Are Nike Metcons Good for Running?

Nike Metcon shoes have become hugely popular in recent years, especially among people who do high-intensity functional training workouts. With their flat, stable platform and durability, Metcons provide excellent support for lifts like squats, deadlifts, and Olympic movements.

However, given that they’re built as a versatile cross-training shoe, many wonder if Metcons can also work for running. Let’s take an in-depth look at how these shoes perform for running and who they might work well for.

What Are Nike Metcon Shoes Designed For?

Nike Metcon shoes are classified by Nike as a “training shoe.” They were originally designed with high-intensity functional training (HIFT) workouts in mind – think CrossFit, bootcamps, HIIT training, strength training, etc.

Key design elements that make them good for these activities include:

  • Flat, stable platform for lifting weights and power moves
  • Firm heel counter for stability in lateral movements
  • Durability to withstand high-impact environments like box jumps
  • Grippy rubber sole for traction during rope climbs, sled pushes, etc.
  • Lightweight for speed and agility obstacle course maneuvers

Running isn’t their primary design focus, but they include some cushioning for comfortable wear during short metabolic conditioning runs or sprints between sets. The drop is usually low (4-6mm) since a flatter platform helps grounding during lifts.

How Do Nike Metcons Perform For Running?

When taken running, most athletes find that Nike Metcons feel quite firm and rigid underfoot. The cushioning is on the thinner side to stabilize heavy lifts and the mesh upper doesn’t flex as freely as pure running shoes. The trade-off is excellent stability which feels very flat and planted during multi-direction exercises.

The result is a shoe that offers impact protection for shorter runs, but may cause some joint discomfort on longer distances or recovery runs due to increased ground-feel. The stability-focused design also leads to a shoe that isn’t very propulsive – runners will need to work harder compared to bouncier, flexible performance trainers or dedicated running sneakers.

Many wearers use Metcons for short warm-up jogs, agility ladder drills, suicide sprints, or conditioning runs under 2-3 miles. The shoes provide security for fast lateral movements and change-of-direction thanks to the grippy sole and stable platform.

However, for longer road running, trail running, or easy jogs, most opt for a second shoe with more cushioning and bounce. Running shoes provide extra shock attenuation for injury prevention over hundreds of footstrikes on longer distances.

What Runners Might Like The Metcon for Running?

While the Metcon isn’t ideal as a core running shoe, some runners may appreciate them for certain use cases:

  • Sprinters or Cross Country Athletes Looking to Improve Power – The stable base and secure lockdown make Metcons great for developing running power and acceleration for short sprint work. Think 100m, 200m or 400m repeats on the track.
  • Obstacle Course Racers or Trail Runners Wanting Better Traction – The “tri-star” rubber outsole pattern equips Metcons with excellent grip capabilities for muddy, uneven terrain often faced in OCR and rugged trail running.
  • Marathon or Ultra Runners Seeking Light Shoes – Since they’re designed for HIIT-style workouts, Metcons tend to be lighter than bulkier road running shoes which can appeal to runners trying to go faster or further. Just know the trade-off is less cushioning.
  • Cross Training Enthusiasts Who Want One Shoe for the Gym and Road – If your training is split between weights, HIIT classes and the occasional 5K run, the Metcon can pull double duty fairly well. For hardcore runners training for long distances, a second shoe is still advised.

Tips for Running in Metcons

If you want to take your Metcons running, either for sprint work, outdoor terrain runs or just around the neighborhood, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Scale Back Mileage Gradually – Let your body adjust to the firmer, flatter ride by starting with short runs before building distance. This helps prevent injury risk.
  2. Focus on Form – Land lightly with a quicker cadence around 170-180 steps per minute. Avoid over-striding with a heavy heel strike which can be harsh in Metcons.
  3. Softer Surfaces Are Best – Trails, tracks or softer ground is easier on your joints than continuous hard concrete in Metcons due to the reduced cushioning.
  4. Consider Orthotic Inserts – Adding a cushioned insert can provide extra comfort if running longer than 2 miles consistently.
  5. Replace Metcons More Often – The EVA midsole will compress faster than running shoes, replacing them around 300-500 miles is ideal.

The Bottom Line

The Nike Metcon is an extremely versatile training shoe built for high-intensity gym sessions. It can work for short runs and interval workouts due to decent midsole cushioning, but lacks the plushness and flexibility found in dedicated running sneakers.

Using the Metcon exclusively for regular road running or long distances isn’t ideal and may increase injury likelihood for some. Adding a second shoe designed specifically for running is recommended for most athletes.

That said, the unique traction, stability and light weight of the Metcon can appeal to certain runners like obstacle course racers, track athletes, or CrossFitters looking to do the occasional run without switching shoes.


Can I use my Nike Metcons for marathon training?

It’s not recommended to use Metcons as your sole marathon training shoe due to the lack of cushioning for high running mileage. A dedicated road running shoe with enhanced shock attenuation in the midsole would be a far better choice for staying protected on long runs. That said, Metcons would be fine for short tempo runs or speed work integrated into a marathon plan.

Are Metcons decent shoes for treadmill running?

Yes, the stable platform and grippy sole of Metcons perform well on treadmills. The cushioning can feel quite firm for longer efforts, but they’d be perfectly fine for interval running, sprints or short steady state runs on a treadmill.

Could Metcons work as nursing shoes for standing all day and occasional walking?

The Metcon would not be our top pick as a nursing shoe primarily due to the flat insole and thinner cushioning compared to shoes designed specifically for healthcare environments.

While the Metcon is quite comfortable for standing in during your shift, nurses often rack up miles of walking over cement floors during a shift which calls for extra shock absorption Metcons may lack.

Are Nike Metcons good for HIIT workouts?

Yes! Nike Metcons were actually designed with high intensity functional training programs in mind. The stable frame supports multi-direction exercises like jumps and agility drills while the grippy sole sticks to indoor turf or rubber gym floors well even when wet with sweat.

The athetic build and materials also withstands rugged use in bootcamp-style classes. They’re one of the most popular HIIT workout shoes on the market.

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