Quite possibly the biggest thing to rock the functional fitness world, was when the Adidas CrazyPower TR’s were announced last December. All the talk about the Metcon 3’s vanished, and it was all about Adidas. Honestly, I think the CrazyPower’s became the most hyped up shoe of 2016 real quick. Which is fitting, because Adidas has been dominating the premium sneaker market as of late. Though the release of the CrazyPower’s coincides with the Metcon 3’s and Nano 7’s, the current giants of the fitness world, I think they couldn’t have possibly picked a better time to jump into the functional training shoe market.
Many people have expressed an almost extreme displeasure with the timing and appearance of the newest Nano. Also as great as it is, Nike relatively hasn’t done a whole lot with the new Metcon; making people pay the premium of $160 for the more different, DSX Flyknit. That’s where Adidas comes in – a brand new model shoe with a fresh look, new platform, tried and true features that make a great training shoe with the currently premium Adidas name. The only issue that could make Adidas fail is if the shoe just doesn’t perform as it should…which it doesn’t…for the most part.
Right when the CrazyPower’s were announced, I didn’t waste any time putting my order in. The problem was, at the time only the female models were available. Another would be problem is that the women’s and the men’s models varied slightly in features and in looks. Thinking there couldn’t really be any major performance differences, I sized the women’s shoe up and pulled the trigger on it; also putting in a pre-order for the men’s, just in case. Honestly the women’s model looked a little more appealing because I liked the design, colorways, and the feature set was a little better. Looks are only skin deep though, as there are actually a few major differences. I thought the women’s model was just a pretty good contender, that is, until I received the men’s version.
Styling of the CrazyPower’s is unlike any fitness shoe out there at the moment; even the Metcon 3’s and Nano 7’s share similarities. Both models look great, but in their own ways; personally I prefer the look of the female model just because it’s a little bit more loud than the guys. The women’s model has the slightly more risque design of the upper due to it’s not uniform pattern compared to the men’s, but both models sport an RPU (rigid polyurethane) overlay over fabric. Think of basically what Reebok did with the Nano 3.0 and 4.0, which are some of the more durable and well liked shoes of their line. Though they both have the RPU cage, the women’s model seems to be more pliable, but flexes oddly in certain areas. Whereas the men’s model is more rigid, but still flexible and doesn’t have any weird hotspots inside. This difference tips its hat in favor of the men’s version.
I immediately noticed that the women’s model has the TPU heel clip exposed and figured that was a benefit to the shoe, but if you feel around the same area in the men’s shoe, you can feel the “pro-moderator” heel support inside the shoe, which is basically doing the same thing the exposed heel clip is. The overall profile of the shoe is similar between both models, they both have a 3mm drop, wider fit (they really mean wide), and a flat, low to the ground platform. The main difference between the two models lies where you can’t really see, and that’s the insole. I was extremely surprised to find this out when I put the men’s versions of the CrazyPower’s on; there was much less cushioning than the women’s model! More about this later on when we talk about performance.
The outsole of the shoe has what Adidas refers to as their “TRAXION” system. I don’t get that that means, but I’m going to assume it’s the compound they’re using, since the tread pattern varies between the men’s and women’s shoes, once again in favor of the men’s. Though both provide no shortages of grip on rubber or asphalt, the men’s shoes have a more aggressive pattern at the front of the shoe, rope grips in the middle of the shoe, and protrusions at the heel. Compared to the mostly flat, but well patterned women’s shoe. It seems like the men’s was designed for more varied, rugged surfaces, where the women’s was designed for hardwood or rubber flooring.
The final thing that varies between the two shoes is the tongue. One of my early complaints with the women’s shoe was that the more flat styled tongue never really sat right. The men’s has a more padded tongue and doesn’t suffer from this issue at all. Once again, odd.
