Are Metcon 8 Good for Running?

The Nike Metcon line has become increasingly popular in recent years as a top cross-training shoe. With the release of the Metcon 8, runners are wondering if this latest model can also double as a running shoe for speed workouts, tempo runs, or even longer distances.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore if the Metcon 8 is a good choice for running and provide tips on how to best utilize them as running shoes based on your goals.

What are Metcon Shoes?

First, let’s quickly overview what Metcon training shoes are designed for. Metcon stands for “metabolic conditioning” and these shoes are made for high-intensity functional training workouts that often combine weightlifting, plyometrics, sprinting, and other full body movements.

Key features that make Metcons ideal cross-training shoes include:

  • Flat and stable base for lifting weights
  • Firm heel counter for stability in lateral movements
  • Enclosed mesh upper for security in high intensity plyometric moves
  • Rubber wraps up onto the toes for extra grip and protection

They are more cushioned than a typical weightlifting shoe but still quite firm compared to a running sneaker. The intention is to provide a versatile shoe that can handle constantly varied movements.

Nike Metcon 8 Key Features

Now looking specifically at the Metcon 8, what are the main updates and features Nike has included to optimize this version for cross-training?

  • Redesigned flat and wide heel for stability during heavy lifts
  • Forefoot flex grooves allow more natural flexibility for running-based exercises
  • Added cushioning under the ball of the foot for comfort in high impact moves
  • Mesh upper with rubberized print for breathability and structure
  • Hyperlift insert elevates heel for extra range of motion in squats and lunges

So how do these features specifically impact performance for running? Let’s break it down.

Are Metcon 8 Good for Running?

The Metcon 8 provides more cushioning and flexibility which makes them better suited for running-focused training compared to previous Metcon models. However, running is still not what they are optimized for.

Here are the main pros and cons of using Metcon 8 for running:


  • More cushioning than prior versions, especially in forefoot
  • Increased flexibility allows natural foot strike
  • Low-profile cushioning doesn’t alter running form
  • Durable upper and rubber outsole can withstand mileage
  • Works well for short speedwork like strides & intervals


  • Still quite firm with minimal cushioning for longer miles
  • Rigid heel counter can rub during longer runs
  • Mesh upper leads to quicker water retention when wet
  • Outsole not designed specifically for running traction
  • Overall better options designed solely for running

Best Uses for Running

While the Metcon 8 isn’t ideal for your everyday running shoe, there are certain running-focused workouts where they can be effectively utilized:

  • Short speed intervals on track or treadmill
  • Fast finishers up to 1 mile
  • Strides for running form practice
  • Hill sprint workouts
  • Running warm-ups or cool-downs paired with lifting session

The Metcon 8 shines if you do shorter runs paired with CrossFit-style training in the same session. For longer or easy paced miles, it’s still best to use a dedicated running shoe.

Tips for Running in Metcon 8

If you want to incorporate the Metcon 8 into runs focused on speed and explosive power, then follow these tips:

  1. Only Use for Short Distances
    As mentioned earlier, the Metcon 8 lacks the ample cushioning and flexible components for high mileage road running. Keep runs under 1-2 miles max in these shoes.
  2. Run on Softer Surfaces When Possible
    Trails, grass, tracks or even treadmills are gentler on your feet for mileage in Metcons compared to roads or sidewalks.
  3. Wear Running Socks for Extra Cushion
    Since Metcons have minimal cushion themselves, wearing thicker and plusher running socks helps provide more step-in softness.
  4. Loosen Laces Over Upper Midfoot
    The rigid sides and mesh upper can irritate your foot during longer runs. Try lacing looser over the midfoot for less constriction.
  5. Use a Heel Lock Lacing Technique
    Heel lock lacing prevents your foot from slipping around, avoiding blister hot spots during quick accelerations and direction changes.
  6. Pair Them With More Cushioned Recovery Shoes
    Rotate the Metcon into speed sessions but rely on proper running shoes for easier mileage to give your body a break from the firmness.

How Metcon 8 Compares to Nike Running Shoes

The Metcon 8 construction has some similarities to Nike running shoes in the lightweight foam cushioning and flexible grooves which aim to provide a smooth transition underfoot. However, even Nike’s faster racers like the Zoom Fly or Tempo Next% aren’t as rigid through the midsole and upper as a Metcon.

Plus Nike inlines dedicated airflow systems like Cushlon ST or ZoomX with a curved shape specifically engineered for running biomechanics. The result is running shoes feel much softer and natural going longer distances compared to the stable Metcon platform.

If you currently rotate between a few of Nike’s neutral running models, the Metcon 8 can certainly work as an addition for training variety. But it can’t fully replace having an actual responsive and resilient running sneaker in your lineup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you run long distance in Metcon shoes?

You can run in Metcons for short distances but they lack the cushioning and bounce needed to protect your feet over long miles. If you want to start regularly running 3+ miles, invest in a proper running shoe.

Are Metcon shoes good for HIIT workouts?

Yes, Metcon training shoes are excellent for high intensity interval circuits that combine bodyweight moves like burpees or box jumps with running or rowing. The Metcon platform remains stable laterally for exercises requiring rapid changes of direction.

Can you use Metcons casually or for lifting only?

The flat outsole and minimal drop from heel to toe make Metcons a poor choice for all day casual wear. But they work very well as a lifting shoe for squats, deadlifts and more since the rigid base provides a stable foundation for heavy weights.

Do runners need special shoes?

If you’re a regular runner or training for a race, then using shoes specifically engineered for the biomechanics of constant impact during miles is crucial both for performance and injury prevention. Key features like cushioning, flexibility and breathability make true running shoes essential.


In summary, the Nike Metcon 8 can work for short speedwork miles but lacks the cushion and shock attenuation needed for regular road running. Use the Metcon 8 strategically for certain faster sessions paired with cross-training but rely on designated running shoes for the bulk of your mileage.

With the right realistic expectations, the Metcon 8 can provide uniqueness and variety to your training without needing to be your only sneaker.

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