When you hear CrossFit, you probably think about insane workouts, camaraderie, and gear. CrossFit athletes love their gear, and that is why we set out to find and test the best shoes out there for the sport. Recently, Reebok released the 9th addition on the Nano family, continuing their name as the top shoes for the sport of CrossFit. They took all of the features that athletes liked from the 8 and added new technology, making the Nano even better.
This shoe does everything the 8 does, but better. However, Reebok didn't rely solely on their reputation for the Nano 9; they enlisted pro-CrossFit athletes, bloggers, reviewers, and the average gym-goer to provide feedback on the newest model. They made changes throughout the design process based on that feedback to make the best shoe on the market. The wide toe box lets your toes splay during heavy lifts and landings. According to reebok's Senior Product Manager, the classic logo makes the shoe appear slimmer, faster and gives it a sneaker-like vibe.
The ripple pattern and MetaSplit outsole are still around, with modifications that allow for added flexibility and traction. Reebok kept the Flexweave from the 8 with a smoother feel and added the classic Vector logo on the side, which we feel should never go away again. The midsole is more cushioned, and the sole is decoupled, both meant to specifically help with running.
The Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 was a clear winner for our Editor's Choice award. Excelling in all tests we threw at it, this shoe bridges the gap between weightlifting and running and is our new favorite.
Have you ever put on a new pair of training shoes and instantly wanted to hit the gym? Us too. We were stoked to test the Nano 9 in lifting, and they did not disappoint. The flat outsole and increased contact area with the ground made us feel strong and supported. Our testers felt glued to the ground during squats from the defined outsole edges. We were able to screw our feet into the ground without any rollover or foot slide. Reebok's infamous Flexweave material gets a facelift in the Nano 9. Compared to the Nano 8, it felt much thinner but tighter and contained the foot exactly the way we wanted during our lifting tests.
The translucent rubber wrap covers both sides of the midsole and replaces the NanoShell heel clip found on previous Nano models. This wrap was widened and extended to be closer to the midfoot, covering more surface area, which helped our feet feel stead during both weightlifting tests and in quick changes in direction during our daily WODs. The edges of the sole are less rounded, and the platform resembles a weightlifting specific shoe. Laterally, the Nano 9 is the most stable training shoe out of all of our top pics, ranking 9/10 in weightlifting and beating out CrossFit favorites like the NOBULL Trainer and Nike Mecon 4. We quit reaching for our lifting specific shoes before the WOD. Even without the elevated heel, we felt extremely stable in these and feel they are as good as it gets for lifting when wearing a training shoe.
The flat outsole and increased contact area in the Nano 9 made us feel strong and supported during squats. We felt glued to the ground from the defined outsole edges. We were able to screw our feet into the ground without any rollover or foot slide.
Like it or not, running has become a bigger part of CrossFit over the past five years. Reebok recognizes this change and adapted the Nano 9 to be better suited for it. The bottom of the shoe has changed as compared to the 8. Reebok decided to decouple the heel by dividing the rubber in half, which allows your foot to really bend, giving it a better ride when you're running. Our testers loved the comfort of this shoe in all running tests and noted the decoupled heel making their heel to toe transitions much smoother.
Although the Nano 9 isn't a running-specific shoe, it is more responsive for short runs up to about three miles and all jumping, rebounding, and landing movements. This was our favorite shoe to run in, only second to the NOBULL Knit Runner. Even though this shoe features reinforced stability, Reebok was able to find a way to improve the newest Nano's performance when it comes to running. The midsole features added cushioning with a single density injection-molded EVA foam, which is lighter and more flexible than the harder foam used on most CrossFit shoes. The only downside we found on the 9 in terms of running is its wide platform, which can be unforgiving for athletes with pronation issues.
Reebok decoupled the heels in the 9, dividing the rubber in half which allows feet to bend, giving a better ride when running. We loved the comfort of this shoe in all running tests and the decoupled heel makes heel to toe transitions much smoother.
The Nano 9 features two types of rubber on the outsole that help grip the floor efficiently, whether you are on the platform, rubber mats, or outdoors. The diamond-shaped tread pattern mimics the knurling that we see on barbells. It helped us dig into the floor, and our testers felt "glued down" and grounded during their WOD. The new tread pattern recesses into the outsole, and we had no slippage, even during sled pushes and tire flips.
The sole of the Nano 9 offers better reaction and flexibility than the Nike Metcon 4 and the Nano 8, but if you want to really feel the floor during your training, we recommend going with a minimalist shoe like the Vivo Primus Lite. Visually, the midsole of the 9 looks soft and squishy, but it isn't at all. With the hard TPU skin, Reebok found a way to add more cushioning, but still have the platform feel incredibly flat and low to the ground, despite the 4mm drop.
