The last time I can remember stretching, before I got into CrossFit, was probably around when I played high school volleyball. Ain’t nobody got time to stretch at Globo Gym. That compounded with all the ankle sprains and sitting down playing video games have done a good amount to negatively affect my mobility. Even still, I know I’m still better off than most, so at times it’s hard for me to emphasize with others that have really bad mobility. As a coach, I say the best thing you can do for yourself is just put a little bit more effort into your stretching and myofacial release, but that just takes time. The other option is to get yourself a pair of Olympic weightlifting shoes in the meantime.
Picking a pair with the right heel height takes a bit of luck. Not everyone is going to need or be able to lift with a high heel and vice versa. Foost Fitness is aiming their lifter at the people that have poor mobility, typically found in beginner CrossFitters. The main draw to the Foost Lifter is their 1.28″ heel height, currently the highest heel in a weightlifting shoe (that I know of), wooden heel or not. They’re still a new company without any history behind making Olympic weightlifting shoes, but if their big gamble works out, it could shake up things in the world of Oly shoes for both beginners and seasoned vet’s alike.
I opted for the new canvas Foost Lifters mainly because they were new and different, but personally I think the leather versions are much sexier looking. Surprisingly, the canvas model actually costs a little bit more than the leather ones do! The canvas upper is a little bit more plain looking, not something you’d wear to a ball, but it doesn’t look bad at all. In fact, a ton of people have said that the Foost Lifters look pretty bad ass, in which I’d have to agree, just not as much as the leather ones do. The strap and C-Frame on all of the canvas models is brown, which I think accents very nicely, especially with the red, blue and black colorways I’m not quite sure what type of wood is used for the heel, but I’m pretty sure it’s not stained or anything, but it does have a unique look about it. These shoes are made in Brazil, so it’s probably a tree native to their country. Sadly, my lifters didn’t come with the cool rope laces shown in the pictures, but just plain black ones instead.
The materials used on the canvas model Foost Lifters are good enough, but not great. I wouldn’t go comparing these to a pair of any other top shelf lifting shoe in terms of finish. Honestly, I’m not surprised being that they’re such a small startup company, but it’s definitely an area they could improve on. The overall construction of the shoe feels well built, but the quality of the materials isn’t quite top quality. The upper fabric came a little bit dirty, got crumpled up looking really fast and the leather strap feels a little bit flimsy. The wood heel looks au natural, literally like they just chopped up a tree and put it in the shoe. It is carved into a design, but it’s not smoothed out well and mine has some divots in it, not to mention there are some dark spots that almost look like the wood was rotting. It might sound like I’m nitpicking, but it’s a crowded playing field and I haven’t seen these issues on any other shoe before, especially ones that cost $200.
I’m sure sourcing materials must be a pain in the ass; I’ve heard import taxes to Brazil are outrageous. The Foost lifters are well built and definitely don’t feel like they’re going to fall apart or anything, they’re just overshadowed by the build quality of some of today’s top lifting shoes.
Duck footed people rejoice, these are the shoes you’ve been waiting for! If there’s anything I could say about the Foost lifters, it’s that they’re wide shoes! Even with a pretty in between shaped foot, I find the Foost’s extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The toebox is one of the widest I’ve come across in an olympic weightlifting shoe and lets the toes splay comfortably. There’s a ton of padding around the ankle collar and a stiff embedded heel cup which keeps your feet from shifting laterally, but make sure you lace the shoes up or you’ll get a tiny bit of heel slip. The tongue is also nicely cushioned without any hot spots up top. The lacing scheme doesn’t have anything fancy going on, but works well enough to get a locked in fit. The strap extends up through the lateral side and holds the midfoot really well.
I think the best part about how the Foost’s fit is how flat the inside of the shoe is, omitting the fact that the drop is 32.5mm. There is no arch support or anything, no contours really inside the foot, just a nice open space for your feet to do their thing. The insole is thin and just good enough to give you a little bit of comfort but if you wanted a competition feel, you could just take it out. Back to the drop, the Foost’s have the highest heel on the market at 1.28″ or 32.5mm, which is pretty apparent by how the shoe looks, but doesn’t feel as apparent when you’re using the shoes. It drops down very gradually from the heel to the toe without any harsh ledges, something that I really like from the Positions.