Both versions of the shoe fall into the extremely wide category of shoes. I have a pretty average sized foot, not narrow or wide, but I have a bunion on my right foot that makes some narrow shoes uncomfortable. I’m satisfied with the fit and would call it comfortable. Sorry narrow footed people, this is not the shoe for you but fans of the Nano 3.0 will love the extremely wide forefoot of the CrazyPower’s. Length is pretty true to size, though the typical rule of going 1.5 sizes up to fit a women’s shoe doesn’t apply here as my 11’s are slightly long. If you’re looking to get the women’s model, just go up 1 full size. Otherwise, size them as you would your normal running shoes. Here are my sizes for reference:
- CrazyPower M/9.5 W/10.5
- Metcon’s 9.5
- Nano 10
- Chucks 9
- Weightlifting shoes 9
Before I got my hands on the Metcon 3’s, the women’s CrazyPower’s were my current go-to shoe. Initially I was worried that the amount of insole cushioning might affect my lifts because it was just something I wasn’t used to having, but surprisingly I was able to do all of my lifts just fine from weightlifting, powerlifting, and lifting in WOD’s. I was skeptical about being able to hit my higher percentages, but the shoes performed well from snatches to back squats. The only hitch that I came across was during WOD’s, the softer insole made it a little awkward to set up lifts when you’re limited on time. Even then, since the outsole is still extremely dense, power delivery was good enough for me to not ever have to worry about missing a lift because the insoles were too squishy.
Traction is probably the CrazyPower’s strongest suit; the outsole material grips everything excellent. When testing the shoes on the rope, I never had any kind of issues with it slipping through my feet. It’s tread pattern also allows for very good flexibility throughout; workouts with a lot of double-unders never caused me any kind of discomfort. It also probably helped out that the insoles are softer than I’m used to. Response is still spot on when you need it, though you might be unsure it’s there at times. I haven’t done any major running in the shoes yet, but they feel like they’d be like any other wide, flat training shoe – clunky.
Once again, the major difference between the two models is that the insole is more cushioned in the female model. Why Adidas did this, we might not ever know, but rest assured that it’s not enough to detract drastically from the performance of the shoe. The platform is pretty much the same between both and it makes for an excellent training shoe. If I had to go with one for functional fitness, it would have to be the men’s version; mainly because I prioritize lifting, but if you wanted to sacrifice a little bit of rigidity for comfort, go with the women’s model.
It seems like the more flexible, comfortable female CrazyPower’s were designed more for a HIIT style workout, whereas the men’s was designed more for heavier lifting and stability. Personally, I don’t agree with the way they made the CrazyPower’s different, but it’s all I can come up with for why they’d want to make slightly varied models. Everything else that differs between the two shoes is pretty dismiss-able, but the insole might be a deal breaker for some.
Value & Conclusion:
Adidas is slightly undercutting the rest of the pack with a price tag of $120 for either model shoe. Still, I would place the CrazyPower’s at the same price point, which begs the question:
Why would you want to pick these shoes over the established models that are currently out?
I’d say the main one would be that you needed a WIDE shoe, possibly because you liked the way they looked, but the main one is probably going to be because they’re Adidas and they’re different. All reasons are fine and you really wouldn’t be making a bad choice going with the CrazyPower’s. The models are slightly different but mainly the same, they both perform well, though in my opinion, the men’s shoes are superior. It’s like they took all the complaints I had with the female model and fixed them; almost like a revision. They fit better, they flex better, and the insole is more dense. Like I said, either way, it’s a great alternative and finally cements Adidas into the functional training market. They’re on the right track with the CrazyPower TR and if they keep this up (and maybe make it slightly less wide), they could make a major play for the functional trainer crown.
With all the talk about Nano this, Metcon that, it’s easy for Inov-8 to get overshadowed by the bigger companies. The grand papi of minimalist training shoes, and really the first functional fitness shoe (besides Vibrams), Inov-8 just keeps on chugging along making great trainers that often get overlooked because their marketing budget just isn’t quite as big as the other giants. They’re still producing the widely loved and well regarded 195, which you can find being worn in many boxes to this date. The 195 was a workhorse of a shoe that just did everything right, without any fancy bells or whistles. Sure, it has it’s share of shortcomings, but if you wanted flexible, comfortable, minimal and lightweight, the 195 is the shoe to get…well…until Inov-8 brought out the 235.
