Seems like everyone nowadays is trying to get in on the training shoe market Not that you can blame them though, training in general is more popular right now than it’s ever been all 32 years I’ve been alive; or at least I think it has. Barefoot/minimalist shoes aren’t exactly new things anymore, but they have been increasing in popularity due to the training craze. Altra is a fairly young company with a big cult following, which was founded on the premise of wide, neutral, minimalist running shoes; all characteristics you’d want in a competent training shoe. Everyone I know that runs in Altra’s, swears by them. So why not just use the shoes on hand to train in? I’ve never owned another pair of Altra’s, but I’m going to assume it’s because of midsole cushioning. If they specialize in minimalist shoes, why has it taken them so long to come out with a training shoe? Well, that’s anybody’s guess, but let’s just say they’re coming to the party fashionably late.
2017 has already been a big year for training shoes, one could assume that Altra held off the release of the HIIT XT until the shoe was just right, or maybe until it was after the rush of early year training shoes. Either way, this has been the most hyped shoe that no one had seen coming. It’s pretty clear that Altra can make some competent running shoes, but how will they fare on the training shoe front?
Another shoe that I hope to check out from Altra are the Escalante’s, I was sold on them just by the looks alone. I can’t say the same about the HIIT XT’s, while they’re not the worst looking shoes I’ve seen and pictures online definitely make them look a lot worse than they do in person, but they won’t be winning any beauty contests any time soon. Unlike the Escalante’s, I feel like there’s just way too many lines here and crosshatches there on the upper of the HIIT XT’s, giving them way too busy of a look. Altra’s logo isn’t bad at all, but the material they used for it is stiff to the point where I can feel it from inside the shoe. I hope to see this just printed on in the future. The most ridiculous claim I’ve heard is that these shoes look like Metcon’s; my response to that is that you probably need to get your eyes checked.
On the flip side, the shoe feels extremely well built. From the “Powersole” platform to the not so great looking upper, everything at least feels like it’s meant to take a beating. The upper is a combination of mesh materials with PU overlay’s on top of it; there are reinforced areas of PU at the front of the toe box and a built in heel counter at the rear of the shoe. The tongue is well padded, the ankle collar even more so, making you feel like there may be a little too much to the upper to the HIIT’s. Since pretty much the whole upper is mesh, your feet never really overheat.
A nice little touch that Altra included is the “stitch ‘n’ turn stitching underfoot”, so that you can use the HIIT XT’s with or without the included 5mm insoles. I was surprised to find that the stack height was a fairly tall 24mm, but removing the insoles drops it down to 18mm. The problem here is that unless you have a beefy foot, you’re going to end up with an excess of space inside the shoe. In my testing, I didn’t really notice any response differences anyways so you’re better off just keeping the insoles in.
The drop, like all Altra shoes, is 0mm. For a men’s 10, I weighed the left shoe at 12.3oz and the right at 11.8oz, close enough to the 11.2oz listed weight. They’re on the heavier side of training shoes, but fall in line with the the more popular Nano and Metcon’s.
One reason people love Altra’s so much is because they’re wide shoes, and the HIIT XT’s are no different. Altra’s technology behind this is called the FootShape toe box, in which their lasts are 360 molded around actual feet, rather than a sleeker shape to increase appearance. I have to be honest, this took a little bit of getting used to since the toe box was a lot bigger than what I’m used to, but it’s a welcome change overall and I ended up really liking the extra space.
Though the HIIT XT’s are wide shoes, they run on the small side length wise. Honestly, I don’t think the shoes actually run small, but the unnecessarily stiff front toe box cap gives it the illusion that they are. I ordered my normal size 10 and my toes eventually end up running into the front of the shoes. It’s not so bad before a workout, but at the end of the workout I have to end up switching my shoes or altering the way I walk. I recommend that you go with half a size up from your normal training shoe.
My sizes for reference:
- Nano – 10
- Metcon – 10
- Speed TR – 9.5
- Inov-8 195 – 9.5
- Oly shoes – 9.5
- NoBull – 10
To say I was excited for my first pair of Altra’s would be an understatement, but I’ve got to be honest, when I received the HIIT XT’s, I wasn’t super impressed by them. First off, I felt like they were really bulky and clunky, a huge departure from the 195’s I had just reviewed. Secondly, they ran small, my toes pressed slightly up into the front of the shoes. Finally, for a “minimal” shoe, they’re fairly tall with a thick insole. Still, with all that, I kept an open mind and wore them day and night hoping something would change – It did.
