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Nike MC Trainer Review | Best Nike Training Shoe On a Budget?

The Nike MC Trainer is a budget-friendly training shoe designed for tackling activities like weight training and athletic-style workouts. As a lover of budget-friendly training shoes, I was super excited to put the MC Trainer to the test.

Across the board, the Nike MC Trainer has been a really strong performer in my lifting and cross-training sessions, especially for $70 USD. The midsole provides a nice amount of stability and the outsole does a good job supporting multi-directional training.

There are a couple of little drawbacks to this model’s performance and construction that are worth noting, and I’ll discuss them below.

Who Should Invest In the Nike MC Trainer?

The Nike MC Trainer is a really strong budget-friendly training shoe for the athlete and lifter who wants a model for blending lifting with athletic-style training.

For $70 USD, this is, in my opinion, by far the best budget-friendly Nike training shoe on the market. Its midsole provides plenty of stability for recreational lifting and its full rubber outsole is good for multi-directional training.

Nike MC Trainer Hands On Performance Review

I think if you’re a lifter and athlete that regularly blends things like lifting, plyometrics, and even HIIT-style exercises together in training sessions, then you’ll resonate well with the Nike MC Trainer.

This model’s performance for running is pretty sub-par. That being said, this will not be the best model for someone who wants a shoe for lifting and longer runs, but for hybrid training that involves lifting and short runs like sprints, this shoe excels.

Nike MC Trainer


Nike MC Trainer

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Athletic-Style Training
  • Hybrid Workouts (Sprints:Lifting)
  • Agility Training

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Long Walks
  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Wide Feet

Nike MC Trainer Pros

Over the course of my training and testing process, I’ve found multiple things to like about the Nike MC Trainer’s performance.

  1. Good Budget-Friendly Shoe for Athletic Training
  2. Outsole Is Good for Multi-Directional Training
  3. Upper Is Lightweight and Breathes Well

The first aspect to like about the Nike MC Trainer, which is also the biggest perk of this shoe, is its price point for its performance. For a price of $70 USD, it’s really hard to fault the Nike MC Trainer’s overall performance.

Reviewing the Nike MC Trainer for Weight Training

This model’s medium-density foam midsole does a good job at providing a nice level of stability when weight training and the full rubber outsole helps to contribute to this shoe’s overall stability.

Thus far, I’ve trained up to 455 lbs for deadlifts in this shoe and have done Hatfield squats over 365 lbs and this model’s stability was solid across the board. I think for most recreational lifters, the stability of this model will be solid.

I also like how this shoe performed for plyometrics and agility work. For lifters like myself that like to blend plyometrics with lifting, then this is a good shoe for tackling those asks without breaking the bank.

Nike MC Trainer Outsole Construction

Another aspect to like about the Nike MC Trainer is its outsole construction and how it performs for multi-directional training. In budget-friendly training shoes, you can always run the risk of getting sub-par outsole construction.

For example, a lot of budget-friendly trainers lack full rubber outsoles which cause them to break down faster or lack adequate grip on different surfaces. The tread on the MC Trainer’s outsole does a good job with grip on a variety of training surfaces like turf, rubber gym floors, and wooden platforms.

Nike MC Trainer Outsole Performance and Traction

The final thing to like about the Nike MC Trainer is its lightweight construction and breathable upper. This shoe’s simplistic construction and materials keep them lightweight which is great for training and for those that want these for all-day wear.

In addition, the upper around the forefoot and midfoot in addition to the tongue gives this shoe a nice level of breathability. I like this construction feature when training in warmer classes, gym, and outdoor settings.

Nike MC Trainer Breathability

Nike MC Trainer Cons

For their price, I’ve really enjoyed the performance and construction of the Nike MC Trainer. However, there are a couple of cons to note about this model.

  1. Blocky Heel Limits Running Performance
  2. Long-Term Durability of the Laces

The first drawback to the Nike MC Trainer is that its performance is pretty sub-par for lifting and longer walks. This model features a fairly blocky heel that extends outwards and isn’t beveled.

