You can't deny the power of a training outfit. When I throw on my favorite exercise shorts and sports bra, I honestly feel like a professional athlete rolling up to the gym. But no empowering gym fit is complete without a stellar pair of workout shoes.
Now, this is where it gets tricky, especially for me. As a sneakerhead who absolutely loves exercise, my shoe collection is pretty vast. And while having options is always a good thing, it can make picking one pair pretty tricky. Am I feeling a pair of retro New Balances or a sleek Adidas shoe?
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But time and time again, I resort to my favorite tried and true option: a pair of Nike Metcons — and I say "a pair" because I own several. And now, I've upgraded to the eighth iteration.
Nothing makes me fearless like my Metcons, no matter how daunting the workout is. And that's because they equip me with everything (short of a barbell) I need for a solid training session. I can tackle leg days, CrossFit workouts and stepmill sessions with no problem thanks to this one pair of shoes.
Sounds like I'm promising a lot, right? After all, shoes can only get you so far. Sure, they won't do the work for you, but they definitely make the challenge a little sweeter.
A Quick Language Note
We make deliberate choices about the language we use when it comes to sex and gender. Nike, like many footwear manufacturers, markets running sneakers to women and men.
The main differences between most women's and men's shoes are width and size. In some cases, men's shoes are built to support greater weights, so people with bigger bodies may want to try men's versions, while people with smaller bodies may prefer women's versions.
Functionality and Features
Nike Metcons are among the most functional training shoes out there. Although you probably don't want to use them as long-distance running shoes, they're great for pretty much every other workout, including walking, lifting and high-intensity interval training.
While I love to rock a pair of vintage Nike Blazers for an easy upper-body workout, the Metcons are my leg day non-negotiable, thanks to the heavy-duty tread on the bottom. I never worry about losing my footing during walking lunges or slipping during box jumps.
And when I gear up for some deadlifts, the flat (but comfortable and cushioned) insole helps me feel grounded and stable. But that doesn't mean the bottoms are stiff. When I do a CrossFit-style workout, they offer plenty of flexibility for sprints and burpees. Plus, the rubberized inner arch — which I've never seen on any other shoe — gives me enough traction for rope climbs.
The breathable upper is a must-have for gym sessions on those hot summer days. I also love the little velcro strap around the laces, which helps keep my shoes tied. And while I usually go for a pair of black and white training shoes, I opted for the soft pink and cream color combination because I couldn't resist. But if you like a more understated sneaker, there are 12 color combos to choose from.
Nike Metcon 8 vs. Nike Free Metcon 4
You may also be familiar with the Nike Free Metcons, which are a little different from the Metcon 8. I have tried the Free Metcon shoe in the past and while they're not ideal for my purposes, they definitely have a big fan following, including Emily Abbate, host of Hurdle, a wellness podcast.
"The Free Metcon is a lot more flexible than the classic model," she says. "The mesh around the mid and forefoot gives the Free a more stretchy feel, and I love the Huarache-inspired strap that envelops the heel for multi-direction support."
On the other hand, I love the ultra-stable feel of the original Metcons. They don't offer as much stretch, which I prefer for my heavy weightlifting workouts. Bottom line: Each version is good for different workouts and needs, and both versions are worth a try!
Get Your Perfect Pair of Nike Metcons
I've owned several generations of Metcons, and just when I think Nike can't possibly improve on their design, I'm always impressed when a new pair comes out.
But don't take my word for it. After all, there's a reason the company keeps coming up with updated versions (we're on the eighth right now). Clearly, this shoe has a pretty big fan base.
Ready to hit your training session feeling like a full-blown athlete? Gear up with this perfect pair of workout shoes.
Buy it: Nike.com; Price: $130