olympic weightlifting

Adidas Leistung 2 Review

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The Adidas Leistung 16 Rio was one of the most asked about weightlifting shoes on the market last year for many reasons. First was that they were the “Official” shoe of the 2016 Rio Olympics, second was that they had the BOA dial enclosure system, third was that they were fairly ugly, and last but not least, no one could seem to figure out what the effective heel height was.  I think it was mainly the latter that created the most confusion about the shoe because most sites didn’t have any concrete information. When I did my review, I had to do a bit of looking around, but I found the Adidas Specialty Sports store which had both the total and effective heel heights. Even still, a bunch of people questioned my source’s authenticity.

I’m not going to lie, the Leistung’s were not my favorite weightlifting shoe. Besides the convenient BOA dial system, there weren’t a ton of redeeming features to me. I was a huge fan of the Adipowers and the Leistung’s just didn’t produce the same magic that the Adipowers did for me. I’m usually a fan of crazy designs, but the upper pattern was just not pleasant to look at and the color wasn’t doing it any kind of favors. The real drawback to me was the heel height, they were my first 1″ heeled shoes and I just couldn’t get used to them. Personally, I don’t have hip or ankle mobility issues and my femurs aren’t long, but my lat mobility isn’t the greatest; slow elbows with the higher heel hindered my performance with the Leistung. Even once narrowly missing destroying my wrist on a clean that was too forward.

Newly refreshed for 2017, we’ve got the updated Leistung 2. While it boasts an updated look and new features, the Leistung at its core, remains the same.

Looks/Construction/Fit:

With the Leistung 2, you get a brand new upper design and material; these shoes look WAY better in comparison to the original Leistung. Carbon fiber in look, the new upper is actually woven synthetic material throughout most of the shoe, that not only looks good, but flexes much better. The TPU heel is basically the same exact thing as it was in the original model, but now is frosted white in color so you don’t get the pink “bleed through” color from the upper. Materials on Adidas shoes are always pretty good and they’re probably only going to get better due to the surge in both training and Adidas as a brand. Both shoes are consistent as far as construction goes and don’t have any odd issues I can complain about.

The BOA enclosure system returns, but with a different purpose this time; now all it just tightens the medial strap versus before when it was the actual lacing system. Shoelaces make their return to the Leistung 2 which in conjunction with the medial strap, make it much easier to get a tighter fit. While much better than the original Leistung, I haven’t quite figured out a way to get a fit where I don’t get any kind of heel slip. Sure, you have to tie your laces now and there’s no where to tuck them in, but I prefer the new/old lacing system to the previous model’s. Those using them for just “squat shoes”, could still probably get away with taking the laces out and just using the BOA dial.

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After having the Leistung 16 in a size 9 and finding the toebox to be on the small side, I decided to get the 2’s in a 9.5. The fit this time around is much nicer and gives my toes plenty of room to splay, without being too big so that my feet would slide around. The midfoot isn’t narrow by any means, but it can be if you need it to be because of the BOA dial medial strap. I recommend getting these shoes in your normal training shoe size. For reference, here are my sizes:

  • AdiPower – 9.5
  • Romaleos 2/3 – 9.5
  • CF Lifters/Legacy – 9
  • Position USA – 9
  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 9.5
  • Chucks – 9
  • Ultraboost/NMD – 9.5 or 10

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Performance:

This area is going to be extremely YMMV. I know that there are high level weightlifters that can use the Adidas Leistungs (see – Aleksey Torokhtiy), but personally, I could just not get used to these shoes for Olympic weightlifting. Since the heel construction is the EXACT same as the Leistung Rio 16, performance is pretty much identical. The effective heel height is 1″/24.8mm and the TOTAL heel height is 1.5″/37.8mm. That extra .25″ compared to most Oly shoes makes a huge difference for me. I’m not the fastest under the bar so I’m typically finding myself missing things in front of me when I snatch. On the flip side, when I do make it under in time, I receive the bar in a much more upright torso position. For cleans, my lat mobility isn’t amazing and my elbows are on the slower side, making me catch with low elbows. These are all technical errors on my part and not the shoes being defective. In my opinion, in order to use these shoes to 100% effectiveness, you should be a highly skilled weightlifter.