Flexweave made its return in the Nano 9, but this time it's stretchy and sparkly. The Flexweave is layered on top of a bootie that conforms to your feet much better than it did with the Nano 8. A hard TPU exterior wraps over the midsole and helped our feet stay stable during both lifting and lateral movements in our WOD. With this, Reebok was able to use a softer midsole material to help with comfort without losing any stability.
Although we still feel that the NOBULL Trainer is the best training shoe when it comes to support, the Nano 9 takes a very close second. The laces on the shoe lie flat on the uppers and are joined into non-stretch lateral and medial wraps that offer fantastic support and security on the midfoot. The only downside we had with support was in the upper material. Some testers had issues with the upper material bunching up in the forefoot section when the shoe is tightly laced.
With upgraded Flexweave on top of a bootie, the 9 conforms to your feet and offers excellent support.
Protection and Durability
There is a lot of contact with the floor and objects during a CrossFit WOD. Whether it's abmat sit-ups, rope climbs, burpees, handstand push-ups, or toes to bar, a good training shoe needs durability and protection in high wear areas. Reebok's rubber compound extends up on the front and medial sides of the 9. On the front, it protects athlete's toes. On the medial side, the rubber features Reebok's RopePro technology to shield these shoes from the abrasiveness of the rope. The RopePro had good grip between our feet during climbs and showed no signs of wear from rope burns on the descent.
The outsole of the Nano 9 grips the rope like an extra pair of hands would, better than just about any training shoe EVER. These outperformed rope climbing all-stars like the Nike Metcon 4 XD X and the NOBULL Trainer. Referred to as "almost indestructible" by Rich Froning, Fittest Man on Earth after a few months of testing, we couldn't agree more with the G.O.A.T.
CrossFit WODs are intense…and sweaty, especially in the scorching summer months. It is pretty rare for a gym to blast the air conditioning, so you need a shoe that is lightweight and breathable to deal with the heat. The Reebok staple Flexweave material provides ample breathability for your foot. It is on top of a bootie and moves seamlessly with your foot. Our testers loved that they didn't experience any hot spots during their workout. In true Nano fashion, the 9 also has a spacious toe box that lets your toes breathe.
The bootie construction in the 9 beats out the breathability of many top performers. Reebok used a new mesh material around the ankle collar, providing more airflow. The upper lets in a lot of air for your feet to breathe during your WOD, but what lets air out also lets things in. We wore these during a running WOD in the rain, and our feet were soaked by the end.
Lightweight and breathable, this shoe offers breathability during sweaty workouts.
CrossFit athletes already love the Flexweave material that Nanos feature, and Reebok found a way to make it even better in the 9. Our testers felt the 9's Flexweave is more stretchy, thinner, and tighter, which conformed to their feet, creating a seamless feel while still containing the foot. Reebok's major upgrade vs. the 8 is added cushioning throughout the shoe and around the collar. The bootie fit is better cushioned and means you can wear it all day without your feet hurting.
Since Reebok was able to add stability in the heel and midfoot sections of the 9, they used an injection-molded EVA foam, which is much more comfortable under your foot and provides a bit of spring in your step. Many running shoes like the NOBULL Knit Runner feature this due to it being flexible, light, and springy. We enjoyed this feature during running and rebounding movements like double unders and box jumps.
We couldn't agree with Reebok more; this is its best Nano yet. This shoe is right in line with top contenders like NOBULL and Nike, and in our opinion, this shoe is worth every penny. It offers the perfect balance of cushioning and stability and excels in both weightlifting and running. Plus, they are so comfortable, you won't want to take them off!
CrossFit is hard. Picking the right shoe for your workout shouldn't be. Nobody wants to lug around a bag full of specialty shoes. The 9th edition in the Reebok Nano family does not disappoint. Reebok went further than their reputation as being the best shoe for training and asked for feedback from the CrossFit community to make changes throughout the design process before releasing the shoe on the market. Reebok dropped the Nano 9 with the slogan "designed for all" and the hashtag "NanoForAll" along with it. They set out to make a shoe that any level CrossFit athlete can utilize, and we agree that they created their "best Nano yet" with the 9.
Squatting? Check. Deadlifting? Check. Jumping? Check. Climbing? Check. Running? Check. Seriously, this shoe packs a punch and is the best all around shoe for CrossFit training. Reebok asked for feedback from the community during the design process of the Nano 9 and it paid off. This is our new favorite shoe for training and edged out the ever popular NOBULL Trainer and Nike Metcon 4.