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Reebok Nano X4 Review: The Best Training Shoe You Can Buy in South Africa?

Is the Reebok Nano X4 training shoe the right gym shoe for you?

Jeremy Proome

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When building your ideal workout wardrobe, it quickly becomes apparent that the shoes you wear in the gym matter. A good pair of gym training shoes can help provide a solid foundation for your workouts and help you achieve those personal bests behind the bar, below it, and beyond. There are plenty of good cross-training shoes on the market, but no brand or shoe has become synonymous with fitness quite like Reebok and its Nano training shoe.

The shoe has gone through quite a few adaptations through the years and this year’s version of the shoe, the Reebok Nano X4, is said to be the perfect blend of old and new. Constructed with a more breathable and lightweight fit, this all-new profile from one of fitness training’s most reputable brands is gearing up to be the shoe of choice for anyone looking to make gains in the gym.

Between a high-intensity CrossFit workout, a few functional F45 classes, and some old-school weight, body and rehab training, we got the chance to lace up these shoes for a few workouts and put the new Nano X4 through its paces to help you figure out if the Reekbok Nano X4 is the right training shoe for you.

A new breathable upper

For this latest iteration of the hit shoe, Reebok says it has focused on removing unnecessary material in the upper and featuring redesigned footwear technology throughout. These latest innovations have resulted in what Reebok says is the most breathable Nano iteration yet. The Nano X4 is ultra-lightweight, all while remaining focused on stability and premium performance support.

The Nano X4 introduces a completely redesigned upper with all-new Flexweave Material engineered with a Midfoot Ventilation Panel for increased breathability, durability, and a premium look and feel. With this technology and design underfoot, athletes can focus on their workout and not the discomfort of a heavy-weight shoe or overheating foot.

While previous models of the Nano were quite rigid, the Nano X4 features an improved version of the Flexweave Knit for better foot containment, when you’re doing your lifts, and flexibility when you’re amping up the cardio. The flexible upper hugs the foot pretty well while also ensuring you get more toe spring for dynamic, explosive movements, like burpees and plyometrics. It’s flexible where you need it to be, which is right around the top of the toe box and structured where you need it to be, around the lateral and medial sides of the shoe.

Even wide-footed wearers won’t have any issue with their feet ‘spilling out’ of these shoes, nor find them inflexible and rigid. The upper is so comfortable that you get that ‘perfect fit’ feeling straight out of the box, with no need to wear them in. Around the middle part of the shoe, you’ll also see a return to the older-gen Flexweave mesh panels for mid-foot ventilation and increase the airflow in the shoe. As a result, breathability in this shoe is great, my feet didn’t feel hot or uncomfortable during workouts, whether it came to lifting or doing more cardio-based workouts.

Admittedly, while the Nano X4 is still a wide shoe, the silhouette of the design is definitely a fair bit slimmer than previous iterations, so the toe box, while spacious, is a little more confined. In terms of fit, these are pretty true to size, but you can go up half a size or a full size if you’d like more width in the shoe.

A mid-sole with oomph

Moving to the back of the shoe, you’ll find a more streamlined version of the L.A.R (Lift and Run) Chassis that debuted in the previous version of the shoe. This is essentially a TPU piece that contains the heel and extends all the way up to the metatarsal bones of the forefoot, the midsole.

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The heel part of the chassis features a dome that is filled with the Floatride Energy foam with a 7mm drop. This foam is designed to flatten out and stabilise the heel when you’re lifting and give you more comfort and cushioning when you’re running and jumping. The heel feels very stable and is relatively easy to run in. It’s a more responsive feeling shoe but it’s far from a mushy running shoe. If you’re used to a more cushioned, ultra-flexible shoe, then the X4 may take some getting used to but it’s ideal if you prefer a denser feel to your midsole, rather than a bouncier, more plush training shoe.

