Tag Archives: crossfit shoes

Inov-8 All-Train 215 Shoe Review

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.

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Looks/Construction:

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.

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Fit:

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:

  • 215/235v2 – 10
  • Nano 6/7 -10
  • Metcon – 9.5
  • Ultraboost – 9.5-10
  • Boots – 8.5
  • WL Shoes – 9-9.5

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Performance:

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.

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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!

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Value/Conclusion:

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.

Get your Inov-8 All-Train 215’s here!

For additional information check out Inov-8’s product page.

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Reebok CrossFit Grace Shoes Review (From a male perspective)

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Now I know these shoes weren’t meant for me, being a male and all, but I couldn’t help not getting my hands on a pair on the Reebok CrossFit Grace’s to check out what makes them special. With that said, you can take pretty much all I have to say with a grain of salt. I almost didn’t even go through with the review, for the last thing women need is a guy commenting on a shoe designed specifically for them; but since I have them in hand, I might as well at least go over a few things about them after my time with them. Hopefully my female (or male) readers won’t mind too much.

I’m honestly glad that Reebok designed a shoe specifically for the females in the community. Guys usually get all the cool stuff, so it’s nice to see the gals get something for once. Women supposedly have more narrow heels and the balls of their feet are wider from a males foot of the same size. Typically Reebok shoes fit very close to unisex, though the female variants might be a teeeeeeeeeeny bit more narrow in the midfoot. Overall, the Nano shape is pretty accommodating to most people’s feet – wide and flat, which is great for weightlifting movements, but they’ve never been the greatest of running shoes. The Speed Tr to me was never a running shoe and more of a narrow Nano, but the Grace’s seem to be an even bigger step towards making a competent training shoe that’s okay for running.

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Looks/Construction:

Asides from a few colorways, you’d never even think just by looking at the Grace’s that they’re female specific shoes. In the black/white colorway, they almost look like the new Nano 7’s that Rich Froning has been training in. While the upper looks like it’s a knit material, it’s actually far from it. It’s a jacquard built from 3DFuseFrame, polyester and mesh that feels more like plastic you’d find on an old school folder than fabric. For the most part it’s flexible, but it does create a bunch of weird creases when it flexes, and feels kind of like having your foot inside a water bottle. Though for some reason, on the smaller model I ordered for my gf, the upper flexed much better and was less “crunchy” than on the women’s 11 I ordered for myself.

At the foot insertion point, there’s a rear bootie system that only extends about midway to the front of the shoe and is covered by the jacquard upper. While the bootie fits well around your ankle, the jacquard flexes oddly outwards here if you put pressure down into your heel, making you wonder why the two weren’t just connected in the first place. It doesn’t do anything adverse functionally, but it just doesn’t look good.

A lot of the shoe resembles the Speed TR, because it’s actually built on the same “FastFrame” that the Speed’s are on. The midsole is probably the same type of compression molded EVA found in most of Reebok’s CrossFit shoes. It doesn’t compress a ton, about the same as the Speed TR’s and slightly more than Nanos; I find it fairly comfortable nowadays and prefer it this way. The outsole uses the same type of rubber, shape and for the most part, tread pattern. The Grace’s have a much larger patch of the RopePro in the middle of the shoe, an area the Speed’s lacked in, but are missing the midfoot shank from the Speed TR’s. At the heel, the Grace’s are 10mm down to 6mm at the toe, giving them a 4mm drop.

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Fit:

Since the shape, and presumably last is built the same as the Speed TR’s, size them the same as you would those shoes. For those that haven’t tried the Speed TR’s on, they run slightly longer, so you’ll need to go down half a size from your standard training shoe. If any guy’s are looking to buy a pair of Grace’s, the normal standard for sizing is 1.5 up from your men’s size, but in the case of the Grace, just go a size up.

Performance:

2017 is the year of the CrossFit “running” shoe and the Grace’s are Reebok’s first hit at it this year, as we’re still likely to see the Speed TR 2 sometime. The shape of the Grace’s are even more geared towards a running shoe than any other Reebok training shoe before because of how aggressively the toe slopes upwards. You’ll immediately notice the shoe almost pushing you forward even just walking around. The shoe feels great and the forefoot is flexible for movements like running, box jumps or burpees. The multidirectional tread pattern also give the Grace’s excellent grip.

What make the Grace’s good for metcons, also make them suffer a bit for lifting movements, mainly Olympic weightlifting where you might find yourself landing on your toes more often than not. You can’t have it all, so if you wanted a better lifting shoe you might want to stick with the Speed TRs or Nanos.