Last year’s model of 235’s took Inov-8’s training shoe know how and upped it 100%. Many issues that plagued their previous training shoes were addressed, and it was one of the finest training shoes I had ever used. The 250 was a spin on the 235’s, and ended up being one of my favorite training shoes of the year. Fresh off the press, the 235v2’s look to up the ante by improving on everything that made the 235’s excellent to make a play for the title of the best functional fitness shoe.
Quite possibly the only thing that’s going to prevent the 235v2’s from being a star in the functional fitness world, are it’s hate it or love it looks. Personally, I don’t hate the way the shoes look, but I don’t love them either. I can appreciate them trying to do something different with the styling, which to be honest, is pretty true to Inov-8’s standards. Most people are not going to see it the way that I do and will go for one of the more “safe” choices. The actual silhouette of the shoe isn’t awful, but some of the colorways don’t quite get along with the lines of the shoe. The grey/blue/black scheme that I got is definitely the best of the bunch and I have gotten compliments on it. Though I have heard quite the opposite about some of the others. This can easily be remedied down the line, as Inov-8 usually does this and then adds in more “safe” colorways later on.
The F-Lite 235 is a completely new shoe designed specifically for functional fitness, but it still carries on the creed of the 195, with enhancements for today’s athletes. Sporting the new “Standard” fit, the 235v2’s has a wider base and much denser heel for stability during lifts. A well known issue with the 195’s was the durability; a few rope climbs and you’d see some pretty substantial damage to the shoe. Inov-8 added the Rope-Tec guard a little bit later on in the 195’s life, but honestly it didn’t do a ton to fix the issue as you couldn’t always count on the rope being in that exact spot. The redesigned 360 Rope-Tec system now carries onto the 235v2’s upper and with the inclusion of the much denser outsole, provide excellent tracking and durability against rope climbs.
On the feet, the 235v2’s feel just as well built as any of the top fitness shoes on the market. You can definitely feel the solidity of of the Powerheel, but also how incredibly flexible the new “AdapterFit” technology upper is. During movement the upper conforms to your foot and provides one of the most natural feeling shoe experiences around. Upon entering the shoe, you’ll notice the midfoot “hug” from the Met-Cradle, which provides a more customized fit in the midfoot. Also new to the 235v2’s is the external heel counter that was present in the 250’s, working hand in hand with the Powerheel to up the shoe’s stability.
The flat laces are more dense but have the tendency to become untied unless you really tighten them up. Another slight annoyance is that the toe area of the shoes have a tendency to attract dirt and marks that take a little more than water to wipe away; nitpicking here, but it drives my clean shoe OCD crazy.
This time around, I went with a size 10 compared to my normal size of 9.5. I’ve been finding myself needing to size up lately as deep into workouts, my feet have the tendency to swell and my toes jam up into the front of them. The front toe guard is kind of a double edge sword here: it’s gives extra protection when doing burpees, but if you’ve got Morton’s toe like me, it’s inability to flex will end up smashing your second toe. Only an issue I had deep into workouts with the 250’s, but isn’t an issue with my size 10 235v2’s. The fit is comfortable and never feels too big, so consider going up half a size ONLY if your second toe is longer than your big toe.
The 235v2’s are FLAT, just the way I like it. Since the fall of “minimal” shoes happened (Vibram?), there hasn’t been a ton of zero drop shoes on the market. Personally, I like to do everything in flat shoes, and the flatter the better; granted this might not be the same for everyone, especially those with poor mobility. Is this a huge departure from the popular training shoes on the market? Nope, most of them have a 4mm drop, which is pretty darn close to nothing, and it doesn’t take long at all to get acclimated to a zero drop shoe. What is quite different than most of the shoes out there, is the amount of ground feel that you get from the 235v2’s due to its low (10.5mm/3mm insole) stack height. The 235v2’s are as close to “barefoot” shoes as you can get without sacrificing protection. This makes for a very responsive, if not the most responsive feeling training shoe out there.
