Sometimes, you don’t mess with success. And Nike knows it too.
Last year, Nike released the Metcon 5, an ultra-well-rounded training shoe that was my favorite training shoe from Nike to date. It delivered everything I needed in a training shoe, from a super-stable platform for squatting, deadlifting, and cleaning to just enough flexibility in the mid- and forefoot areas to allow me to sprint and box jump solidly. Little flourishes helped me perform in other areas, delivering a grippy rope climbing experience, and the tight fit I need to add just a bit of cutting and change-of-direction work into my workouts. It quickly became my go-to sneaker for every non-running workout.
So how does Nike follow all of that? Answer: With the Nike Metcon 6, a sneaker that builds on last year’s design in only the smartest of ways. That means subtle changes, not massive ones. But the end result is a superior training sneaker—and my new favorite training shoe to date.
The Metcon 6 Breathes Better
If there was an issue with last year’s Metcon, it was a breathability story. This is something I’ve realized throughout the early summer. Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve been training at home since March—often outside. And around May and June, when it started getting sweltering outside, my feet certainly felt that sweltering.
I’d head out for a leg workout in my Metcon 5s, and in a matter of minutes, I’d feel my feet overheating. I actually loved last year’s Metcon aesthetic, with the 3D haptic print, but it left little room for air to reach my feet. Since the Metcon 6s arrived, that problem’s been completely eliminated.
The Metcon 6 features an upper filled with tiny holes and perforations, never large enough to compromise fit and lockdown, yet big enough that they’re obviously visible. These play a key role in keeping you cool, leaving plenty of room for air to vent. Since donning the Metcon 6s, I’ve noticed a tremendous difference. Every few sets in the Metcon 5s, in the heat of summer, I’d take off my shoes briefly, or unlace them to “breathe.” I have yet to do that in the Metcon 6s.
The Exterior Feels Louder
Nike also delivers a splash of color onto the Metcon 6s. I actually loved the muted, two-tone look of last year’s Metcons; something about them felt perfectly no-nonsense, perfect for a serious, focused workout.
But that doesn’t keep Nike from being bolder this year. So the Nike check stands out in a lemon-ish green this year, and there’s a bright camo vibe to the entire package. Nothing about these sneakers feels subtle, which is probably why nearly every time I don them on Instagram, I get a DM or comment about the look.
As much as I liked last year’s look, I love this feel more. It’s fun to wear loud, statement training sneakers, and these are exactly that. They’ll draw a bit of attention. The downside is these Metcons are a bit harder to match. Last year’s most-black colorway fit with nearly every training ensemble known to man. This year, that’s no longer the case.
Lifting and Running Both Thrive
Nike doesn’t change much of the core experience, even returning last year’s excellent heel wedges. That’s quickly made this my go-to sneaker for my front squat and deadlift workouts. You get a solid, stable platform for all these lifts. The gum sole color is also super-underrated and will aid you if you take a lot of your own training videos. Last year, if my heel started elevating off the ground as I did a squat, the shoe was so similarly colored to most gym surfaces I didn’t notice. Now, I can tell when my squat form is shaky and my back heel is lifting off the ground.
There’s a great sense of contact with the ground in the Metcon 6s, and this aids you in every single lift, from bench presses to rows. Your whole foot feels grounded with intent, allowing you to better focus on maintaining a tight core and squeezing your glutes on movements where you might forget.
The forefoot flexibility comes in handy though, and not just during runs. Exercises like sissy squats and heel-elevated squats, where the forefoot and midfoot portions of the shoe must bend, feel perfect, never restricted by the footwear. Nike delivers a unique combination of mobility and stability in its shoe, and you’ll love it.
This quality also translates to runs in the Metcon 6. This still isn’t going to be your main running training shoe—and it’s really not meant for that. But when I’ve done alternating EMOMs of, say, 20 kettlebell swings and a 100-meter dash on an Assault Fitness treadmill, the Metcon 6s hold up just fine, and they give me enough freedom of movement for me to pick up speed.
It all adds up to Nike’s best training shoe yet, and the best training shoe on the market. Nike knew better than to mess with success this year.
It just kept building on that success in smart ways.
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