That added heel height could help you out if your ankle mobility was bad, giving you more angle for your shins, or if you had longer femurs, or even both! When it comes to squatting, high bar requires a little bit more concentration to keep your chest up; if you’re low bar squatting and needed the shoes for mobility, you should be plenty fine. The shape of the outsole and the material Adidas used make the Leistung’s very stable shoes during a squat. Power output while squatting is excellent because that TPU isn’t compressing anytime soon, but since the shoe is so tall, you feel a little disconnected for Olympic lifts. I had a lot of trouble trying to find a balance inside the shoe, being either too far forward or too much on my heels with my toes off the ground. The 1″ heel to toe drop is just too steep in the Leistung for me, compared to the more usable, gradual drop of the Position USA lifters.

The weight of the Leistung 2 per shoe is 17.7oz according to my scale. They’re featherweights (anything is) compared to the Legacy’s, but significantly heavier than the Adipowers, Romaleos or even the new CrazyPower’s.  For a weightlifter or powerlifter, this really shouldn’t be an issue, for a CrossFittter trying to WOD in these shoes, it will be. Not that I would even recommend trying to do WOD’s in these shoes. Having to get set up quickly with the 1″ heel just takes too much effort to do for the weight that you’re typically lifting during a WOD.

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Value/Conclusion:

MSRP of the Leistung 2 is a little higher than most weightlifting shoes at $225. You really have to decide if that 1″ heel will suit your lifting style. Though I think most people will be fine with a more standard .75″ heel, people that need the extra bit of mobility will benefit the most from the higher heel. The 1″ heel to me, is a high risk, high reward kind of thing. It can pay off if you’re more technically sound, but if you’re not, it might be more of a hindrance. Personally, it wasn’t my thing, just like in the original Leistung. If you were a fan of the original Leistung, you’ll probably love the updated model. They’re still an excellent pair of weightlifting shoes, they’re just not for me.

Get  your Adidas Leistung 2 at Rogue Fitness

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Reebok Legacy Lifter Review

The calendar of training shoe releases every year hasn’t changed much over the past couple years. Not that it’s a bad thing, but we’ve been stuck with the same ol’ line ups without anything totally new being released. Though, once in a blue moon something comes out of no where and makes you go “holy s****. We’ve been expecting an update to the Reebok CrossFit Lifters for some time now, but nothing  really prepared us for the announcement of a completely redesigned, dedicated weightlifting shoe from Reebok:

The Legacy Lifters

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The release of these shoes to me honestly comes as a surprise, sort of.  While I’ve always thought the Reebok Lifter Plus 2.0’s were totally competent weightlifting shoes, they’ll always have the stigma of being “CrossFit” shoes. A shame that something so fickle would discourage people to use a great shoe, but that’s the reality of it. Nike and Adidas pretty much have the Olympic lifting shoe market on lockdown, with only a minority straying from the two giants. It’s not that others don’t make great shoes, there are TON’s of excellent lifters that could be platform ready on the market, those are just the tried and true. Using their know how from the CrossFit Lifters, Reebok is looking to cement their legacy (see what I did there?), into the weightlifting world by bringing out one of the best alternatives to the giants, to ever be released.

Looks/Construction/Fit

Reebok’s Legacy lifters are a brand new weightlifting shoe that improves upon much without straying too far from the formula that makes a great oly shoe. At first glance, the shoe looks like a much evolved Lifter Plus, more so like the original than the 2.0. Like most advanced weightlifting shoes, the Legacy’s have a TPU heel rather than wood or leather. The major benefit to this is that TPU is in-compressible, while remaining more lightweight and durable than wood.  Two metatarsal straps are met with another “strap” that the laces join together and completes the foot wrap upper. This provides fitment superior to any other weightlifting shoe. Quite possibly my favorite “feature” of the Legacy lifters is the gap in the velcro in the top medial strap, making it easy to tuck your tied laces in without ripping them to all hell. Such a simple thing that no one has thought to correct, until now.

