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As a former CrossFit gym owner, I know one aspect members love about CrossFit workouts and metcons is their speediness. Being able to get in, hit a high-intensity workout, and be on your way is clutch, and a daily WOD gets bonus points if you don’t have to change back and forth between running shoes and weightlifting shoes in the middle of your workout.

Even better is if your CrossFit shoes are comfortable and versatile enough to wear into the gym and out of the gym. The NOBULL Recs, formerly known as NOBULL Rec Trainers, do just that—provide just enough cushioning and versatility to be comfortable during your workouts, or during casual activity.

In our NOBULL Recs review, we had runner and NOBULL shoes aficionado Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, test out these training shoes. Read on to see if the level of versatility of these shoes matches your needs and training.

Experts In Testing Workout Shoes of All Shapes, Sizes, and Uses

From the best cross-training shoes to lifting and walking shoes, we’ve tested tons of gym shoes from top brands—over 70 and counting. With a diverse team of certified personal trainers, CrossFit and weightlifting coaches, and competitive athletes, we have the know-how to test these shoes in a multitude of ways, to discern how durable, comfortable, and versatile these shoes can be for your training needs.

For the NOBULL Recs, Amanda tried these shoes out through a variety of CrossFit workouts, from strength exercises like deadlifts, to plyometrics and even some running. Having experience with NOBULL shoes already, she was mindful of common strengths and weaknesses of the shoes, giving them a score in categories such as:

  • Durability and construction
  • Versatility
  • Stability
  • Appearance and design
  • Overall value

NOBULL Recs

NOBULL Rec Trainer

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Training and everyday shoes
  • Roomy toe box
  • Seamless knit upper material 
  • Herringbone outsole pattern
  • Reflective NOBULL branding

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Stylish vintage sneaker design
  • 4 colorways
  • Large size range

Cons

  • Neutral colors only
  • Not for folks with a zero-drop preference

Bottom Line

The NOBULL Rec Trainers are lightweight, breathable, and versatile. You’ll have the roomy toe box and minimal heel-to-toe-drop NOBULL is known for with a sneaker design reminiscent of classic Chuck Taylors and Vans. these Rec Trainers offer

A Quick Look at the NOBULL Recs

As said in our NOBULL Outwork review, NOBULL shoes in general can be a bit divisive, with some people loving the look and feel, while others prefer Converse sneakers or Xero Shoes for their minimalist training shoes. Love them or hate them, NOBULL has been a top brand of training shoe for CrossFit since its launch in 2015, even becoming the title sponsor for the CrossFit Games in 2021.

Since releasing the Trainers, NOBULL has expanded their line to apparel and more shoes—high-tops, NOBULL Runners, Court Trainers, NOBULL Lifters, and also the Recs. The Recs, formerly branded as simply NOBULL Rec Trainers, are made with a more lightweight upper than the SuperFabric of the NOBULL Outworks, allowing for more breathability and flexibility in the shoe.

Side view of the NOBULL Rec Trainer shoes.

With the lightweight breathability, these shoes double as everyday sneakers, more so than the original NOBULL Outworks. These are great shoes for both gym use and casual use outside the gym.

Before You Buy

  • Although the Recs ran true to size for Amanda, quite a few customer reviews complained that the shoes were narrow—especially the toe box. If you have wide feet, you may want to consider ordering a larger size.
  • No matter if you order the women’s or men’s NOBULL Recs, the gym shoes come in the same eight colorways, with solid colors for the upper and outsole.

Are the NOBULL Recs Worth It?

The NOBULL Recs currently cost $119, which is actually a lower price point than when Amanda tested them out. At the price, this pair of shoes can be worth it to some, although Amanda found she preferred her NOBULL Impact shoes. 

“The Recs are very similar but more flexible and versatile,” Amanda explains. “I think the Recs look more like Vans and are, to most people, probably more wearable around town in terms of matching with outfits. However, I just really don’t think you can beat NOBULL’s SuperFabric for durability and longevity.” She rates the overall value a 3.5 out of 5.

Although these shoes may not have the longevity of the Trainers, they are designed for more casual and versatile use. Plus, they are less expensive than other popular cross-trainers; Nike Metcons start at $130, and the Reebok Nano X4 costs $140.

