Once upon a time, there was a shoe that I thought was one of the greatest performance shoes of all time. It had all the makings of a competition spec shoe but wasn’t made by any of the big brands. The company was Strike-Mvmnt and that shoe was The Pace. That was a long time ago and that shoe didn’t last for very long. If you’re wondering why it didn’t last long, if I recall correctly it was because the sizing tag inside the tongue kept falling off. *shrugs* At least that’s a testament to the quality of product they live by.
Strike-Mvmnt is consistently at the top of my list when it comes to performance shoes not only because they work really well, and excuse me if this is going to sound hipster of me, but they just have their own flavor and don’t try too hard to be part of the mainstream. Their marketing isn’t exactly geared towards one specific crowd, but to anyone that has an affinity for movement – whether it be CrossFit, parkour, runners, all the way to b-boys.
Though the Chill-Pill Transit has been enough for me for a performance shoe since the untimely death of the Pace, I’ve always had a spot in the back of my heart for the Pace. It’s one shoe I’ve never gotten rid of and have been since waiting on for a refresh. Well, it’s finally here – and it was worth the wait.
Build Quality/Construction – 6/6
One word: Kevlar.
…and lot’s of it.
What’s definitely going to be the biggest change in construction to the Pace v.s. the previous model and all other Strike shoes is the fact that the upper of this shoe is made from three different mountaineering grade Kevlar fabrics. It starts at the toe-box with the most flexible Kevlar on the shoe which is a ripstop fabric that is not only breathable, but also water resistant; water mainly just beads up and rolls right off. It doesn’t breathe as well as the Chill-Pill, but it’s good enough so that your feet never become hot and uncomfortable.
In the middle of the shoe you’ll find a more heavy duty Kevlar, more like you’re used to due to it’s scruffy nature and look. This area houses the lacelets so you can really get a locked down fit in the mid-foot, but also serves as protection against rope abrasion. Even after 20 or so rope climbs, going as hard as I could on the shoes, there’s only a light fraying of the surface material that’s hardly noticeable and nothing structurally wrong. All the while, this area still remains almost as flexible as the toe-box.
Finally at the quarter/ankle collar of the shoe, you’ll find the most reinforced Kevlar, which in texture is close to the middle’s, but seems to have polyurethane embedded into it. There’s an even more dense thermally welded layer of PU over the Kevlar to act as a heel counter; this area gives you the most structure in the shoe and does a great job of holding your heel in place. The collar is also beefed up with cushioning inside to provide a tighter fit around the ankle, keeping you even more secure during whatever activity that you’re into.
If you ever had issues with the tongue’s of Strike’s shoes not staying in place, the new 3D tongue should excite you. Instead of attaching just at two small points at both sides of the shoe, the 3D tongue wraps around the middle of your foot almost creating a “bootie” and adds more structure throughout the midfoot and blocks any kind of hot spots. Also like the newest version of the Chill-Pill and Traveller, the Pace comes with their new dual durometer insole which adds in stability and energy return.
So what hasn’t changed? The outsole and midsole are the same exact ones found in the OG Pace and the Chill-Pill Transit/Mids. Same medium density midsole, same 2.5mm drop, same multi-directional outsole, same full contact heel, same low stack height, but still all awesome. These areas didn’t need to change because they were excellent in the first place. The heavier duty construction does add a bit of weight – according to my scale, a size 10 Pace weighed in at 12oz compared to the 10.7oz of the CPT. More inline with a typical flagship training shoe.
Appearance isn’t a factor when I rate my shoes, but I have to say that like all Strike’s, I’m a big fan of the minimalist appearance of the Pace. You can take these shoes anywhere and they’ll fit right in. If you needed one pair of shoes to do everything in, these are the ones.
Fit – 5.5/6
The Pace’s were made on the same last as the Chill-Pill Transit, which is pretty evident when you put both shoes side by side. Not much has changed in the shape of the shoe, but there are some differences in material that might make them feel slightly different. To me, the Pace’s have a little bit more width in the mid-foot and are more generous in the toe-box. Both are welcomed changes but those with collapsed arches or a really wide mid-foot might not appreciate the mid-foot wrap design Strike uses. It can feel like the shoe is slightly pressing up on your arches, I feel it more on my right foot but isn’t bothersome to me, though other people have told me it wasn’t in their favor. My advice is to just size up half a size from your normal training shoe size if you’re worried that might be an issue.