The materials used for the Legacy Lifters are top quality. The foot wraps are a synthetic material akin to the Lifter series, while the quarter and vamp of the shoe are full grain leather, providing excellent comfort within the shoe. There are no hot spots that rub anywhere inside the shoe. Reebok has added an outside TPU counter to lock your heel in and prevent slippage. The removable insole is  minimal, yet very dense that contours to your foot much like the competition insoles provided with the Romaleos. They’re aren’t padded at all, but I’ve never found the Legacy’s to be uncomfortable during pure lifting sessions.

Sizing of the Legacy’s is dead on to all of the Olympic lifting shoes I’ve ever used in the past. I got a size 9, that fits me like a glove and was immediately comfortable out of the box. This is the same size that I got my AdiPowers and Romaleos in, but with those two shoes there was a break in period where the toe-box had to loosen up. The Legacy’s shape resembles the Romaleos more, but your toes don’t get bunched up in the front of the shoe and the heel-toe drop feels more gradual, though it is greater. Once again, the Legacy’s are very comfortable for lifting and just cruising around the gym, though they are just as clunky to walk in as any lifting shoe.

Keep in mind that these are performance shoes! When wearing them, there should not be any space in the front of the shoe; your toes shouldn’t be jammed together either. The last thing you want is your foot sliding around inside of them during a lift. If this is the first weightlifting shoe you’ve ever looked into, a good rule of thumb is to get them the same size you’d get your Converse Chuck Taylors or just half a size down from your standard training shoes.

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Performance/Features

Besides fitment, the most important part of a weightlifting shoe is the effective height of their heel. The benefits of having a raised heel is so that you can catch in a more vertical torso position, you can correct errors, and you can keep your toes down better throughout extension. Height of the heel is subjective, some prefer higher, some lower, but most can agree that around 3/4″ is the safest choice for most people. On the contrary to the current popular picks and from what they’ve produced in the past, Reebok has chosen to go with a 22mm drop, which equates to .86″, though most sites say 3/4″ effective heel height. It definitely feels slightly higher than the shoes with a 19mm/3/4″ heel, but that’s too close to call and to most people it will probably just feel the same. I can tell you is that the heel for me feels perfect, just as this height did on the Position 2.0’s. Catching cleans forward was a big problem I had with the Adidas Leistung’s 1″ heel, which isn’t an issue in the Legacy lifters.

Response in the Legacy lifters is excellent. Due to the nature of the hard TPU heel,  you can count on perfect power delivery throughout your lifts, whether it’s just squatting or snatching. The TPU heel does have a taper in it probably to reduce a bit of weight, but extends out to a full 82mm at it’s widest point. The width and density of the outsole paired with the locked down fit the full foot wrap upper provides one of the most stable lifting experiences ever on a shoe, definitely any shoe I’ve used. The platform is easy to maintain balance throughout the foot with, and you’ll never feel like you’re going to tip over in any direction. The Exoframe does a great job keeping your heel seated. Inside the shoe, the insoles have a bit of arch support that you can really push into to squeeze out a bit more energy. They are indeed removable if you wanted to insert custom orthotics.

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Adding on to the stability of the Legacy’s is just the sheer heft of the shoe. They’re about 20.3 oz per shoe, which makes them quite possibly the heaviest oly shoe at the moment. They’re bricks compared to the Romaleos (16.8 oz) and AdiPower’s (15.7 oz). Touching down in these gravity boots feels like someone poured cement in your shoes, you really don’t move around much after landing. Beware that the weight is substantial enough so that it could affect the ability to move your feet and is definitely going to be an issue if you’re looking to do a WOD in these shoes.  Not to mention that these are some pretty stiff shoes, granted mine are not even close to broken in. My first WOD in these shoes was just lifting, but even still, my feet got pretty achy after a few minutes in. I couldn’t see it going well for you doing box jumps, running or double unders in the Legacy’s.

