A dormant sneaker war is heating back up. The decades-old battle between Reebok and Nike, which was front and center in the 1980s, 1990s, and even early 2000s, just saw another bullet fired after years of frozen conflict. In its new ad for its Nano X4, the 14th rendition of the shoe, Reebok pokes fun at Nike and its Metcon line.

The Nano X4, which Reebok dubs the “official shoe of fitness,” was launched today in coordination with Wodapalooza, a multi-day CrossFit competition in Miami. In an ad on Reebok’s Instagram, the brand unveils its new shoe, and then starts to add comically unnecessary technology to it. The shoe of fitness becomes the “shoe of the future” in the commercial. It springs technology similar to Nike’s Shox and Air Max from the sole. The most notable shot fired at Nike happens when the shoe materializes a rope guard system that the AI-esque voiceover calls, “something no one asked for, but we’re told is vital for elite CrossFit experience.”

The rope guard first appeared on the Nike Metcon 7 training shoe in 2021 and has been featured on the Metcon 8 and 9 models as well. It’s been very divisive. It does help with rope climbing. But rope climbing is a small part of training for most people who do CrossFit, or functional fitness in general, and it takes up a lot of real estate on the upper. It almost makes the Metcon series as of late unwearable on the streets. Most CrossFit shoes have some sort of element or stickiness to the midsole to help climb ropes, but the amount that Nike uses isn’t necessary.

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