The first workout I did in the HIIT XT’s was a combination of running and clean and jerks, where I basically found myself tripping over my own feet because I wasn’t used to the wide platform of the HIIT’s. Having just reviewed the 195’s, I wasn’t used to the platform for running either, the shoes just felt really clunky to me. I didn’t make it throughout that workout without switching my shoes. Afterwards, I did some squats to check the stability of the HIIT’s, to where the wide platform really shined. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t really notice any stability or power differences with or without the insoles, but overall, squatting with the ultra wide zero drop platform felt great. The gum sole on mine also did an amazing job keeping my feet from shifting around.
Probably the most notable area that the HIIT XT’s perform best at is Olympic weightlifting. The supremely wide base and outsole material make for the most stable of landings, just so long as your mobility can match up to the zero drop of the shoes. Keeping your toes or heels down might also be an issue for some people, but personally I do better lifting in flat shoes so I felt right at home in the HIIT XT’s, and soon I found myself maxing out my clean and jerk without any kind of second thought – something I hadn’t done since February. With a little bit of practice, going for reps started to feel better as well. My main issue on day one is that I wasn’t moving my feet enough (a bad habit) to compensate for the bulk and grip of the shoes, causing me to trip up on the ground when going for reps. Once I figured that out, repeatedly picking the bar up became an almost mindless task where I could just hold on, push my feet down and the bar would fly up. I could see definitely see myself reaching for these shoes not only for heavy oly days, but also for “grip it and rip it” workouts like “Grace” or “Isabel”.
The biggest movement that I needed to adjust to was running. Initially, I thought these shoes were going to be thin and lightweight, but they’re the opposite, wide and a little heavy. I’ve had plenty of experience with zero drop shoes, but never any that had quite as much cushioning as the HIIT XT’s. The first day I ran in them was the fist day I got them in and they felt clunky, kind of like I was running in Oly shoes. Still afterwards, my feet/calves felt great, like I hadn’t run at all. With a little bit of break in, the shoes eventually got to the point where you’d be pretty surprised they were that flexible, given the way they look. The platform is a little bulky, but the PowerSole midsole allows for a more powerful stride, though there’s not a ton of bounce. The width in turn makes the shoes very stable so you don’t have to think about where drop your foot down, which is nice to have one less thing to worry about when running. I was able to pretty consistently sprint 100m at around the 17 second mark (with a turn) and also keep my mile pace sub-8 mins. I’m not a great runner (I suck), so that’s pretty good by my standards. I still think the shoes could be lighter, but I think the width actually ended up helping out my running.
Where the Altra’s aren’t spectacular, are burpees. No one likes them, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do them. Once again, the Altra’s are a big shoe with a stiff toe cap, making getting down and up somewhat uncomfortable. Sounds silly, but burpees are just as important as running or weightlifting. The HIIT XT’s are responsive enough for rebounding box jumps, but I wouldn’t be going for any max height work. Overall, they’re a little clunky for plyometric movements and wouldn’t be my shoe of choice to do any kind of agility work in. You can’t have it all, but keep in mind that there’s worse out there too.
The HIIT XT’s retail for a little bit less than normal at $99. I think Altra made a very good decision in selling the HIIT XT’s at a lower MSRP than their competitors. As far as I know, the HIIT XT’s are Altra’s first training shoe, so having a slightly lower price point makes people a little less wary to try out a new shoe that they’re buying based solely on the brand’s reputation. To further ease your shopping experience, Altra has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee where you can return or exchange the shoes no matter what. You can at least try them out without repercussions. I expect the price to go up incrementally as Altra gains more training shoe experience and releases more models, but a bill is a an excellent place to start for their rookie debut.
Nothing that comes easy in life is worth it.
This review would have looked a lot different if I had just used these shoes for a day. While they might take some time to break in and get used to, I ended up really liking the HIIT XT’s. No shoes are without their faults – I still think the shoes could be lightened up, slimmed down, lose the toe cap and are in need of a facelift. But what the HIIT XT’s do right, they do really well, and not to mention do it at a significantly lower price point. It’s easy to forgive them for what they don’t get perfect and considering that these are Altra’s first training shoe, I’d say they have a really solid foundation to build upon.