Overall, the shape more closely resembles Metcons at the toe (very Morton’s toe friendly), that’s just slightly more narrow than the Nano 6.0 at the midfoot/heel.
My sizing for reference:
- Chill-Pill Transit – 10
- Metcon – 10
- Nano – 10
- NoBull – 10
- New Balance – 9.5
- Chucks – 9.5
Flexibility/Comfort – 5/6
Strike makes shoes that promote human movement and the Pace is no exception. Whether you’re running, b-boying, or weightlifting, the Pace let your feet do what they were made to do: move. The single piece midsole of the Pace stays flexible throughout from heel to toe of the shoe which lets your feet move freely in whichever direction you want to go. If you were worried that the tougher Kevlar upper wouldn’t flex as well as the Chill Pill Transits, it doesn’t, but the difference is slight and isn’t noticeable until you wear both shoes side to side. Somehow, the Pace retain all the flexibility and add on to the stability of the “step-down” Chill-Pill TR, which isn’t typical of most shoes since you’re usually giving up one trait to get more of the other.
Unlike the current trend of going with a single piece upper, the three piece design of the Pace is done in a way that allows for different flex areas throughout the shoe, while the 3D tongue still makes the shoe feel seamless. This is design done right, I don’t have anything against single piece uppers, but this way allows for more strategically placed areas for durability, support and flex.
If you’re coming from an older Strike model before the dual durometer insole, that might be reason alone to upgrade. You kind of almost want to think of it as a second midsole instead of the thin more flimsy one from before. The new insole is quite a bit thicker and not only cushions better, but also gives you a bit more energy return. Don’t worry, it’s not squishy or even all that soft, it’s just more reactive to your feet when you move. Not to mention, it stays in place a lot better.
For those looking for a cushy running shoe, this ain’t the one. I find the comfort of the Pace to be just fine for what I use them for, but they are minimalist training shoes designed on the side of performance after all. The drop and stack height is designed for more efficient pose running and weightlifting. These aren’t shoes you want to get lazy in and heel strike with because there isn’t much in the way of impact protection. On the bright side, they’ll probably make you a better runner overall.
Stability – 5/6
Personally, I’ve always thought the Chill Pill Transit’s stability was excellent. They’ve always been some of my favorite lifting shoes because of the dense and responsive Cross-Platform midsole/outsole, which Strike also opted to put the Pace on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Lifting in the Pace feels mainly the same when it comes to the slow lifts, but vastly different when Olympic weightlifting because of the upgrades to the upper.
The Chill Pill’s struggled with was foot containment since they had such a pliable upper; though it was great for running and metcons, a non-issue for slow lifts, it could be slightly problematic for the more dynamic Olympic lifts. While the toebox still remains as flexible as ever, the heavier Kevlar construction around the quarter of the shoe does wonders for stability. Sticking landing is more predictable because your feet don’t shift as much. I won’t go as far as to say these are more stable as the current king of stability, the Nike Metcon 4, but they’re definitely on par with Nano 8’s.
For those new to Strike’s Cross-Platform, it’s their more training oriented midsole/outsole combination. It’s wide, rope ready, fairly incompressible, and stable all while still remaining flexible and comfortable enough. Responsiveness is top notch with the Pace; every double under, box jump and burpee feels exactly on point. The medium density midsole gives you the perfect amount of cushioning to ground feel ratio so you’ll always know where your feet are going to end up next. With a little help from the more reactive dual durometer insole, this also translates to a much powerful stride when you’re running and excellent power delivery when you’re lifting, all without being too hard on your feet.
Lift, run, jump – there’s nothing the Pace can’t do.
Value – 5/6
“The pinnacle of new athletic standards.”
At launch, the Pace will retail for a slightly higher price than most flagship training shoes at $140. It’s easy to justify the price increase over the other Strike models or other shoes given the massive upgrade in materials so I’m not going to dock the Pace on price. All things considered, Strike’s Pace can easily contend with the likes of the most popular training shoe options and should not be overlooked because of their simplistic appearance. They’re a supercar of a shoe disguised as a sleeper, try not to get dusted.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Nano 8 and the Metcon 4, but the Pace show us that you don’t need to fit exactly into the box to be a high performing training shoe. I’d recommend this one to anyone that doesn’t want to conform to the training shoe norms but also doesn’t want to sacrifice on performance (unless you have a reaaaaally wide foot). There’s nothing wrong with swimming in the mainstream, I just prefer to take the road less traveled – in which case, you’ll find me wearing the Pace.