The newest release of the sneaker sacrifices everything for function—but somehow still looks cute.

By Lauren Mazzo
Updated: December 14, 2017
Photo: Nike

The workout world is changing (for the better!) as we know it. Gym-goers are slowly ditching old-school machines and, instead, are turning themselves into machines with functional fitness training. (No need to join a CrossFit box to do so-just grab a kettlebell.) The new Nike Metcon 4 proves that workout shoes are literally following in the footsteps of the functional fitness revolution.

Don't let the beauty of this new release fool you-the Nike shoe design team put function over fashion in every way. Nike preserved both the tri-star outsole (built for extra traction during things like rope climbs) and the underfoot cushioning (with just a 4-millimeter offset, to keep your foot flat and stable during heavy lifts) of the Metcon 3. (Peep the 2017 Shape Sneaker Awards to see the best shoes for any type of exercise.)

Then what's so new about the Metcon 4? Nike designers snagged feedback from elite CrossFit athletes-who say they rip through shoes like nobody's business-to make sure this version would really stand up to the toughest workouts.

Nike made them more durable by adding "haptic" technology on the upper part of the shoe (a.k.a. like a smaller, rubberized version of the super durable outsole). That means high-wear areas like your toes and the sides of your feet are more protected than if it went straight from outsole to mesh.

Although the Metcon 4 outer mesh looks as cute as it does on your Flyknit Nikes, it's actually a sandwich mesh made from two layers of fabric, designed to really hug your foot and provide extra cushion. (Because no side of your foot is safe from the wrath of box jump burpees.) There's an extra eyelet for your laces (meaning a more precise fit), extra cushioning on the tongue, and less rubber covering the back of the heel for a lighter look, but no less protection.

Running shoes have long been optimized to adapt to different running strides and surfaces. (There are even running sneakers that have a built-in form coach!) But until recently, cross-training shoes just kinda hung out in their category, without much thought given to their design. It looks like that's about to change.

Sadly, you can't add these babies to your holiday wish list. The Metcon 4 debuts on Nike iD on December 19, launches on Nike.com on January 1 and will be in global stores on January 4. But you know what that means-it's around just in time to crush your New Year's resolutions.

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