These are my very first pair of Altra’s, so I don’t have anything besides other training shoes to compare them to – but overall, I think the HIIT XT’s are an extremely well built, excellent performing pair of trainers, especially for $100. They’re not going to be for everyone, but if you’ve got a wide foot, have the mobility, and are into supporting a smaller brand (which would mean furthering their training shoe development), I think you should definitely check out the Altra HIIT XT’s.
- Extremely stable shoes with good grip.
- Zero drop promotes better bio-mechanics.
- They only cost $99
- A little heavier and bulkier than one would expect from a minimalist shoe.
- Wide platform might take some getting used to.
- Narrow feet won’t do very well in these shoes.
- They run small, size them up compared to your normal training shoes.
- Not immediately comfortable shoes and require some breaking in.
- Appearance won’t be for everyone.
I was into minimalist shoes long before I even knew I wanted to start CrossFit. At the time, the pickings were slim, but one shoe that I kept seeing pop up over and over again was the Inov-8 195’s. In everything I read about them, people swore by them, and they just so happened to be the unofficial shoe of CrossFit. Eventually, I picked up a pair after I found them on sale; this was at a time where there really were no sales on them and I never even spent over $100 on shoes. I remember putting them on for the first time and being floored by just how light, flexible, and how well they fit. Not long after getting my pair, I started CrossFit. I was spoiled since I already had “the” CrossFit shoe, never knowing what it was like to use clunky running shoes at the box. Even though I spent more money on them than I was used to spending at the time, I felt thoroughly satisfied with my purchase.
As time passed, I started sipping the Kool-Aid and gravitating more towards Reebok Nano’s and eventually Nike Metcon’s. I never stopped loving my Inov-8 or anything, but worries about durability made me use them less and less. I’ve seen CrossFit shoes over the years become more stiff for lifting and less well rounded overall; which in a sense, is backwards to the well roundedness that the CrossFit theology embodies. At this point, we’re seeing trainers that are as stiff as Olympic weightlifting shoes.
The original 195’s were favored by many because of just how adaptable they were in the CrossFit setting. Flexible with just enough cushioning to run in comfortably but not enough to make the shoe unstable, 3mm drop with a low midsole stack height, sock-like fit and incredibly lightweight. Durability of the fabric upper material was the only questionable area. After a slight hiatus, Inov-8 has refreshed their legendary shoe for 2017, retaining a lot of the features that made the shoe so popular, but now with an improved and hopefully more durable upper. 195 fans, rejoice.
The original 195 had a look that could only be described as “Inov-8”. Aside from some choice colorways, I don’t think Inov-8 makes bad looking shoes at all, they’re just shoes you’d only want to be caught wearing with athletic gear and not something you’d want to be wearing out with some jeans on. Though the more minimal look of the new 195’s is definitely a step in the right direction, I don’t forsee myself wearing these out to the club or anything. The new upper is structured internally, the Inov-8 “tiger stripes” are still there but they’re a little bit harder to see since they’re under the new translucent mesh-ish upper. The logo is still on the side of the shoe, but it’s a little more low key nowadays; I think Inov-8 would do well to swap it to some kind of emblem, maybe just the foot/eight.
While not quite a giant shoe brand, Inov-8 still manages to produce shoes that are built solid, at least when you first get them. The plush fabric upper material was always the Achilles heel of the 195, but has been upgraded to a flexible nylon mesh for the V2. It’s dropped a ton of cushioning that made the originals so comfortable, most notably around the ankle collar, but it’s still very flexible. The bends of the shoe are a little sharper feeling but it’s still a very comfortable shoe to wear. It is also noticeably much more breathable; I would not hesitate to wear these shoes without socks on if that’s your jam. As previously mentioned, the “tiger stripes” that give the shoe structure are located inside the shoe, the toe-cap returns in the form of a thin PU external version, and though not mentioned, there is a built in heel cup to give you a little more stability when lifting. In my opinion, the nicest upgrade to the shoe happens to be the new eyelets for the shoe laces; it’s a small detail but really cleans up the look of the shoe.
The biggest things left virtually unchanged from the previous 195 are the midsole and outsole combination. I say virtually because while the midsole looks identical to the originals, the drop has been changed from 3mm to 4mm and it’s picked up the name “Powerflow”. The sticky rubber treading, Meta-flex and dynamic fascia band technology remain the same and they still come with the RopePro that was added in somewhere in the later variants of the 195. I always loved the way the midsole of the 195 felt and the outsole never failed me , so I’m not bent out of shape to see it remain the same.
