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Foost Fitness Lifter Review

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.

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Looks/Construction:

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.

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Fit:

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

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Performance:

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.

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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.

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Value/Conclusion:

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.

The Good:

  • One of the most stable and responsive Olympic lifting shoes.
  • Wide toe-box is comfortable.
  • One of the best outsoles in terms of grip.

The Bad:

  • Canvas upper isn’t that nice.
  • Durability is yet to be seen.
  • Can’t really try them on anywhere.

The Ugly:

  • 1.28″ heel height might not be for everyone.
  • Shoe looks good from far, but…just okay from close.
  • Production is a little light.

Get your Foost Lifters here!

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Adidas CrazyPower Weightlifting Shoes Review

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Functional fitness is as popular as it’s ever been and everyone is trying to cash in on it. Surprisingly, even though Adidas is the parent company of Reebok, they’re not just going to stand by and let Reebok handle all of the functional training segment. I think it’s actually perfect timing for Adidas to come out with serious training shoes, since they’re destroying the sneaker market. The CrazyPower TR’s are good shoes, not great, but they’re still hard to get your hands on.

While everyone had their eyes on the Leistung II, Adidas dropped a brand spanking new weightlifting shoe out of no where. Named the exact same thing as their newest training shoe, the Crazy Power, just without the TR designation at the end. It’s easy to just plop the Crazy Power WL shoes into the Oly lifter category, but no one actually knows what segment Adidas is trying to cater to with these shoes. Are they hybrid shoes? Are they the long awaited replacement for the AdiPowers? Are they a more serious Powerlift Trainer..?

This is what I’ve come to find out…

Looks/Construction:

Visually, the CrazyPower WL shoes are a little funky in design. It’s a huge departure from the AdiPowers or even the new Leistung II, more of a functional fitness look than one you’d see on the platform. Personally, I don’t think they’re bad looking, but I like funky. They’re a mix of synthetic TPU overlays, mesh, and a shiny, stretchy neoprene-ish sock like upper, similar to what we’re currently seeing on most of Adidas’ popular sneakers. It’s no PrimeKnit, but the upper is soft and actually provides a nice fit. The materials look cheap in photos, but the shoe is really well built with nice materials, though I’m not sure they’re premium enough to warrant the $175 price tag.

As opposed to the new Leistung BOA dial, the CrazyPowers have a standard medial strap with hook and loop velcro. The toe box is mainly open mesh and the entire forefoot is very flexible. The insole is surprisingly cushioned, but don’t worry, it’s still fairly thin and doesn’t effect power output at all. Adidas’ wording of the heel makes it sound like it’s not entirely made of TPU, but it is solid TPU and will not depress under any kind of weight. The outsole is entirely flat with an anti-slip rubber coating which does a fine job in holding it’s ground.

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Fit:

As with all Adidas weightlifting shoes, I sized my CrazyPower’s at a 9.5 and the fit is perfect in length and width for me. The silhouette of these shoes resembles the Adipower’s more than anything else and I would say they’re a slightly more narrow fitting shoe; definitely more than most weightlifting shoes. Though the socklike upper provides a great fit, one of the worst parts about the CrazyPower’s is actually getting your foot in the shoe. I don’t have a wide foot by any means and it requires quite a bit of jamming my foot through the top to get it in; laced, unlaced, unstrapped, it doesn’t matter. At least when it’s on, you get a really nice fit around the ankle with no heel slip and there is great support for your Achilles. The medial strap does a great job tightening the midfoot area  but another weird thing is that when I have my foot in the shoe, laced up with the strap tightened, the upper bunches up in the middle; it’s not really uncomfortable, but it’s worth noting.

Here are my sizes for reference:

  • Adipower/Leistung – 9.5
  • Romaleos 3 – 9
  • Romaleos 2 – 9.5
  • Position USA – 9
  • Legacy – 9
  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 9.5
  • Chucks – 9

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Performance:

So what exactly were the CrazyPower’s made to do? We know they’re very flexible shoes and fairly lightweight at 15.58oz, but what about the heel height. This is always a funny area for me because I always get some kind of flak for putting up heel heights that people don’t always agree with. Per Adidas Specialty Sport’s wording, heel height is the total height of the heel and heel lift is the effective heel height (or drop), they just sometimes forget to add in the heel lift to their descriptions. The heel HEIGHT of the CrazyPower’s is 28.6mm/1.06″, which would be insane to be the effective height since I own both, put them on side by side and the Leistung’s are noticeably taller. Just so I don’t put speculation out there, I contacted Adidas to find out what the heel LIFT is…

16mm/.63″.

Yup, I knew it felt a lot shorter. Honestly it doesn’t feel a ton different when it’s on compared to the 20mm heel of the AdiPowers, but it is lower, and just slightly higher than the Powerlift trainers. Also, per the e-mail I received back from Adidas, the CrazyPower’s aren’t designed to be a “competition” weightlifting shoe, more suited for squat, bench and deadlifts. I would take all of that with a grain of salt though.

