Reebok Nano X4
Fit: True to size
Coming out of a 2023 where so many flagship training shoe models from top brands seemed to disappoint, the Reebok Nano X4 is the first major new training release of the new year and one that we’re hoping signals good things to come (Editor’s Note: shoes are not a groundhog’s shadow).
There’s probably no training shoe line more synonymous with the functional fitness movement than the Reebok Nano (if you’re new to the Nano, Jake Boly at ThatFitFriend has an awesome retrospective on the first 13 models).
The WearTesters training review team has worn the Nano since nearly the beginning of the line and it’s always exciting to see how Reebok adapts the shoe to athlete needs each year, whether it’s a disappointment like the X2, really encouraging like the X3, or perhaps the gold standard of the 2.0 reissue.
The team at Reebok sent some pairs of Nano X4s to our reviewers to let us see if these shoes will bring us good tidings (Editor’s Note: again, shoes don’t possess magical powers), but they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.
How do the Authors Train?
Arune Singh (age 42, 5’11”, 215lbs): Trains daily with functional fitness programming provided by Deadboys Fitness, founded by Colby “Seth Rollins” Lopez and Josh Gallegos, along with logging 30-40 miles of running per week. He also has a medical history of Sleep Apnea and Myasthenia Gravis, meaning Arune’s focus is on lean muscle mass.
Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Trains daily with a focus on running, strength training, and mobility. He writes the majority of our running shoe reviews and runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and his growing affinity for long-distance races. He regularly competes in marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races. His strength training and mobility regimen center around maintaining flexibility and lifting heavy to build power as a counterbalance to all the running he’s doing. His number one focus is staying injury-free so he can keep up the sweet gig of reviewing shoes for a living.
What is the Reebok Nano X4?
Reebok describes it as:
The Nano X4 Training Shoes are one of the lightest and most breathable Nano iterations yet. These Reebok training shoes are crafted with enhanced stability and support, without excess design features that add weight. The updated Flexweave® woven textile upper is ultralight and a new midfoot ventilation panel allows greater air flow. Ultimate stability comes from the innovative Lift and Run Chassis system, while Floatride Energy Foam cushions every stride.
Arune: One of the biggest issues with so many training shoes from the big companies last year was that they felt overengineered, with thick soles that eliminated ground feel or loads of tech that made them feel like wearing bricks.
The Reebok Nano X4 is not one of those shoes.
At first glance, it may not look like much is new about the X4 – it’s distinctively a Nano (which we’ll discuss in aesthetics), though it lacks all the big visible plastic from the X3.
But once you get these on your feet, you’ll realize that Reebok has created an excellent love letter to the past of the Nano (as a no nonsense training shoe) and improved so many of the issues that have affected recent iterations.
Nowhere is that more apparent than training, where the Nano X4 reveals itself as a true “one shoe to do it all” – or as Reebok would say, “The Official Shoe of Fitness.”
Simply put, the Reebok Nano X4 is an excellent performer on all lifts, offering some great stability in all situations thanks to the Lift and Run (L.A.R) Chassis System and a rubber outsole that grips pretty well on all surfaces. From squats to cleans to snatches, this shoe keeps you connected to the ground so that you can focus on your lifts without any worry and seamlessly transition from movement to movement.
The best compliment I can offer the Reebok Nano X4 is that once I put it on, I never thought about it again – except when I was finding that I was hitting PRs on single leg movements like RDLs or RFESSs. I cannot believe how much more steady and confident I felt on those latter movements in these shoes.
Special shoutout to the Floatride Energy Foam cushioning for perfectly compressing when you go for a PR that forces you to really push into the ground (hello, deadlifts).
If you’re focused on plyometrics or HIIT training, the Nano X4 is also an excellent performer with the Floatride keeping your legs fresh as you try to knock out 100 burpees (which might have been how I tried to break in these shoes).
In short, if you need to lift heavy things or move your body, the Reebok Nano X4 does it all spectacularly.
Do you agree Drew, or have I been seduced by the siren call of my Nano fandom?
Drew: You haven’t been seduced, the Reebok Nano X4 is my favorite Nano to date. It’s not overbuilt but still supportive and stable without feeling too clompy as I trudge from station to station in the gym.
The Reebok Nano X4 gave me back whatever I put in. Push down hard on squats, jumps, deadlifts, or lateral drills and the Nano X4 transfers all of that energy into the ground and the resulting force is exactly what you’d expect. Nothing is lost to undesired side to side movement or the midsole foam (even though it’s soft).