I got the Foost’s in a size 9.5 US, which fits me right on the money. The point of the toe box does a very good job accommodating Morton’s toe. Here are my sizes for reference:
- Legacy – 9.5
- Romaleos 2&3 – 9.5
- Positions – 9.5
- Adipowers – 9.5
- Leistung – 9.5 (tight)
- Nano – 10
- Metcon – 10
- NoBull (& Lifter) – 10
Where the Foost’s make up for the lower quality materials, they make up in performance. As some of you know, I’m typically not fond of higher heels on weightlifting shoes. Before trying these shoes out, if you would have asked me what I thought about a shoe with a 1.28″ heel, I would have laughed in your face, but these are the real deal and have mostly changed my mind about a taller heel.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with higher heels, I just personally haven’t had the greatest success lifting with them. A higher heel is good for a few things, mainly for mobility reasons for people that have poor ankle and hip mobility. It can be beneficial for people that have longer femurs to help them sit back more easily. For me, they help me keep pressure down on the middle of my foot and keep my toes down through the second pull. Certain shoes where the drop is more pronounced make me rock back and forth. The added mobility lets me catch with a much more upright torso position since I can sit a bit further down in my squat, which really helps me lift on those days where I’m feeling extra tight.
Most all Olympic weightlifting shoes are stable, but the Foost’s are on another level. Lateral stability is quite possibly the best, if not tied with some of the best shoes I’ve used. Landing on their extra wide base feels rock solid, like the shoes were magnetic towards the ground. The TPU C-Frame does a great job of keeping your feet where they need to be without making the shoe feel any bulkier than they already are. No need to worry about split jerks, the forefoot of the shoe is extremely flexible, at least on the canvas model; just make sure you strap down the medial strap because your feet might slide into the wide toe box. The rubber outsole doesn’t look like it has any kind of special treading, but it’s amount of grip is actually one of the best features of the Foost’s, traction on dusty wooden floors to smooth rubber mats is excellent.
Responsiveness is what you’d expect of a wooden heeled shoe – 100%. Wood provides some of the most solid platforms you can possibly get in a shoe, it’s no wonder it was the choice for years and years until people switched to cheaper to manufacture TPU. The Foost lifters are my preferred squatting shoe now because I can really sit back and let my hamstrings take over. Note that I squat high bar, your experience may vary with low bar. When I’ve got to squat high numbers for volume, I’m definitely putting on the Foost’s. Even though they’re a bigger shoe overall, they’re not the heaviest, not the lightest either at 18.45oz for a men’s 9.5. Still, they don’t feel that heavy on the feet like Legacy’s or ANTA’s do. I’d say they most closely resemble Romaleos 2 with a much taller heel.
Catching snatches deep with an upright torso is a dream because of the added mobility and stability of the Foost’s. I’ve always had an issue with taller heel Oly shoes pitching me forward when I catch cleans (because of my lat mobility), so I didn’t think I would like cleaning in the Foost’s. I’m not going to lie, I’m still adjusting to the height, but if I just take a moment to solidify the placement of the bar on my shoulders, I’m able to clean well enough without worrying about having to switch shoes. The pros of the Foost’s make me want to get better with cleaning in these shoes.
I did do the WOD “Amanda” in the Foosts and PR’d my time by a lot, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that these are good shoes to WOD in. I was throwing up that 135 snatch in Amanda and catching it without much effort, but that’s pretty minimal movement. They’re flexible in the forefoot, but you’re not going to want to run or bound in them. You can definitely use them for gymnastics and weightlifting based WOD’s just fine though. They breathe as well as most Oly shoes do, not well – which is fine for Oly sessions, but not great to do a WOD in.
So what do you get for the $200-$213 you’re paying for the Foost lifters? While they don’t stand up to the competition as far as materials used, they trounce most other lifters in performance. Comparing heel height performance just comes down to preference, but from a guy that doesn’t really like higher heels, I have to say the Foost’s are legit. If you had piss poor mobility, the Foost’s are a no brainer. It’s tough having to put your money on a shoe that’s so new, relatively unproven, that you can’t try on, but I’ll put my name on it that you’ll like the Foost’s.
By purchasing into the Foost’s, you’ll be helping a smaller company grow, which in part will lead to better materials and manufacturing. Right now they do have some issues filling inventory as they’re growing. Honestly, I didn’t think I would like the Foost lifters as much as I do, despite the slightly lower quality materials on the canvas models, I’d say they’re in my top 2 favorite lifters (#1 is Position). I’ve got a pair of the leather models on the way, so when that comes I’ll update with how those feel.
If you’re looking for a ROCK solid stable weightlifting shoe with a taller heel, you need to check out the Foost Lifters.
- One of the most stable and responsive Olympic lifting shoes.
- Wide toe-box is comfortable.
- One of the best outsoles in terms of grip.
- Canvas upper isn’t that nice.
- Durability is yet to be seen.
- Can’t really try them on anywhere.
- 1.28″ heel height might not be for everyone.
- Shoe looks good from far, but…just okay from close.
- Production is a little light.
