If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Shoe design life must be rough. We saw the release of Reebok’s Nano 7 earlier in the year and it was met with some pretty harsh criticism, but it seemed rushed and paled in comparison to the previous Nano 6. I think the main problem there was that they took such a radical departure from the previous model, which in my opinion is the greatest training shoe of all time. If they had somehow eased in the changes, people would have been a lot more receptive of the new model, but it is what it is and you can only learn from Reebok’s mistake.
Strike-Mvmnt has been releasing the Chill-Pill/Interval combo for some time now, with the biggest update to the shoes being when they added the Cross Platform outsole to the Chill-Pill in 2015. We’re currently in the 5th generation of Strike-Mvmnt shoes and every update since has been more of an evolution than revolution. Collection 5 adds minor updates to the stellar Chill-Pill line-up, further refining the already great shoe, just don’t expect a brand new model.
You’d be lying to yourself if you thought the Chill-Pills were an ugly shoe. The design aesthetic is classic, unoffensive, maybe a little plain, but definitely not ugly. Personally, I think the Chill-Pills are the best looking training shoe out there, mainly because they don’t really look like a training shoe at all. Sure, by now they could use an update other than changing up the materials, but that’s probably because I own pretty much all of them. Also, some new colorways would be nice (*cough*red*cough*) other than the standard black and grey; once again, unoffensive.
There was an (excellent) shoe called the Pace they had out for a short amount of time, but was discontinued. When I asked what happened to it, they said they put production on hold because the inside tag wasn’t staying glued on. THAT’S IT?! Such a small thing that most manufacturers wouldn’t even bother with, but that just goes to show the level of quality Strike-Mvmnt puts into their products. Strike-Mvmnt is a smaller company and the build quality of their products reflect this. Everything seems to be made with a little more attention and care than what you’d find on some of the bigger brands. There’s no loose seams, glue, or stitching anywhere on all three pairs of Collection 5 shoes that I
For colorways, I went with the Storm Grey Transit and Grey Melange Mid. The Transits have ballistic nylon around the shoe’s quarter (ankle area) and is topped off with a plush micro-suede material on the toe-box. The Mid’s use a new melange fleece material throughout that is a little rougher to the touch, but is still as flexible as the Transit. Since the mid has a higher cut, there’s also a neoprene pad at the Achilles area of the shoe to prevent chaffing, but I never really noticed it working or not (that probably means it does). Both uppers aren’t resistant to dirt, but you’ll be able to rope climb in both without damaging either upper.
One thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of in the Collection 4 Chill-Pill was that I thought the shoe lacked structure. Collection 5 updates this with high density foam around the collar, new tongue stays and a new insole. The fit is improved greatly with the new collar foam, giving you a more secure in shoe feeling. The new tongue stays make it a little harder to put your laces inside the tongue’s pleasure pocket, but that’s not a big deal considering the tongue now feels a bit more structured. I didn’t mind the paper thin insole from before, but the new one does feel a little nicer on your feet. The weight of the shoe is increased by about half an ounce, but the shoe feels more solid overall.
Not much has changed in this department – I wear a size 9.5 in my Chill-Pills and they fit me perfectly. The overall shape resembles the Nike Metcon line-up so I would recommend sizing the same. What I found to work best when sizing shoes is to just go by the EU sizing, it makes the most sense compared to all of the others. Those with wide, flat feet, beware, there is a feeling of “arch support” in the Chill-Pills caused from the semi-curved last. I’ve got pretty normal feet and it doesn’t bother me, but I’ve heard from people with flat feet that it can cause some plantar fascia pain.
“United by Motion” is the mantra of Strike-Mvmnt – whether you’re a Crossfitter, b-boy, or parkour-er; movement is movement and these are probably my favorite shoes to move in. I’ve always said this, but the addition of the Cross Platform outsole was the best thing Strike has ever done to their shoes; I’m just waiting for an Interval with it.
Strike’s uppers were always light and flexible, but the Stable Platform outsole was just a tad too soft when it came to heavier lifting, unlike the medium density midsole and Cross Platform outsole which is almost incompressible. Stability and responsiveness is top notch and rivals the best shoes in the training world, but while those fail in flexibility, the Chill-Pills come out on top. The low midsole stack, 2.5mm drop and incompressible outsole make for some of the most stable lifting shoes for either weightlifting or powerlifting. I haven’t had any issues with the midsole being overly soft, even hitting deadlifts over 500lbs in these shoes.
There are other shoes with excellent power delivery, but they’re usually pretty bad for anything that requires you to be quick on your feet. The flexibility of the Chill-Pills in combination with their stability make them some of the overall best training shoes around. I did the Open workout 17.5 in my Chill-Pills, which in total was 90 thrusters and 350 double unders – and yes, my feet did hurt, but it was minimal and wasn’t enough for me to take my focus off the workout. I don’t think you could do that workout in any shoe without any kind of foot pain. I couldn’t imagine how much my feet would have been burning up if I were using Nano 7’s.
Another massive benefit of the Cross Platform outsole is just how grippy it is. I have smoother rubber mats in my gym that even some weightlifting shoes have issues gripping and the Chill-Pills have never left me with a loss of footing. Landing box jumps feels sure footed, as is gripping the rope while climbing.
The only real difference between the Transit and Mid just comes down to the cut; Functionality wise, they’re pretty much identical. Personally, if I had to recommend one, it would be the Transits because I think the low cut is just a little more comfortable for training and running. If you wanted more of an all purpose shoe for hiking as well, then I would go with the Mid’s. They work well both ways and I don’t keep my Mid’s laced up all the way anyways.
Transit’s will set you back $115 and Mid’s $129, which fall in line with just about everything else out there. Strike-Mvmnt is a small brand with not a ton of brand recognition, but in my experience, they’re a great company. It’s up to you if you want to support the big dogs, or if you want to support a brand that actually has real passion in what they’re doing. The quality and performance of their goods is excellent, so you won’t be disappointed in their product. Brand whores might not acknowledge you, but if you want to swim away from the mainstream, Strike-Mvmnt is one of the best ways to go.
The first day I laced up my Collection 5 Chill-Pills and hit the gym, was one of the best lifting days I had in a long while, especially after hurting my back. I knew that whatever movements I was doing that day, I had the shoes to perform in. Confidence defines your lifting and I’m just sure I can do anything when I have my Chill-Pills on. Doing what I do, I don’t get to spend a lot of time with shoes that I really like, so getting to review the new Chill-Pills was like coming home. 2017 has already been a big year for training shoes, and as of right now, Chill-Pills are my top choice of available training shoes. If you care about movement at all, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.
As always, big shout out to Marc over at Strike-Mvmnt for hooking it up with the shoes. Much appreciated!