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The 6 Best Nike Training Shoes of 2024, Expert-Tested

Expert Reviewed By: Austin Current, CSCS, CISSN, Author and Strength Coach

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Nike Metcon 9 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Vs Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Midsole

It’s the year 2024 and I feel like Nike has a strong line-up of training shoes to choose from. When it comes to working out and training shoes, we all have our favorite brands and models that we tend to pledge loyalty to.

For my Nike friends, I wanted to put together a round-up that highlights some of my favorite Nike training shoes. There are a ton of Nike training shoes on the market and not all models are created equal.

I’m constantly fielding Nike training shoe questions on my written reviews and YouTube channel. Whether it’s deadlifting 530 lbs in the Nike Metcon 9 or doing HIIT workouts in the Nike Air Zoom TR 1, I’ve reviewed all of the latest models.

Every shoe below has been hand-tested by me, and every model has an individual written and video review to give the full breadth of what to expect with certain models. This is something most review sites and reviewers aren’t doing, and if you have questions, please ask!

My Picks for the Best Nike Training Shoes

If you’re in the market for new cross-training shoes, make sure you also check out my best cross-training shoes article. This round-up features over 15 shoes and dives into a variety of cross-training asks!

Best Nike Training Shoes for Running

When talking about the best Nike training shoes for running it’s important to note that we’re talking about “training shoes” that you can run in and these are not running shoes.

If you’re doing long-distance runs or putting in serious mileage, then I’d suggest looking into a pair of running-specific shoes because these will match your needs best.

Top Pick: Nike Free Metcon 5

  • Best For: HIIT Workouts, Light Lifting, Shorter Runs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5mm (per Nike’s support)
  • Weight: 10.05 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size.
  • Read My ReviewNike Free Metcon 5 Review

Nike Free Metcon 5

$120

Nike Free Metcon 5 Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.3
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • HIIT
  • Class Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Training
  • Short Runs (3 miles)

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting (225+ lbs)
  • For CrossFit

If you’re hitting shorter and mid-range runs, then the Nike Free Metcon 5 is worth exploring. We discussed this model being a good option for HIIT already, but this shoe can also work as a short-distance running shoe.

Me testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 comfort and fit for walking

Basically, if you’re someone who likes to tackle a couple of miles pre or post-workout, or want a training shoe that isn’t overly uncomfortable for interval-style running, the Nike Free Metcon 5 can be a decent option to explore.

The only caveat to this model for running is that if you’re training outside, I’d suggest limiting using this shoe on gravel due to the gravel getting stuck in the outsole.

Nike Free Metcon 5 Construction Review

For treadmills and concrete though, this model is pretty solid across the board, and I like that it can be used for other forms of training.

Second Pick: Nike Zoom Turbo 2 (for sprints, not longer runs)

  • Best For: Shorter and Mid-Range Runs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 9.8 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewNike Zoom Turbo 2 Review

Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2

$150

Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2
4.3
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.0

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • HIIT Workouts
  • Athletic-Style Training
  • Casual CrossFit
  • Short Speed-Focused Runs

Falls Short

  • For Rope Climbing
  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Longer Runs

The Nike Zoom Turbo 2 is making my list for running for one key reason: its performance for sprints. This model is NOT great for distances longer than 400-800 meters, but for sprints and fast intervals, they work well.

Testing the Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 for Daily Wear

If you want a Nike shoe for longer runs, then I’d suggest exploring running-focused shoes. I want to include the Zoom Turbo 2 with the Nike Free Metcon 4 to provide a little variance between trainers that work for different types of running.

For sprints, I enjoy the Nike Zoom Turbo 2’s sole construction and insole. This model’s outsole has a disassociated construction, which essentially gives this shoe a nice level of articulation and mobility so you can really drive into the forefoot.

Testing the Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 for Lateral Explosive Work

The insole in this model is built with Nike React Foam and a Zoom Air unit, which sits in the forefoot of this model. When driving into the ground for sprints, both of these features help give you a nice level of “pop” and responsiveness.

