Skip to content
Home » Cross Training Shoes

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 | Which Is Better?

That Fit Friend is supported by its readers. I [Jake Boly] run this site myself and buy the gear I review. If you purchase through my site, I may earn commissions on sales, read more here!

The Nike Free Metcon 4 versus Nike Free Metcon 5 has been a topic of discussion in comment sections on my YouTube channel. Both of these Nike training shoes deliver similar performances but with some key construction differences.

If you’re in the market for really good HIIT shoes, then you’ve likely considered the Nike Free Metcon 4 versus the 5, and you might also be wondering if you should go with the older model and save money or buy the new model.

In this Nike Free Metcon 4 versus Nike Free Metcon 5 comparison, I’ll cover the key construction and performance details to know between these shoes.

The Nike Free Metcon 4 and Free Metcon 5 deliver eerily similar performances. If you have narrower feet and want to save money go for the Nike Free Metcon 4. For those that want a little more upper volume, opt for the Nike Free Metcon 5.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Considerations

Consideration 1

One of the big differences between the Free Metcon 4 and Free Metcon 5 is how each of these shoes fits. For most, I’d suggest the option for the model that aligns best with your foot anatomy.

Consideration 2

Both of these shoes work really great for HIIT and class-style workouts, short runs under 2-3 miles, and light to moderate strength sessions where you’ll be using loads that are around 275 lbs or below.

Consideration 3

In the context of daily wear use, I find the Nike Free Metcon 5 to deliver a more comfortable fit regarding its volume and its upper is a little more breathable.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Performance

To test and compare my experiences with the Nike Free Metcon 4 and Nike Free Metcon 5, I put these shoes through a wide range of training tests. I’ll discuss their performances for lifting, versatile training, short runs, and daily wear.

One of the nice things about these shoes — depending on how you see it — is their midsole and outsoles remain relatively consistent so they’ll each have similar performances and I’ll discuss this below.

Comparing the Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs the 5 for Lifting

In the context of lifting, I enjoy the Nike Free Metcon and Nike Free Metcon 5 for the most part. I think the biggest thing to keep in mind when lifting in these shoes is that they’ll have some limitations.

To elaborate on this, these shoes are designed for versatile training so their Nike Free midsoles won’t be the best for heavier barbell and machine strength sessions. With squats and deadlifts, I’d suggest keeping your loads to about 275 lbs or lower.

Me Testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for strength work

When squatting in these shoes, I noticed that the midsole would compress as I worked closer towards 315 lbs, and with more dynamic lifting like cleans I noticed the midsole starting to compress and give away around 225 lbs.

If you’re wanting one of these models for dumbbell, kettlebell, and lighter barbell training, then I think you should be set in them. There more than stable enough for beginners and individuals wanting a shoe for more casual weekly lifting.

Testing the Nike Free Metcon 4 for Weight Training

I also see these shoes being good for lifting sessions where you’re focused on moving lighter weights at high velocities and when your goal revolves around power production. For athletes, these could be good shoes to explore.

The Winner: Both of these shoes will be similar regarding their stability for weight training. If you’re wanting a little more upper volume for a more comfortable toe box fit, opt for the Free Metcon 5.

Nike Free Metcon 5 Product Shot

Nike Free Metcon 5

Pros: Breathable, Versatile
Cons: Not Great for Heavy Lifting
Size/Fit: True to Size/Neutral Width
Offset: 5mm
Lifting Threshold: ~275 lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 miles
Price: $120
TF2 Rating: 4.5
Nike Free Metcon 4 (1)

Nike Free Metcon 4

Pros: Versatile, Lightweight
Cons: Narrow Fit
Size/Fit: True to Size/Narrow Width
Offset: 5mm
Lifting Threshold: ~275 lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 Miles
TF2 Rating: 4.4

Comparing the Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs the 5 for Versatile Training

When it comes to versatile training including things like HIIT, classes, and athletic-style sessions, that’s where the Free Metcon 4 and 5 are going to excel. For my versatile tests in these shoes, I did a lot of box jumps, jump rope, and plyometrics.

The Nike Free midsole in both of these shoes gives them a flexible fit and feel especially through the toe box. For jump rope, both of these models feel responsive and comfortable to wear for longer jump-focused workouts.

testing the nike free metcon 4 for versatile training and plyometrics

I also like that the heel is a little flatter on both of these shoes because it provides a nice wide base for establishing balance when doing unilateral exercises and lateral training. Overall, both of these models feel consistent for versatile training.

If I had to pick a singular winner between these two shoes for versatile training, I’d go with the Nike Free Metcon 5. The reworked upper in this shoe gives them a more spacious fit and the mesh through the toe box has good breathability.