The 195’s fall into Inov-8’s “Precision” fit line, which are typically D width shoes with a more running shoe silhouette. The toe is pointier, which accommodates Morton’s toe very well; flatter toe shapes are an issue that plagues me with training shoes, making me have to size up just so my second toe doesn’t jam into the front of the shoe. Originally I had sized the 195v2’s in my normal training shoe size, 10, but they ended up fitting way too big. 9.5 ended up being right on the money, so I’m going to say go ahead and size down half a size for the 195v2’s. Also keep in mind that these are fairly narrow shoes and don’t accommodate wide feet at all. If you’ve got Flinstone feet, you’re going to want to go with the 235v2’s.
My sizes for reference:
- 235v2/250/215/210 – 10
- OG 195/240 – 9.5
- Nano – 10
- Metcon – 10
- WL Shoes – 9.5
- Converse – 9.5
- NoBull – 10
Well rounded AF.
195’s are legendary for a reason. Even if you’ve never owned a pair, you’ve probably heard people rave about them in your box. Usually people that never switch over to Nano’s or Metcon’s, love their 195’s because they’re so lightweight and flexible. I can’t blame them, coming back from foot purgatory that is the current state of training shoes, putting my feet in the 195v2’s felt like heaven; I feel like I can move again! Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but it almost feels like you’re not wearing shoes with how freely the 195v2’s let your feet move.
Running is always a taboo area for training shoes. Comfort usually takes a dig at stability, but not so much in the case of the 195v2’s. The midsole stack is short so there isn’t a ton of material between your foot and the ground, but it’s just enough to cushion your feet from being demolished by whatever you’re running on. The 195v2 uses an injection molded insole called “Powerflow”, that gives you better energy return than it’s compression molded counterparts, but still manages to be just as responsive. The heel area absorbs shock better while the forefoot has better energy return. They surprisingly have a good amount of “bounce” when you move around. From box jumps to double unders, I could not think of a better shoe to do a bodyweight metcon in than these shoes.
The “weak” area of the 195’s is their overall stability that they sacrifice for mobility. The 195v2’s have a more narrow platform compared to the other heavy hitters on the market and even Inov-8’s own 235v2, but they let you move more naturally so you have to rely on your own balance versus stability created by a wide outsole. Part of the reason people swear by minimalist shoes is that they don’t create a false sense of security when it comes to balance. It might take a little bit to transition to lifting in the 195’s if you’re accustomed to using Metcon’s or Nano’s, but at the end of the day, it’ll be worth it. You shouldn’t have any issues with slow lifts being unstable, but Oly might take some balance adjustments if you’re not used to more minimal shoes. Power delivery however, is excellent despite the 195’s having a “soft” injection molded insole (it’s not that soft). Once again, it doesn’t really get in the way since the stack height is so short. Would I be going for PR weight in the 195v2’s – probably not, but the 195v2’s should handle most of the weight you’re going to find on a daily basis.
Interestingly enough, though the midsole of the 195v2’s is supposed to be higher and the drop is supposed to be greater, the new models feel lower to the ground and flatter than the old models. Finally, the 195v2’s are excellent rope climbing shoes! I have no idea how that little Ropetec guard manages to hold on to the rope so well, but climbing the rope in the new 195’s is as effortless as could be. Durability is still a wildcard, but the new upper doesn’t show wear from the rope as of yet.
Now that the market has so many options, Inov-8 is often overlooked just because it’s not Nike or Reebok, which is a true shame because people don’t even know what they’re missing out on. The 195v2’s pricing falls directly in line with the more popular Metcon and Nano at the standard $130. Not that the 195’s aren’t worth the price tag, they 110% are, but people are easily enticed by brand names. OG’s will have no problem dishing out the cash for the ever so excellent 195v2’s. If you’re not familiar with the name Inov-8, I’ll put my name on the line for them, they’re one of the best shoe manufacturers around and their shoes stay true to who they are as a company.
“The athletes’ interaction with the environment is the single most important factor when designing products.”
Training in the 195v2’s again feels like coming home after a long vacation. There were a lot of good times while you were away, but there’s nothing like the comfort of being at home. If what you want is an ultimately stable weightlifting shoe that you don’t care to run in or do any other variety of movements in, there might be better options out there in the form of Nike or Reebok. If you’re’ looking for one of the most capable all around training shoes on the market, you need to give the 195v2 a shot. They’re currently in my top 5 training shoes, I promise you won’t be disappointed in them.
