A History of the Nike Metcon™ Shoe for CrossFit®

Earlier this week we wrote about the magical Reebok Nano CrossFit shoe and its history. Back with the second part of this four (or five) part series on CrossFit shoes, this time we’re exploring the history of the Nike Metcon.

Reebok’s first-to-market status (2011) and partnership with the CrossFit organization set Nike up as a dark horse in the race for dominance of the budding sport of fitness shoe market.

Not releasing their first official CrossFit-intended shoe until 2015, the Nike Metcon was named as an ode to the metabolic conditioning workouts brought to fame by the sport’s workouts of the day (WODs). Reebok and CrossFit quickly responded by banning the shoe or any non-Reebok gear from being word by athletes in the CrossFit Games.

This ignited the marketing genius of Nike, who released an Air Jordan 1-inspired red and black shoe with an ad campaign challenging Reebok and CrossFit: “Don’t ban our shoe. Beat our shoe.” This callback to the Air Jordan reflected on a time when the shoe was banned from the NBA but overcame the ban to eventually become a pre-eminent shoe for basketball.

Even with the ban from official CrossFit events, Nike has garnered quite the roster of sponsored athletes, including three-time champion Mat Fraser, and beloved athletes Sara Sigmundsdottir, Josh Bridges, Lauren Fisher, and Jacob Heppner.

Nike Metcon 1 CrossFit Shoe

Weight: 11.2oz

Nike Metcon 1 CrossFit Shoe@2x.jpgNike released their first Metcon to combat the growth of Reebok as the sole (pun intended) provider of footwear for CrossFit athletes and fans. Natural motion flex grooves added flexibility to the ride of the shoe, along with textured grooves in the center of the shoe for aid in rope climbing activities.

Where to Purchase: Amazon

Nike Metcon 2 CrossFit Shoe

Weight: 12.7oz

Nike Metcon 2 CrossFit Shoe@2x.jpgDoubling down on making this a prime sport-specific shoe for CrossFit, Nike introduced a zero-friction heel. The lack of resistance when rubbed against surfaces made them much more functional to athletes completing handstand push ups. The textured drop-in midsole for rope climbs returned, and a thinner, more solid heel was added for focus on olympic lifting.

Where to Purchase: Amazon

Nike Metcon 3 CrossFit Shoe

Weight: 10.3oz

Nike Metcon 3 CrossFit Shoe@2x.jpgThis was the first shoe to introduce a new texture for the arch inset rope climbing grip. Nike added a new abrasion-resistant film to the mid-foot of the shoe to add to durability and make sure it could handle any test these multi-faceted athletes could throw at it.

Where to Purchase: Amazon

Nike Metcon 4 CrossFit Shoe

Weight: 10.6oz

Nike Metcon 4 CrossFit Shoe@2x.jpgThe Metcon 4 was Nike’s effort to re-write the book on how durable a fitness shoe could be. The updated the reinforced textured print from heel to toe of the shoe, improved eyelet position and number for better lacing and fit, and added a new Flywire technology to really snug up on a foot. In celebration of Mat Fraser’s third CrossFit Games win, they also partnered for a special shoe release with a golden and black design.

Where to Purchase: Amazon

Nike Metcon 5 CrossFit Shoe

See our guide to the Nike Metcon 5 release date and details here.

Weight: TBD

Nike Metcon 5 CrossFit Shoe@2x.jpgWhile Nike hasn’t released any details yet, we do know an estimated timeline. Nike released the Metcon 2 and 3 in January of 2016 and 2017, with the Metcon 4 being released in late December of 2017. This gives us an assumed release of date late December of 2018 or early January of 2019. We’re excited to see what they come up with!

Where to Purchase: Not Yet Available

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, Facebook, and Bloomberg. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.


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