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:
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.
We’ve been at a standstill in training shoes for quite some time now, not a ton of technology has really changed. Not that the formula didn’t work, but we’ve really just had the same shoes with different brands on it. It’s just the beginning of the year but 2017 is looking to change all of that. As the sport of fitness evolves, so does the footwear we require. Interestingly enough, we’re starting to see a departure from the rigid, flat soled shoes into shoes that are a little more geared towards all around performance, with running included. Not that you couldn’t run in flat shoes of old, but they were a little clunky and athletes nowadays are required to be more agile than ever.
Late last year, I reviewed the Inov-8 F-Lite 235v2, which I loved. It has all the makings of a great training shoe: zero drop, flexibility, lightweight, and dense midsole. I don’t mind running in them, but like all wide and rigid trainers, they can be a little choppy to run in. Leave it to the masterminds at Inov-8 to shake up the formula with the All-Train 215 by fusing their roots in all-terrain running shoes and training shoes to make one of the best all around trainers of the year.
Honestly, Inov-8 trainers have never been my favorite shoes to look at since the 195. While the 235 and 250 are great performing shoes, their blocky aesthetic and choice of color combinations are probably the biggest reasons why they haven’t really taken off with the mainstream. I don’t really think they care that much to appeal to everyone, but having attractive shoes isn’t a bad thing. The All-Train 215’s are the best looking shoe silhouette that Inov-8 has come up with, period. They look like the spiritual successor to the ever so popular 195 – not overdone, sleek with a little bit of tactical badassery. Most of the colorways fit the design of the shoe and aren’t really outlandish, but this is still an area I think Inov-8 could work on a little bit. When in doubt, just get black.
Build quality is the typical, excellent quality of Inov-8 shoes though one might initially mistake them for being built cheap because they’re so lightweight weighing in at just 7.5oz/215 grams per shoe. Inov-8 keeps things flexible compared to a lot of the other brands out there with a more normal synthetic and mesh upper. One question might be long term durability, but I don’t think any of us have had these shoes long enough to comment on that. They survived a few rope climbs here and there, but who knows what they’ll look like after a hundred or so.
Inov-8 shoes run small on me, so I went with a size US10. I would always recommend just going with the EU size since I think the sizing is a little more accurate that way, in which case I wear an EU43. Compared to the 235’s, the 215’s feel a little bit more fitted since the shape is more like a running shoe, which I prefer over the more boxy toe. I wouldn’t say the 215’s are narrow shoes, but they’re more so than the 235’s just mainly at the toe. Here are my sizes for reference:
Are they running shoes or are they training shoes? They’re both.
The 215’s aren’t marketed as “cross fitness” shoes (which I’m using them for), but rather as a more general training/HIIT gym shoe. It seems that Inov-8 is trying to attract a broader/different audience with the 215’s, or even new grassroots fitness communities, since ours isn’t so much of one anymore. Either way, the 215’s still work excellent for what we do as “cross fitnessers”.
Before receiving the shoes, I was thinking that they might not be good to lift in because of the way they’re marketed. The biggest difference from the 235 is the midsole construction, in that the 215 use an injection molded Fusion EVA midsole rather than a compressed one. While it’s similar in height and drop to the F-Lite 250 (20mm heel/12mm forefoot/8mm drop), the overall feel is different since the 235 and 250 both use the stiffer CMEVA Powerheel. You’ll notice that steps in the 215 have a little bit more “bounce” and are cushioned more, which favor running and plyometric movements, but that doesn’t exactly make them running shoes, as they’re still very responsive for lifting.
One thing that takes a little bit of getting used to is the forward bias caused by having the larger drop. On the 250’s, you can anchor down more on the heel of the shoe since it doesn’t compress, where you might notice your feet sliding a little forward more in the 215’s due to the slightly more compressible midsole. Even though the majority of the cushioning is at at the heel of the shoe, it doesn’t give enough to detract from most lifts. I’d still use my 235’s for 1RM deadlifts or backsquats, but I felt comfortable enough to do all of my percentage lifting in the 215’s.