- Great cushion and energy return for running.
- Stable enough to lift most weights in.
- Flexible and lightweight frame allows the foot to move naturally.
- Won’t fit everyone because they’re narrow.
- Styling is still ho-hum.
- People might overlook them!
- Durability of the new up is yet to be determined.
- They run really long.
The original Reebok Speed TR was quite possibly one of the best shoes that Reebok has ever made, but it wasn’t always the same with the earlier models of the shoe. The first generation Speed was decent, but a little too soft and lacked any decent colorways. Then came along the Sprint TR, which might be the worst CrossFit shoe that was ever produced. It had some interesting features, looked okay, the midsole wasn’t cushioned too much like the Speed, but the platform was EXTREMELY narrow. The 2nd gen Speed TR brought back some of the Sprint features like the midfoot shank and multi-directional tread pattern but had some tricks of it’s own too, a flared outsole which provided a wider base for lifting without making the upper too wide, the “kipping klip” for handstand push-ups, and a new 3mm drop. The Speed TR actually became one of my go-to shoes, until the Nano 6.0 came out. I could go on and on about why I think the Nano 6.0 is the greatest training shoe of all time, but if you’ve been following my reviews, you’d already know that.
To be honest, I never really thought of the 2nd gen Speed TR as a “running” trainer, but more of a more narrow Nano 5, since they shared a lot of the same traits. Even though they were described with having an ultrasoft midsole, I thought they were just as good for lifting as Nano’s. What I really liked about the Speed’s was that the shape of the toe fit my feet better than the squarish Nano toe box. The major thing the Speed’s lacked was the Kevlar upper, which ultimately led to the shoes major downfall, it’s durability. I personally only had one blowout in all of my pairs, on my Team USA one’s no less, but that was enough for me to just stop using the shoes altogether since I didn’t want to ruin my 2016 Regionals or Murph variants. The monomesh upper just wasn’t robust enough to handle the rigors of CrossFit.
After the astounding fail that was the Nano 7, I was elated to hear of an updated Speed TR coming out this year. When I set my eyes on the shoe for the first time, feelings of elation rushed through my body as it looked like it could be the spiritual successor to the Nano 6.0 and the Nano 2.0, my favorite’s of the whole line-up. While not quite Nano 6.0 level, the Speed TR 2.0 still does not disappoint.
Like I said, it looks like the Speed TR 2.0 was birthed from the Nano 2.0 and 6 with it’s very unassuming and familiar upper design. You can’t hate on the way the shoe looks, because it’s definitely on the safe side, which is totally fine in my book. We had way too many years of gaudy Reebok designs and CrossFit logos anyways. The lines are clean, the side only has the Reebok delta, and the heel counter has a small CrossFit logo – perfect.
The main change to the upper is the new Cordura fabric they’re using instead of the monomesh, which is still layered with the hotmelt overlay. The new Cordura fabric feels almost identical to the mesh in the Nano 6.0’s toe area which is extremely flexible and much more comfortable than the stiffer monomesh. I thought the previous generation Speed had a comfortable upper, but it doesn’t even come close to the plush new 2.0’s. Keep in mind that although it’s more comfortable, there is also less structure to the shoe. Unlike the Nano 7.0’s TPU heel counter, the Speed 2.0 uses some kind of hotmelt overlay, that does a great job in holding your heel in place nonetheless. As with all Reebok CrossFit shoes, the build quality of the Speed TR 2.0 is top notch and feels like it should definitely cost more than the $100 they’re asking.
Aside from the durability, I think the second biggest issue of the Speed TR was how it fit. It seems like they used a similar or maybe even the same last to base the 2.0 off of, because they fit similarly. Thanks to the new upper material, the 2.0’s feel a little more roomy inside. The 2.0’s are indeed slightly wider than the originals, but not as wide as Nano’s, or even close to. They still do run long in comparison to Nano’s, causing me to size down half, but even then I had a lot of space in to toe, so I went down another half and then it was too tight. At the end of the day, I stuck with the size 9.5 which left me with a little more than a thumb’s width distance from the front of the shoe. Though it’s a little loose, it’s still comfortable and at least my toes aren’t being crushed in front and with a little activity, my feet swell and fill the shoe up better.