Barefoot training/running had a huge surge at the start of the decade. The premise is simple enough, training barefoot should lead to stronger foot muscles, tendons and ligaments. Things like midsoles and insoles lead to power degradation and instability when lifting weights. Zero drop was ideal because it promoted better running technique versus having a cushy heel to strike. There’s was a lot of taboo behind the benefits and disadvantages, but it still managed to garner a cult following, especially in the world of CrossFit.
Before purchasing barefoot shoes, you should know what you’re getting into. Training in barefoot shoes is suppose to mimic exactly what the name says, being barefoot. If you’ve never done barefoot training before, it’s going to take a little bit of getting used to, especially if you’re coming from cushy running shoes. You might end up with sore feet for a little bit, but at the end of the day, your feet will be better off for it. The allure of having stronger feet, better balance, and more power output got me into barefoot training early on, long before I even started CrossFit.
One of the best options was Inov-8’s Bare XF 210, it had everything you would want in a barefoot shoe (nothing). Zero drop, no midsole, it was form fitting and extremely light, but best of all, didn’t have individual toes. Still, barefoot training isn’t for everyone and the durability of the shoe wasn’t as good as some of it’s in box competitors. Inov-8 has been going on a tirade releasing updated models for their training shoes in 2017, one of them being the beloved 210v2, now sporting heftier construction to keep up with the big dogs. Barefoot fans, rejoice.
Upon first glance, you probably wouldn’t be able to distinguish the newer model 210 from the previous; they look almost identical. Apart from differences in the Rope-Tec protection, lacing scheme and some material changes, the silhouette is basically the same exact thing. They’re not terrible looking shoes, but they’re definitely something you’d only want to be seen wearing in your athletic pursuits. Currently, the only colorway for men is black and grey with a touch of neon green (red for women), which will probably change but is pretty unoffensive for a single colorway option right now.
While extremely light, I remember the original 210’s also being a little bit on the flimsy side. The entire upper was mainly just fabric with a little bit of PU overlay on the middle part of the upper to give it a bit of structure, but otherwise it was basically a sock. The new 210 feels much more beefed up from the original, though that didn’t take much, but how they managed to keep the V2 at 210 grams is a mystery, The biggest changes to the construction of the shoe lie at the back and middle areas of the shoe. Where the previous model had the same mesh throughout the shoe, the new V2 has a tougher nylon ripstop fabric that extends from the heel to the beginning of the toebox. Rather than being just an overlay on the shoe, the new Rope-Tec is a piece of armor that protects the lateral and medial sides of the shoe on top of the ripstop fabric. At the heel of the shoe there is the new Y-Heel lock counter that Inov-8 has been using recently to keep your heel locked into place and does a rather good job doing so.
Since this is the Bare-XF line, there is really no midsole of which to speak. All you get between your foot and the ground is a combined 6mm between the insole and outsole combination. The latter sees really no change, same skeletal tread patern and 1.5mm lug depth. If you want barefoot shoes without having to wear Vibram’s, this is as good as you’re going to get.
Though the shoe feels more sturdy, it still retains it’s sock-like feel. The new lacing system is one of the best upgrades Inov-8 made on the 210v2. Rather than having to go under the upper to lace your shoes, there is a “Flywire” type lacing system that brings the new Rope-Tec cage together on top of the upper. Also gone are the flimsy rope laces, replaced with much beefier flat laces that do have some issues staying tied. With the new lacing system, you can get an even more locked down fit in the middle of the shoe, giving the 210v2’s a second skin like feel.
The mesh at the toebox is actually more plush and breathable than the original’s, not to mention extremely flexible and fairly wide. I’d love the new toebox if it weren’t for the unforgiving “Italian blown rubber toe bumper”, which my Morton’s toe just ends up jamming up into. This probably won’t happen to most people, but it’s worth noting. I made the mistake of getting a 9.5, where I should have gotten a 10 like all my other training shoes, so that’s what I’m going to recommend you do. Size like your normal training shoe size, you don’t want your toes anywhere close to the front of the shoe with these.
Here are mine for reference:.
- 235v2/215/195v2 – 10
- Nano – 10
- Metcon – 10
- NoBull – 10
- New Balance – 9.5
If you ever find yourself thinking that Nano’s or Metcon’s are too bulky, you’ll probably want to look into the 210v2’s. As barefoot shoes should be, the 210’s are as stripped back as possible as you can get, while not being a sock. The upper fits close to your foot and feels like a second skin. One of the first things you’ll notice is just how low you sit to the ground and how the outsole conforms to the bottom of your foot. You’ll be able to feel even the smallest of rocks through the bottom of the shoe. Which is great for power delivery inside the gym, but isn’t so good if you plan on taking these shoes up to the trails. Response is instant, when you push, you actually push; there is virtually nothing in the way of your foot to ground. Power delivery is limited to what your standing on top of instead of what you’re wearing.
