(Production of the Pace’s have been put on hold, but I managed to snag a pair before that. Hopefully it resumes once again soon as the reason for the halt was because the inside logo wasn’t sticking properly.)
Shoe engineering has taken major leaps and bounds forward within the last few years. Everyone’s putting out incredibly advanced performing shoes with materials to match. At the same time, shoe design has taken a few steps backwards as a lot of times these new shoes can end up being pretty damn ugly. It’s become somewhat of a running joke towards Reebok’s CrossFit™ shoes, while initially started as a good looking shoes, took a turn for the worst when the Compete’s came out. While excellent in performance, they’re now some of the more hideous shoes on the market adorned with gaudy prints and color combinations. Nike seems to get it right every time they release a colorway, but even still, the Metcon’s still carry that gym shoe vibe. A lesser known company, Strike-Movement aims to be the ones to build a technologically advanced shoe, all while retaining a handsome, classic aesthetic.
“STR/KE MOVEMENT was founded on the goal of providing quality aesthetic alternatives for athletes and active lifestyle “pursuitists”. We aim to establish a higher performance standard while maintaining purity of design.”
Strike-Movement’s have been producing some of my favorite trainers, going back all the way to the original Intervals, which are still around in their 3rd iteration. While the Intervals weren’t the most responsive shoes for heavy lifting, they were comfortable, agile, great for running and looked great. I like to think of them as the perfect metabolic conditioning shoe. The Chill-Pill’s have been around just about as long, giving you an even more minimalist design paired with the same stable platform outsole found on the Intervals. Describing the Chill-Pill’s looks would be as easy as describing your classic Vans Authentic sneakers. If you can’t get with that look, then you’re not human. Damn, Daniel.
The Pace’s, while not as classic in design, still retain the minimalist look of the Intervals, but with some more technologically advanced features. Strike-Movement seems to have gone with heat welded seams for the upper versus your traditional stitching, paired with an abrasion resistant micro mesh giving it a more progressive look compared to the rest of their shoes. The upper on the Pace’s feels a bit more substantial than the Chill-Pill’s mainly fabric upper, giving you a little more comfort and a locked down feeling for your foot inside the shoe. Differences to the upper aside, both are great looking shoes albeit the Pace in black on black kind of looking a little plain.
The “stable platform outsole” made the Interval’s great for running, but was their Achilles heel when it came to heavy days. Both the Chill-Pill Transits and Pace’s share the same “cross-platform” outsole. These shoes have a very low stack height and are some of the more neutral training shoes out there with a 2.5mm drop. The insole is almost paper thin and the midsole doesn’t provide much in the way of cushioning making the Transit’s and Pace’s not the most comfortable running shoe. At the same time they’re quite possibly the most responsive shoes I’ve ever tested and I hit HUGE PR’s on my front squat (325-345!), power clean (235-265), and snatch(185-200) all in the Pace’s. Also a triple body weight deadlift PR in the Transits at 540lbs. I’ll sacrifice the bit of comfort in running for those gains in power any day (or just swap to my Intervals for running).
Interestingly enough, the outsole pattern seems like it wouldn’t have much in the way of traction, but it’s surprisingly grippy and holds whatever surface you wear the shoes on without any issues. From cutting on pavement to rope climbs, I never felt any kind of drama with footing.
Build quality and materials are all premium. Even my original Intervals are holding up great, and when they got dirty, I just threw them in the washer and they came out looking new again. Another thing that isn’t quite like it seems, the upper is super durable on both shoes. Usually you’ll be able to see punishment from the rope after a few climbs, but I just had to knock some of the rope shearing off the shoes and they looked brand new! Size both the Transits and Pace’s as you would your current popular training shoes. The last used on the Pace’s gives it a little more roomy feel, but I would not say that it’s enough to justify a half size down.
Last but not least, one of the most thoughtful features ever to be included on a shoe is Strike’s “Pleasure Pocket”. Basically just a pocket on the front side of the tongue to stuff your shoe laces into so they don’t accidentally become undone. This will definitely save you time if your laces become undone frequently when you do double-unders.
Now the major downfall, and I’ve always said this, is probably just the brand recognition. People will be hesitant to buy these shoes because they’re priced somewhat similarly to Reebok’s and Nike’s. The Transits will set you back $105 and Pace’s $125, which is similar enough to the competitors to make people wary about landing on a lesser known name. I think the shoes are definitely worth the cost and if you wanted to save some bucks, get the Transits because they provide almost identical performance to the Pace’s. While Strike-Movement is still a lesser known name, I like that they’re not really selling out. The brand you see today, was still the same brand I was enticed by a few years ago. They’re sticking to their guns, providing superior technology, premium materials throughout their brand, all while retaining that classic aesthetic.
Who wouldn’t want to get behind a brand like that?