The Reebok Nano is inarguably the most important modern training shoe line, at the center of the Crossfit boom and driving success so meaningful that Nike had no choice but to enter the fray with their Metcon line.
(For anyone unfamiliar, we highly recommend you check out this incredible video history of the Nano line from our pal Jake Boly, AKA ThatFitFriend)
While there have been some pronounced ups and downs with the Nano in recent years as more competitors joined the functional fitness space, we’ve told you before that the X3 felt like a return to form and one of our reviewers declared that the seemingly limited edition re-release of the Nano 2.0 was their favorite training shoe ever.
So when Reebok let us know we were going to test out the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure – the indoor AND outdoor model – we got really excited because it’s a shoe line we know all too well. And like the Taylor Swift song of the same name, every time we think of the Nano “something about it felt like home somehow.”
(Editor’s Note: We’re not doing what I think we’re doing, right?)
Wow, looks like we’ve got our theme for this review – so let’s hope you don’t get exhausted rooting for our anti-hero reviewers.
(Editor’s Note: These themes are exhausting. If you need to leave, we understand.)
Please note that Reebok provided both Bryan and Arune with the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure for review. The company had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and has not attempted to influence this review.
So, without further adieu, let’s take these shoes for a spin and… shake it off.
Reebok Nano X3 Adventure
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The Reebok Nano line has been on a roll and, the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure is a winning shoe that provides an overall excellent experience.
How do the Authors 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 20 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.
Bryan Hinkle (age 49, 5-10”, 225lbs): Trains 5-6 times a week in the weight room, hitting each body part once a week with combo and supersets. The usual split is chest, back/triceps, shoulders/biceps. Legs are only trained on Fridays, with full-court basketball Mondays and Wednesdays and basketball skill work on lifting days for 30 minutes to an hour. He HATES running as exercise but has recently gotten back into the grind (he ran cross country on a district championship team in high school).
What is the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure?
GRIPPY, WATER-RESISTANT TRAINING SHOES MADE FOR OUTDOOR FITNESS
Fitness isn’t limited to an hour at the gym. It can happen wherever and whenever you want it to. These Reebok training shoes are built to handle outdoor workouts from stair runs to squat jumps. Floatride Energy Foam in the forefoot gives you a lightweight feel and responsive ride while a molded tongue and heel collar offer step-in comfort. A Vibram ECOSTEP RECYCLE EVO outsole provides reliable grip on wet grass or rocky paths.
Stay, Stay, Stay, Stability
Arune: One of the big changes with this version of the Nano X3 is the Vibram ECOSTEP RECYCLE EVO outsole and let me say that it grips any surface – hardwood, rubber mats, cement, a grassy lawn – incredibly well. I actually did some plyometrics in all those environments to see how the shoe functioned and I never had an instance where I felt a single imbalance.
That translates into some really incredible stability, beyond even that of the mainline X3, and a shoe that really feels built for those big lifts.
Bryan: We all know those times when someone spills their WHOLE FREAKING WATER BOTTLE in the gym and the floor gets wet and slick. Reebok does, and they planned perfectly with this outsole. Grip never slipped indoors or out (these were worn on two-three short hikes). I do box jumps and ladders and the grip when I would hit the edge of a box held close and kept me from shin-breaking (wooden carpet-covered box).
To me, that is great traction. I did do some strength band and lunge work up and down the driveway on weekend home workouts and the wet pavement was no challenge. I will say the regular Nano X3 has better traction on hardwood courts, so if you want to get some shots up but not get in a game, the regular is better, but the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure isn’t terrible.
Functional Fitness Love Story
Arune: One of the Pros in my original review of the X3 was how much this shoe feels made for functional fitness and that is true of the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure as well.
Even with this new outsole, nothing has changed about how well you feel the ground and how well this shoe translates from olympic lifts to plyometrics to, with this model, getting some outdoor cardio like a good hike.
There are some definite downsides that we’ll address in the cons, but like the standard Nano X3, this Adventure model feels like a return to the golden age of the Nano line. I can imagine someone picking up the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure as their first specialized training shoe and totally understanding why this line is so revered by athletes around the world.