Conventional deadlifting is probably the best movement you could do in the 210v2’s, just grip it and rip it. Sumo is slightly a different story, depending on how mobile you are. These shoes were made for free movement, so laterally they might not as stable as something with a flatter base (i.e. Chucks), but that depends on how strong your glutes and hamstrings are. The 210’s could easily be your squatting shoe of choice, but that once again depends on mobility. I think zero drop shoes favor low bar squatting, though I personally squat high bar just fine in these shoes. If you get your feet planted, these shoes are solid as a rock.
For the fast Olympic Weightlifting movements in a CrossFit WOD, I think the 210’s are excellent. Power delivery is snappy and your feet move extremely well. That being said, there’s a level of lateral stability that I’d want if I were to go for 1 rep max that I don’t quite trust the 210’s for. I was still able to lift fairly confidently but if it came down to it, I’d rather do my Oly in shoes that have a bit more width. While the material of the outsole grips rougher surfaces well, it doesn’t do so great on smooth rubber flooring. There are virtually no lugs, so smooth on top of smooth doesn’t work so well. I’ve had a few close incidents where my feet have slid catching a lift, another reason to stick to shoes with more structure for Oly.
When it comes to rope climbs, the 210v2’s do fairly decent job holding the rope despite the slick outsole. The added Rope-Tec protection shields your feet from getting too beat up from the rope, but due to the thin upper, you’re still going to feel it. Durability is yet to be determined, unless you plan on doing rope climbs every day, they seem like they’ll hold up just fine.
The area the 210’s most excel at are during lighter metcons. Your feet are free to move as you do – Movement feels unhindered and transitioning between movements feels like you don’t even have anything on your feet. The feather light 210v2’s are flexible for plyometrics and gymnastics but stable kettlebells and most weightlifting you’ll find in a WOD. Running is a matter of preference, you’ll either love or hate it in the 210’s. Like previously mentioned, there’s nothing between your feet and the ground, so everything is a little bit more high impact. Things like arch support or midsole cushioning are no where to be found, forcing you into better running technique. If you’re a heel striker, you’ll quickly find out why it’s discouraged to do so. Also, if you’re new to the barefoot thing, you’re going to end up with sore feet for a few weeks. Make sure you ease yourself into running distances in the 210v2’s, but like I said earlier, I believe you’ll be better off for learning how to run in barefoot shoes.
The Bare-XF 210v2’s retail at $110 and while I don’t think they’re going to pull the masses away from the big names, they’ll definitely entice seasoned barefoot enthusiasts. If you’re looking to take the plunge into barefoot training, I can’t think of any better shoes to do it with. Are the 210v2’s going to be for everyone? Nope, that’s what the 195’s or 235’s are for. They definitely have their pro’s and con’s but at the end of the day, they’re the best you’re gonna find in barefoot training shoes and most of the cons just come down to barefoot training as a whole, not necessarily this particular shoe.
Having spent a long time away from barefoot training, it feels nice to go back to it, and at the end of the day I feel more comfortable training in minimalist shoes, but not exactly barefoot. I’ve come to like certain aspects of how training shoes are made and while I respect barefoot shoes, they’re just not for me anymore. That’s not to take anything away from the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210v2’s though, they’re excellent shoes, just as long as you know what you’re getting into.
- Extremely responsive
- Lightweight & Flexible
- Increased durability
- Grip isn’t great on rubber flooring
- Toe cap is too stiff
- Barefoot might not be for everyone
- Only one colorway for now
Someone generously sent these to me. They’re not stolen shoes like the DSX Flyknits, these were legit from Reebok from what I believe.
Though the shoe does look a LOT like the Nano 7.0 Weave, there are a few differences.
- The thicker weaves in the upper now go from the toe to the heel rather than from the medial to the lateral sides of the shoe. Someone described the feeling of the upper to be more “shell-like”, not sure if that’s a good or bad thing though.
- The Nanoshell midsole looks to be fully black now.
- Black and gum seems to be the marquee colorway of the Nano 8.
- The ankle collar is more similar to the Grace TR, I’m not sure if this is a good thing either. I was not a fan of the way the Grace flexed in this area.
- There’s no longer any medial guard.
- The whole Weave upper looks reflective.
- A few people have told me that they indeed are much more flexible than the Nano 7.0, but we’ll see.
Launch date from what I hear should be in January. Who knows if these will actually be the final shoe; I’ve heard the aren’t the final design but it’s kind of late in the game to make any significant changes. I’ll hopefully get more info and pictures for you all soon!