An Origins Story – The Evolution and Genealogy of The Nike Metcon Training Shoe

Trace the evolution of The Nike Metcon shoe from the stealth edition prototype worn by Josh Bridges, right through to the latest Nike Metcon 3. Plus, take a secret look at the new model that will be released very soon!

The Nike Metcon training shoe has become an undisputed classic, combining durability, performance and iconic style. Learn about its origins, the top athletes that helped shape its design, and how it has evolved into over the years.

FORM AND AESTHETICS – THE NIKE METCON CONSTRUCT

With the Nike Metcon 1, 2 and 3, form has always been dictated by function. Below you can see the four main foundational elements that inform the design. Right from the beginning, these were the areas that shaped and steered every decision regarding the creation and evolution of the shoe. The designers took practical, conceptual and aesthetic perspectives and combined them to create a training shoe that effortlessly combined style and function.

Nike X Concept
The Nike X Concept
  • LOCKDOWN – The athlete’s foot must be securely fastened in place to allow for enhanced sprinting, jumping and general responsiveness.
  • MOBILITY – Many movements in functional fitness require flexibility and strength in the forefoot. From lunges to split jerks, wall balls to box jumps, the feet of an athlete are required to move with precision.
  • GRIP – The iconic grip section of the midfoot is perfectly suited for rope climbs. The grippy rubber sole allows for quick movements.
  • STABILITY – Explosive, powerful lifts need a strong and stable base to work from. The sole of the training shoe was significantly flattened as the shoe progressed through successive generations in order to perfect this aspect of the shoe’s performance.

The X aesthetics that has been visible throughout every edition of The shoe references the X of Cross Training. 

THE GENEALOGY OF THE NIKE METCON 1, 2 AND 3

Nike Metcon Genealogy

The Nike Metcon 1, 2 and 3 has grown and evolved over time. Here are the many variations that is has been through so far, each one improving and refining the features of the previous model.

NIKE METCON TRAINING PROTOTYPE WORN BY JOSH BRIDGES IN 2014

This all black Nike Metcon was worn and tested at the 2014 Socal Regionals by Josh Bridges. He smashed his way through the seven events and finished in 2nd place overall. The sprints, rope climbs, hang power cleans, hang snatches, pistols and many other exercises from that year tested the shoe to its limits. And it delivered.

Josh Bridges' Training Shoe
The Nike Metcon after Josh Bridges wore it for The 2014 SocCal Regionals

This was the Nike Metcon’s first meaningful emergence into the world of functional fitness. They realised that this prototype had real potential after having been tested and proved by one of the top athletes in the game. Bridges gave his feedback on what worked well and what could be improved. the Nike design team acted on this and the model progressed. 

NIKE METCON “NO LOGO” TRAINING SHOE

This variation was designed for the 2014 Games, but was ultimately never allowed to be worn during the competition.

Nike Metcon No Logo
The Nike Metcon no logo

The design reworked the best elements of the black Josh Bridges prototype and also removed the Signature Nike swoosh logo. Despite this, the shoe generated much hype, and Nike started to look to the future and the official release of the widely anticipated Nike emergence onto the functional fitness scene.

2015 – THE NIKE METCON 1 IS RELEASED

Nike Metcon 1
Nike Metcon 1

Finally here, the Nike Metcon 1 sold out in Europe in 24 hrs! Offering support for explosive lifting, breathability, mobility for quick movements and toughness to help any athlete cope with whatever a workout could throw at them. 

LAUREN FISHER’S FIRST NIKE SHOE

After working with Josh Bridges on the prototype that eventually evolved into the Nike Metcon 1, the company decided that Lauren Fisher also needed a shoe, and a model for all the women in functional fitness was born. 

Lauren Fisher
Lauren with her shoe

Nike have always worked closely with top athletes in order to constantly refine and improve upon each successive model. This evolution focuses on stripping away any superfluous elements simply that don’t improve performance.

With this model they reduced the size of the shoe to create a firmer, flatter sole that would help any athlete generate more power for lifting.

Nike Metcon 1 Women
Lauren Fisher Nike Metcon

THE NIKE METCON 1 “BANNED”

Banned from using the Nike Metcon 1 in competition once again, Nike launched a model based on the black, varsity red and white colour scheme of the banned Air Jordan 1. 

The message was clear. “Don’t ban our shoe, beat our shoe”

“During the biggest event in the world of high-intensity training, our athletes have been banned from wearing the Metcon 1. This colourway pays homage to Nike’s first outlawed shoe, the Air Jordan 1, and it’s designed to stand strong in any competition—whether it’s allowed or not.”

Nike Metcon 1 Banned
Nike Metcon 1 Banned

This training shoe combined a dual-density midsole, flex grooves and tough abrasion-resistant mesh.

2016 – THE NIKE METCON 2 ARRIVES 

Launched in January, this edition came with the addition of a heel clip and many more updated features. The official colourway was an aesthetic centered around a classic combination of red, white and black.

Mat Fraser Nike Metcon 2
Mat Fraser Nike Metcon 2

2017 – THE NIKE METCON 3 FINALLY DROPS

This model was released on January 6th, 2017. The cross-training shoe’s updated, light and breathable construction, moulded flex grooves and embroidered TPU heel reinforcement made it uniquely adapted for explosive movements, rope climbs, wall balls and intensive lifting.

The designers of the Nike Metcon 3 reviewed and reduced the amount of thermal wrap material in the upper, which gave the shoe a lighter feel that the previous model and much more of a snug fit. Another advantage is that this helps to reduce cuts and abrasions occurring in the material when the shoe is put through hard training in different weather conditions, both in the Box and outside in the elements.

Nike Metcon 3
Built for performance and style

FEATURES

  • Flywire cables offer powerful lockdown
  • Mesh on the heel and ankle helps keep you cool
  • Heel clip helps reduce drag during wall exercises
  • Sticky rubber in the forefoot provides powerful traction
  • Textured rubber wraps up the midfoot for durability during rope exercises

CUSHIONED FOR TRAINING

An updated drop-in midsole is softer and more flexible in the forefoot—providing the versatility you need for running and sprinting drills.

STABILITY FOR LIFTING

A flat platform and a firm-rubber heel give you the powerful stability you need for explosive lifting.

LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE

With embroidered reinforcement in high-wear areas, the Nike Metcon 3 is tough enough for intense training and light enough to help you stay fast on your feet.

THE NEW NIKE METCON 3 X!

During a secret event in Madrid, Nike unveiled the brand new edition of the Metcon 3. Check it out:

Nike Metcon 3 X

Shop all Nike Metcon training shoes now!


Nike X Concept © Nike

Nike Metcon Genealogy © Nike

Josh Bridges' Training Shoe © Nike

Nike Metcon No Logo © Nike

Nike Metcon 1 ©

Lauren Fisher © Nike

Nike Metcon 1 Women © Nike

Nike Metcon 1 Banned © Nike

Mat Fraser Nike Metcon 2 © Nike

Nike Metcon 3 © Nike

Nike Metcon 3 X © Nike

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.

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