Adidas hit the training market in a big way earlier this year with the CrazyPower TR. In all honesty, they didn’t have to do too much to attract all the sneakerheads already riding the Adidas train. Even though I thought the CrazyPower’s were good shoes, they were a bit boring for my liking and didn’t do enough to pull me away from my current favorite training shoes. Once again out of the blue, the Adidas CrazyTrain Elite popped up on Roadrunnersports.com, much like the CrazyPower’s did. Pretty vague in description once again, but this time around there was a distinguishing feature that set the CrazyTrain’s apart from any training shoe before – Boost.
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about the inclusion of a full length Boost midsole on a training shoe. After all, Boost by nature is designed to be soft and comfortable – the antithesis of an effective training shoe. Either way, I knew I had to give it a shot, on one hand because Boost, and on the other because I had a feeling Adidas wouldn’t release their “flagship” training shoe, subpar. Keep in mind, I’m by no means an Adidas Boost mega-fan; I do own Ultraboosts, Pureboosts, and NMD’s, but I don’t think they’re the end all be all shoe.
These quite possibly might be the best looking training shoe of all time.
(In my humble opinion of course.)
The CrazyTrain’s have a distinctly Adidas look about them, similar to Ultraboosts, but it’s like they took the silhouette and pumped them up with PED’s. Though it’s no Primeknit, the one piece “Close-knit” woven upper is comfortable, looks clean and is very flexible. The package feels beefy and rugged for training, but still remains sleek enough looking to wear on the streets. There are bits and pieces of TPU that cover higher wear areas like the toe or places where you need more support, but overall the upper is primarily Close-knit. I think my favorite part of the upper is the rear pull-tab, that’s very much like the one on Ultraboosts. It’s simple, effective, and gives the shoe a more finished and modern look. Construction is on point, my pair had no signs of loose glue or stitching anywhere to be found.
On the bottom, you’ll find an outsole almost identical to the on the women’s CrazyPower trainer, which strikes me as odd because I thought the men’s outsole of that shoe was a little more versatile. The main difference was that the mens had areas where the tread protruded versus the just flat surface of the women’s (and CrazyTrain). Either way, the outsole does a great job in holding whatever surface you’re training on and I never felt like I was at a loss of footing. Another thing that carried over from the women’s outsole is the lip that extends out on the lateral sides of the shoes, giving you a little bit more of a platform without adding bulk. There’s no sign of Adidas’ “Traxion” anywhere, but the rubber feels the same for what it’s worth.
Adidas sizing is typically all over the place, which I think is generally an issue with all the different types of uppers that they use for their shoes. Materials like Primeknit make sizing a little bit more forgiving, whereas the normal NMD upper isn’t quite as. The Close-knit woven upper on the CrazyTrain’s aren’t like either and feels more like a normal shoe upper. Sizing on the CrazyTrain’s run a little bit on the large side, but depending on your foot, it might not warrant a size down. I got these shoes in a 9.5 and I have a little bit of room in the toe area, but with my Morton’s toe, it’s comfortable. If you do not have Morton’s toe, where your second toe is longer than your big toe, size them down a half.
The shape of the shoe most closely resembles the Nike Metcon 2 so overall, I would just say size them exactly the same as that shoe. These are not narrow shoes by any means and they don’t have much in the way of arch support.
My sizing for reference:
- Ultraboost – 9.5 or 10
- PureBoost – 9.5
- NMD – 10
- CrazyPower – 9.5
- Metcon 3 – 10 (I started sizing this shoe up)
- Metcon 2 – 9.5
- Nano – 10
The burning question in everyone’s mind’s:
“Can Adidas make an effective training shoe, with Boost?”
Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about this myself, but at the end of the day, Boost is just another midsole material that can be made into pretty much any density. It’s made to be responsive and it’s Boost “pellets” are supposed to deform more naturally to fit your feet. The degree in which the Boost cushions in the CrazyTrain’s is the real question, and how they could stiffen up the rest of the chassis. Upon first putting your foot into the shoe, you’re going to notice that the insole compresses, but when you start moving around, you’ll find that the midsole doesn’t compress, almost at all. You can compress the Boost on the outer rim of the shoe, but if you try to push down on the inside of the shoe, it doesn’t go anywhere. In no way, can you even compare the stiff Boost in these shoes to the comfortable midsole of the Ultraboost.
