My Reebok Nano 5.0 Review
Reebok Nano 5.0 Specs
"Reebok continues to re-invent the CrossFit shoe, fine-tuning the design of its Nano series to combine a light, comfortable fit with optimal support and maximum durability. The Nano 5.0 is a high-performance weightlifting shoe that’s equally at home on the track, with a new Kevlar® infused mesh upper for protection and breathability, an updated midsole with precision contouring, and a polyurethane “NanoShell” exterior.
As the official sponsor of the annual CrossFit Games, Reebok’s understanding of the unique needs of the CrossFit athlete is evident in every aspect of the Nano 5.0's engineering. To choose your preferred size and color/pattern, click any of the options from the column on the right.
- New DuPont™ Kevlar® infused mesh upper
- CMEVA for better cushioning, anatomical secure fit
- Polyurethane NanoShell for protection and support during heavy lifts
- RopePro carbon rubber to withstand demanding CrossFit maneuvers
- Raised outsole lug patterns for better surface area contact and improved traction
- 3mm heel drop platform for improved stability during any WOD"
My Experience With The Nano 5.0
Now that's it's been a couple of months since I've owned the Nano 5.0's I feel comfortable writing up this review.
My first impressions were great, but like with many products both fitness related and otherwise, a positive first impression doesn't mean shit when the product falls to pieces or stops performing the same way within the first week or month.... it comes down to whether it can stand the ongoing abuse and test of time.
The Reebok Nano 5.0 has held up well.
Over the last year I'd heard so much hype, talk and reviews of the Reebok Nano and similiar shoes online and around the gym, at first I dismissed it as part of the crazy 'CrossFit Cult', merely recommending the shoes because they've got the word CrossFit printed on the side. I've now come to the conclusion that regardless of whether you love CrossFit or hate CrossFit with a passion, these are still the best all round lifting shoes I've come across.
Here's what I've noticed and my experience in the gym over the last few months exclusively wearing my Nano 5.0s...
Squatting With A (Slight) Heel Raise
3mm doesn't sound like much, but both front and back squats are noticeably improved when squatting in the Reebok Nano 5.0 as opposed to runners or flat shoes.
The heel raise decreases the amount of ankle dorsiflexion required to get to a parallel or ATG position.
The heel raise, compounded with the hard soles of these shoes make it feel as if you're almost planted to the ground during your set of squats or any olympic lift for that matter - I didn't see a major increase in weight when changing over to these shoes (you shouldn't expect to) but my confidence under the bar and the range of motion practised while training in my Nano 5.0s is definitely increased.
Ankle Problems No More
I've always worn flat shoes, particularly the old school Converse All Stars while training legs, as the flat and solid sole of these shoes allow me to squat without falling forward, lifting my heel off the the ground or just dealing with the soft, spongy base of a traditional running shoe.
The downside of shoes like the Converse All Star (which I didn't really notice until now) is they don't offer anything in terms of ankle support, which is to be expected (hell, they're not built for squats!).
During a set of heavy squats whether barefoot, in runners or flat shoes your ankles tend to move around a fair bit, even with strict, solid form when you've moving that much weight there's always going to be a bit of movement... unless you're wearing shoes such as the Nano 5.0
The Reebok Nano 5.0 offers a great deal of ankle support, there's no side to side or unstable movements when squatting, box jumping or performing double-unders anymore.
Previously when squatting heavy twice per week I found my left ankle to be the biggest troublemaker, my quads, hamstrings, calves where all fine, my left ankle on the other hand always seemed to be my biggest issue.
After squatting for a few months with the 3mm heel and ankle support from the Nano 5.0 this issue has disappeared... squatting, box jumps and double unders are back to business as usual.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, these shoes inspire confidence.
I cringe when I see anyone on the internet claim they added 20 or 30lbs onto their squat and deadlift instantly by changing shoes.
Don't expect to add any weight to the bar simply by wearing a new pair of shoes.
What you can expect (with these shoes in particular) is an increase in confidence under the bar.
Whether you're loading up a 375lb squat, a 405lb deadlift, a 180lb military press or just a 135lb barbell for biceps curls, you'll feel more stable, you'll feel like you're planted in the ground.
The result of this increased confidence?
You'll be able to push harder, you'll be able to chase that extra repetition or two, you'll work your way through that increased range of motion easier.
All of these things assist in the process of applying progressive overload.
As we've discussed time and time again, progressive overload is the key to muscle mass and strength gains over time.
Far More Durable Than Any Runner Or Gym Shoe I've Seen
These shoes weren't built for running in the park or casually walking around and looking good in from day to day.
These shoes are built for business.
Rope climbing, sled pushing, the abuse of heavy lifting, short sprints, obstacle courses and anything else you can handle, these shoes will too.
A Couple Of Shortcomings...
If you have extremely narrow feet you may find these shoes a bit too wide, I didn't have this issue myself however before buying this is something numerous reviews mentioned.
I believe the older Nano variations didn't have this issue.
In Converse All Stars and Nike Free Runs I'm a US 10.
In the world of the Reebok Nano in order to get the same fit I had to order the US 9.5 (yes, they do half sizes).
These are the first pair of Reeboks I've worn in years, however it's worth noting this slight size difference when ordering.
Would a US 10 have worked for me? Sure, but it wouldn't have been the snug fit you're after specifically in lifting shoes such as the Reebok Nano 5.0.
The tongue in previous models of the Reebok Nano was cushioned, in the Reebok Nano 5.0 however, the tongue is made of a synthetic, rubbery style material.
No big deal right? Well, if you like to lift in ankle socks like I do you'll find the tongue will rub on your ankle which over the duration of a leg workout can become quite annoying.
The solution? Put up with it or wear longer socks.
I would not recommend running any further than a couple of miles in these shoes.
This isn't a design flaw or a shortcoming of the shoe, it's just simply not what they were designed for.
As the soles in these shoes are built tough to eliminate that spongy, soft feeling of a running shoe when squatting and deadlifting you're not left with much padding or comfort when it comes time to run.
I've sprinted some short distance and paced myself for a couple of miles which was fine - however I wouldn't do a marathon in these! (or at all, haha).
What's Wrong With Runners?
Running shoes are great for just that - running.
Performing heavy compound movements in running shoes with correct form is near impossible - the soft sole and the heel in these shoes almost always results in the heel lifting off the ground, and the lack of a solid base to push through.
I didn't understand the whole 'functional training shoe' or 'olympic lifting shoe' hype until not too long ago, now I can see they can make a world of difference.
If you're not a serious gym-goer you can probably get away with running in runners and performing your squats, deadlifts and overhead presses etc. either in flat shoes such as the Converse All-Star or without shoes. If you're serious about your lifting and want to get that slight edge when it comes to stability, confidence and form I recommend you give the Reebok Nano 5.0 a try. Forget it's got the word CrossFit etched on the side - whatever style of training you're doing these shoes will fit the bill.