When you talk about functional fitness shoes, you must include the Reebok Nano 2, and the Reebok Nano line in general, as part of the conversation. For over thirteen years, it has been the shoe line that elicits a special kind of excitement and nostalgia.
But if you’re new to the Reebok Nano, we highly recommend checking out this incredible history of the shoe from our pal Jake Boly, AKA ThatFitFriend.
We also recently reviewed the newest member of the Nano line, aka the Nano X3, and determined it was a return to form for Reebok, one that we expected to be amongst the top training shoes of the year.
That itself would’ve made it a successful year for the Reebok Nano, but then Reebok announced the return of what some consider its greatest training shoe – the Reebok Nano 2.
And since we don’t get a lot of retro releases in the fitness shoe world, we knew we had to see how the Reebok Nano 2 compared to modern competition.
Please note that Reebok did provide Drew with a pair for photos but Arune is such a Nano nerd that he bought his own pair to review. With that in mind, Reebok had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and has not attempted to influence this review.
Reebok Nano 2
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: One of the best cross training shoes ever, the Reebok Nano 2, returns as a retro.
How Does The Author Train?
Arune Singh (age 41, 5’11”, 215lbs): Trains daily with functional fitness programming provided by Deadboys Fitness, founded by Colby “Seth Rollins” Lopez and Josh Gallegos. He also runs five times a week, averaging 15 miles per week, and will be participating in multiple 5K races this year. He also has a medical history of Sleep Apnea and Myasthenia Gravis, meaning Arune’s focus is on lean muscle mass.
What is the Reebok Nano 2?
Reebok describes it as:
Say hello to an old friend. The legendary Nano 2.0 is back with all the DNA of the original for optimal performance in your functional fitness workouts. These men’s Reebok training shoes have an EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning and open-hole mesh that delivers a flexible, breathable feel. DuraGrip toe protection and ROPEPRO technology help you move through your WOD with ease.
The shoe has a 4 mm drop and we weren’t able to find any official weight measurements.
Simple is Better
There’s a moment in the James Bond movie Skyfall where Moneypenny tells 007 that “sometimes the old ways are best” before helping him shave in a decidedly old-school way – and this quote comes up in the third act as well, helping inspire the big action set piece.
Editor’s Note: I know you love the Nano, Arune, but there’s no way that you’ll convince me that this shoe makes you feel like a secret agent.
Well, I guess this review is over now.
Too many modern training shoes overcomplicate the very straightforward idea of a training shoe, with some baffling choices around essentials like the heel-to-toe drop or a cushion setup that doesn’t erode the ground feel.
That’s where the Reebok Nano 2 takes us back to those aforementioned “old ways” – this shoe is simple and to the point. You put your foot in the shoe and everything feels like it’s supposed to feel – the material breaks where it should (instead of stabbing your forefoot like some others), the forefoot isn’t as bizarrely narrow as modern shoes (yes, this is wide foot friendly), and the cushion is comfortable without affecting stability.
I had a big smile on my face when these hit my feet.
This Shoe Does it All
As you might suspect from everything I’ve already said, this shoe is an absolute dream for four functional fitness training.
Olympic lifts? You’ll always feel connected to the ground and the midsole has enough cushioning without ever becoming unstable.
Plyometrics? With the low stack height and relatively flat base, you’ll never lack balance or proper foot positioning.
Running? Not my first choice but the midsole flexes more than enough for a natural running movement and the cushion responds enough for short runs.
Rowing or the Air Bike? Perfection.
The Reebok Nano 2 isn’t going to replace a specialized running shoe for my cardio days, but that’s not the point of the shoe either – it’s meant to get you through everything you might expect in functional fitness and it does that without any issues.
Nostalgia is A Heluva (Pre-Workout) Drug
At the ripe age of 42, I’ve reached the point in my life where all the music in restaurants and malls is now made up of the songs that I loved in my 20s, instead of what my parents listened to in their 20s.
Does that make the music better? No, but I still jam out to “I Want It That Way” like no one’s business.
Editor’s Note: Is there a point to this story?
So you’re saying that you want me to…tell you why?
Editor’s Note: I think this review will set a record for the number of times I fire you.
My point is that the Nano feels the way a training shoe should feel to me – closer to a barefoot training shoe than the mountains of cushion and high stacks that divorce me from the ground.
That means this is really what I want from a shoe – maybe because it’s how I discovered my passion for training shoes over a decade ago or maybe it really does function better.
Either way, I’m excited about the Reebok Nano 2 Retro the way folks are excited about Michael Keaton coming back as Batman.
A Nano of Excitement
I’ll be honest, I had a really hard time finding any real criticisms about the Reebok Nano 2 – I’m not going to write paragraphs about the laces being too long.
Editor’s Note: Way to call out at least two of our other reviewers.
My only real warning to any of you would be that this isn’t an exciting shoe – it’s an excellent trainer and I want to stock up on multiple pairs, but it’s not a shoe that will blow you away with its aesthetic, materials or on foot feel.
The real magic of the shoe is that you don’t think about it when you lift – but that also means you don’t think about much unless you’re a crazy person like myself and other reviewers here who try every training shoe we can find.
Luckily, at $120 you’re paying much, much less than other training shoes and getting an incredible performer. It will elicit zero compliments, TikTok likes or really any effusive praise except from your own self every time you realize you just crushed another workout.
In X-Men terms, this shoe is Cyclops even though folks seem to want their shoes to be Wolverine or Gambit.
Editor’s Note: Aaaannnd, now you’ve offended Reebok’s marketing team with that comparison.
Maybe It’s TOO Wide Foot Friendly?
The only other con coming to mind is that this is so wide foot friendly that anyone with narrow feet might find too much space here both in width and length.
Sorry, I really can’t find anything else to say here.
Is This For You?
If your training focuses on weightlifting, this shoe is an absolute must – even if you’re not a CrossFit or Functional Fitness kind of person.
I don’t think this would be the first choice for folks focused on HIIT or cardio-centric workouts, but I think it’s absolutely worth trying this on foot to understand what it feels like to have a training shoe with no fluff.
Reebok Nano 2 Summary
I’ll cut right to chase – the Reebok Nano 2 may just be my favorite training shoe ever and it’s a bummer that this appears to be a limited release, as some colorways are sold out with no sign of restocking.
This has become my go to training shoe every day and it’s nearly impossible to imagine that changing any time soon. Just buy the damn shoe.