Nike MC Trainer Heel Construction

For lifting, this is not the biggest deal, but when running and going on long walks, it can give this model an awkward heeling. I felt that the heel almost got in the way of my normal foot turnover when running and walking.

If Nike brought the heel in slightly in this model and even used a light beveling, then it would give this model a much more versatile feel. I would suggest limiting your runs in this model to about 1-mile or less and saving them for sprint work and short interval runs.

Nike MC Trainer Running Performance

Another drawback to this model is its midfoot construction and lacing system. This model features four core eyelets, three of which have a traditional eyelet construction while the third utilizes a mesh loop.

This midfoot construction is okay for the most part, but the third mesh eyelet can be prone to breakdown issues from time to time. I haven’t experienced this yet, however, it’s worth mentioning and keeping an eye on if you plan to invest in this shoe.

Nike MC Trainer Lacing Construction


To test and assess the performance of the Nike MC Trainer, I’m going to discuss how this shoe does in a variety of training settings. In every cross-training shoe review, I highlight how each shoe does in certain training contexts.

For example, I tested the Nike MC Trainer for lifting, versatile training, and running to assess where this cross-training shoe excels and where it falls short.

Nike MC Trainer Performance Overview

Testing the Nike MC Trainer for Lifting

For lifting, I’ve enjoyed the Nike MC Trainer’s performance and the stability it delivers. I think the biggest pro with the MC Trainer is that its stability is really good for its price point.

Generally, budget-friendly training shoes can lack an edge for stability, but the MC Trainer did a good job for my recreational weight training sessions. The midsole provides a nice level of stability across the board and the outsole helps to contribute here.

Reviewing the Nike MC Trainer for Lifting

This shoe felt good for both machine and free weight-based lifting sessions. I could see this shoe being a really good model for the lifter that likes to blend barbells, dumbbells, and machine work into strength and hypertrophy-focused training sessions.

I don’t think this shoe is going to give you the same amount of stability as the Nike Metcon 7 and Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2, but for its price and construction, it does a good job with lifting, especially for beginners and intermediate lifters.

Reviewing the Nike MC Trainer for Lifting Weights

Testing the Nike MC Trainer for Versatile Training

For versatile training including things like plyometrics, agility work, and HIIT-style exercises, the Nike MC Trainer does an adequate job. I think its midsole does a fairly good job for this context and gives you enough responsiveness to not make them overly uncomfortable.

I think the star player with the Nike MC Trainer for versatile training is its full rubber outsole. The tread pattern on this model is great for multi-directional training and I like the durability that you get from it.

Reviewing the Nike MC Trainer for HIIT and Plyometrics

For lifters and athletes that like to perform workouts that include things like squats, box jumps, and jump rope, I think the MC Trainer will be a good option to explore. In my opinion, this is one of the better budget-friendly athletic-style training shoes that I’ve tried.

My only gripe with this model and its performance for versatile training is that the toe box can feel a little snug at times when doing things like broad jumps and box jumps. A little more toe box width and midfoot security would make this shoe more comfortable.

Reviewing the Nike MC Trainer for Jump Rope

Testing the Nike MC Trainer for Running, Walking, and Daily Wear

I’m not the biggest fan of the Nike MC Trainer for running. In fact, I’d suggest limiting your running distances in this model to about 1-mile or less and preserving their use for primarily sprint work and short interval runs.

These running styles will be more forefoot-dominant which is where this shoe will excel. The blocky heel in this shoe can make this model uncomfortable for running and it’s definitely not going to be the strongest hybrid shoe on the market.

Reviewing the Nike MC Trainer for Running and Walking

Similarly, I’m not the biggest fan of this shoe for longer walks. While I do like it for daily wear, if you’re investing in this shoe and plan to use them for walking-focused workouts, then you may find their stability and heel construction to be limiting.

The appearance of this shoe and general construction give them a fairly good appearance and comfortable fit and feel for general daily wear, but for long walks and running, once again this model falls short.