Me testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for jump rope

The Free Metcon 4 can feet narrow at times and its bootie-style construction made it difficult to get on which was annoying for high-volume and thicker feet. In the Nike Free Metcon 5, both of these problems have been fixed so it works with a wider range of feet.

Winner: The Nike Free Metcon 5 is taking my pick for versatile training because it fits my neutral-width/wider foot a lot better. If you don’t have narrow feet, then I think you’ll also resonate with this shoe’s fit and feel for versatile training.

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

Comparing the Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs the 5 for Short Runs and Walking

For short runs, you can also expect a similar performance from the Nike Free Metcon 4 and Free Metcon 5. I like using both of these shoes for s a couple of warm-up and cooldown miles following my training sessions.

I think if you’re someone that wants a shoe for runs under 3-miles, tempo runs, and sprints, then you’ll enjoy how the Free Metcon 4 and Free Metcon 5 perform. For long runs, I’d suggest passing on these shoes as they can get uncomfortable at longer mileage.

nike free metcon 4 performance review

Another thing to keep an eye on with these when it comes to running is their outsole durability and the surfaces you’re running on. These shoes can pick up rocks when outside which is annoying at times and they both have exposed foam at the midfoot which can break down from excessive concrete friction.

For walking and daily wear, I like both of these shoes for the most part, but the Free Metcon 5 is taking the win for me. This shoe’s more spacious upper gives them a much more relaxed fit when wearing them looser and walking all day.

Me testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for conditioning workouts

To add context here, I recently brought the Nike Free Metcon 5 with me to a wedding in Puerto Vallarta and I was impressed at how comfortable this shoe was when walking 5+ miles around the city one day.

Winner: Nike Free Metcon 5 because its upper is a little more comfortable. For narrow feet, the Nike Free Metcon 5 will likely do a really good job for your needs as well.

Nike Free Metcon 4

Nike Free Metcon 4 (1)
4.4
Stability
4.1
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.4

Best For

  • HIIT Workouts
  • Classes
  • Light Lifting
  • Shorter Runs

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Training
  • For Fitting Wide Feet

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Construction

To break down the construction differences between the Nike Free Metcon 4 and 5, I’ll discuss different parts of these shoes and how they compare below. This will hopefully make this section a lot more digestible and interesting for you.

Outsole

The outsole constructions of the Nike Free Metcon 4 and Nike Free Metcon 5 are exactly the same. Both of these shoes feature rubber treads over their forefoot and heel which has Metcon branding on it.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Outsole

The midfoot in both of these shoes has exposed form which is great for keeping these shoes lighter, but I do wish there was a little rubber covering this area for durability purposes.

Midsole

Similar to the outsole, the midsole construction is the exact same in both of these shoes. These models feature Nike Free tech throughout the entirety of their midsole and have a thicker and firmer heels.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Midsole

This midsole gives this shoe a nice flexible feel when walking and training. Similar to my outsole durability complaint above, I do wish there was a little more protection on the lateral and medial sides of the midsole as this would prevent breakdown from abrasion.

Upper

The Nike Free Metcon 4 features a chainlink mesh upper through the forefoot and midfoot. There’s a synthetic overlay over the toe box and the boot is built with a thicker mesh material. There’s not a lot of stretch to the mesh in the boot.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Upper

The Nike Free Metcon 5 features a breathable mesh and textile upper through the forefoot and midfoot. This model has synthetic overlays that wrap the entirety of the toe into the midfoot. The heel is built with a thicker mesh and has a light TPU layer for support.

Laces and Tongue

The Nike Free Metcon 4 features four core eyelets and is built with a bootie-style construction. This shoe’s tongue is a padded mesh and this model doesn’t do the best job regarding stretch and feasibility of getting them on and off quickly.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Laces and Tongue

The Nike Free Metcon 5 also features four core eyelets and bootie-style construction. However, this model’s tongue has a slit in it which makes them much easier to get on and off. Overall, the Free Metcon 5’s upper, tongue, and lace changes feel like quality-of-life updates.

