The Metcon 4 was named our top training shoe of 2018. A version 5 hasn’t yet been spotted online, but Nike has released a a new sibling: The Flyknit 3. Billed as a model that works better for running, the Flyknit 3 has some fantastic looks. But does it perform?
Most immediately noticeable is the snugness of the upper. A few reviewers have noted that it’s a little more difficult to get your foot in, and that’s a correct assessment. The toebox is also less expandable, thanks to the nearly-invisible overlays at the base of your toes. We actually really liked this security, as it felt more performance-based. We wish we could say the same for the ankle. This reviewer was practically walking right out of the heel, primarily thanks to the material used around the Achilles. It’s a very smooth fabric, almost silk-like, giving it zero grip. There are ways to use premium materials at the collar. The Brooks Glycerin does it brilliantly. However, the effort to make the ankle both accommodating for large feet AND use a sock bootie, compared to a traditional tongue, means those with narrow ankles are going to have a hard time with heel slippage. While there was slight heel slippage on the Flyknit 2 (and a more forgiving toebox), this is the exact opposite: Slippery ankle and snug forefoot.
This rules out explosive movements and running. Lifting-wise, it’s still good. There’s honestly not much to differentiate the regular Metcon from the Flyknit version. The latter has a nominal 2mm more cushion in the heel, but is still a poor running shoe.
The weird thing is that Nike already has a great Flyknit upper in the Kobe AD 360 NXT. Given that that shoe has a drop-in midsole like the Metcon and is similarly low to the ground, it’s a wonder why that shoe’s upper wasn’t simply adapted to the Metcon platform. You might have to use a denser weave or change the last, but it would be fantastic. Give it a higher/longer tongue or mid-rise ankle to differentiate it visually and voila: The next great training shoe.