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Just when you think Reebok shoots themselves in the foot, they turn around and totally redeem themselves! (name that movie in the comments.)
The Reebok Nano 7 was released out of what seemed like nowhere, but in reality, it was Reebok feeling the heat from Nike's impending Metcon 3 release. It was a bold move that may have worked to thwart some sales from Nike and their Nano killer, but to be honest, I kind of doubt it.
Over the past few months, we've seen hints of a more knit like Nano and with much anticipation, they are now in our hands. Reebok is kind of funny. With the introduction of the Nano series, they absolutely owned the CrossFit market. They also started to branch out into the the general training space more and more, but due to many errors have had to face off more and more competition, including their own parent company Adidas.
Thankfully, despite the Nano 7 being an overall lackluster shoe, I'm happy to say the Nano 7 Weaves are a great comeback story.
Reebok had just come off one of the greatest training shoes ever created.
The Reebok Nano 6.0's are undoubtedly one of the best efforts Reebok (or really any training shoe company) has put forward in recent history. Not only were the Nano 6's ready to go out of the box, but they were also very durable, comfortable, and didn't look half bad (still not as appreciable as the Metcons.)
In the collective training community, Reebok was back to innovating and creating want the community wanted rather than resting on their laurels. There's a trend that I'm starting to notice, however, and this is what it is:
Based upon this timeline, it seems like Reebok produces an outstanding shoe every other iteration. Then, in between that time they forget what they're doing and everyone gets let down.
The issue with the Reebok Nano 7 was not its place in the Nano timeline, but the fact that it was stiffer than Marcus Aurelius' upper lip. Seriously, while the Nano 6 was ready to go out of the box, my pair of Nano 7's despite being often used are still not fully broken in. They're a durable shoe, but what's the point in durability if the shoe is too uncomfortable to even wear?
Based upon my previous example, we can infer that the Reebok Nano 7 Weaves are going to be an awesome shoe. And thankfully, they are. They take all of the great things that comprise the Nano 7's, remove the things that cause the shoe to be overly stiff and add in some things for looks.
First off, let's discuss the looks.
The original Nano 7's were far from being a contender for the best "looking" training shoe. In all honestly, I didn't mind the original Vitamin C colorway, but the general consensus of the community was that overall, they weren't a very great looking shoe. In the past, Reebok didn't really have many to compete within the CrossFit shoe space, but now that Nike, Adidas, NoBull, and others have entered the arena, looks play a big part in who buys what shoes.
The new Nano 7 Weaves are, at least in my opinion, much more pleasing to the eye. Although I'm not a huge fan of the initial black and white colorway, I do believe there is a lot to work with on the shoe, and am excited for what the team at Reebok comes up with. If they somehow created a rainbow colorway like they did with the Zoku Runners, I would be pretty pumped.
One area that I like in which they copied from the 7's was how little amounts of branding they've applied to the shoe. No longer is it plastered with "CROSSFIT OMG" across the sides, back, tongue, and everywhere else. They've completely transferred to using the delta logo that I like, and there are only a couple of places that feature the word CrossFit, both are hardly noticeable.
The big aesthetic change in the shoe is the improved NanoWeave on the upper. Rather than a stiff, all plastic weave mesh on the upper like the original Nano 7's has, the Weaves feature both a durable cage along with a more mesh-like material going horizontally across the toes. It both looks and functions superbly.
One of the big features performance-wise for the new NanoWeave mesh is its breathability. There is not a training shoe currently being made that is as breathable as the Nano 7 Weaves. I train out of the garage without A/C in the Midwest. The garage often gets hot enough to cook eggs on the squat rack (don't try this,) so I'll take breathability anywhere and everywhere I can get it. Although the original Nano 7's were breathable, these are even more so.
Along with the new NanoWeave mesh being breathable, it's also flexible and hard-wearing. I don't think the original Nano 7 upper will ever be the problem for the shoe degrading, it's that tough. But, it doesn't really need to be that tough, and I believe Reebok recognized that by minimizing the amount of plastic mesh used. The upper now features great durability with Reebok's most breathable shoe yet. It also looks better than the previous version. This is a win-win-win all around.
The new Nano 7 Weaves feature a CMEVA molded midsole that allows the foot to move naturally. Surprisingly, the only changes that Reebok made were to the upper, which has relieved all stiffness problems and allowed the shoe to conform to the foot much more.
To put it plainly, the Nano 7 Weaves feel much more like the Nano 6's, which is a great thing.
The heel drop of the shoe is the standard 4mm that Reebok has been using for most of the Nano series and although isn't a completely minimalist shoe, by today's standards is still very minimal. The cushioning is similar to previous Nano's, and although not the ideal marathon running shoe, I personally would have no problem running 5k's in the shoe.
One feature of the Weaves that was taken from the original Nano 7's is the width of the shoe. I personally have a rather narrow foot and find that most shoes are simply too wide for me. The Nano 7 Weave will be considered somewhat narrow for those of you with wide, hobbit-like feet (you know who you are,) but I don't think the shoe is too narrow for most people. The Nano series is designed to reach a broad audience, and as such, Reebok creates the lasts based on averages.
The outsole of the shoe remains the same as the Nano 7 and provides excellent durability as well as grip. The heel counter is also the same which is a feature many liked as it provides good stability during lifts.
The tongue is slightly different and will be less likely to slide down the side of your ankles (thank you!)
The Nano 7 Weave is a welcome update that should provide outstanding performance and durability until you decide to upgrade to a different shoe (probably in a month.)
Although the Nano 7 Weave is a great update, there are always things that can be improved.
The first thing that needs a lot of attention is the colorways. For some reason, Reebok has yet to realize the power in designing a shoe so that many fresh and unique colorways can be introduced. Compared to the Nike Metcon 3, the released colorways for both the original Nano 7's and the Weaves are all pretty boring. The red/white/blue colorway has always been a hit, but the latest rendition with the 7's was less than tremendous.
The next improvement I'd like to see is innovation specifically related to aiding in movements. Why the Nano series doesn't feature a heel clip like the Metcon series doesn't make sense to me. It's a simple addition that provides actual benefit to the user. Things like a more grippy in-step for rope climbs or extra cushioning in the toe-box for mid-foot strikers or even inner changeable insoles for people of varying ankle mobility.
All of these things would be cheap to add and set the Nano series apart from the competition.
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