Nike MC Trainer Vs Nike Legend Essential 2

If you’re looking at budget-friendly Nike training shoes, then you’ve likely looked at and/or considered the Nike MC Trainer versus the Nike Legend Essential 2.

Comparatively speaking, I think there’s a clear winner between these two models and their price difference is only $10 USD. Performance-wise, there are two key reasons why the Legend Essential 2 falls short compared to the MC Trainer.

Nike Legend Essential 2 Long Term Durability
The Nike Legend Essential 2’s lacking outsole construction.

First, the lack of a full rubber outsole in the Nike Legend Essential 2 leaves much to be desired for this shoe’s long-term durability. In addition, this also contributes to the lack of midfoot support that comes with the Legend Essential 2.

Second, the midsole in the Legend Essential 2 compresses a little easier so you don’t get as much stability and energy return with heavier training and explosive work, relatively speaking.

Nike MC Trainer Vs Nike Legend Essential 2

Honestly, I’m surprised that the price difference between these two shoes isn’t greater. I feel as though the MC Trainer is the clear winner between these two budget-friendly models and their price only differs by $10 USD.

Winner: Nike MC Trainer. It’s an all-around better shoe for the price. Plus, it’s a stronger performer for lifting and athletic-style training.

Nike MC Trainer

Nike MC Trainer

Pros: Versatile, Price
Cons: Blocky Heel
Size/Fit: True to Size/Neutral Width
Lifting Threshold: ~455 lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3
Price: $70
TF2 Rating: 4.2
Nike Legend Essential 2

Nike Legend Essential 2

Pros: Price, Breathable
Cons: Serious Performance
Size/Fit: Runs Small/Narrow Width
Lifting Threshold: ~365 lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 miles
Price: $60
TF2 Rating: 3.9

Nike MC Trainer Sizing

In the Nike MC Trainer, most lifters and athletes should be safe going true to size in this model. This shoe’s length fits true and the width is what I would describe as neutral.

That being said, the MC Trainer does have the stereotypical Nike training shoe fit which means this model may feel snug through the toe box for athletes that need a shoe for wide feet.

Nike MC Trainer ads Try On Review

If you have a wider foot, then you may want to size up a half size in this model or look into training shoes that will better align with your foot anatomy.

  • Nike MC Trainer Sizing Thoughts: Most should be safe going true to size. Wide feet athletes, size up a half size.

Nike MC Trainer Sizing and Fit

If you have additional questions on the Nike MC Trainer or how they compare to other models, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally.

Construction Details

Below, I’ve provided some of the key construction details that know about the Nike MC Trainer. These are the construction details that help influence this shoe’s performance and long-term durability.

Nike MC Trainer Tongue and Insole

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: Likely 4mm (per Nike’s support team)
  • Weight: 10.1 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: No
  • Breathable Mesh Upper
  • Medium-Density Foam Midsole
  • Full Rubber Outsole
  • Reinforced External Heel Wrap
  • Four Eyelets
  • Thicker Perforated Mesh Tongue

Overall, I like the Nike MC Trainer, but I do wish the tongue was gusseted and it would be nice to see the midfoot lacing system reworked slightly. If you have additional questions on the Nike MC Trainer’s construction, drop a comment below.

Takeaway Thoughts

It’s really hard to fault the Nike MC Trainer if you’re looking for a budget-friendly training shoe for lifting and tackling athletic-style training. This model does a good job for hybrid training and comes in at a price of $70 USD.

For the recreational lifter who plans to lift, do plyometrics, and agility work on a weekly basis, the Nike MC Trainer can be a good option to explore.

There are a few quirks that come along with this trainer and knock its performance, but for its price, I do like this model overall.

If you have additional questions on the Nike MC Trainer, 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 MC Trainer Review | Best Nike Training Shoe On a Budget?”

  1. Thanks for the review. Very helpful. Do you have a recommendations for a similar shoe that is flat & also excels at lateral movements?

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