The outsole of the shoe is nothing special and I would say is the other weakest area of the shoe. My platform at home sucks and is riddled with dust, it can make the most grippiest outsoles lose traction. I had some issues slipping around at home, but you shouldn’t have any issue on a legit platform and even the rubber diamond cut flooring I have at my gym performed okay. This could be an issue with the bottoms not being worn in at all, so take this with a grain of salt.

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Value/Conclusion:

Reebok has really hit the nail in the head with the Legacy lifters as a serious weightlifting shoe. These are no doubt, the most stable pair of lifting shoes available on the market, that also don’t look like they’re from the early 1900’s. At $200, they’re meant to contend directly with the other big name weightlifting shoes (though you can usually find any of those on sale for much less), and they trump many of them in almost every way. I’m sure the Legacy’s will see much use in the competitive weightlifting scene and might actually come to be a staple shoe.

Doing so many reviews, I’ve come to find out that there is no such thing as the perfect shoe and the Legacy’s might not be for everyone. In this case, the sheer heft of the shoe is it’s double edged sword. If you’re good about moving  your feet, then the Legacy’s will no doubt reward you with amazing stability and balance. If you’re one of those lifters that kind of drags their feet and isn’t quite there technique wise, you might struggle a little bit at first, but if you keep grinding through, you’ll have one of the best pairs of weightlifting shoes out there. Remember that while you can WOD in these shoes, I wouldn’t recommend it; they’re just not agile enough to stay comfortable with a bunch of movements.

Should you buy the Legacy lifters?

If you’re a weightlifter, there’s no question in my mind that you’ll love the Legacy’s. If you’re a novice lifter looking for your first pair of oly shoes, you might want to stick with one of the CrossFit lifters until you get your technique down. By the time you’re due for an upgrade, the probably lighter Legacy 2’s just might be out already.

Buy your Legacy Lifters here!

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Asics Lift Master Lite WL Shoe Review

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Asics is one of the oldest and well known names in shoes. While popular for their running shoes and fashion sneakers, Asics or Onitsuka have never really been known for their training gear.  It seems as if they’re starting to take the “cross-training” segment a little bit more serious with the releases of the Fortius, and earlier this year the Met-Conviction. Since weightlifting is such a huge component of cross-training nowadays, it would only make sense to come out with a “hybrid” Olympic lifting shoe as well.

One of the most sought after pairs of weightlifting shoes are the Asics 727 Tiger’s; you’ll mainly see the North Korean team still wearing them.  The allure of the 727’s are the tried and true materials they’re constructed with: leather and wood. That’s also probably why they’re so expensive and scarce. Most companies nowadays have already shifted towards more modern materials, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing; it’s just different. We’re probably not getting the 727’s anytime soon, so Asics has taken their know how and created the Lift Master Lite’s.

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Looks/Construction:

Most weightlifters will probably scoff at the Lift Master Lite’s upon first glance.  They’re made with a synthetic leather upper, TPU heel, and in no way other than the Asics stripes, resemble the ever so famous 727’s. They resemble the original Reebok CrossFit Oly Lifters more than anything because of the heel and that the Asics logo kind of looks like the Reebok logo. I think the LML’s are a bit better looking because of the single piece upper construction and while I don’t think they’re ugly, but they’re definitely not as cool looking as the 727’s. I’d take leather and wood any day, but modern materials serve a purpose in not only keeping costs down, but keeping weight down as well. The Lift Master Lite’s only weigh in at 16.8 oz for a men’s 9, which put’s it right on par with the Nike Romaleos 2’s and Adipowers.

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Performance/Fit:

Asics seems to be marketing this shoe (what marketing?) as a hybrid training/weightlifting shoe, but to me they’re more of just the latter. Anything with an incompressible heel is going to be better suited for use on the platform and less for a WOD. The TPU heel found on the Lift Master Lite’s is just that, it’s made of solid TPU with rubber lining the bottom of the outsole; you can count on getting the most power out of every lift with the LML’s on. Comparing them to Nike Romaleos, the Asics aren’t quite as wide in the mid-foot area, but still provide excellent stability and grip during landings and squats. Superior to the Romaleos, is the spacious toe box; unlike the Nike’s, my toes don’t get all bunched up in the front. Probably the only thing that makes the Asics more of a hybrid shoe is that the toe area is much more flexible than your standard weightlifting shoe.