Heel-to-Toe Drop, Weight, and Insole

The Nike Free Metcon 4 and Nike Free Metcon 5 both come with thin foam removable insoles. The Free Metcon 5 will give you more volume if you use custom orthotics or inserts.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Heel to Toe Drop

  • Nike Free Metcon 4 Weight, and Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10.6 oz (for my size 10 shoe), 5mm drop
  • Nike Free Metcon 5 Weight, and Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10.05 oz (for my size 10 shoe), 5mm drop

If you have additional construction-related questions about these shoes and how they compare, drop a comment below.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Sizing

When sizing the Nike Free Metcon 4 versus the Nike Free Metcon 5, I think most individuals should be safe going true to size in both of these shoes. However, there are a few nuances between how each of the shoes will fit.

testing the nike free metcon 4 for runs and daily wear

The Nike Free Metcon 4 has a much narrower fit to it and if you like shoes that have snug fits through their uppers, then I think you’ll resonate with this model. This shoe feels athletic on the foot (assuming you can get them on).

The Nike Free Metcon 5 feels to be wider than the Free Metcon 4 and its upper feels a lot more spacious. Personally, I love this update and find the Nike Free Metcon 5 to fit my neutral to wider feet a lot better.

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

If you’re at all on the fence between these two shoes and you have wider feet, then trust me, you’ll want to go with the Nike Free Metcon 5 because it will fit your anatomy a lot better.

  • Nike Free Metcon 4 Sizing Thoughts: True to size for most.
  • Nike Free Metcon 5 Sizing Thoughts: True to size for most. Notably narrow feet, size down a half-size.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Toe Box Width

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the Nike Free Metcon 4 and Free Metcon 5, drop a comment below and I can help you size these accordingly.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Durability

In the context of durability, the Nike Free Metcon 4 and Nike Free Metcon 5 should both last you a while if you’re primarily using them for gym workouts.

For example, the NFM4 and NFM5 should last you at minimum 8 months if you’re limiting their use for indoor training. My Free Metcon 4s are still going strong after a year and I’m hoping my 5s deliver a similar durability.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Review

The contexts in which these shoes don’t have the best durability revolve around training outdoors. Their foam midsole can break down faster around the edges of the forefoot and midfoot if you’re doing a lot of versatile training on concrete.

Additionally, if you’re wearing these models for daily wear, I’d suggest passing on them for days when it’s raining. Water can wreak havoc on foam midsole and outsoles.

Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 Tongue

Other than the above, though, the durability of both of these shoes is pretty good. They’ll have limitations and if you’re using them for contexts where they’re not designed to excel, then like with most training shoes, you could experience a faster breakdown.

Do you have a Free Metcon 4 or Free Metcon 5? If so, have you noticed any glaring durability issues that others should know about? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts.

Price Breakdown

The Nike Free Metcon 4 and Nike Free Metcon 5 both have similar price points that sit at $120 USD. I think this price is pretty fair for both of these shoes based on how they’re intended to be used.

These won’t be the best shoes for heavy lifting and CrossFit, and as long as you understand where they’ll excel, then I think you’ll get a lot of value out of them for their price.

Me Testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for gym workouts

The main difference to consider with the price of these models is that the Free Metcon 4 is marked down in multiple colorways. If the 4’s narrower fit isn’t a huge turnoff for you, then I’d suggest doing with them over the 5.

I think the 5 is a better shoe, but with how similar the performance is between these shoes, I’m pro saving money in this comparison if you can find the Free Metcon 4’s for a really good price.

Nike Free Metcon 5 Product Shot

Nike Free Metcon 5

Pros: Breathable, Versatile
Cons: Not Great for Heavy Lifting
Size/Fit: True to Size/Neutral Width
Offset: 5mm
Lifting Threshold: ~275 lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 miles
Price: $120
TF2 Rating: 4.5
Nike Free Metcon 4 (1)

Nike Free Metcon 4

Pros: Versatile, Lightweight
Cons: Narrow Fit
Size/Fit: True to Size/Narrow Width
Offset: 5mm
Lifting Threshold: ~275 lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 Miles
TF2 Rating: 4.4

Takeaway Thoughts

If you’re on the fence between the Nike Free Metcon 4 versus the Nike Free Metcon 5, then you can take solace in knowing that both of these shoes will deliver strong performances in the gym.

The midsole and outsole constructions in both of these shoes are very similar and they offer a nice blend of responsiveness and stability for versatile training and lighter strength sessions.

The Nike Free Metcon 5 does have a few key quality-of-life updates that I really enjoy and others have reported liking this model’s tweaks, too.

If you have additional questions about Free Metcon 4 and Free Metcon 5, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

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.

4 thoughts on “Nike Free Metcon 4 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5 | Which Is Better?”

  1. I’m usually a size 3 in trainers. I tried on the Metcon 4 in a size 3 and found them too snug, preferred the fitting of the size 4. Would this be the same case for the Metcon 5? Should I get a whole size up? I have narrow / neutral feet but prefer a more roomy fit as my feet do tend to expand a little during HIIT workouts in the heat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *