This review is a guest contribution from Pete Whitcomb. Pete is a corporate accountant by day and a workout warrior by night. He’s the younger (and stronger) brother of sneaker debut cofounder Drew Whitcomb.
Through the course of all my training I’ve worn many different types of shoes. None has ever seemed a great on foot option for High Intensity Interval Training. A lot of this has to do with the wide array of multi directional movements that are incorporated into these types of workouts. Interval training requires a shoe that is cushioned enough for runs up to a 10k but also supportive enough with strong traction for shorter sprints. Additionally, interval training can consist of box jumps, burpees, lunges, and squat jumps. All of those require cushion to preserve your leg joints.
Enter the Nike SuperRep. A shoe Nike kd 13 has designed specifically for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I was skeptical and waited until additional colorways dropped before I purchased. Prior to obtaining the SuperReps I had been performing the majority of my training, including my HIIT workouts, in the Hylete Circuit cross-training shoe, including for my HIIT workouts. I thought the Hyletes were a solid shoe, performing similarly to a Nike Metcon. They wore out quickly when being used for HIIT training multiple times per week.
My first thought when I put the SuperRep on foot was how soft the cushion felt. Not only was the cushion soft, but I could feel the energy return, almost as if there was an extra bounce in my step. The neoprene collar of the shoe hugged my foot, I felt very secure, and encountered no foot slip with my initial jogging and movements. I was concerned by multiple reviews on Nike that stated the fit was too narrow. I have a wider, flat foot but had no issue with the SuperRep and feel they fit true to size.
I tested the Nike SuperRep over 24 different HIIT workout sessions. My goal was to incorporate as many different HIIT and Crossfit movements to determine how well the shoes performed and see if it could help my performance.
The Cushlon foam in the heel is very bouncy and provides great rebound which I felt most during movements like squat jumps, box jumps, and lunges. It’s a great material and provides fantastic cushion on explosive movements in which your heel is the first point of contact. When performing HIIT workouts in the Hylete Circuit I had knee and shin pain but with the SuperRep I never experienced the slightest discomfort.
The forefoot of the Nike SuperRep contains 2 large Zoom Air units. I have always been a big fan of Zoom Air in my basketball shoes and this setup doesn’t disappoint. The forefoot cushion is protective but still enables the responsiveness I needed for movements like burpees, double unders, and sprints. I tested this shoe on asphalt, cement, wood floors, and grass. No matter the surface, it was soft and responsive. This cushioning setup is the best I have used in HIIT workouts and does a fantastic job of balancing responsiveness with comfort. During the shelter in place I have done a large amount of my workouts with a weight vest containing between 24-56 pounds. Even adding that to my current weight of 235 pounds I never had an issue with the cushion.
The traction performed great on all surfaces whether it was wood, cement, grass, or asphalt. I never once slipped and that includes working out on wet cement and wet grass. One element of the shoe that surprised me was the ability to stop quickly. This was evident when performing 100M down and back sprints. The forefoot actually appears to get wider than the heel of the shoe as the double Zoom Air unit setup is laid out side by side. Initially I was skeptical and thought it looked odd. But once I performed quick change of direction movements it was evident that the SuperRep was built this way because it works extremely well. Regardless of surface or exercise movement, I could always move and cut with confidence that I would not lose my footing.
I have tested these shoes for over a month and the traction is still holding up well. I do feel that if these are used exclusively outside you may only get 6-9 months (assuming 4-5 workouts a week) of use before the traction wears out. If you’re using them indoors in a gym, then it’s more likely another feature of the shoe will wear out before the traction does.
The Nike SuperRep utilizes a TPU Flyplate that runs the length of the shoe and helps distribute your weight evenly to take advantage of the superior cushion setup. During all my workouts my foot felt locked in. When performing lateral slides, or one leg exercises, my foot would always feel sunken into the midsole of the shoe.
Even with my janky ankles I never had the feeling that I would roll over. In fact, the only time my ankle did roll over in the SuperRep was after a workout when I was taking seven step drops and throwing a route tree to my son. It only happened once, and I just walked it off. I blame myself for poor QB footwork (cut me some slack…I played LB and DL). Again, regardless of the movement, every part of my foot felt protected and that gave me confidence to perform any type of WOD.
Nike uses mainly neoprene and mesh in the upper. The materials allow you to slip the shoe on easily. Full disclosure, when I work out I sweat more than the average person and this applies to my feet too. I’d prefer the shoe be more breathable. In my longer, more endurance focused workouts, my foot got a little too warm and damp. With that being said, my feet never felt that way in any workout under 60 minutes. The neoprene and mesh have lasted very well over the first 6 weeks of use. There is no fraying or the upper isn’t showing any wear. I did have to break in the SuperRep’s collar as the first few times I wore them with low cut socks they irritated the skin on my heel and ankles. I wore higher cut socks for a couple weeks and since that time I’ve had no issues when wearing low cut or no-show socks.
I have a very wide foot, and as stated earlier, there were complaints online about this shoe having a narrow fit. I never experienced any discomfort due to the width of the shoe. I went true to size with and they feel like they were specifically built for my foot. Regardless of the sock type I wear, the shoe wraps my foot like a glove. My foot feels securely locked down and the shoe allows full multi-directional movement without restriction.
One aspect of a great shoe is that you almost forget you’re wearing it. There’s no discomfort and it feels like an extension of your foot. I rarely feel that way about a pair of shoes and I don’t think I have ever worn a training type shoe that has felt this good on foot. For how the Nike SuperRep performs, the retail price of $120 is a bargain. I was very skeptical at first as it’s an odd-looking shoe, but after testing the shoe vigorously for 6 weeks I can attest that it will not disappoint and you’ll be able to focus on setting personal records and getting into the best shape of your life.