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Like the majority of the weightlifting shoes out there, the heel height is roughly .75″. I say roughly because on their US website, Asics rates the heel at .75″, but on foreign websites it states it as 17.5mm, or .69″.  To me, I don’t notice a difference unless I put a shoe of each height on each foot. What I definitely do notice is that the drop seems much more gradual in the Lift Masters than it does in the Romaleos. There isn’t any fancy lacing system, but the single medial strap does a great job locking the foot into place. The interior lining of the shoe is well padded and smooth so there isn’t any friction inside of the shoe. Overall, the Lift Master’s are a very comfortable pair of lifters.

Sizing stays true compared to most weightlifting shoes. Size half a size down from your normal training shoes if this is going to be your first pair. Basically size them as you would size your Converse Chuck Taylors. Weightlifting shoes should always be slightly tighter than your training shoes. For reference, these are my sizes:

  • 9.5 – Nike Metcon
  • 9 – Nike Romaleos
  • 10 – Reebok CF Nanos
  • 9 – Converse Chuck Taylors
  • 9 – Asics Lift Master Lite

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Asics has the Lift Master Lite’s at an MSRP of $140 and currently you can only find them on select shoe online resellers; on Amazon I’ve seen them as low as $100 though. For the MSRP, there’s a lot of tough competition seeing as how you can typically find Adipowers and Romaleos 2’s much cheaper than their MSRP’s nowadays. It’s going to be a hard sell since the Romaleos and Adipowers are the standards in weightlifting shoes. For $100, they’re far superior than anything else selling for that price point and it would be a no brainer.

The Lift Master Lite’s are excellent performing shoes and I think the worst part about them is the marketing Asics is doing. Most weightlifters are going to dismiss the shoe for being in the style of a hybrid shoe, whereas most crossfitters will dismiss it for not being Reebok, Nike or Adidas. It’s a shame that the Lift Master Lite’s probably won’t be used by more people because at the end of the day, they’re actually a very good performing pair of weightlifting shoes. If you’re looking for something a little different, or you just like the Asics name, you won’t be disappointed by the Lift Master Lite’s.

Position USA Blue Suede Shoes 2.0 Review

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“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

In sports these days, manufacturers are constantly trying to one up their competitors by coming out with new space age fabrics and cutting edge technology for their products, namely their shoes. Most of it sounds like some mumbo jumbo you’d hear in a sci-fi B-movie. I’m sure it’s all done in good conscience and I get it, they’re trying to get you to ditch your “old” shoes for a shiny new, more technologically advanced pair. Adidas has come out with a couple new weightlifting shoes within the last few years, but if you look at the top weightlifters, they’re still using AdiPowers. Some even are clinging to their 2008 AdiStar’s, which are still one of the most sought after pairs of weightlifting shoes.


What’s the secret? They just work.

So what makes the 2008 AdiStar’s such a popular shoe if they’re generations old?  Full grain leather, a wooden heel, and rubber. There were some technological advances over the 2004 model, but for the most part the bread and butter remained the same. Another insanely popular shoe that’s still being used in competition today are the Asics 727 Tiger’s, that are the staple shoe for the DPRK. Once again, nothing fancy, not even a medial strap and those dudes are lifting the shit out of things.

Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, Position looks to take what’s worked for centuries and bring it back with their Blue Suede Shoes.

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Construction & Looks:

As if I haven’t already said enough about this, but the Blue Suede Shoes are finely crafted from what all shoes used to be made of. The leather upper is soft and has a suede look to it. Obviously there’s only one colorway, but the shade of my blue suede shoes is a lot lighter looking that the ones you’ll find on the website’s description; there’s a disclaimer explaining why this is so. Each pair of shoes is handmade so no two shoes are going to be identical, but rest assured that the level of craftsmanship remains excellent in the Blue Suede Shoes. You can see minor imperfections here and there, but I think it adds character to the shoe.