Best Nike Training Shoes for HIIT Workouts

When discussing Nike training shoes for HIIT, I’m considering three key construction aspects. First, the midsole needs to be responsive for jumping, sprints, and other bounding activities. Second, the upper needs to breathe well and be lightweight.

Lastly, the outsole needs to be highly maneuverable and accommodating for multi-directional activity. Below are two of my favorite Nike training shoes for HIIT.

Top Pick: Nike Free Metcon 5

  • Best For: HIIT Workouts, Light Lifting, Shorter Runs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5mm (per Nike’s support)
  • Weight: 10.05 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size.
  • Read My ReviewNike Free Metcon 5 Review

Nike Free Metcon 5

$120

Nike Free Metcon 5 Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.3
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • HIIT
  • Class Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Training
  • Short Runs (3 miles)

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting (225+ lbs)
  • For CrossFit

The Nike Free Metcon 5 is the fifth iteration in the Nike Free training shoe line and it’s arguably the best model to date, in my opinion. This shoe has multiple aspects going for it when supporting HIIT training.

Me testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for jump rope

This model’s midsole provides a decent level of support for lighter lifting and if you do want to use this model for lifting, then it can support loads up to 275-315 lbs in exercises like deadlifts with relative ease.

In addition to its midsole, this shoe’s outsole construction features a highly maneuverable build that gives you a nice level of “connection” with the ground. This feature gives this shoe an edge for all-around versatility in the gym.

Me Testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for gym workouts

This model’s upper has also been reworked to give it a more spacious fit compared to its predecessor which is awesome for wider feet. Lastly, the reworked tongue and bootie-style construction give this model an easier means of getting on and off.

Second Pick: Nike Air Zoom TR 1

  • Best For: HIIT Workouts and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A
  • Weight: 10.6 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewNike Air Zoom TR 1 Review

Nike Air Zoom TR 1

$130

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Product Image
4.0
Stability
3.7
Versatility
4.1
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.9

Best For

  • HIIT Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Sessions
  • Short Runs
  • Jump Rope

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Strength Work
  • For CrossFit
  • For Wide Feet

If you’re not a fan of the midsole and heel on the Free Metcon 5, then the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 can be an awesome option for HIIT workouts, too. This shoe features a Nike Air Zoom Unit that spans the entirety of its sole.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Walking

For plyometrics and multi-directional workouts, I found the Air Zoom Unit to give this shoe a nice “bounce” and “poppy” feeling. On top of this, I also find that the softer EVA midsole helps contribute to this shoe’s responsiveness.

In the context of traction, the Air Zoom TR 1’s outsole is built well and the lugs on it have good bite on different surfaces. For example, if you’re doing HIIT workouts on turf that include sleds and kettlebells you shouldn’t have slip issues in this model.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Jump Rope

I also like that you can use this shoe for lighter strength sessions. If you plan to also lift in this shoe, I’d suggest capping your loading to around 365 lbs. That’s when I started to notice some midsole compression in this shoe.

Best Nike Training Shoes for Lifting

When looking into Nike training shoes for lifting, the name of the game is stability. You’re going to want a model that can ground the foot and not compress under heavy lifts.

Since we all have different strength levels, it’s important to recognize that different Nike training shoes will have different lifting thresholds. Some models will fare better under heavy loads while others may only work up to a certain point.

Top Pick: Nike Metcon 9

  • Best For: Lifting, CrossFit, and Athletic Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 13.25 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewNike Metcon 9 Review

Nike Metcon 9

$150

Nike Metcon 9 Product Shot
4.0
Stability
4.1
Versatility
4.0
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.8

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit
  • Athletic Focused Training

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Overpronators

The Nike Metcon 9 is earning my top pick as the best Nike training shoe for lifting. This model has earned my top spot for one reason and that’s its reworked toe box and width.

Me Testing the Nike Metcon 9 for Deadlifting

Unlike the Nike Metcon 8 and the prior iterations, the Nike Metcon 9 now has a wider anatomical toe box which is great for accommodating toe splay and promoting stability when lifting.

