So I was beside myself at the opportunity to do my first-look review of the Reebok Nano X. I mean, it had been so long in the making and we had all, collectively, been holding our breath for this shoe. Although we really hadn’t, because the Nano 9 came out less than a year ago. But I digress, because it’s here. Behold! The next lovechild of CrossFit and Reebok, the Nano X!
Here’s what we had been told: the Nano 9 was such a success that Reebok wanted to start with it as the base of the new shoe. The Nano X would be all the things the community loved about the Nano 9, but with improvements only in the areas where it fell flat. Flat as in flat-footed. As in running. We’re told this is the most runnable CrossFit shoe yet. Is that true? We’ll just have to test it. Put that in the notes.
Honestly, my Nano 9s are like new because I’m still trying to destroy my Nano 8s. Which has been pretty impossible, and has me asking why I’m always flocking to buy the latest release of these things.
And then I remember. It’s because I want them.
Reebok Nano X Colors
Alright, so the 2020 Reebok Nano X. I had two pairs shipped, one in Mystic Orchid and one in Vivid Orange. Wow. That is vivid. I’ll set that pair aside and use it for peacocking when quarantine is lifted.
Nano X vs. Nano 9 Comparison
So having an old pair of Nanos in good shape makes it pretty easy to do a quick comparison of the new and the old, and if you start at the bottom of the shoe, the new IS the old. All the way down to an identical tread pattern. Don’t let the lack of the yellow “Metasplit” label fool you – that was the only thing I’ve been able to wear off of the Nano 9s, so far.
Flip the shoes to the obverse (sorry, I just wanted to use that word) …the outside, and you can tell the sole of the shoe still hasn’t had any changes. But, the heel wraps higher and there’s a good swatch of leather rising up to it. It’s also worth noting some places that have been reinforced:
The outer eyelet has more structure, the inner eyelet has been given a grommetty rivety thing (sorry for the technical term), and extra protection has been put (in the form of a leather wrap) around the bottom two lace eyelets.
Flipping to the top, the tongue has been partitioned and is more flexible. The Flexweave itself is clearly a different weave, one which Reebok says is flexible in two directions but maintains structural rigidity. It still feels just as durable to the touch. There’s nothing about this shoe that doesn’t feel like a tank. Except the weight. That’s pretty light, but does feel heavier than the Nano 9.
And now I have a great idea. Why don’t I wear one of each while doing some double-unders and see if they’re truly identical to perform in. Let’s go outside, because I don’t want to tear my tiny apartment apart with my rope.
Ladies and gentlemen, you’re about to watch WODDITY’s very own Ben Garves churn out 100 double-unders for time.
Reebok Nano X Performance
It took me about ten double-unders before I realized this whole “old shoe, new shoe” thing was dumb and it’d only be a matter of time before I planted my face on the sidewalk. So to avoid a cool new face scar, I switched to just the new shoes.
I do declare, the weather in Reebok Nano land is very sunny. Same great feel as the ol’ Nano 9.
Best CrossFit Shoe for Running?
But that’s hardly what you want me to test now, is it? You want to know if this shoe really is more runnable than the last Reebok Nano. Shoot, you want to know if it’s possibly the best CrossFit shoe for running.
Personally, I’m a little skeptical. We’re talking the exact same base as the Nano 9 but bordering on the edge of being a mid-to-high-top shoe. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t a hooper as a kid…
Yes. Please stop asking me if I played ball just because I’m a giant.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t play basketball as a kid or because of my trail running and ultramarathon background, but making the shoe taller has never translated to making it a better running shoe. In my humble opinion. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to go run in it.
So, what do you think I should do? One mile? The odds of any of you running a mile in any weekend that isn’t Memorial Day Murph are pretty slim. But I’ll do a full 5k just to make sure I get a good feel for it. Should be a piece of cake, right? I can do three miles in my sleep.
Except when I can’t. Because this shoe is not runnable at all. I got a quarter of a mile before my left foot surrendered to some agonizingly-angry popping sensations.
What Reebok has done is taken the base of the Nano 9, which was absolutely a great start, and add a TON of reinforcement to the upper. So even if the base of the shoe is flexible, your feet and ankles are constantly fighting a battle against the shoe’s new upper body. Kind of like Dwayne Johnson – heart of gold but body of steel.
Am I crazy? I thought I was being crazy. So I went for a 5k run in my Nano 9s, which still really haven’t been broken in. And they were way more comfortable to run in. More flexible, lighter, and no uncomfortable chafing sensation from the new taller heel on the Nano X.
But this is a CrossFit shoe. Despite all of Reebok’s flashy claims that it’s more runnable than ever, does it really matter? I mean, this shoe? This shoe went to the school for kids who couldn’t box jump good. It graduated from the school of hard drops. It was built to take punishment. And that’s what you’re going to do with it. So here’s your Reebok Nano X – more machine than man. More work boot than track shoe. And I’m not complaining one bit.
WAIT. Before I go, I just noticed something. We know that this is Reebok’s final year as title sponsor of the CrossFit Games and it’s also the final year as the contracted creator of CrossFit apparel. Notably absent on this shoe? The word CrossFit. And in case you were thinking, yes. It does say “CrossFit” on the old ones.