Great for:

  • Versatile cross-training
  • Wearing during workouts as well as for casual daywear
  • Staying stable during strength training

Not recommended for:

  • Those who want a bit more durability in their trainers
  • Lifters who want a higher heel-to-toe drop
  • People who prefer a wide toe box

NOBULL Recs Specs

Price$119
Heel-to-toe drop4 mm
Size rangeMen’s 8-16; Women’s 5-11
Weight10.7 oz (Men’s 9/Women’s 10.5)
ColorwaysWhite, Black/White, Black, Dove Grey, Dusty Purple, Dark Grey Gum, Arctic, Cedar Green
UpperSeamless knit
MidsoleEVA
OutsoleEVA
Warranty1 year

Using the NOBULL Recs 

Our product tester Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, tried out the shoes for a few weeks of CrossFit workouts, using the shoes for heavy back squats, deadlifts, HIIT training, cardio, and just wearing around town. “They’re very easy to wear with jeans or with a cute workout set,” she says.

RELATED: Best Shoes for Deadlifting

Our tester trying out the NOBULL Rec Trainers.

She is already a fan of NOBULL’s minimalist feel and style, and the NOBULL Recs brought the same feel to the table. With a more lightweight upper, the shoes are a bit more breathable. However, you sacrifice a bit of the durability with the added flexibility. 

NOBULL’s SuperFabric is one reason Amanda likes NOBULL’s design, so her greatest concern is for longevity in the shoes. With a lighter upper, it might not be ideal for rope climbs, where the rope may rub against the upper excessively.

Durability and Construction

The NOBULL Recs are all about versatility and breathability. Instead of the highly durable SuperFabric of the NOBULL Outworks, the Recs have a seamless knit for the upper. This allows for a lot more flexibility in the shoe and a more breathable experience.

Still, the upper is the main concern from Amanda, who gave the NOBULL Recs a 4 out of 5 for durability. “They seem very durable, like all NOBULL Outworks,” Amanda admits. “That said, I think the upper is probably not going to prove as durable as SuperFabric.”

The midsole and outsole are made of high-quality EVA foam, to create cushioning and durability. The outsole also has a herringbone pattern to provide multi-directional traction. Amanda gave the outsole a 3.5 out of 5, however, saying she lost a bit of traction on wet surfaces—particularly after heavy rain.

Stability

If there is anything NOBULL gets right with their shoes, its stability. With the low 4-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and flat, minimalist approach to their design, these shoes feel very stable during various exercises. Amanda rates the stability of the NOBULL Recs a 5 out of 5, saying that, “NOBULL Outworks are some of my favorite shoes because of the stable, locked-in feel. I feel like I get maximum ground contact with these compared to other training shoes.”

RELATED: Xero HFS II Review

Appearance

Amanda was a huge fan of these shoes, rating the appearance and design a 4.5 out of 5. “I love NOBULL’s style—the monochrome looks specifically—and I think these are super cute,” she says. “They look like the original NOBULL Outwork and Vans made a baby.”

Both the women’s and men’s NOBULL Recs come in eight different colorways, with monochrome uppers and monochrome outsoles. While NOBULL’s design and colors may not be for everyone, these shoes are definitely a bit more stylish for everyday wear, so even NOBULL haters might be impressed with the looks of these shoes.

NOBULL Recs vs Nike Metcon 9

Nike Metcon 9

Nike Metcon 9

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Released August 2023
  • Versatile, durable training shoe
  • Meant for CrossFit workouts and training
  • Enhanced rope guard
  • Larger Hyperlift crash pad
  • 11 colorways available at launch

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Versatile training shoe
  • Rope guard wrap-around
  • Rigid heel great for stability
  • Multiple colorways to choose from
  • Lace locking system
  • High-traction outsole
  • Durable upper
  • Breathable woven textile upper
  • Wide toe box

Cons

  • Not great for running or WODs with longer run intervals
  • Some people may find them too rigid
  • Expensive at $150 a pair

Bottom Line

The Nike Metcon 9 training shoes were released in August 2023 and build upon the Nike Metcon 8s with an enhanced rope guar wrap-around, plus a larger and more rigid crash pad. They feature a tightly woven and durable, but breathable, upper. The patterned, grooved outsole provides great traction during most weather conditions.

The NOBULL Recs are a less expensive cross-training shoe compared to most others, such as the Nike Metcon 9s. With a starting price of $150, Metcon 9s are pricey, but may provide more durability and longevity than the NOBULL Recs can. Additionally, Nike shoes are backed by a two-year warranty, which is a full year more coverage than NOBULL’s one-year warranty on the Recs.

