Reebok + CrossFit + running + shoes.
Not all things that have blended all that well in the past. The Nano series shoes are excellent, literally the best shoe that Reebok has ever produced. Durable, stable, fairly lightweight, flexible, but one thing they’ve never really been great at is running. Have any Nano’s been absolute garbage at runs, definitely not, but the wider and flat base that is great for lifting, lends itself to being a clunky shoe to run in. Thank god Reebok listens! One of the very first shoes I ever reviewed were the original CrossFit Speeds; while they were comfortable and not too bad for running, they weren’t so good for lifting. Then came the Sprint TR’s, which I was just not a fan of due to the height, narrow midsole, and tight toe box. To be honest, you can’t have it all, and creating a shoe thats both comfortable to run in and lift in, seems like a pretty daunting task. Reebok has almost hit the nail in the head with the release of the new Speed TR; it’s a shoe thats both great to lift and run in, without the glaring weaknesses of the previous iterations.
First introduced as the shoes for the CrossFit Invitational, the Speed TR’s were created with input from now CrossFit Mayhem Freedom team member James Hobart. The ideology behind the the shoe is to be more responsive for runs and being proficient at bodyweight metcons, without totally giving up the ability to lift heavy. Reebok strayed away from the Kevlar that makes the Nano 5.0 what it is, for a more traditional cloth based up in which they call “Monomesh”. Honestly, I don’t notice a world of difference in flexibility compared to the Kevlar, but there is definitely a difference in price. The Speeds retail for $30 less than then Nano’s, with the option for a Kevlar upper in their Field models for $115. I think this new upper is makes the shoe much better looking than the Nano 5.0’s, but once again, I wish they would do away with all the graphics. Luckily the invitational models don’t have any gaudy markings on them.
Other new features include a new multi directional outsole that provides excellent traction. Too good, almost; I found myself catching the ridges of the treading on the edges of the box while doing box jumps. You’ll never find yourself at a loss of traction from rubber gym flooring to asphalt. The midsole is softer than you’d find on Nano’s, but still provides pretty good power delivery while being forgiving enough for runs and box jumps. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s “ultra-soft”, the Speed TR’s are just a hair more easy on the feet than Nano’s. Heel-toe drop is remains at 3mm and the insole is the same one you’d find on the Nano Pump Fusion. The Speed TR’s also manage to edge out the Nano’s in weight, coming in at 8.9oz, almost a full ounce less.
In order to deal with the slightly more narrow upper, Reebok flared the outsole so that you make more contact with the ground without making the actual fit wider; neat trick. If you liked the open toe box and generally wide platform of the Nano’s, you might want to rethink the Speeds. They are by no means a narrow shoe, but they’re more so than Nano’s. Also, make sure that you size down half a size, as the Speeds are a longer shoe than Nano’s are. I had to go from a 9.5 to a 9. For me, the last used on the fit my foot better than the Nano’s due to my morton’s toe.
I had literally no expectations about the Speed TR’s, hell, I didn’t even know they existed until the week of their release. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in them. The best thing about having low to no expectations is being able to not be disappointed in anything. I prefer the fit, the look, and the comfort of the Speed TR’s more than my Nano’s, and thats saying a lot because I think the Nano 5.0 is great. From a performance standpoint, it doesn’t quite have the same amount of rigidity as Nano’s or Metcon’s, but they’re much more livable in. I squatted up to my 93%(375) in the Speeds and they were stable enough, though not quite as much as Nano’s or Metcons. For weightlifting they were just okay, I never had a standout session, but I still hit some pretty decent numbers. I did get under 205 for a snatch PR, only to lose it forward, but I’m going to blame myself for that and not the shoe.
As a running shoe, the Speed TR’s are good enough. Good enough meaning a lot better than Nano’s but still not the greatest runners of all time. The midfoot shank actually helps with springing you forward, and if you’re a lazy midfoot-heel striker like me, that’s invaluable. Can you comfortably do a mile or two in them? Sure. I wouldn’t be doing any marathons in them though. A shoe is good to me, when I don’t have to question having them on for certain workouts. From wall balls, to box jumps, to double-unders, to RUNNING, the Speeds never failed me or made me wish I had a different pair of shoes on. The new “KippingKlip” heel wedge does mitigate friction a wee bit when doing HSPU’s, more beneficial for strict than kipping though.
While the Speed TR’s are, for the most part, one of the most versatile shoes Reebok has put out thus far, they do have a few weak points. As mentioned before, there are other shoes that perform better in the weightlifting and powerlifting areas. The area that the Speeds definitely falter in is rope climbs. Using the X-Clamp/Russian wrap, I felt the much smaller rope pro struggle to actually catch. Performance in this area was spotty and I would say I could only really get a good grip on the rope about 50% of the time. Seeing how durable the shoes are is yet to be determined, but after 10 rope climbs all they had on them were a few marks.
The point of the Speeds is that you can run a few miles, then go hit a max clean and jerk, and transition to bodyweight movements without having to change your shoes. Convenience is key, especially for those that don’t want to buy a dedicated shoe for everything, which leads to value. Starting at $100, the Speeds are an excellent deal that I would actually recommend over Nano’s if you didn’t have extremely wide feet. It’s interesting to think what would happen if Reebok just made one CrossFit shoe. Personally, I think the Speeds would be the number one choice for a be all/do all shoe if they could only have one; they’re that good.