There isn’t much in the way of arch support inside the shoe, so if you’re flat footed you’ll definitely appreciate this over Nano’s.
My sizes for reference:
- Speed TR – 9 (tight fit)
- Nano – 10
- Metcon – 9.5-10
- NoBull – 10
- Strike Mvmnt – 9.5
- Adidas – 9.5
You should not think of the Speeds as running shoes.
As with the previous generation, the Speed TR’s are some of the best training shoes that Reebok makes. I might go as far to say that they’re the best that Reebok currently makes…
The Nano 7.0’s, Weave’s included, left a gaping hole in Reebok’s CrossFit footwear line-up. I still think the Weave’s are awesome looking and that there are no better shoes for lifting, but they’re still awful to run in and just plain uncomfortable for extended periods of wear. In my eyes, the Speed TR 2.0’s do a much better job encompassing the spirit of CrossFit in a shoe. There’s nothing you would think twice about doing with having the Speed 2.0’s on, including running!
Early on, people were hoping that the Speed 2.0’s would just be a current day Nano 6.0, which it is, kind of. Like the 6.0, you’ll want to do everything in the Speed 2.0’s because they just feel so capable on your feet. The platform has a more narrow, running like shape and doesn’t quite hold your foot in place like Nano’s, but I wouldn’t go as far to say that the Speed’s were unstable in any direction. Initially a few things led me to think the Speed 2.0’s were softer that it’s predecessor, but I was wrong, they’re as responsive, if not more. The midsole offers only a little bit of cushioning, but still airs more on the stability side, meaning it doesn’t compress very much at all, almost identical to the previous generation. Power delivery is on point, I wouldn’t think twice about going for any heavy lifts in these shoes.
What really seals the deal for the Speed 2.0’s is that they’re just extremely flexible and comfortable. You’ll genuinely want to do everything a WOD will throw at you in these shoes because of how they let you move your feet unhindered. Not only is the upper more plush and flexible, the outsole and midsole is more flexible as well, letting your feet move more naturally. The only non-flexible area is around the middle where the RopePro is, where there’s definitely a midfoot shank to help with propulsion. Speaking of the outsole, the compound and multi-directional tread pattern are more reminiscent of the Nano 7 than previous gen Speed. Which is a good thing, because that outsole pattern makes for some of the grippiest shoes on the planet, whether it be the ground or the rope.
Despite the name being what it is, the Speed 2.0’s wouldn’t be my first pick when it comes to run a marathon in, but I wouldn’t hesitate to strap these on to run the occasional mile or whatever distance comes my way in a WOD . Sure, they have a little more midsole cushioning, they’re extremely flexible, and have a midfoot shank, but they’re still training shoes at the end of the day and the platform is still fairly rigid. I personally like neutral running shoes anyways and I feel right at home with the 3mm drop. Best of all, the shoes are extremely lightweight, coming in at 8.5oz per shoe. These are definitely the best trainers to run in that Reebok has ever come out with, even besting the Nano 6.0.
Some other things to note – The heel counter actually does a pretty good job of keeping your heel in one spot. The Kipping Klip is a much larger piece of TPU that is rounded and does a much better job sliding up the wall than the previous gen Speed. The laces that come with the shoe are trash and repeatedly come untied, be prepared to double knot.
Value & Conclusion:
Like the previous gen, the Speed 2.0’s only cost $100! Making them a steal once again compared to Nano’s, maybe even more so this time around because they’re in my eyes, a better shoe. Durability is yet to be determined, the best indicator for that is how well Nano 6’s are holding up since they have the same mesh. I personally haven’t had any issues with that, so I’m going to say its safe to assume the Speed TR 2.0’s will be more durable than the predecessor. For those of you that only have money to spend on one pair of CrossFit shoes, these are the ones.
I like shoes that you can do everything in and since the Nano 6.0’s are out of production, the Reebok Speed TR 2.0’s are currently the best shoe in Reebok’s line-up. They can hang with Nano’s when it comes to lifting, but you won’t want to take them off when it comes to running as well. Hell, you probably just won’t want to take them off because they’re just so nice to wear! Any angst I had from the Nano 7.0’s is gone with the release of the Speed TR 2.0 – they’re one hell of a shoe.