Since the only thing holding your foot in the shoe is the bootie and the thin jacquard, the shoe lacks a little bit of structure at the heel; there is no counter that seems to be the current trend in training shoes.  I never noticed any issues of the midsole compressing while squatting, but you don’t quite get that locked in feel that you do with Nano’s or even the Speeds. This is probably an issue limited to me and probably any other guy looking to buy the Grace’s, but insides of the shoe don’t quite match up to my feet either, with the “arch” being too far forward on my foot and not actually meeting my arch. The shoe otherwise is still pretty flat, but it just feels like there’s a weird bump right under the balls of my feet.

The weight of the Grace’s also lend themselves towards more of a running/metcon shoe. They only weigh in at 9.5 oz per a size 11!

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Value/Conclusion:

The Grace’s retail for the same amount as the Speed TR’s at $100 and so only if you really wanted a shoe that’s a little bit more geared towards running, would I say go for the Grace’s over the Speed’s. Alternatively, these shoes would probably make for a great HIIT or boot camp shoe. If you’re a guy looking into the Grace’s, I wouldn’t do it, the shape of the shoe just won’t match up with your foot as it’s not a unisex shoe, stick to Nano’s, Speed’s or wait for whatever Reebok has in store for the guys.

Like I said, you can take whatever I said with a grain of salt, these shoes didn’t work out for me at the end of the day, but it could very well be because I’m a guy and these shoes weren’t even made for me. It wasn’t just that they didn’t fit me well, because that’s to be expected, but the weird plastic-y jacquard upper was just not pleasing to have your foot inside of. A female might think otherwise, like I said, the smaller sizes were more flexible.

Purchase your Reebok CrossFit Grace here!

NEW Images of the Reebok Nano 7 Knit!

I got some exclusive images of the upcoming Reebok Nano 7 knit! These show off some unseen colorways and probably the best details out of any picture yet.  Top two images look like men’s colorways while the bottom are probably females, the knit looks a little tighter on the men’s shoes.

More details to follow…

Thanks to Thoai for sending these my way!

File Apr 03, 11 01 53 PMFile Apr 03, 11 02 08 PMFile Apr 03, 11 02 17 PMFile Apr 03, 11 02 26 PM

Strike-Mvmnt Chill Pill Transit & Mid Review (Collection 5)

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Shoe design life must be rough. We saw the release of Reebok’s Nano 7 earlier in the year and it was met with some pretty harsh criticism, but it seemed rushed and paled in comparison to the previous Nano 6. I think the main problem there was that they took such a radical departure from the previous model, which in my opinion is the greatest training shoe of all time. If they had somehow eased in the changes, people would have been a lot more receptive of the new model, but it is what it is and you can only learn from Reebok’s mistake.

Strike-Mvmnt has been releasing the Chill-Pill/Interval combo for some time now, with the biggest update to the shoes being when they added the Cross Platform outsole to the Chill-Pill in 2015. We’re currently in the 5th generation of Strike-Mvmnt shoes and every update since has been more of an evolution than revolution. Collection 5 adds minor updates to the stellar Chill-Pill line-up, further refining the already great shoe, just don’t expect a brand new model.

Looks/Construction:

You’d be lying to yourself if you thought the Chill-Pills were an ugly shoe. The design aesthetic is classic, unoffensive, maybe a little plain, but definitely not ugly. Personally, I think the Chill-Pills are the best looking training shoe out there, mainly because they don’t really look like a training shoe at all. Sure, by now they could use an update other than changing up the materials, but that’s probably because I own pretty much all of them. Also, some new colorways would be nice (*cough*red*cough*) other than the standard black and grey; once again, unoffensive.

There was an (excellent) shoe called the Pace they had out for a short amount of time, but was discontinued. When I asked what happened to it, they said they put production on hold because the inside tag wasn’t staying glued on.  THAT’S IT?! Such a small thing that most manufacturers wouldn’t even bother with, but that just goes to show the level of quality Strike-Mvmnt puts into their products. Strike-Mvmnt is a smaller company and the build quality of their products reflect this. Everything seems to be made with a little more attention and care than what you’d find on some of the bigger brands. There’s no loose seams, glue, or stitching anywhere on all three pairs of Collection 5 shoes that I
received.

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For colorways, I went with the Storm Grey Transit and Grey Melange Mid. The Transits have ballistic nylon around the shoe’s quarter (ankle area) and is topped off with a plush micro-suede material on the toe-box. The Mid’s use a new melange fleece material throughout that is a little rougher to the touch, but is still as flexible as the Transit. Since the mid has a higher cut, there’s also a neoprene pad at the Achilles area of the shoe to prevent chaffing, but I never really noticed it working or not (that probably means it does). Both uppers aren’t resistant to dirt, but you’ll be able to rope climb in both without damaging either upper.

One thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of in the Collection 4 Chill-Pill was that I thought the shoe lacked structure. Collection 5 updates this with high density foam around the collar, new tongue stays and a new insole. The fit is improved greatly with the new collar foam, giving you a more secure in shoe feeling. The new tongue stays make it a little harder to put your laces inside the tongue’s pleasure pocket, but that’s not a big deal considering the tongue now feels a bit more structured. I didn’t mind the paper thin insole from before, but the new one does feel a little nicer on your feet. The weight of the shoe is increased by about half an ounce, but the shoe feels more solid overall.

Fit:

Not much has changed in this department – I wear a size 9.5 in my Chill-Pills and they fit me perfectly. The overall shape resembles the Nike Metcon line-up so I would recommend sizing the same. What I found to work best when sizing shoes is to just go by the EU sizing, it makes the most sense compared to all of the others. Those with wide, flat feet, beware, there is a feeling of “arch support” in the Chill-Pills caused from the semi-curved last. I’ve got pretty normal feet and it doesn’t bother me, but I’ve heard from people with flat feet that it can cause some plantar fascia pain.

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Performance:

“United by Motion” is the mantra of Strike-Mvmnt – whether you’re a Crossfitter, b-boy, or parkour-er; movement is movement and these are probably my favorite shoes to move in. I’ve always said this, but the addition of the Cross Platform outsole was the best thing Strike has ever done to their shoes; I’m just waiting for an Interval with it.

Strike’s uppers were always light and flexible, but the Stable Platform outsole was just a tad too soft when it came to heavier lifting, unlike the medium density midsole and Cross Platform outsole which is almost incompressible. Stability and responsiveness is top notch and rivals the best shoes in the training world, but while those fail in flexibility, the Chill-Pills come out on top. The low midsole stack, 2.5mm drop and incompressible outsole make for some of the most stable lifting shoes for either weightlifting or powerlifting. I haven’t had any issues with the midsole being overly soft, even hitting deadlifts over 500lbs in these shoes.

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There are other shoes with excellent power delivery, but they’re usually pretty bad for anything that requires you to be quick on your feet. The flexibility of the Chill-Pills in combination with their stability make them some of the overall best training shoes around. I did the Open workout 17.5 in my Chill-Pills, which in total was 90 thrusters and 350 double unders – and yes, my feet did hurt, but it was minimal and wasn’t enough for me to take my focus off the workout. I don’t think you could do that workout in any shoe without any kind of foot pain. I couldn’t imagine how much my feet would have been burning up if I were using Nano 7’s.

Another massive benefit of the Cross Platform outsole is just how grippy it is. I have smoother rubber mats in my gym that even some weightlifting shoes have issues gripping and the Chill-Pills have never left me with a loss of footing. Landing box jumps feels sure footed, as is gripping the rope while climbing.

The only real difference between the Transit and Mid just comes down to the cut; Functionality wise, they’re pretty much identical. Personally, if I had to recommend one, it would be the Transits because I think the low cut is just a little more comfortable for training and running. If you wanted more of an all purpose shoe for hiking as well, then I would go with the Mid’s. They work well both ways and I don’t keep my Mid’s laced up all the way anyways.

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Value/Conclusion:

Transit’s will set you back $115 and Mid’s $129, which fall in line with just about everything else out there. Strike-Mvmnt is a small brand with not a ton of brand recognition, but in my experience, they’re a great company. It’s up to you if you want to support the big dogs, or if you want to support a brand that actually has real passion in what they’re doing. The quality and performance of their goods is excellent, so you won’t be disappointed in their product. Brand whores might not acknowledge you, but if you want to swim away from the mainstream, Strike-Mvmnt is one of the best ways to go.

The first day I laced up my Collection 5 Chill-Pills and hit the gym, was one of the best lifting days I had in a long while, especially after hurting my back. I knew that whatever movements I was doing that day, I had the shoes to perform in. Confidence defines your lifting and I’m just sure I can do anything when I have my Chill-Pills on. Doing what I do, I don’t get to spend a lot of time with shoes that I really like, so getting to review the new Chill-Pills was like coming home. 2017 has already been a big year for training shoes, and as of right now, Chill-Pills are my top choice of available training shoes. If you care about movement at all, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

As always, big shout out to Marc over at Strike-Mvmnt for hooking it up with the shoes. Much appreciated!

https://strike-mvmnt.com/

(You can currently get the still excellent Collection 4 Chill-Pill Camo’s for only $78!!!)