The outsole brings back some familiar technology in the Meta-Flex split grooves and Dynamic Facia Band (DFB). The latter keeps you in motion while the former makes it so your foot doesn’t feel constrained doing it. The pattern used is designed to maximize the contact area of the shoe’s sticky rubber outsole, giving you a sure step every time. Traction in any terrain has never been an issue and is maximized if you’re stepping into a gym with rubber flooring. Tread with confidence.
Power delivery is excellent with anything from Olympic lifts to plyometric movements. This has been my “go-to” shoe, and I haven’t ever looked back towards any of my big named shoes. Not saying they’re not excellent picks either, but the 235v2’s are just as good, if not better at things. Squatting in the 235v2’s couldn’t feel any better due to the zero drop and extremely dense Powerheel. I’ve saved some snatched that had gone awry from the 235v2’s keeping my feel planted into the ground. Did I mention that these are the most flexible trainers I’ve ever used? I did, but just so you know, moving around in the 235v2’s is like a breath of fresh air. Speaking of which, the 235v’2s are also the most breathable shoe I’ve ever used. Probably awesome during the summer, but also could be a bad thing if you live in cold areas. It’s getting California cold (50-60 degrees, lol), and sometimes my feet can get really cold.
If you’re looking for a true, minimal training shoe, this is the one. Zero drop, flexibility of a Yogi, reflexes of an F-1 car and light as a feather at 8.2 oz.
The F-Lite 235v2’s run for a standard price of $129.99 per pair. This puts them in direct contention with the major manufacturers. I know you’re thinking you might as well go with the popular options for that price, but if you’re looking for a minimalist fitness experience, the big names just can’t deliver. Don’t get me wrong, they’re excellent shoes and some people might be looking for a little more support, or like the styling better, but give the 235v2’s a shot and I promise you won’t be disappointed. The purist experience just can’t be replicated by anything other than the Inov-8 F-Lite 235’s.
Now to check out the crazier All-Train 215’s…
Six years, six iterations of the Reebok CrossFit Nano. My first pair and in some ways still my favorite are the 2.0’s, mainly due to the sentimental value I have for them being my first CrossFit shoe. This should go without saying, but every year Reebok makes a better version of the shoe. Now you might not like the shoe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a better shoe than the previous year’s. From adding in the Ropepro, to the Duracage, and the Powerlaunch toe box, there’s always something Reebok is adding in an effort to make the best CrossFit shoe possible. The thing that I really like about Reebok is that at the end of the day, they were the first to actually invest in CrossFit; without them, you might still be WODing in running shoes.
A shoe design has a typical life of two years, with the Nano 6.0’s being an evolution of the 5.0. This is very apparent if you look at the previous Nano’s as well and something that also applies to other brands of shoes. The big changes from the 4.0’s are still here: we have the Kevlar reinforced overlay, improved Ropepro, and multi-directional outsole. The only thing we’re “missing” is that the 3mm drop has been upped back to the 4mm that’s been the standard for Nano’s. It’s slight, but some people will miss it (including myself), though most people won’t ever notice a difference. What’s new to the Nano 6.0 is a new overall look with a huge Reebok logo, a tough medial guard, a heel loop, slight changes to the fitment, and the new Powerlaunch toe box.
From an aesthetic standpoint, comparing the Nano 6.0 to the 5.0 would be like comparing your freshman yearbook picture to your senior picture. You look the same for the most part, but you’re a little more fleshed out and slightly more mature looking, though you still have a lot of growing up to do. Honestly, when I first saw the Nano 6.0’s, I didn’t think they were as bad looking as a lot of people did; or at least one side of the shoe wasn’t. In my opinion, the delta isn’t as cheesy looking as some people say it is; it’s a hell of a lot better than all the junk they put on the 5.0’s. Going around the the medial side of the shoe is a different story, the new medial guard is an eyesore on certain colorways as it totally clashes with the refined look of the shoe. It’s not so bad on the dark colorways, but it really sticks out like a sore thumb on the brighter colors. Function over form I guess.