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Based off what we know, I’m going to peg this shoe into the functional fitness or powerlifting category; it’s like a more serious Powerlift Trainer because of the wider platform and incompressible heel. That doesn’t mean  you can’t use this for Oly lifting though, I personally like the lower heel height for cleans since I’m not the fastest under the bar. I even happened to PR my clean at 285 for a legit single, and I got under 300, but my knee dropped…still stood up though. I prefer squatting in flatter shoes, since I feel like I can balance better, so after I hit that clean, I proceeded to PR my backsquat (high bar) with relative ease at 405. The platform of the CrazyPower’s is crazy stable.

For me personally, this is all I’m looking for in an Oly shoe. I don’t need a huge heel and would rather have something lighter and flexible with a solid platform. I’m not really into using Oly shoes in WOD’s but the CrazyPower’s are comfortable enough, I would still avoid them if you’re doing a ton of plyometric movements, though I think these are some of the most responsive WL shoes I’ve ever used. Short runs and double unders should be fine, but I would stay away from rope climbs because of the flimsy upper. If you’ve got gross mobility issues, maybe stick to the Leistung or AdiPowers. If you’re a powerlifter squatting low bar and you just wanted a solid platform with a slight heel, these are the way to go. If you’re a CrossFitter looking for a flexible WOD oly shoe and you didn’t quite need the boost in mobility, you’re in the right place.

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Value/Conclusion:

I picked these shoes up from Holabird Sports for $155 and since I PR’d my clean and backsquat in these shoes, it was all worth it. Just kidding, I think for a more serious Powerlift Trainer, that’s a bit much to be asking; the MSRP is $175 and I think that’s just ridiculous. Still, in this case taller isn’t always better for everyone. If you’re looking for a pair of solid squatting shoes and don’t need the heel, these might be for you. Honestly the heel height between 3/4″ and these shoes isn’t a noticeable difference, so if you wanted to save a little bit of cash over the Romaleos, you might want to check out the CrazyPower’s. You could find AdiPower’s probably cheaper though…or Inov-8 FastLifts…the list goes on.

I didn’t think I’d like the CrazyPower’s as much as I do…and I’m planning on keeping them around for a long while because they just work well for my technique. I can confidently lift in them, they fit well and are fairly comfortable. Not everyone has a huge Oly shoe collection like me and are going to be able to swap out shoes all the time, so it’s a weird recommendation for me. Overall, there might be better options out there, but for me the CrazyPower’s might be one of my favorite lifting shoes at the moment.

Get your Adidas CrazyPower WL shoes here!

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Position USA Blue Suede Shoes 2.1 Review

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It seems like just yesterday I was writing the review for one of my favorite pairs of WL shoes of the year, the Position USA Blue Suede Shoes. I loved them, they worked well for me and I really had no issues lifting in them except that the pair I got was a bit too big for me. Most of all, they were arguably the coolest pair of weightlifting shoes on the market. Just as I put out that review, Position announced the Blue Suede Shoe 2.1, a version of their shoe that was slightly updated. Enhancements included a slightly higher heel, a more fitted feel, and a Vibram outsole. Being a big fan of the 2.0’s, I was skeptical about just how much better they could make their shoe. There has been a ton of requests for this review and it’s taken me 6 months to get my hands on a pair, but they’re finally here, so let’s get started.

Looks/Construction/Fit:

Despite the changes, the main points that distinguish the Blue Suedes are still here: suede-leather upper construction, hand carved wood heel, and the sexy blue color scheme. To the untrained eye, you wouldn’t even be able to visibly tell the difference between the two former and latter. The entire shoe remains the same in appearance with the only major changes being on the medial strap and the heel being stained a darker color. I have absolutely no issues with this, the looks were probably the main selling point of the original shoes and they still remain one of the strongest points of the Blue Suedes. The inclusion of a darker stained heel makes for an even classier look. For those looking for a not so “out there” color scheme, Position is releasing their “Redford” and “Eastwood” models in January.

From the wood heels being carved and stained to the uppers being sewn together, each pair is hand crafted and takes over a day’s work of labor to finish. Since the Blue Suedes are made in smaller batches versus your commercially mass produced shoes, there’s a story behind each one.  You’ll notice this in how not often certain sizes are in stock, but unfortunately also in the construction of the shoe, maybe the person that was making my shoes was just having a bad day. There are hot spots inside of the shoe where the metatarsal joints are, both on top and under the insole. On top it comes from where the tongue meets the toe box area, and on bottom it feels like its from the upper being stitched under the insole.  I usually have issues with my right foot rubbing in this area since I have a bunion, but with the P2.1’s it’s in the left shoe.  Oddly enough the majority of the fit issues are in my left shoe, though the right shoe suffers the same to some degree.