There have been questions over the last year about the future direction of Reebok after their split from Adidas, but I believe the Nano line should be a crown jewel in that strategy. The Reebok Nano X3 Adventure is evidence that Reebok is still atop the functional fitness shoe game.
Bryan: I got into the Nano game late, around the 6 or 7, but I have had every pair of the Adventure, and every year it is a shoe I look forward to. I normally don’t like a minimal drop – it makes me feel like my achilles is being stretched – but the functionality of the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure throws those thoughts out of the way. It feels like an extension of my foot and I attribute that to the enhanced padding in the tongue and heel.
While we saw the X2 integrate a sort of neoprene, form-fitting collar around the ankle last year, the X3 adds some additional padding into that area for lockdown, The tongue is also strategically padded and, while thinner than the regular X3, does a better job of cutting lace pressure because of the denseness.
I Can See You Wearing These Everywhere
Arune: This is naturally going to be a review where we mention our previous Reebok Nano X3 review, as we did above – and like the OG, the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure looks gorgeous.
We got the “Stucco / Grout / Laser Lime” pair, which is not only one of the most evocative and accurate colorway descriptions ever, but also turned a lot of heads when I took them outdoors. They’re distinctly a Reebook shoe at first glance but they also appeal to fans of outdoor shoes like Merrell, which explains why many folks I encountered in Salt Lake City were very excited to know how they could get a pair.
It’s not just the aesthetic that makes them so versatile – the water-resistant vamp mesh and forefoot overlays mean these can accompany you on, as the name says, a whole lot of adventures from walking the dog on a rainy day to a hike through both dry and wet environments.
I won’t pretend to be a hiking shoe expert but this is the kind of shoe that makes someone like me want to take more of the latter adventures and that’s a huge win in my books.
Bryan: Like Arune, I can see this shoe being worn everywhere because of the color pallet and the popularity of similar shoes like Salomon trail runners and other outdoor/lug-sole runners. The color I got, the same as Arune, lends to casual wear (and not just a restaurant after the gym).
The cushioning is enough for all-day activity and comfort (Floatride for the WIN) and the mesh upper flexes and forms right where you need it. The logo is noticeable but not overbearing, slightly hidden in the layers, so the IN YOUR FACE branding of some shoes isn’t there, making them even more useful for “after-gym” activities.
The “water resistant” part is just like it says – resistant, not proof. If you are splashing in puddles or get caught in a sudden downpour, you should be good. If you go running in a creek or fall off a boat in a lake you will have wet socks and feet. Lesson – don’t get in over your ankles.
Mr. Perfectly Fine Fit
Arune: I alluded to fit issues above and this is a surprising con for me because I never thought I’d say the words “this shoe might be TOO big” but then again I never thought I’d suddenly be interested in hiking either.
Well, here we are and I think that even my Hobbit feet might not be voluminous enough for whoever’s foot was the inspiration for this shoe.
It’s actually not a big issue to me that the shoe feels a bit loose in the forefoot because I’m so used to shoes feeling way too snug and crushing my pinkies. This shoe had a marginal break-in period where I worried the crush was back but that disappeared after the second workout.
The real problem is the heel slippage – it was enough of a problem that I had to stop using the X3 for plyometrics (my heels came out of the shoe during burpees) but it’s somehow even worse with the Adventure version.
So I may get the stability I want but my mind is constantly occupied by thoughts of the slippage and how my foot keeps sliding in the shoe. I still have great stability but I’m not doing box jumps or anything explosive in this shoe.
Bryan: Like most Nano’s I have tried, the forefoot is wiiiiide. I know this is to allow toe splaying and if you saw the first few Nano models you know they had a split toe system for better grip on rope climbs and ladders. That technology has gone by the wayside but the forefoot is still wide enough to allow some spreading but also some internal movement.
This isn’t a problem in most activities until you get into lateral slides or pushoffs and your foot is looking for an edge to push off of. The Reebok Nano X3 Adventure has more synthetic/fuse overlays around the toe area for durability but this also keeps the shoe from really molding to the foot. Depending on my situation, this can be good (rock climbing) or bad (anything else). For what the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure is for, I can deal with a little movement.
Heel slip is also more prevalent than in the regular X3. With the added liner and padding I expected to be in a lockdown mode in these but I think the problem is the cut. While it looks the same as the regular X3, the collar liner is not as stiff and solid and makes the cut lower than it seems, especially on the heel. If it had the same collar as the X3 we would have gold stars for everyone.