On top of its wider toe box, the dual-density midsole should provide most lifters with enough stability to train heavy. I’ve deadlifted over 500 lbs in this shoe with no issues. The full rubber outsole is also a perk for promoting traction in different lifting contexts.

Testing the Nike Metcon 9 for Leg Day

My only complaint about the Nike Metcon 9’s stability is that I find it’s not the best for heavy unilateral work, especially for those that like having a little more medial midfoot support. I talk more about this in my full review.

Second Pick: Nike Metcon 8

  • Best For: Heavy Lifting and CrossFit
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm 
  • Weight: 12.35 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, but Toe Box Fits Slimmer
  • Read My ReviewNike Metcon 8 Review

Nike Metcon 8

$130

Nike Metcon 8 Product Shot
3.9
Stability
4.5
Versatility
3.7
Durability
3.9
Quality
4.0

Best For

  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit and CrossFit-Style Workouts
  • Lifting

Falls Short

  • For Wide Feet
  • For Running

The Nike Metcon 8 is my second pick as the Nike training shoe for lifting, however, this model could also be number one. This shoe delivers a stable construction for heavy lifts and if you’re wanting these for big squats and deadlifts, you should enjoy their overall stability.

Using the Nike Metcon 8 for Deadlifting

In the context of lifting and my testing the Metcon 8, thus far, I’ve deadlifted 555 lbs, squatted 405 lbs, and Hatfield squatted 500 lbs in this shoe, and it’s done a relatively good job across the board.

The Nike React Foam midsole gives this shoe’s forefoot a nice level of responsiveness for athletic-style training, while the Hyperlift insert in the heel helps contribute to this shoe’s stability when lifting weights.

Testing the Nike Metcon 8 for squats

For anyone wanting a Nike shoe primarily for lifting, the Nike Metcon 8 can be a great option to explore. Plus, this shoe has received a nice update to its upper and lace-lock mechanism, making it a strong cross-training shoe.

Best Nike Training Shoes for CrossFit

The best Nike training shoes for CrossFit will provide three key performance aspects, including stability, versatility, and long-term durability.

Since CrossFit is so diverse, a great CrossFit shoe will need to tackle a variety of tasks and be an “all-in-one” style of training shoe. This is also why regular training shoes don’t really work for serious CrossFit training.

Top Pick: Nike Metcon 9

  • Best For: Lifting, CrossFit, and Athletic Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 13.25 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewNike Metcon 9 Review

Nike Metcon 9

$150

Nike Metcon 9 Product Shot
4.0
Stability
4.1
Versatility
4.0
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.8

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit
  • Athletic Focused Training

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Overpronators

The Nike Metcon 9 is my top pick as the best Nike training shoe for CrossFit. This model’s upper has been rebuilt to be a little more tailored for the demands of CrossFit compared to the Metcon 8 and 9.

Testing the Nike Metcon 9 for CrossFit

The Nike Metcon 9’s upper now has two bigger rope guards on the lateral and medial sides of the midfoot and a rubber/TPU-like haptic print over the medial toe box which helps with the long-term durability of this model for abrasion resistance.

The dual-density midsole in this model also does a good job of providing good stability for heavier WODs while being versatile enough for things like box jumps and double-unders.

Me Testing the Nike Metcon 9 for running cross training

Another perk of this shoe for CrossFit is that the toe box has been widened which is awesome for lifters and athletes that have long thought the Nike Metcons run too narrow. My only complaint with this model is that it still has the clunkier Hyperlift heel construction.

Second Pick: Nike Metcon 8

  • Best For: CrossFit, Cross-Training, and Lifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 12.35 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, but Toe Box Fits Slimmer
  • Read My ReviewNike Metcon 8 Review

Nike Metcon 8

$130

Nike Metcon 8 Product Shot
3.9
Stability
4.5
Versatility
3.7
Durability
3.9
Quality
4.0

Best For

  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit and CrossFit-Style Workouts
  • Lifting

Falls Short

  • For Wide Feet
  • For Running

To be honest, I don’t think most can go wrong with the Nike Metcon 8 and Nike Metcon 9 for CrossFit. Both shoes are super comparable with their performance in the context of CrossFit.