You can just tell by looking at the Nano 6.0’s that they’re a bit more sturdy. The quality of the upper feels a lot more premium than the 5.0’s did. Areas like the toe box and the rear of the shoe are more reinforced and a lot harder to depress. The shoe holds it’s form better than the flimsy upper of the Nano 5.0. A huge upgrade that might not sound like much is that the tongue is way more substantial and padded. You won’t have to worry about it sliding to the side like the 5.0’s did. Lastly, the shoe laces are much nicer in general with a wider, flatter, and better looking set. I never had an issue with the laces of the 5.0’s, but the new speckled laces adds some character to the 6.0’s.
It seems to be a pretty normal thing for the first complete overhaul of the Nano to be big and wide, and it’s successor to be more fitted and narrow. That’s not saying much since the Nano’s are wide shoes in general. I’m a fan of the wider fits because I have a bunion on my right foot, but even the more narrow models fit me just fine. You’ll find the biggest change in fitment at the vamp (toe box) of the shoe. The front is now optimally sized for toe splay, without being overly wide and less stable. The upper is now mainly a new more breathable mesh in this area, allowing for greater flexibility over the 5.0’s. These factors essentially equate to the Powerlaunch toe box. What this feels like is a more competition-ready feel, as there’s going to be less of your toes sliding around.
The fitment is generally the same everywhere else, but overall it’s a tighter fitting shoe. Keep this in mind when sizing the Nano 6.0; if the 5.0’s fit you tight, consider going up half a size. Once again, you might notice the difference with the drop being increased back to 4mm, but it’s slight and you’ll probably forget about it in minutes. If you’ve got Morton’s toe, you might need to go up half a size due to the flat shaped front. My second toe rubs a bit in a size 9.5, not totally uncomfortable but I might consider purchasing 10’s in these shoes from here on out.
UPDATE: Purchased a pair of 10’s and they fit much more comfortably than the 9.5’s did. Overall, I would say size up half a size.
Every year a new Nano comes out, everyone in the CrossFit world says the same damn thing.
“This is the best one yet.”
I hate that it’s so cliche, but it’s true. Every year, I find myself liking the new one better than the last; as you or I should. Improvements have varying degrees of usefulness, but they are always improvements. I don’t think I’d actually say the Kevlar introduced on the Nano 5 was an “improvement”, but things like the 3mm drop and the outsole pattern were to me. With the Nano 6.0, you’re basically getting a better version of the 5.0, similar to when Apple releases an “S” version of their phones. For the most part it’s looks the same, but it’s the stuff that you can’t really see that makes the difference.
Though it sounds gimmicky, the Powerlaunch toe box feels great during lifts; which probably has to do with it being more fitted, so you’re not bleeding power all over the place. Like all Nano’s the outsole is dense and extremely responsive. My squat volume has been down lately, but I still went up to my 95% back squat at #385 without any hesitation or missed lifts. I had some troubles with oly on the first day I used the shoes (probably lack of mobilization), but after getting used to the platform, the 6.0’s are nothing short of confidence inspiring. Every jump feels effortless, every landing feels stable as a rock. Moving throughout WOD’s with varying movements is no short task for any shoe, but the Nano 6.0’s prove to be the worthiest of contenders. Box jumps and double under rebounding feels as responsive as ever and since the flexibility has been increased, my feet don’t hurt as much after repeated bounding. Win.
The redesigned mesh area at the vamp doesn’t crease in any way that it would ever make your toes uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, these are still Nano’s and Nano’s are clunky due to the general shape of the shoe and density of the outsole. Running in them is just okay, but that’s on par to how they’ve always been. I wouldn’t gripe too much about this because there are still only a handful of shoes that you can really do any and everything a WOD throws at you, in. Nano 6’s being at the top of that list. Unlike all other Nano’s, they’re also actually pretty comfortable to just wear on the daily. Though I am in the process of reviewing these shoes, I find myself actually wanting to wear them at all times.