This energy transfer creates a reliable experience that increases confidence in my movements. Once this shoe is on your foot, it’s easy to forget about it and just focus on putting in work.
I was also surprised when I checked the drop measurement and it was 7mm. The Reebok Nano X4 feels more like a 4mm shoe…and that’s a good thing. I felt more level than the drop would indicate. So don’t be scared off by what appears at first glance to be a higher drop.
Arune: The Reebok Nano X4 was put through my regular test of sprints, jogging, rowing and time on the air bike too.
This is one area where the recent Puma PWR Nitro Squared has definitely redefined the kind of comfort I expect from training shoes, so I won’t say that the Nano X4 brings the same kind of cardio joy to my workouts.
But the Nano X4 is still a top performer in this area, with really solid energy return from the Floatride through all types of cardio even if – like most training shoes – I wouldn’t want to do more than a one mile run in these things.
Equally impressive was the flexibility of the forefoot that allowed me to get a surprisingly strong toe off when sprinting and drive more strongly through rowing.
I’m not sure if it’s the shape of the shoe, the redesigned Flexweave Knit Upper that perfectly hugs your foot (more on this later) or a combination of those two, but the Nano X4 finally eliminated that pressure on the medial side of my right foot that I’ve felt with nearly all the Nano models from the X onwards.
Drew: The Reebok Nano X4 is built for lifting weights but all isn’t lost on the cardio front. As I mentioned before, jumping and lateral movements feel good. Jumping rope feels natural and it was easy to stay on my toes when I wanted to.
Previous Nanos have made me feel like my foot always wanted to be planted on solid ground. Which, while great for slinging heavy weight, isn’t ideal for a cross trainer in today’s workout world.
Sprinting and sled pushes actually work quite well in the Reebok Nano X4. The forefoot is more compliant than recent Nano models and feels like part of the foot when pushing off as hard as possible.
That said, anything over a half mile is a chore. Once I hit the distance where my heel wants to contact the ground with every step (it’s different for everyone), I started to regret my footwear choice.
As I’m constantly testing running shoes, this didn’t bug me. I just threw a pair of running shoes in my bag and changed after the lifting portion of my workout as I prepped for my 4-8 mile runs. It helped that the Reebok Nano X4 is so good for the lifting side of the equation. A footwear switch isn’t a bother when the trade off is top notch performance for both portions of the session.
Arune: I don’t think I’ve ever really thought of the Nano line as especially comfortable – not that they were uncomfortable, but they just felt like…training shoes, y’know?
The Reebok Nano X4 is a nice change from that, as I found them incredibly comfortable from the first wear thanks to the redesigned upper and the reworked midsole.
The move to Flexweave Knit in the upper pays real dividends for someone with wide-ish feet like me, as the Reebok Nano X4 really hugs my feet and perfectly adapts to my feet expanding during workouts.
L.A.R. and Floatride don’t have the same immediate wow factor of some other training shoe tech, but my feet never felt uncomfortable for a moment nor did I ever really feel the 7mm drop (which is admittedly higher than I tend to enjoy). This is all part of why there was zero break in for me.
Reebok even addressed the heel slippage issue that made the X3 – even the Adventure version – a difficult shoe to (literally) get comfortable in.
However, I do have one complaint.
Drew: I knew this was going too smoothly.
Arune: Okay, well, it’s the laces – they’re too short. There’s barely enough to tie a knot. C’mon Drew, you cannot tell me these laces are long enough.
Drew: The laces are on the shorter side but my size 12 had plenty of room to tie a knot. My guess is the laces strained to contain Arune’s hobbit feet (Editor’s Note: that’s a low blow). Wide footers should be prepared for the laces to be not quite as long as they might like.
But enough about the laces, the Flexweave Knit is a HUGE upgrade over traditional Flexweave. It’s weird to me because I’ve found both to be very capable on the running side. Maybe the Flexweave used on the Nano line in the past is more rigid than what’s used on Reebok running shoes.
Whatever the reason, the Flexweave Knit molded to my foot incredibly quick and instantly became one of my favorite forefoot material setups. The forefoot flexes perfectly with my foot and avoids any pitfalls like excess material or strange wear patterns. The only training shoe that matches the forefoot comfort of the Reebok Nano X4 is the GoRuck Ballistic Trainer. And if I compare a shoe to the Ballistic Trainer, it’s a really good sign.