The durability and added warranty coverage may be enough to sway some to the Metcon 9s; however, for a less expensive shoe for gym and everyday use, the NOBULL Recs may be the better choice. You can see our full thoughts in our in-depth Nike Metcon 9 review.

NOBULL RecsNike Metcon 9
Price$119$150; $160 for AMP version
Heel-to-toe drop4 mmNot disclosed
Size rangeMen’s 8-16; women’s 5-11Men’s 3.5-15; women’s 5-16.5
Weight10.7 oz (Men’s 9/Women’s 10.5)Not disclosed
ColorwaysWhite, Black/White, Black, Dove Grey, Dusty Purple, Dark Grey Gum, Arctic, Cedar Green18 options, plus a customizable option
UpperSeamless knitLightweight, synthetic mesh
MidsoleEVADual-density foam
OutsoleEVARubber
Warranty1 year2 years

Customer Experience

NOBULL Recs are backed by a one-year warranty that covers defects in materials or manufacturing. Additionally, NOBULL accepts returns or exchanges for up to 30 days after receipt; make sure the shoes are unworn and unwashed though. (Also, exchanges are currently only available to customers in the U.S.)

For customer support, there are multiple ways available to contact the company on the NOBULL website: phone, email, and live chat. For quick questions, they have a pretty robust FAQ section as well.

Ordering the NOBULL Recs

The NOBULL Recs can be purchased directly from the website for $119, and shipping is free for orders over $99. Amanda has ordered several pairs of NOBULL shoes, and never once has an issue with ordering or delivery, rating the ordering process a 5 out of 5.

Instead of paying the full cost up front, NOBULL allows you to pay in four split payments through Klarna or Afterpay.

Customer Reviews

As of this writing, there are 139 reviews for the men’s Recs, and 142 reviews on the women’s NOBULL Recs, averaging to an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

Most positive reviews love the balance between stability and comfort, with the EVA midsole providing a nice cushion. These reviews also say the shoes are stylish enough for everyday use.

Out of the negative reviews, the largest complaint is that the shoes tend to run a bit narrow. Most of these users warn athletes with wide feet to avoid these shoes. You can also try ordering up a size.

Final Verdict of Our NOBULL Recs Review

With a sleek design that can work in or out of the gym, the NOBULL Recs are a great shoe for someone looking for a cross-trainer that’s comfortable enough for everyday wear as well. While the lack of SuperFabric may make these shoes less durable than the typical NOBULL Outworks, the added breathable and flexible upper makes for a more comfortable and versatile shoe.

While it may not be the best choice for a dedicated gym shoe, if you’re looking for a shoe that can handle workouts as well as casual wear, these are a solid option.

Full Rating

NOBULL Rec Trainers

The NOBULL Rec Trainers are lightweight, breathable, and versatile. You’ll have the roomy toe box and minimal heel-to-toe-drop NOBULL is known for with a sneaker design reminiscent of classic Chuck Taylors and Vans. these Rec Trainers offer

Product Brand: NOBULL

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 119.00

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.4

NOBULL Recs Rating

Purchasing and Delivery – 5
Appearance – 4.5
Construction and Durability – 4
Stability – 5
Outsole – 3.5
Adjustability and Ergonomics – 5
Value – 3.5
Returns and Exchanges – 5
Customer Reviews – 4.5
Customer Service – 4
Buy Now

NOBULL Recs: FAQs

Should I size up in NOBULL?

While our product tester Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, had no issues with her sizing, quite a few customer reviews warn that the toe box is narrow, and users with wide feet may want to order a size up to accommodate the narrow fit.

Who Should Buy the NOBULL Recs?

The NOBULL Recs are ideal for people wanting a lightweight training shoe that can double for everyday wear. The lightweight and breathable upper may not prove as durable as NOBULL Outworks, but the Recs will be more comfortable to use for casual wear.

What is the difference between the NOBULL Outwork and Impact?

The NOBULL Impact is essentially an overbuilt version of the original NOBULL Outwork for just $10 more. The Impact shoes have a thick EVA midsole for more shock absorption. Additionally, the shoe has 360-degree abrasion-resistance to help protect the shoes from rope climbs. Finally, the herringbone-patterned lugs provide extra traction on most surfaces.

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