So, what’s the point of having Boost in a shoe if it’s not ultra-plush and comfortable? At the end of the day, Boost is a running shoe technology made for high energy return. Running and jumping movements in the CrazyTrain’s feel extremely responsive, better than almost every shoe I’ve tested so far this year. The feeling inside the shoe is similar to the “springy” drop-in midsole of the Nike Metcon 3, but is more comfortable since Boost is more flexible. The midsole does a great job attenuating shock from landings better than most shoes without being cushy, your joints will thank you. Unlike Ultraboost’s, the CrazyTrain’s have more structure that’s created by the TPU midsole casing on the lateral side and the TPU bar on the medial side. Basically, the stiff Boost midsole also has a shell which adds rigidity necessary for a solid training shoe.
Lifting in the CrazyTrain’s feels as solid as it would in minimal shoes, though they are slightly taller than other training shoes. The midsole doesn’t compress even under the heaviest weights, giving you an extremely solid platform to lift with. Blindfolded, you wouldn’t even know these shoes used Boost. The TPU bar doesn’t allow for much flex in the middle area of the shoe and the built in heel counter keeps your foot in place, giving you tons of lateral stability. Also the TPU bar extends into the shoe creating a propulsion plate giving you added acceleration. I’m still waiting on word back from Adidas about the drop, but it couldn’t be anything more than 3-4mm; the shoes feel flat an neutral. UPDATE: Adidas’ training product manager reached out to me, heel lift in these shoes is 6mm, thanks Nora! I was able to work up to all of my 90%+ lifts (385BS, 215Sn, 265CJ) with no issues of stability and nothing in the back of my head telling me to change shoes. When I put the CrazyTrain’s up against some of its top contenders, I found that I liked the way they felt better, almost on par to my favorite training shoes, the Nano 6.0’s. These are serious lifting shoes.
Like all the best lifting shoes out there, where the CrazyTrain’s start to suffer is in running. The wide shape of the shoe feels clunky, but they’re not awful to run because the flexibility of the forefoot. Unlike the CrazyTrain’s running counterparts, these shoes do not have a plush ride at all and the only cushioning you get is the amount from the insole. Even though they’re not soft, the CrazyTrain’s still have a very responsive ride which still works well for sprints, bounding, and the shorter runs found in WOD’s.
Where the CrazyTrain’s really fall behind the pack, is the weight of the shoes. I weighed them at 13oz per a mens 9.5, which is much heavier than it’s peers. Truth be told, I didn’t really notice the weight since the shoes feel so responsive. You’ll definitely notice the weight compared to NoBull’s or Inov-8’s, but not so much against Nano’s or Metcons.
At $140, the CrazyTrain’s retail for a little bit more than most of the top training shoe choices and $20 more than Adidas’ first true training shoe drop, the CrazyPower. Anything with Boost is considered a premium product, the CrazyTrain’s shouldn’t be any different, so it’s not surprising to see the hike in price. Honestly, $10 isn’t such a huge deal to me but some might be put off by this. If you’re an Adidas fan, this isn’t going to be a big deal to you either. Even though the CrazyTrain’s are excellent performing shoes and quite possibly my favorite pick at the moment, they’re not leagues better than their peers. If you’re looking for bang for the buck, you could probably look elsewhere because other top training shoe choices usually still cost less.
To my utter surprise, the CrazyTrain’s ended up being my favorite training shoe of the year so far. They look great and performance is top notch for all things CrossFit, especially in the lifting area, but the most important thing is that they just feel good. Including Boost in the shoe seems just like a marketing tool in the case of the CrazyTrain’s, since it doesn’t really work like it does on Adidas’ other shoes. Hearing that is going to turn Boost-heads off, but will turn serious lifters on to these shoes. Big ups to Adidas for not making a shoe with Boost that you weren’t able to train in, just to make sales. This shoe legitimizes Adidas stance in the training shoe game (which might be good for Reebok at the end of the day).
Since Reebok’s Nano 6.0’s are still out of the picture, I can’t really recommend them anymore. Right now, the Adidas CrazyTrain’s are riding at the top of my favorite training shoe list. If you’re still skeptical of a Boosted training shoe, try them out! RoadRunnerSports.com offers a 90-day trial period, but I’m sure you’ll be just as surprised (in a good way) about the performance of the CrazyTrains.