The midfoot is also comfortable with plenty of rubberized overlays to help with durability, especially for those that frequent the ropes, and the heel doesn’t feel overbuilt despite its strong lockdown and stability. The Reebok Nano X4 is most of what you need from a true weightlifting shoe without completely selling out in that direction by staying nimble and maintaining comfort.
As for sizing, which really probably needs its own section. Arune, remember that for next time. (Editor’s Note: did you just give him professional feedback and a new task within the body of a review? Is your middle name “unprofessional”?) I found the Reebok Nano X4 to fit slightly short. I’d still recommend almost everyone go true to size as it’s not a big difference. When you’re trying to PR in the weight room a slightly closer 1-to-1 fit isn’t a bad thing.
Arune: Drew and I got different colorways, something that never used to happen with shoe companies but that we’re seeing more of and it’s kind of fun to see how that affects our perspective on the aesthetics.
In my case, I received the Black/Bold Cyan/Laser Pink color and this is so perfect for my everyday aesthetic – which is a whole lotta black – that I wonder if Reebok did this intentionally.
I’m really impressed by how sleek the Reebok Nano X4 looks this year, devoid of all the added plastic and visual enhancements from the X3 which, while cool to me, hindered the aesthetic versatility of the shoe. This is a really fun shoe to wear from the gym to the grocery store or even just keep next to the door as a pair of shoes for your chores. I love how the Cyan and Pink carry through to the outsole, which gives a distinct energy to a nearly all black shoe that could otherwise be mistaken for some other black Reeboks.
Most importantly, the Nano X4 passed the Wife Test (Editor’s Note: trademark pending). She said, “Those look cool, you should keep those” instead of “oh, that’s great.” The latter is genuine because she’s always thrilled when I get shoes for review but it’s rare for a shoe to be one she recommends I keep for casual wear too.
That said, it looks like a gym shoe and unlike what On Running does with their shoes, this isn’t the kinda thing I think will suddenly be the footwear of choice for airport travelers or drive Reebok Nano X4 purchases purely for aesthetic reasons.
Drew: The best performing Nano is also the best looking Nano. I typically struggle to wear any Nano anywhere but the gym, BUT, the Reebok Nano X4 broke that trend. True my Black/White/Orange Flare colorway helped make it possible, but this shoe looks more like a shoe and less like a gym tool.
Listen, I’m not saying it has the chops for casual wear, it doesn’t…but you can crush errands in them just as easily as you crush reps.
That said, Kroger better enjoy my occasional Nano-clad visits because it’s very unlikely to happen again if history is any indicator. But who knows, maybe Reebok has finally settled on an aesthetic that works well inside the gym and is passable outside of it.
Arune: At $140, the Reebok Nano X4 is priced just below the current median of $150 and that feels completely fair for such an excellent performer.
There will of course be needs for specialized shoes – a good pair of running shoes for the distance sessions, a pair of lifters for those big lifts, etc – but for most folks I think the Reebok Nano X4 can be their one pair of fitness shoes to last them for a year (or longer).
No complaints from me. Drew?
Drew: I’m happy Reebok maintained the $140 price point for the Nano X4. It makes it simple to recommend the Reebok Nano X4 above the glut of overpriced $150 training shoes. The performance is top notch but that extra $10 savings comes close to making it a no brainer of a purchase for anyone that takes their gym time seriously.
Reebok Nano X4 Final Verdict
Arune: It’s only a few weeks into the new year, but the Reebok Nano X4 will be on – if not atop – the best training shoes of the year.
The biggest compliment I can give is that I’m going to keep wearing this as my main training shoe, putting both the Reebok Nano 2.0 and UA Project Rock BSR 3 to the side for the moment.
When I wear these shoes, I grind harder and get better results. What more could I want from a training shoe?
Drew: What exactly are you grinding? Coffee? Something more salacious? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The “rise and grind” gym bro mentality is just a bit too performative for me and I often find myself lampooning it. To be clear, Arune is not guilty of that mentality, but I’ll take any opportunity to give him crap.
No one, however, will be poking fun at the Reebok Nano X4. It’s a dependable, comfortable, and versatile shoe that needs to be on every gym goers’ short list. It’s not perfect, but it’s darn close, and will be on our best cross training shoes list just as soon as I get my act together and update the list.
It took Reebok a while to meander its way to the exact specifications of the Nano X4 but I think what they’ve created is going to be the best-selling Nano in years. As more people experience them in the gym, they’ll talk, and like a blockbuster movie, anyone who appreciates the difference good footwear can make in the gym will want to try them. Do yourself a favor and get on the Reebok Nano X4 hype train before it leaves the station.