The original version of the Reebok Nano 7.0 might have been the biggest disappointment that Reebok had ever come out with. Nano’s have historically all been amazing shoes that never really got hated on performance wise, until the latest. So what happened? A large reason it failed was because it followed what I believe, was the best shoe Reebok had ever come out with, the Nano 6.0. Not only did the Nano 6.0 cast a gigantic shadow, but they released the 7.0’s earlier than normal which also cut much into the Nano 6.0’s lifespan. I never thought the 7.0’s were a bad looking shoe, but the early leaks of the launch colorway garnered a TON of hate, which hurt the marketing badly; especially given the launch timeframe and what it was up against. Finally, the main reason why the Nano 7.0 was such a failure was because it was it simply just wasn’t a good all around shoe.
Time passes, wounds heal, and people forgive. Before you knew it, Reebok had already gone back to the drawing board (almost like they knew the original was going to not be taken well), and soon enough we started seeing an updated version of the Nano 7.0 being tested by Reebok athletes. This new version had looked like it had a new upper, fixing one of the biggest issues on the original release. It’s already been six months after the original launch of the Nano 7.0, but the update is finally here. Before we get going into this review, it’s best to think about the changes of Nano 7.0 Weave as hot-fixes rather than a completely redesigned shoe. This review is going to be more like an update as well, rather than a completely new review.
The one thing that I think anyone can agree about with Nano’s is that they always just feel like a rough and tumble kind of shoe. Something you don’t mind beating up and really put through hell. The Nano 7.0’s were some of the most solid built shoes around and even with the changes in construction to the Weave, they still remain as robust as ever. Though the issue with the black midsole appearing blue under sunlight is still an issue for some reason, everything else in the shoe is made to the same great quality Nano’s are known for. If you have an issue with this, you’re just going to have to get another colorway.
The biggest change to the Weave is obviously the new upper. Don’t think of it like any of the “knit” materials found on other shoes – it’s not elastic and it’s not sock-like. It is however, fully engineered, seamless, more flexible with no hotspots inside of it and much more breathable . While it is still constructed with the “Nanoweave” technology coined in the original release, it’s new pattern isn’t just more comfortable, it also looks a TON better!
Unlike the cage-like design of the original upper, the new upper’s pattern goes horizontally through the shoe which flexes with your feet and not against it. The original upper was pretty stiff out of the box and required time to break-in, this new upper feels good to go right out of the box. They’ve also dropped all the underlays so now it’s just the mesh layer under the Nanoweave, giving the toe-box a more wide open feel. People that thought the OG 7.0 was too wide are not going to like this; I find it okay, I prefer the fitted feel of the original but I’d take the flexibility over the difference in fit any day. The difference in width feels like what the the Nano 3.0 was to 4.0, the 5.0 to 6.0, the Weave is to the 7.0.
Another slight update to the shoe is that the amount of tongue and ankle collar cushioning has been thickened. This is so slight you probably won’t catch it, but I did have an issue with the collar rubbing against my ankle after extended periods of time in the original Nano 7.0’s that I don’t notice anymore. Otherwise, the shoe uses the same exact Nanoshell midsole wrap, heel counter, midsole, sockliner and outsole. I thought the midsole might have been lessened, but its since been confirmed to be the same thickness.
While the differences with the upper do offer a more spacious toe-box, nothing else has changed in terms of the way the shoe fits. The shape and measurements remain the same, so you should size your shoe the same (UNLESS you have a really wide foot and had to size the original 7.0’s up). I’ve heard people talking about the Weaves fitting a little smaller than the originals, which personally I’ve found to be untrue, but I wouldn’t dismiss it because there have been times in the past Reebok sizing has burned me. My Nano size has always been a 10US or sz 43EU, but certain models I can wear a 9.5 (3.0/5.0).
I find Nano’s to be generally wide shoes with little to no arch at all, but I do think they fit a variety of shapes of people’s feet pretty well. The toe is more squarish to fit the wide profile of the shoe, so people with Morton’s toe should consider sizing up (I do). The shoes are designed to be minimalist shoes with a drop of 4mm and virtually no midsole cushioning, but the sockliner is removable to fit custom orthotics.