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Other issues include the logo already fraying and becoming un-stitched from the tongue, the loop for the medial strap not staying in place only on the right shoe, and the straps and laces being much longer than they need to be. The most alarming issue is that it feels like the heels are coming loose. I noticed this straight away when going to remove my left shoe, which once again is worse than my right shoe. You could alleviate this issue by not pulling your shoes off by the heels (totally normal to do though), but this shouldn’t be happening; I’ve never run into an issue like this with any of my lifters and I don’t remember it happening with the P2.0’s. It doesn’t feel like the heels are going to fall off anytime soon, but that’s not a good sign for lasting durability.

Like all Olympic lifting shoes, you’re going to want to make sure you size down half from your normal training shoes. While the P2.1’s have a slightly narrower fit than the P2.0s, I wouldn’t say that it’s enough to warrant going half a size up. The suede they use is fairly supple and should stretch a little bit over time. When I tried these on at the CrossFit Games I was worried they’d be too snug, but the pair that I have fits well, aside from the hot spots. Make sure you lace up tightly because you might get a bit of heel lift otherwise.

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Performance:

Fit and construction issues aside, the P2.1’s remain one of my preferred pairs of lifting shoes. Picking weight up has never been as fun as it is in the Position’s. Having just reviewed the Legacy Lifters, anything feels like a feather compared to them (20.03oz). According to my scale, the Positions weigh in at 16.37oz, only slightly higher than the leading shoes in weightlifting, the Nike Romaleos and Adidas AdiPowers. Moving your feet isn’t an issue, and the forefoot flexibility is actually much better than the popular picks probably because of the supple suede.

The greatest change to the P2.1’s is the decision to go from a .85″ heel to a 1″ effective heel; the majority of the weightlifting shoes fall into the 3/4″ category, .85″ included. The only other shoe I’ve tested with as high a heel was the Adidas Leistung’s, in which I wasn’t a huge fan of for cleaning because I felt the tendency to catch forward in them. Something about the way the heel to toe drop is more gradual in the P2.1’s makes me not have this issue to the same degree as the Adidas shoes. Cleans always feel more forward in shoes with a heel but front squats felt as right they do in other Olympic lifting shoes. I typically receive snatches in a very upright torso position to compensate for my shoddy thoracic mobility, and the P2.1’s one inch heel increases my ability to do so, which helps me out big time. Heel height is subjective and very debatable, but I haven’t had any issues with the 1″ heel of the P2.1’s. Typically, I would recommend a higher heel for those with longer femurs and/or crappy ankle dorsiflexion.

EDIT: Trying on multiple pairs of weightlifting shoes side by side and finding that the Postitions feel lower, prompted me to go back and actually go measure the difference between the toe and the heel of the P2.1’s. What I came back with interestingly is that the difference is actually 16mm or .63″. The actual heel itself is 1″ or the stated 2.54cm. Theres no real way to measure accurately, but according to these approximate measurements, there is no way the shoes can be an effective 1″ heel. This is probably why I was able to lift proficiently in the Positions compared to most shoes with a 1″ heel.


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Since the heel is also elevated more than normal Oly shoes, I have an easier time keeping my toes down throughout my extension; rocking back to my heels is a bad habit I have. Jumping feels natural and since the shoes are so responsive, I can move my feet with ease. The Vibram rubber outsole is extremely dense and paired with the wooden heel, should give you perfect power delivery with every lift. I was very excited to hear that one of the upgrades was the Vibram outsole, but there’s no pattern to it so the grip isn’t a huge upgrade over previous P2.0 – bummer. The insoles are also pretty anemic, as they are on most oly shoes, but at least they’re removable so you can swap them out with any orthotics.

While weightlifting is a joy in the P2.1’s, I recommend that’s what you stick to in the Blue Suedes. Just to test, I did a WOD which consisted of heavy power cleans and ring dips. While the shoes performed excellent during the ring dips, I had issues quickly setting myself into a low enough position to rep out the power cleans, so I ended up using my back for a lot of them. That and while the shoes are flexible, they aren’t flexible enough to be doing WOD’s in, so the plantar fascia burn was real.  Stick to weightlifting and squats where you can set yourself up better, in the P2.1’s.

Did I mention the P2.1’s make the absolute most bad ass sound when you stomp?!


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Value:

At $190, the P2.1’s fall in line with pretty much every pair of good weightlifting shoes out there. You really have to ask yourself if the style is for you, and if you would benefit from a 1″ heel. With a bit of practice, the 1″ heel could definitely be your ally; just look at the Chinese weightlifting team. Even if blue isn’t your color, you now have the option to go with a black/red or white/black color scheme. I’ve asked what other differences there were between the shoes and it’s just the color and some materials used, otherwise they’re all the same.

You could always opt for a mass produced technologically advanced lifting shoe like everyone else, but Position USA created the Blue Suede Shoes for those that march to the beat of their own drum. With that in mind, they’ve created something that actually feels special to wear, though I’m not getting rid of my Legacy’s anytime soon. Construction shortcomings aside, the Blue Suede Shoes are still one of my favorite pairs to lift in, because there’s just an undeniable badassery you attain from having them on.

Get your Blue Suede Shoes here! Use code: AMRAP for 10% off!

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