthy differences. On the laced-up version, the laces connect to the Flywire cords and speed loops to create an evenly-distributed cinching pressure.
On the other hand, most of the snugness on the Flyease upper is experienced in the center, because that’s where the Velcro strap is. Both the models have an interior gusset that holds the tongue in place.
There are clever design touches like the molded pull strap that doesn’t slip between the fingers. The end of the strap isn’t covered with Velcro hooks, thus allowing the index finger and thumb to create a strong grip.
We would have preferred more levels of fit adjustment on the Flyease version. This is easily achieved by making the strap longer and lowering the position (around 10 mm) of the D-ring on the outer side. This would have increased the Velcro coverage as well.
The heel grip is better on the lace-up model. Unlike the Flyease upper that integrates a TPU entry-assistance clip, the standard Metcon uses a traditional heel with padding.
The Flyease heel doesn’t slip when standing; it’s only during lunges that the heel fit is found wanting.
Nonetheless, we prefer the Flyease upper by far. The wide hook-and-loop strap makes wearing the Metcon very easy, and the collapsible heel clip acts as a spring. This action dispenses the need to use a finger to slip into the shoe.
The large pores on the mesh makes the interiors fairly breathable, despite strap-covered upper.
All that one needs to do is to loosen the Velcro, and then step on the clip. The Achilles heel has a slight outwards flare for ease of entry.
PROS AND CONS
As long as the expectations are managed, there’re no flaws in the Metcon 7 Flyease per se.
It does what it’s supposed to do – which is to be a stable training shoe for weight-training workouts. The midfoot overwrap also makes it friendly for rope-climbing sessions. The Flyease version is a fun shoe, thanks to its unique heel entry system and easy-to-use strap closure.
However, the same qualities that make the Met-7 an excellent lifting shoe also rob it of versatility. The stiff build doesn’t work very well on the treadmill or when performing burpees.
The heel fit struggles a bit when lunging, and we wish the closure strap were longer to allow better fit tuning.
NIKE ALTERNATIVES TO THE METCON 7
So if the Met-7 is not the one training shoe to do it all, what are the alternatives? We recently published a buyer’s guide on this subject, but here’s a quick recap.
The $60 less expensive Nike MC Trainer is more versatile than the Metcon 7 due to its flexible midsole. It’s supportive enough for lifting, and nimble enough for runs, burpees, and general plyometrics.
If the end goal is to spend less time doing heavy lifting and more time engaging in plyometrics and runs, then it’s hard to go wrong with the $65 Flex Control 4. This lightweight shoe has the level of support and flexibility that works for weight training, calisthenics, and plyometric routines.