Where the 215’s shine the most is in the name: All-Train. These aren’t shoes designed just for lifting, they’re for everything in the fitness world. If you want to go on a trail run, then hit the gym for some lifting, and maybe even go on a swim – the All Train 215’s are the shoe for you. For me, they’re one of the most complete WOD shoes available. They have just enough cushioning to keep my feet comfortable for runs I’m doing in WODs, but I wouldn’t be afraid to wear them for up to a few miles. Since WOD’s don’t typically have 1RMs in them, they’ve been stable for all the lifting I’m doing in a WOD. They’re probably best suited for workouts with a fair amount of plyometric movements since they’re so flexible and most of all, lightweight. You’ll barely even feel like you have shoes on, except that the outsole lug pattern gives you excellent footing no matter what the surface is, asphalt, gravel, rubber or wood. For most people, you’ll never need another pair of training shoes!
The All-Train 215’s retail for $110, but you can usually find them slightly discounted if you shop around. At MSRP they’re a steal, but if you can get them cheaper, it’s a no brainer. The All-Train 215’s are currently one of the best deals in training shoes.
I typically favor shoes that are just rigid, flat and favor weightlifting, but it’s impossible to not like the 215’s. If you were a fan of the 195, or more so the 240/230’s, you will no doubt be a fan of the 215. These shoes return to the greatness (not that they ever left) that were the original Inov-8 cross-training shoes. There are better lifting shoes and there are better running shoes, but there are very few shoes that have combined the two as well into a training shoe like the All-Train 215’s. If you’re a cross-fitnesser looking for a WOD shoe and you do your lifting in Oly shoes, or if you’re just someone looking for a damned good pair of training shoes, this is the one.
C’mon Asics, you’re killin’ me with these ridiculous names for your shoes. I forgive you for “Met-Conviction” and I know you have to name it’s successor something similar…but Conviction X?!
Now that I have that off my chest…Last year when I checked out Asics first actual CrossFit offering, I was impressed but it wasn’t enough to pull me away from the excellent Nano 6.0 and Metcon 2. Still, for a first attempt, they got a lot of things right and I didn’t mind wearing them throughout my test period. My main issues with the shoe were that it was a bit narrow and while being close to the ground, the cushioning felt a little weird. Still, it was lightweight, flexible, stable enough and looked great.
I don’t think it’s even been a year since the Met-Conviction came out, but Asics dropped the successor, the Conviction-X in late January; following suit with the bigger name shoe makers. Which, I think is a bit odd because it just ended up getting lost in the hype behind the Nano, Metcon and CrazyPower. Things are finally starting to die down as far as shoe releases go, letting me really just focus on using the Conviction-X’s. I’m surprised to say the least, these are one of the better ones to come out in World War Shoe.
To me, Asics shoes pretty much all look alike, or at least resemble each other closely. It’s probably due to the huge Asics logo on the side, but it works and the Asics look is always distinguishable. The Conviction-X’s are not a bad looking shoe by any means, they’re definitely a plain looking one though. Right now, there are only 3 (boring) colorways for the men and 2 for the women so it’s pretty obvious that the Conviction’s are still somewhat of an experimental shoe.
Build quality is on the better side of things. The upper is “seamless” in design with their abrasion and tear resistant “RhynoSkin” synthetic leather blending into the mesh parts of the toe-box. The lateral side of the shoe has the Asics logo that is textured in the same fashion the medial side is, presumably to enhance grip on the rope, though it’s probably too shallow to do so. The tongue is light and is mainly made of breathable mesh, but it also has a pocket in the front to tuck your laces away, like the “Pleasure pocket” on Strike-Movement’s shoes. Which is awesome because the laces are absurdly long.
The outsole of the shoe uses Asics high abrasion rubber throughout the entire bottom of the shoe with a crazy texture that is extremely grippy on any surface. Not to mention, it’s also very dense, flat, and doesn’t give much at all. At the heel of the shoe, it’s 10mm in height and drops down 4mm to 6mm at the front of the shoe, making the Conviction X a very low to the ground feeling shoe, but not as much as the Met-Conviction. The insole is also removable, but the one included is nicely perforated and also surprisingly stiff, so you’d probably want to keep that it in. The Conviction X’s also follow the external TPU heel counter trend, which does a pretty good job keeping your heel from sliding around much.
Asics must have changed the last the shoe was made on because the Met-Convictions in a side 9.5US/43.5EU were tight on me; so I opted for a 10US/44EU Conviction X this time around. I have probably 3/4 of an inch between my toes and the front of the shoe this time around, so I’d say the Conviction X’s are probably a little bit more true to size. Though they look like narrow shoes, the width is actually pretty close to the same as Metcon’s. I could be saying that because my shoes are a little big, but I don’t think the width would vary too much. I’d say size these shoes like you would Metcon’s or your normal running shoes.