Imagine you cooked a burger fresh off the grill at your own backyard boogie versus getting a burger from McDonalds™. Both look like burgers, but one has a unique, fresh look to it while you already knew what the McDonalds™ burger was going to look like. The former  is unique and almost always tastes better because of that love that you put into making it (and because it’s not McDonalds™). That’s kind of what you’re getting with the Blue Suede Shoes compared to mass produced shoes.

Yes, I just compared weightlifting shoes to burgers.

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Fit:

Position’s BSS are some of the most generous fitting oly shoes that I’ve ever put on. If you’ve got wide feet, these are the shoes for you. Usually I have an issue with the toe boxes of oly shoes being a bit narrow, but with the BSS have a nice wide vamp area making them very comfortable to wear in between lifts. Since the leather upper is so soft, there’s also virtually no “break-in” period with these shoes. Just lace em up and let er’ rip. Keep in mind that leather uppers do break in after time and getting your “true” size might not be the best idea. I have a pair of size 9.5’s, but I should have gotten 9’s as the leather has stretched a little with wear. Thankfully you do have a medial strap that allows you to really lock the shoes down

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Performance:

Not saying the shoes of today are incompetent lifting shoes, but lifting with the BSS really feels special. It’s gives you a sense of raw-ness, since this is the platform that weightlifting evolved from. TPU heels for weightlifting are a relatively new thing, afterall. Since wood is in-compressible, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting maximum power output with every drive.  The effective heel height of the BSS is slightly taller than the more commonly produced shoes, at .875″ compared to the standard .75″. Total heel height is 1.25″. Not quite as tall as the Leistung’s I tested earlier in the year (effective 1″, total 1.5″), but to me that’s a good thing as I found the Leistung’s to be a little too tall. Theoretically, having a higher heel will lead to a more upright torso, which can be a problem area for those with bad mobility.

 

While the Blue Suede Shoes have a slightly higher heel, it’s almost undetectable yet every landing still feels as solid as a rock. Those familiar with a raised heel should have no problems getting used to the added .1″ and those that needed the extra bit for mobility reasons will relish in the added height.  Though my hip/ankle mobility is pretty good, my upper back’s is not, so the more upright I catch, the less internally rotated I am, and my shoulders will thank me down the line. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sure lifting in any oly’s as I do in the Blue Suede Shoes.

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Value:

Comfort, style, workmanship and performance don’t come cheap with the Blue Suede Shoes. They retail for $190 $140 (Since the release of the 2.1’s, the 2.0’s have dropped significantly) and don’t really go on sale, though you can find some coupon codes from sponsored athletes online. Another huge benefit to having some “old school” shoes, is that you’re going to be able to repair them if they somehow fail you. Since the materials are pretty basic, any competent shoe cobbler is going to be able to doctor them up. That’s probably not going to be the same with synthetic materials or TPU heels.

Also, the shoes are not without their faults. A couple small gripes I have are that the shoes have very long shoe laces and the insoles are kind of cheapo. Not a big deal either way, I could always switch the laces out and the insoles are removable anyways. Another area that could have used a little more attention is the outsole rubber, as I don’t find it as grippy as other shoes I’ve tested.

$190 sounds steep, but if you’re serious about oly lifting and you wanted to set yourself apart from the mainstream, the Position USA Blue Suede Shoes are definitely the way to go. They combine performance with style in a timeless aesthetic and that will certainly not go unnoticed in your lifts or in the gym.

$190 http://positionusa.com/

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Review: Inov-8 FastLift 325

Going back a few years, when Inov-8 released the FastLift 335, I thought it was a revolutionary shoe. The first time I saw it, was at the Inov-8 booth at the 2013 OC Throwdown. From it’s good looks to some innovative (no pun intended) features that made it stand out as a hybrid lifter, I knew I had to have it. They became my primary lifting shoes for a few years, with me even preferring them over my Romaleos and Adipowers. So what made them special? The .65″ heel height for me was spot on. Call me crazy, but I always feel that .75″ heeled shoes push me too far forward. My ankle dorsiflexion is pretty good, but my hips are generally pretty tight, leaving me with a more forward position altogether. This is also why I prefer flat shoes to lifters when I squat and clean; but snatching, pistols and overhead squats, I will wear lifters for.

