Everything you Need to Know About the Nike Free Metcon 3

In 2015 Nike created their first ever CrossFit intended shoe, the Metcon. Fast forward 5 years and not only has the classic Metcon shoe evolved with the sport of CrossFit, but Metcon has also expanded into a range of training shoes designed for the differing demands of the training obsessed. From field sport athletes, to comfort seeking CrossFitters, there is now a Metcon to suit your every need. Enter the latest iteration in the range, the Free Metcon 3. In this article,Team WIT sits down with a Nike EKIN - one of Nike’s trusted product experts - to break down everything you need to know about this new addition.

Firstly let's go back to the introduction of the Free to the Metcon range. The Free Mecton was first introduced in 2018 as an answer to the comfort demands of metcon-heads. The core Metcon shoe (generation 1-4 at the time) was specifically designed for any movements that a CrossFitter might throw at them. This was great for constantly varied WODs, but spend a whole day in Metcons and it could feel a little harsh on foot. Enter the first Free X Metcon, the collision of Nike Free’s flexibility and the Metcon’s durability in one new training shoe.

The first and second generations of the Free were loved for this injection of comfort, whilst still retaining the core design notes of the Metcon, the heel lick for handstand push ups and the outer sole wrap for rope climbs for instance. But in reality they tended to be worn by CrossFitters primarily due to their comfort. The design notes rarely actually utilised to their full and instead acting more as nods to the sport.

Gone are the signature handstand heel licks and and rope climb wraps of the core Metcon silhouette.

This led Nike to develop a third generation of the Free that would truly serve as a practical training shoe not just for CrossFit, but the training obsessed at large. In the Free Metcon 3 we see a significantly different aesthetic. To the uninitiated eye, you could be forgiven for thinking it a different type of shoe entirely. Gone are the signature handstand heel licks and and rope climb wraps of the core Metcon silhouette. Instead, you are initially struck by an exaggerated raised outer sole, a wider splayed heel and an overall disruptive and playful aesthetic. But it is these design points that make the Free Metcon 3 a formidable training shoe with the capacity to be a truly dynamic addition to your collection. Read on to find out what the design details of the Free Metcon 3 can do for you. 

initially you're struck by an exaggerated raised outer sole, a wider splayed heel and an overall disruptive and playful aesthetic.



This may perhaps come as a surprise to most as the bulkiness of the raised outer sole appears heavy at first glance. But looks can be deceiving, and that is most definitely the case with the 3, not only does the new design not add any additional weight, but it is in fact 1 ounce lighter than its predecessor, the Free X Metcon 2. The Free therefore firmly ticks the lightweight criteria that the majority of athletes look for in their training shoes.


Whilst the Free 3 may not come with any added weight, it most definitely comes with more stability. The heel no longer licks, but instead runs flush to the ground, offering the ultimate stable base for heavy lifting or dynamic lateral movements. From box jumps mid WOD to lateral drills on the football pitch, the 3 will keep you grounded. 


The Free has a heel to toe drop of 10mm, compared with the Metcon 5 that is far flatter with just a 4mm heel to toe drop. This raised heel provides a foot position far more similar to that of a runner. This, combined with the flexible Free sole (you can literally roll the sole in your hand and manipulate it) provides a perfect position and movement for running and sprinting by promoting dorsiflexion of the foot. 

The sole of the 3 is composed of dual desnity foam. The softer foam for underfoot cushioning (GReen) can be seen through the firmer stable foam of the outer sole (black).


Whoever said you can't have the best of both worlds clearly hadn't had a pair of Nike Frees. The shoe is literally the collision of comfort and durability and nowhere is this seen more so than in the dual density sole. Turn the shoe on its head and you can see colorful patterns of the softer underfoot cushioning (green in the image above) and the firmer and more stabler outer sole (black). This gives you stability and tractions without compromising on comfort. 


The exercises that the free 3s are best designed for are subtly highlighted in graphics on the side of the medial heel.


In case you still didn't feel sure what movements the 3s are best for, the shoe also highlights its specialisms in graphics subtly printed on the inside of the medial heel. Box jumps are most definitely recommended in these due to the stability in the heel and grounding of the sole. The heel sock also fits high and snug, grabbing your heel and ensuring these are firmly on foot when taking on sled pushes or other highly dorsiflexed movements. This was just one of the features that made the shoe a hit with the Tottenham Hotspur Football team in their training sessions. This symbolises the evolution of the Metcon into a multifunctional must have, adopted into both plyometric and strength and conditioning training at the highest level. 

The Outer Sole Heel stripe symbolises the meeting of the metcon heel with the flexible sole of the free.

Disruptive Design

There's no doubt that the Free Metcon 3 looks different to what fans had perhaps expected. But one thing that is no different to the cherished Metcon range is the subtle storytelling throughout the design details of the shoe.  The thick stripe on the outer heel for instance is not just a color-way choice, but it highlights the exact point in the shoe where the Metcon heel merges with the Free sole. A poignant detail in the disruptive design which symbolises the meeting of the Metcon range with the wider demands of the training community.

The Verdict ? A formidable training shoe that would be a welcome variation to the shoe collection of any CrossFitter as well as a staple purchase for the wider training obsessed community.


The Nike Free Metcon 3 is now live to shop in WIT USA, and due to launch in the UK and Europe in July.