My sizes for reference:
Would you believe it if I told you that these shoes have one of the stiffest heels of any training shoe out there? Sounds crazy, right? Well, they do. Imagine my surprise, coming from all of the “serious” training shoes to the Conviction-X! I would say the density of the midsole and heel most closely resemble the Nano 7.0’s extremely rigid heel, which I thought made it the best best shoe to lift in. Even though, my pair is on the large side and that leads to my foot sliding forward when I do any dynamic lifts, the Conviction X’s stability when I get planted, is top-notch. Doing squats where I could get a better setup, led the Convictions to be some of the most stable training shoes out there. Even with my feet sliding around, response is excellent and I’d never guess the ability to transfer force to the ground, which mind-blowing considering most people are going to see these shoes as a second rate training shoe; the platform is just that solid!
Usually in other shoes with stiff platforms, flexibilty suffers quite a bit, but this is also where the Conviction’s excel! The forefoot is extremely flexible and moves with your feet well. Bounding on your toes for double unders is comfortable as well as responsive in the Conviction’s. Box jumps are stable with the outsole providing excellent grip on wood. Most of all, running can be done comfortably as long as you’re good about pose running. Since the outsole is stiff, the shoes can still be choppy if you heel strike, but that’s how it is in most training shoes that are great lifters.
Where the Conviction’s might suffer the most, is the weight of the shoes. They’re not heavy, but they’re not light either at 11.3 oz per shoe. They fall in line around where the Metcon 3 and Nano 7’s are, but keep in mind they’re very flexible and responsive. They feel a lot lighter than they are.
At $120, the Conviction X’s are going to be an extremely tough sell against the bigger name shoe makers.That’s not to say the Conviction’s aren’t worth the money, because they totally are. It just is what it is, and I think by decreasing the price, Asics would also be decreasing the perceived value of the Conviction X; a double edged sword. Granted, you can find the Conviction’s retailing for a mere $88 dollars on Amazon right now.
Out of all the shoes I’ve reviewed in the last couple months, the Asics Conviction X’s are definitely the most surprising, in a good way. They have all the features to keep up and even best the top brands in most areas. Take my word for it, you won’t be going out on a limb trying these shoes out. If the shoes match your style, you like the colorways, you like the brand, you want something different, or you just want a damned good performing shoe – check out the Conviction X.
I love surprises.
When surprises come in the form of well made, great performing, competitively priced shoes – it’s even better.
When the the JJ1’s first launched, I hardly batted an eyelash at them. Truth be told, I’ve barely watched a season of football for the last 5 years, mainly because Los Angeles doesn’t have a team and I don’t want to be a bandwagoner. That being said, who doesn’t know who J.J. Watt is?! He’s one of the greatest defensive ends to grace the sport and all around insanely elite level athlete. The man can put up a 700lb backsquat, run the 40 in 4.83, and has a 61″ box jump; that is no small task at 6’5″ 290lbs. So why didn’t I care about a shoe made for such an athlete? I’ve just tried too many trainers that weren’t CrossFit specific and been disappointed. Not to mention, the first colorway was kind of wack. Even with that, the JJ1’s managed to sell out…and that got me interested.
At the beginning of the month of August, the JJ1 “Preseason Training Pack” launched with a much, much better colorway; who can resist the colors of Old Glory? Since they only retail for $99, I said what the hey, at least they look good to wear if I couldn’t train in them. I was literally trying them out on a whim with the lowest of expectations. Boy, was I surprised. These are some of the best all around training shoes that I have ever tried. Period.
Looks & Construction:
I could not emphasize that these shoes are great looking enough. Everyone that sees them doesn’t even bother asking what they are, they just compliment them. I’m not sure if it would have been that way in the original colorway, but I think the blue/white/red colorway goes with the lines and shape of the shoe perfectly. The blue/white paint speckles on the midsole give the shoe some character without being too loud. I would not mind wearing these around the town, coaching, or on a hot date. Okay, maybe not the last one.