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I managed to score a pair of FastLift 370’s from being an Inov-8 tester.  Inov-8 changing things up again by the Boa dial system. I loved that shoe for the ease of slipping it on and tightening with a couple twists while retaining everything good about the 335 and just slightly increasing the weight. The newest iteration, the 325,replaces the now defunct 335. It’s more of an update to that shoe, featuring a  standard lacing system, Power-Truss heel, .65 heel height, it weighs a little less and some new colors. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on discontinuing use of my 370’s but I couldn’t say no at the opportunity to test out the newest iteration of the FastLift series.

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If you’ve never tried out Inov-8 lifters before, they make their name by providing the lightest oly shoe, that is stable, flexible and has a slightly lower heel than most oly shoes. Like the Inov-8 F-Lite 250’s I just reviewed, the heel is 17mm/.65″, slightly shorter than most dedicated oly shoes. Obviously the target audience in mind is one that would need to be able to go from lifting, to burpees to double unders while not needing to switch your shoes. Like all of the previous FastLift models, the 325 is capable of doing all these things without much issue. Will double unders in them be totally comfortable, no, but they’re doable and you’ll still get the benefits of having a rigid, elevated heel for pistols. You’re just going to need to compromise; compared to dedicated oly shoes, transitioning from lifting to gymnastics movements in the 325s (or any FastLift) is a breeze.

Being a capable functional fitness shoe is one thing, but the 325’s should be not taken lightly for a serious pair of platform ready shoes. Returning is the Power-Truss heel system that brings an extremely lightweight, but 100% rigid outsole for lifting. I really think the flexibility of the forefoot in the 325’s helps immensely with split jerks and even when you need to take a few steps to save a lift gone awry.  Some people have complained that the lightweight nature of the shoe is detrimental to stability; while you won’t feel as planted to the ground as Romaleos, you also don’t have to deal with the heft of them either. Once again, a compromise I’m willing to make because I have issues with moving my feet anyways; I don’t need anything slowing them down.

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When sizing the Inov-8 325’s, you should go with your normal shoe size. Typically with lifting shoes, I go half a size down because they run big. The 325’s are more trainer-esque and so is the last they probably designed it on; they fit more like a regular shoe than a lifter. For reference, I wear a 9.5, just like all of my other shoes, besides my Romaleos and Leistung’s that are size 9. Another thing to note, while the Inov-8’s may look more narrow than other lifters, they’re still designed with their standard fit. Fear not, these are not narrow shoes at all. While everyone’s doing all sorts of new synthetic uppers, Inov-8 chose to go with nylon rip-stop fabric with a ballistic nylon mesh in the toe area. The Power-Truss heel extends slightly upward and acts as a cup for your heel for added lateral stabilty. A single medial velcro strap locks down the top of the shoe and the outsole provides excellent grip with the “suction” cup design at the heel. As always, build quality is excellent and I wouldn’t worry about durability issues (my 335’s are still immaculate looking too).

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So what could be wrong with the 325’s? Like the 250’s, the lack of interesting color ways is probably the main flaw. Another thing, that isn’t actually Inov-8’s fault is that there are just other popular big brands that people will gravitate towards. I can see the weightlifting hipsters turning their noses up towards the Inov-8’s because of their dual functionality marketing, which is a shame, because the 325’s are a very capable shoe both ways.

For current owners of the 335, while the 325 is an excellent replacement, it’s just an evolution of the 335 and honestly doesn’t really warrant the upgrade for the loss of 10g. Unless of course your shoes are wrecked. For those of you looking for a hybrid fitness/oly shoe for the first time, you won’t find anything nicer than what Inov-8 has to offer (unless you REALLY needed that extra .10″). There’s just nothing that is as lightweight and comfortable to both WOD and lift in as the FastLift series.