My sizes for reference:
- Metcon – 9.5
- Adidas – 9.5
- New Balance – 9.5
- NoBull – 10
- Strike-Movement – 9.5
- Romaleos – 9.5
- Legacy Lifters – 9
I’ve warmed up to the thought of using my Nano 7.0’s for certain workouts since the original review. Once again, I still think the Nano 7.0’s are the most stable training shoe available and probably the closest thing you can get to Olympic Weightlifting shoes, without actually wearing some. In hindsight, that’s kind of how you have to treat wearing them. What makes them, both original and Weave’s, great weightlifting shoes is just how rigid of a platform they have. This stability was created by the combination of it’s incompressible midsole, Nanoshell midsole wrap and TPU heel counter. Since there’s virtually nothing to compress between your foot and the ground, response and stability is top-notch. Lateral stability is the best compared to any other training shoe on the market because the Nanoshell midsole wrap and TPU heel counter do a great job of holding your foot in place. The heel is wide, incompressible and kind of resembles a flat Olympic weightlifting shoe. Nothing has changed in these areas between the original Nano 7.0’s and Weave’s. They were and still are one of my favorites for weightlifting and definitely my favorite for powerlifting.
The same things that make the Nano 7.0 great for lifting weights, are also a double edged sword make it pretty bad for most other things you’ll find in a WOD. Even though the Weave’s upper is more flexible and comfortable, it doesn’t really do anything to change how the outsole and midsole flex. The Nanoshell midsole wrap does great things for the lateral stability of the shoe, but hinders movement, especially running. If you don’t run perfectly on your toes, it doesn’t allow the foot natural freedom of movement and if you’re a heel striker, forget it, you might as well be running in Oly shoes. From about the balls of your feet to the heel, the Nano 7.0’s and Weave’s are really stiff. All of that paired with the neigh incompressible midsole gives you a pretty harsh ride.
The 7.0’s Weave’s aren’t so bad for other movements that require you to be less mobile. Double unders are doable since the shoes flex pretty well at the toe joint and the shoes respond instantly. Burpees can be a bit uncomfortable unless you’re coming off your toes perfectly, but aren’t awful. Box jumps aren’t terrible to do either, rebounding feels good once again due to the response, but landings are pretty harsh. The only other movement that the Weave’s/Nano 7.0’s really shine is for rope climbs. The outsole is the best out of all of the Nano’s and it’s grip make the 7.0’s quite possibly the best shoe to climb the rope in. There was a picture of some Weave’s that Rich Froning had put a hole in the outsole in, but I wouldn’t worry about durability – he was told to destroy those shoes so he did something like 100 rope climbs.
One very questionable thing is that the Weave’s, according to my scale, weighed about a half ounce more than the original Nano 7.0. Odd, seeing as how the Weave’s dropped material from the originals. My size 10’s weighed in a 12.7oz whereas my original 7.0’s weighed in at 12.3oz.
Luckily Reebok has decided to not charge anything more for the new Weave’s, so they’re retailing for the normal price of $130. Furthermore, the Weave’s are only going to be referred to as that until the original Nano 7.0’s sell out. From then on out, all of the Nano 7.0’s will be done Weave style. When the original Nano 7.0 upper was broken in, I didn’t find it to be an issue anymore. Since you can get the original Nano 7.0 for around $50 less right now, I’d recommend doing that if you don’t mind the shortcomings of the shoe. Keep in mind that the Weave’s are still just Nano 7.0’s with a better flexing upper, everything else is the same so performance remains 95% the same as it was in the original 7.0 Having the Weave upper is nice and definitely makes it a better shoe, but not completely necessary nor does it justify the price increase from what you can get an OG Nano 7.0 for, or buying a new shoe. Unless of course you just wanted it or liked the way it looked.
While I still don’t think the Weave’s make the Nano 7.0 anything close to the best CrossFit shoe out there, I do think that they can be the best shoe for certain workouts. The best application for the Nano 7.0 Weave is using it like an alternate Olympic lifting shoe or dedicated powerlifting shoe. I applaud the fact that Reebok took what the community was saying and went back to the drawing board to try to fix some of the issues the Nano 7.0 had, it just was a little too late and I don’t think it’s enough to change most people’s opinions of the 7.0. In retrospect, they could have intentionally just made the Nano 7.0’s to be extremely stable and rigid to clear some space for their upcoming Speed TR 2.0. At the end of the day if you didn’t like the original 7.0, I don’t think the Weave’s are going to change your mind about the shoe in general. They are indeed a better shoe, I do like them, but they aren’t without their caveats. If you need a flat pair of Oly shoes, I recommend just picking up some OG Nano 7.0’s at a discount while you still can!