Testing the Nike Metcon 8 for functional fitness

However, there are a couple of key differences between these shoes for CrossFit, and that’s why the Metcon 8 is taking the number one spot here. The first difference is the reworked upper in the Nike Metcon 8.

In the Nike Metcon 7, if you were going to run into durability issues, then you’d generally see them arise around the chainlink mesh upper in the toe box. This is also why I like the mesh for lifting a bit more than CrossFit because with lifting this is often not an issue due to the lack of constant abrasion you’ll encounter.

Reviewing the Nike Metcon 8 for Rope Climbs

The reworked upper in the Metcon 8’s toe box feels a bit more durable long-term for CrossFit. Additionally, this model doesn’t have the medial rubber rope guard the Metcon 7 had which was a super hit or miss feature for athletes.

Best Nike Training Shoes for Classes

For the class-focused individual, I’m looking for two key aspects, and these include versatility and breathability. Since most classes offer a wide range of activities, you’ll need a shoe that can tackle things like jumping, light lifting, and running.

Breathability is important for keeping the feet cool, and if you’re in a hot class setting, then you obviously don’t want overly hot feet that can also be prone to, you know, being smelly (I’m guilty here).

Top Pick: Nike Air Zoom TR 1

  • Best For: HIIT Workouts and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 8.90 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewNike Air Zoom TR 1 Review

Nike Air Zoom TR 1

$130

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Product Image
4.0
Stability
3.7
Versatility
4.1
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.9

Best For

  • HIIT Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Sessions
  • Short Runs
  • Jump Rope

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Strength Work
  • For CrossFit
  • For Wide Feet

If you’re taking classes regularly and that’s your main mode of fitness then it’s tough to fault the Air Zoom TR 1’s performance. This is one of the most “class-optimized” training shoes I’ve reviewed in recent years.

Using the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for HIIT

The blend of this shoe’s EVA midsole and Air Zoom Packet gives it a lot of bounce and responsiveness for all types of classes. For example, you can rip on the treadmill in Barry’s or do squat jumps in F45 and this shoe will work exceptionally well.

The full rubber outsole is another perk of this shoe for classes. As opposed to the Free Metcon 5 which does have some exposed foam on the midsole, this model’s rubber seems a bit grippier across all surfaces which is great for turf workouts.

Using the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Leg Day

If you’re in between the Air Zoom TR 1 and Free Metcon 5 and you typically bias your training toward classes over heavier strength training, then I’d opt for the Air Zoom TR 1. It’s stable enough to support lifts up to about 365 lbs as well.

Second Pick: Nike Free Metcon 5

  • Best For: HIIT Workouts, Light Lifting, Shorter Runs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5mm (per Nike’s support)
  • Weight: 10.05 oz
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size.
  • Read My ReviewNike Free Metcon 5 Review

Nike Free Metcon 5

$120

Nike Free Metcon 5 Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.3
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • HIIT
  • Class Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Training
  • Short Runs (3 miles)

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting (225+ lbs)
  • For CrossFit

If you like the casual class but primarily do weight training and casual runs, then the Nike Free Metcon 5 will be a really good option for you. This shoe has been mentioned a few times in this round-up, for good reason.

Me testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for plyometrics

This model is a good “best of all worlds” style of shoe for the person who likes doing a little bit of everything. A lot of my community members report that they like this shoe for workout classes like Barry’s and Orange Theory.

As opposed to a Nike Metcon that is a bit more limited with its versatility due to its increased stability, the Nike Free Metcon 5 does a good job at providing enough stability without taking away from its capabilities to excel in activities like classes.

Nike Free Metcon 5 Hands On Review

I also like this shoe for casual wear and walking as well. If you’re someone who wants a shoe for HIIT, classes, some strength training, and walking or running errands the Nike Free Metcon 5 can be a great pick.

Best Nike Shoes for Olympic Weightlifting

Nike has been well-known for their weightlifting shoes for quite some time, however, they haven’t produced a newer model in multiple years.