Look What You Made Me (NOT) Do
Arune: I did my best to be incredibly precise in my praise about the versatility of the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure because I don’t want to cause any whiplash here.
But while I love this shoe for lifting and many plyometrics, there were definite areas where I didn’t enjoy it – namely cardio.
Given the heel slippage I experienced, I only needed one run to decide this wasn’t a running shoe for me, but I was surprised at the forefoot pain I experienced while rowing with the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure. I’d found the original X3 pretty solid as a rowing shoe and really responsive, but the Adventure not only caused some forefoot pain but I felt hot spots a few times as well that required me to switch shoes (though to the Nano 2.0, so at least Reebok provided the solution after a fashion).
Bryan: Yeah, running is out unless it’s just some quick, short sprint work (20-yard, 40-yard dash, and shuttles) or running on grass/turf. For road/pavement/treadmill, nope, I can’t do it with an upper this layered and stiff. Not a bad thing, because the shoe is almost perfect in every other category. Heel stability (under the foot) is GREAT, using the same heel clip and cushioning as the X3 (solid foam in a more solid carrier).
The forefoot room helped with squats and leg presses, giving my foot room to flatten out as I pushed, and the extra layering in the toebox was a strong point over the X3 when my toes would push into the materials on hack squats or toe raises. I love a flat, wide base and stiff cushioning in a trainer and the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure hits the right spot.
That Price Hits Different
Arune: I made a point of calling this out with the On Cloud X 3 (no relation to the Nano), but the price escalation with training shoes is noticeable, and $150 still just feels like too much,
Look, it’s possible that this is just the future of things and in a few years that $150 will seem like a deal given inflation and so many other things in the world, but for this moment it feels like when comic books jumped from $2.99 to $3.99 per issue. I can understand it but it does change my purchasing decisions.
It’s also hard for me to stomach this price – even with all the incredible outdoor elements – when Reebok itself is making what I consider the best training shoe ever with the Reebok Nano 2.0 at a relatively affordable $120.
Bryan: Yeah – price. Charging $150 for the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure is… ambitious? When I can go into a Reebok outlet right now and get the X2 Adventure (basically the same shoe) or the Nano X3 for $60, charging $150 is out of sight.
It’s a pretty shoe, and it works as designed, but only the most diehard Nano fans are willing to pay that price right out of the gate. I know some other brands are charging that and more for shoes that don’t perform any better, but as a consumer, one that frequents the Reebok stores (4 of them within an hour), I know they will discount these heavily in a short time (historically). This IS NOT A KNOCK to the shoe, just the strategy.
Is the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure for You?
Arune: If you’re going to take a training shoe outdoors and want to use it with reckless abandon, it’s hard to argue against the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure.
This feels like a shoe built to get beat up and be an incredible training partner in kicking your ass with a killer workout.
Even with the reasonable debate over the price, I think this one requires a try-on at your local shoe store so that you can see if you have the same fit issues as me.
Bryan: If you see yourself as part Phil Heath, part Indiana Jones, then this is the shoe for you. There has been a serious influx of “everything” shoes, including the Nano series, that allow you to wear them, well, anywhere, so if you only want to carry one pair around grab the Nano X3 or Nano X3 Adventure and be a happy, one-pair-in-the-bag person.
If you want a shoe that will take a beating and ask for more, the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure is your shoe. If you like to train in the grass and it’s early and wet, this is the shoe. If you want to take them for a run – you’re a stronger person than me.
Reebok Nano X3 Adventure Summary
Arune: The Reebok Nano line has been on a roll and the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure is a winning shoe that provides an overall excellent experience.
My hope is that my experience with the fit is in the minority because otherwise, the build, stability, and aesthetics make this a shoe I will definitely keep in my training rotation.
Bryan: For a long time my favorite trainer ever was the Reebok JJ Watt 4 – it was the perfect combo of fit, traction, and cushioning in a lightweight package and reasonable price. While that line ended a few years ago, the Nano took hints from those shoes and kept the ball rolling. I still like the Watt 4 better, but finally, the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure at least makes me think about that decision.