The Nike Metcon 3 and Metcon 4 are two of the best cross training shoes available today. With the recent release of the Metcon 5, many people want to know how these shoes have evolved in the past. To that end, we’ve put together a guide to each of the shoes so you can decide which is better for you.
|#1. Metcon 4|
Our Best Pick
|#2. Metcon 3|
#1. Nike Metcon 3
The Nike Metcon 3 is the third version of the original Nike Metcon, and it boasts multiple improvements over the original design. Since the most recent iteration on the market now is the Metcon 5, the Metcon 3 can be considered the comfortable middle of the design evolution.
The purpose of the Metcon 3 is to help with cross training. This is a highly versatile shoe that’s optimized for both weightlifting and cross training. Many weightlifting shoes aren’t good for any other types of exercise or fitness training, but that’s not a problem with this particular offering.
Despite the deceptively simple appearance, the Metcon 3 has been engineered top-to-bottom with technological advancements. The fit is comfortable, the design is stable enough to ground you during tough exercise, and the overall feel is breathable.
For all of these reasons, the Metcon 3 is one of the most popular shoe picks for weightlifters and CrossFitters.
The Metcon 3 boasts a number of different strengths that set it apart from the competition. Some of these include:
- Sleek and attractive designs
- Heightened stability
- Good traction and grippy sole
- Comfortable fit
- Responsive to a shifting gait
- True to size
There have been some potential weaknesses and design flaws reported by testers and experts:
- Can cause heel slippage
- Fit isn’t secure enough for comfortable walking or running
- Cushioning is too rigid to offer comfort when you’re doing long distance training
All About the Shoe
The Metcon 3 is designed with a highly grippy outsole made of rubber. The flex grooves at the forefoot allow for greater flexibility, while the flat heel allows for greater stability. The outsole has multiple reinforcements to improve the durability, so the shoe will last through significant use and time. Overall, the outsole is successful at providing the stability and traction that cross trainers are looking for.
The midsole of the shoe isn’t as thoroughly designed. These are shoes made for planting your feet, rather than for running. Though they’re a little better to walk and run in than the Metcon 2, they aren’t ideal when you’re doing cardio fitness workouts. With that said, the design does increase the stability during weightlifting. There’s a heel clip that increases lateral stability and allows extra inner grip.
The rigid cushioning is good when you’re standing still and shifting your weight. But it isn’t good when you’re running or engaging in other high-impact fitness. The shoes aren’t comfortable enough, and they might contribute to potential knee or hip injuries from high impacts.
The upper of the shoe uses Flywire technology to conform to the foot. There’s breathable mesh that allows fresh air to flow over the foot with each step. The material is more durable than in previous iterations, preventing early wearing down. In addition, the upper tends to be soft and flexible for maximum comfort and versatility.
Since the Metcon 3 is designed for maximum stability and support, it’s a heavy shoe. It’s not the kind of shoe you’d want for running, as walking and jogging will fatigue you quickly.
#2. Metcon 4 Upgrades
The Metcon 4 is the next update after the Metcon 3. It seeks to improve the shoe’s overall design while keeping the same elements that make the design a winner.
Like the Metcon 3, this is a design that’s best for cross training and weightlifting, and it’s not great for high impact cardio fitness.
Many of the strengths are the same as with the shoe’s predecessor, with a few additional subtle tweaks:
- Many available designs and patterns
- Breathable and lighter weight than the predecessor
- Designed specifically for weightlifting and CrossFit
- Increased stability
- Increased help with posture
- Sturdy and comfortable support
Unfortunately, the design isn’t perfect. Some of the design flaws from the Metcon 3 have also carried over into the Metcon 4:
- Heel still doesn’t have enough slippage support
- Not cushioned enough for prolonged use
- Fit runs a little narrow
These are the biggest things that are different about the Metcon 4’s construction:
- Upper has two mesh layers instead of one
- More breathable and flexible
- New haptic technology increases durability to reduce wear
- New, more stable lacing system
- Lighter weight, but still on the heavy side
- Narrower fit than previous models
- Much greater range of colors and styles to choose from
All of these are subtle improvements. If you engage in long workouts, the increased breathability is a great feature.
The Nike Metcon 3 and Metcon 4 are both highly versatile shoes that can see you through a lot of cross training and weightlifting. Neither of the designs will double well as running shoes, though.
If you want the subtle improvements of the Metcon 4, the price is well worth it. There are also significantly more colors and styles available for the Metcon 4. The Metcon 3 shoes will also serve you well if you’re on a tight budget, though.