Top Pick: Nike Romaleos 4

  • Heel Height: 20mm (.75″)
  • Weight: 20.1 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, runs narrow though.
  • Read My ReviewNike Romaleos 4 Review
  • Nike Romaleos 4

    $200

    nike romaleos 4
    4.4
    Stability
    4.8
    Durability
    4.3
    Quality
    4.4

    Best For

    • Weightlifting (Snatch and Clean & Jerk)
    • Squats
    • Exercises Where a Heel Wedge Is Desired

    Falls Short

    • For Wider Footed Athletes
    • For Cost-Efficiency

The Nike Romaleos 4 is my top pick in the context of looking for Nike shoes built for weightlifting. This model has been used for years by top athletes and it’s been a consistent performer in my weightlifting shoe rotation.

Nike Romaleos 4 for squatting

This shoe features a TPU midsole that does a good job of limiting compression when hitting heavy squats, cleans, and snatches. For example, I’ve squatted over 400 lbs in this shoe with no compression issues whatsoever.

Outside of its ability to be stable under heavy weight, I also like the Romaleos 4 midfoot security. This shoe features dual straps that lock the foot down well, especially during power exercises like clean & jerks and snatches.

nike romaleos 4 performance and price

The upper has also proved to be durable over longer durations of time. I’ve had my pair of Romaleos 4s for two years now and they’ve held up well throughout multiple squat and weightlifting workouts. If you take good care of them, they’re a good investment.

How I Test and Review Nike Training Shoes

When testing and reviewing Nike shoes designed for training, I put them through a battery of tests. Additionally, since Nike is a larger and more established company, I try to hold them to a high standard regarding the performance of their shoes.

I want to ensure that you’re going to get a quality product for the amount you’re paying since Nike has the means to put their shoes through rigorous tests. For my Nike training shoe tests, I have three core performance criteria that I assess and look at.

Nike Metcon 9 Vs Nike Metcon 8

  • Stability: Stability tests revolve around a shoe’s ability to support different loads when lifting and how they promote balance when doing different activities. For example, can you squat heavy in a shoe and do plyometrics without performance dipping?
  • Versatility: Versatility-focused tests revolve around a shoe’s range. How well does a shoe perform in different settings? Can it work for functional fitness, a workout class, or recreational lifting? Where does the shoe’s versatility fall off?
  • Durability: Durability tests revolve around how a shoe’s midsole, outsole, and upper hold up during my stability and versatility-focused workouts.

Every training shoe that I review and include in lists goes through rigorous tests and I’m always happy to answer additional questions you might have on a shoe’s performance. Always feel free to reach out if you have performance-related questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
What are the best Nike training shoes for CrossFit?

A:
The Nike Metcon 7 and Nike Metcon 8 both excel for CrossFit. These models provide a nice level of stability for heavy lifting and durability for things like rope climbs and burpees.

Q:
Can you run in Nike training shoes?

A:
You can run short distances in some Nike training shoes. For example, the Nike Free Metcon 4 and Nike SuperRep Go training shoes work for a couple of miles, but you'll want to pass on running in more stable Nike trainers like the Nike Metcon 8.

Takeaway Thoughts

Every year, Nike comes out with multiple new training shoes, and I think it’s crucial to recognize how you like to train when selecting your perfect shoe.

If we can better understand what types of construction features are needed for our preferred style of training, then we can better select models to help us perform our best.

If you have any questions about the Nike training shoes featured in this article, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

2 thoughts on “The 6 Best Nike Training Shoes of 2024, Expert-Tested”

  1. Would really love it if you could provide more suggestions for “Best Nike Training Shoes under 100$”, since the 2 pairs which are listed in 2022 rankings, namely “Renew Retaliation 4” & “MC Trainer 2” respectively, both of them according to you in their individual review video as well as in the 2022 compilation video, are/could potentially be problematic for those having wider foot and are suitable mainly to those with narrow feet only.

    1. I’m not sure if I can think of a Nike model that costs less than $100 USD that has a good width to them. Plus, those are the most up to date models for those product lines so they have 2022/2023 carryover 🙂

      Are you open to exploring UA or Reebok? They have some wider options for less than $100!

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