For some the 7mm drop in the shoe may be a step too far in a training shoe. While the Nano X4’s 7mm drop will have you more pitched forward for lifts, that pitch may help for Olympic weight lifting movements, like a clean, where that increased heel height may offer an advantage to someone who struggles with mobility.

Having said that, the ground contact and stability of this shoe is great and it doesn’t feel like they’re pitching you forward as aggressively as a running shoe would. The feeling you get from the Reebok Nano X4 is more structured, rigid and built out. So, if you’re somebody who wants a higher heel and a shoe that feels a bit more ‘planted’, then the Nano X4 can be a great pick. If you’re somebody who likes a more minimal shoe with a flatter foot position and an ultra-flexible feel then you may want to look at other options.

Improved grip

Now let’s talk grip and slippage. The outsole of the Nano X4 remains relatively the same as previous models, it’s still a flat contact wide outsole. The traction pattern is still the same, which ensures that the X4 offers great traction on multiple surfaces, whether it’s an indoor track, rubber floor, wood surface, or outside tarmac. The shoe also still has the RopePro outsole wrap that comes up on the side of the shoe to ensure it’s still a great rope climbing shoe in a CrossFit setting.

The insole of the shoe has also been improved. This time around you’ll get a rough, grippy insole rather than the smooth textured insole we saw in the previous model. This goes a long way to help with slipping and movement inside the shoe. If you want even more lockdown in the shoe, you can take things up a notch with grip socks but most people should be fine with the level of grip provided with the standard insole.

Reebok Nano X4 Training Shoe Review

The shoe’s excellent grip, both inside and outside the shoe makes it ideal for things like burpees and box jumps, where you need more stability. The grip and responsiveness for box jumps and burpees are noticeably improved when wearing these training shoes in the gym. For box jumps, you feel suitably planted when landing on the box and you can easily spring back onto the box with each rep in your set.

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A dynamic shoe for any athlete

There’s no question the Reebok Nano X4 is a better shoe than its predecessor. While the shoe looks and feels very similar to last year’s version, Reebok has done a lot to make improvements to this new iteration and solve some of the issues athletes raised with the previous model. The new Nano is essentially a streamlined version of its predecessor. The shoe is now more lightweight than ever, with a woman’s size UK10 clocking in at 387 grams, making it a great shoe for dynamic movements in the gym.

The Nano X4 is designed for use in a CrossFit-style workout setting where you’re doing a pairing of box jumps, a lift, and maybe some mono-structural cardio-based movements. In this format, it’s a great shoe. It’s stable, relatively flexible, and offers great grip. When wearing this shoe in a CrossFit setting it truly shines and does exactly what it’s designed to do. It’s versatile but leans on the stable side, giving you the best of both worlds if that’s what you’re after in a training shoe.

However, when taken out of its natural habitat the Nano X4 may struggle a little, especially. if you’re more accustomed to wearing more cushioned and padded training shoes. If you’re looking for more structure and stability with your static and functional exercises, you’ll appreciate the Nano X4’s design and style. Burpees and side planks have never felt better and the medial support was a game changer for someone who may struggle with pronating and knees collapsing inward.

In terms of strength training and lifting, the Nano X4 shines in heavily loaded movements, like barbell back squats and even front squats. They’re very responsive and the power delivery is super impressive.

Keep in mind, the higher-than-usual heel drop does add a little bit of compensation for exercises such as deadlifts. However, some people may find that they like to lift with more heel and the higher drop may align better with their lifting mechanics than a flatter shoe with say a 2mm drop. It all comes down to preference.

As far as general compression and stability, the Reebok Nano X4 is a winner of note for most lifters and athletes. If you’re already a fan of the Reebok Nano training shoe, this model is a definite upgrade from previous versions, and you’re bound to love it. Overall, it’s a versatile shoe for many types of workouts and is a pretty well-rounded shoe for lifting and cross-training.

Price and availability

The Reebok Nano X4 Training Shoe is now available in South Africa at Reebok stores and online at R 2,799.

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