Nano’s have always been rough and tumble shoes, just a workhorse designed to take a beating and keep on ticking. The 6.0’s are no different feeling. This alone is probably why I like Nano’s so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Metcon’s, but if the WOD came to throwing around tires, getting dirty, or climbing ropes, I’d be coming with my Nano’s that day. (I’m not going to comment on the medial guard until I get some solid time on the rope.)
UPDATE 7/28: Finally got to testing rope climbs and I have to say that these are the best rope climbing Nano’s yet; previously the 4.0’s were my favorite. The inclusion of the heavily textured kevlar medial guard provides excellent “grip” when climbing the rope, though it does require some positioning with your feet. I found it most beneficial while I was fatigued and needed to take “breaks” as I was climbing. Best of all, it does an AMAZING job of attenuating the amount of friction the rope has on your shoes. After all the rope climbs I did, my shoes have almost no signs of wear!
Personally, I weighed the shoes in at 10.94oz for a men’s size 9.5, though I’ve seen lower listed weights. Not the lightest of the Nano’s yet, but not as heavy as some of the competition either.
Nano 5.0 – If you weren’t a fan of the ultra wide toe box of the Nano 5.0, you’ll definitely like the 6.0’s. Otherwise, the difference in the drop is only going to be noticeable to the pickiest people. Looks wise the 6.0’s are also better, but that’s always subjective. If you’re a Nano fan, the 6.0’s are a must buy, but if you’re not in need of an upgrade, the 5.0’s (or any Nano prior) will do just fine.
Speed TR – Nano’s are a little bit wider and more squarish at the front than their agile younger brother. I would opt for the Speed TR’s if you have a very narrow foot, or if you have Morton’s toe, or if you just wanted a bit more midsole cushioning. They’re still a great performer day to day, but if you really wanted to move serious weight, I’d go Nano.
Nike Metcon 2 – The Nano 6.0’s are a more minimal feeling shoe with a slightly lower outsole height. Both are great performing shoes, but if you have issues with your toes jamming up in the front of Nano’s due to the flatter front, you might want to look towards the Nike’s. Otherwise styling is subjective, but most people tend to think the Metcon’s are a better looking shoe.
NoBull Surplus – The Nano 6.0’s are a flatter shoe overall with less cushioning, but the feel is very similar to NoBull’s Surplus trainers. The fit is similar to the Metcon’s though. If you’re looking for something that’s kind of a cross between the Metcon’s and 6.0’s, that’s the NoBull Surplus trainers. Beware of the slight upwards slope in the front outsole of the NoBulls; if you’re constantly on your toes, you might want to look into the flatter 6.0’s or Metcons.
Just like the 5.0’s, the Nano 6.0’s carry a fairly hefty price tag of $130. Most people are used to this by now, but I remember what it feels like to be a first time buyer of CrossFit shoes. Reason it out like this, if you’re at the box more than 5 times a week and spending multiple hours a week working out, you’ll probably want to be wearing the best that’s out there. If you’re that person, you probably don’t need much persuasion to get the newest Nano’s though. For the more casual person that goes around 2-3 times a week, you could opt for the still great Nano 5.0 that you could easily snag for just around $50 nowadays.
Reebok has been on a roll lately with the Speed TR’s and now, Nano 6.0’s. I haven’t found myself as in love with another shoe since the Nike Metcon 1 came out. Fitment preferences aside, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 6.0’s are simply one of the best shoes out there, if not the best shoe, for CrossFit. It took a while, but the Nano’s are finally starting to mature into that senior about to leave for college. Styling still has a bit of ground to make up before catching up to Nike, but it’s getting there; you can’t really fault Reebok for sticking with that bulldog-ish look. Where the Nano 6.0’s shine the brightest, is where it matters the most, performance. You can argue all day and night that the Nano’s aren’t a good looking shoe, but no one can question the Nano 6.0’s ability to perform any task given.
Hats off to you for reeling me back in, Reebok.
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