On Reebok’s website, there are a whole lot of technical mumbo jumbo names for features the JJ1’s have, so I’m just going to try to simplify them as best as possible. The upper is mainly put together with synthetic materials, some mesh,and some nylon bits. Overall, it’s very breathable and does a great job in keeping your foot where it needs to be. Since these were probably made with agility as well as stability in mind, your foot not spilling over the sides during lateral movements was probably crucial in designing the shoe.
The JJ1’s are a whole lot of shoe, but that never keeps them from feeling light enough and being easy to move around in. Flexibility is almost about as good as Nano 6.0s, maybe more on par with the Speed TR’s, which to me are a little less flexible. There’s an interesting lacing system that connects the medial and lateral sides of the shoe together on top (or on bottom I should say) of your typical shoe laces. Minimal trainers these are not, the insole is thick and outsole gives you at least a good inch of height. The “LiquidFoam” insert provides an ample amount of comfort, but at the same time is dense enough so that you never feel off balance. Since the shoes are mid-cut, the ankle area is well padded and the “internal bootie” system keeps any of the synthetic upper from creating any hot spots on your feet. The tongue is reminiscent of the Nano 5’s, which I didn’t mind at the time, until I tried the Nano 6’s. While not a huge deal, this is probably where the JJ1’s suffer most. Overall, these are still very comfortable shoes to wear on a daily basis.
Performance & Fit:
The majority of testing I did with the JJ1’s was during metcon’s since the past couple weeks I had been using the Lifter PR’s for strength. While not marketed towards Crossfitters, or not even being a minimal shoe at all, the JJ1’s are still a shoe bred for performance in all areas that an elite level athlete would need to excel at; in which case, Crossfitters should take notice. In my time testing the JJ1’s, I have not had any second thoughts about what shoe I need to wear to the gym for anything, they just perform excellent given any task you throw their way. Admittedly, I stuck to mainly just WOD’s in the beginning because I wasn’t so sure how they would handle throwing weight around, but as my confidence in the JJ1’s grew, so did the range of movements I would try in them.
Plyometric movements are the JJ1’s bread and butter. Being able to transition proficiently from box jumps, to kettlebell swings, to wall balls, and to burpees are what the JJ1’s are all about. The ninja star shaped outsole lugs keep you stuck to whatever you need sticking to and despite having such a thick outsole, the JJ1’s are extremely responsive and stable, but not to mention also very comfortable! To my surprise, running in the JJ1’s is probably one of it’s best features due in part to the upwards slope of the forefoot; though I shouldn’t have been surprised, given how much running NFL players have to go through during training sessions. Running is never comfortable for me, but the level of support the JJ1’s have kept me moving without any issue and I actually PR’d my mile time, by a lot!
That same forefoot that is welcome for running, puts you a little bit more forward than I’d like on oly lifts; the shoes are still stable but require you to put a little bit more thought into sitting back on your heels. Overhead squats and snatches required a little bit of adjustment but cleans felt just fine and I think I had an easier time jumping due to the shape of the forefoot. Initially, I was worried that due to the large outsole, heavy squats and deadlift stability would suffer. Squatting up to my 90% yielded no adverse quips in performance, and I thought I was moving weight with more force and feeling more stable than squatting in the Lifter PR’s I had been testing for the past few weeks.
As stated before, the JJ1’s are a whole lot of shoe, probably designed with big people in mind. I had originally ordered a size 9.5 and they were much too big, making me size down to a size 9, which fits perfectly. I’m seeing the trend that if you see Reebok’s with a “pointier” toe, size down. If it has the same shape of Nano’s, go true to size.
Value & Conclusion:
Where the JJ1’s surprise me the most is the MSRP, they only retail for $99! One would think that due to the name, the shoe would have a premium price tag. The moderate asking price might actually put some people off, as it originally had put me off. I expect to pay at least $130 for a shoe that performs as well as the JJ1’s do, without even having an athlete tied to it. Combine the lower than most price tag, the exceptional looks, the outstanding performance, and the amazing comfort of the JJ1’s and you’ve got yourself one hell of a training shoe. Sure, though not designed with CrossFit in mind, the JJ1’s are made with the same ethos that Reebok uses for all of their excellent training shoes. The type of training that NFL players go through is just as demanding, probably more so than a typical WOD is anyways. For bigger dudes or anyone looking for a bit more support in their training shoes, but don’t want to sacrifice any performance, the JJ1’s are a no brainer.