Tag Archives: powerlifting

Reebok CrossFit Nano 7.0 WEAVE Review

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. 

IMG_9605

Looks/Construction:

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!

IMG_9600

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.

IMG_9596

Fit:

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

Performance:

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.

IMG_9591

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.

Value/Conclusion:

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!

Get your NANO 7.0 Weave here!

IMG_9590

Advertisements

Reebok Harmony Road Running Shoe Review

I hate running.

Actually…

suckat running.

CrossFit seems to be the fitness program people that hate running gravitate towards because our cardio is really just lifting weights faster. Sometimes you’ll see some gymanstic movements thrown in there, some kettlebells, maybe some rowing and hell, maybe even some short runs; but nothing really long enough to warrant the use running shoes. Except one workout, that is more like a CrossFit holiday than a normal holiday, that happens every Memorial Day. You guessed it – “Murph”, if you’re not quite sure what the workout is, then you’ve never done it before. It consists of 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squat, finished by another mile run (with a weight vest). While that doesn’t sound like a ton of running, to Crossfitters it is; especially ones that suck at running.

Typically, I do my running in training shoes that just have a little bit more cushion and flexibility. My current favorites being the Strike-Movement Intervals, Skechers Go-Train Endurance, and Inov-8 F-Lite 195’s. I caught on to the barefoot thing early on and while I don’t consider myself a great runner but I do my best to run with mid-foot strike, and avoid heel striking, though I over-supinate a little. It wasn’t until maybe a couple years ago when the Reebok Cushion 3.0’s came out, that I bought into another pair of actual running shoes. They were what I did “Murph” in last year and they were okay, but I thought they lacked a little bit of structure (I’ve heard of durability issues as well). This year, I decided to set out to find a good pair of running shoes to make my workout more, “comfortable”. I could definitely do the workout in training shoes like most people do, but this gives me a good excuse to buy another pair of shoes. Luckily for me, Reebok had just dropped the Harmony Road, a shoe that was designed to cement Reebok as a legitimate contender in the running shoe world.

IMG_9427

Looks/Construction:

Running shoes will look like running shoes and the Harmony Road are no different. There are luxury “running” shoes out there that are more style than substance, but they don’t count if you’re not going to actually run in them. The bulbous looks of the HR’s are not going to win any style contests but that’s not really the aim of the shoe. The current selection of colorways go from meh-fine, to hell no. I initially went with the alloy/wild orange, but when I got them I knew immediately I’d never wear them so I held off a bit until they released the slightly more palatable solid grey/solar yellow. To be fair, most running shoes just aren’t very pretty shoes in general. At least the reflective bits serve a purpose in upping your visibility at night so drivers won’t hit you.

Where the Harmony Road lack in looks, they make up in comfort and build quality. The Smoothfuse seamless synthetic mesh upper feels robust and gently envelops your foot. I haven’t tried it, but you could probably go running in these shoes without socks on without tearing your feet up. Other than their CrossFit line of products, some of the shoes that Reebok makes can sometimes have lower quality materials. The Harmony Road does not fall victim to this and I would say that this might be one of the best built shoes they make, period. There’s no loose glue, the stitching is perfect, and the materials seem like they’re meant to take a beating. I didn’t try the OSR Sweet Road, but I think it’s safe to say that these are Reebok’s flagship running product.

IMG_9430

Fit:

Typically, I wear a size 10 in Reebok CrossFit Nano’s, but I’d say my normal shoe size is more of a 9.5, which is what I got my Harmony Road’s in. The fit is dead on with about a thumbs distance from the front of the shoe to my toes; plenty of room for my toes to splay without touching the front. There’s plenty of width in the toe-box and not much of the way of contouring inside the shoe so these shoes should suit a number of different shaped feet. It’s really easy to get a nice locked down fit with the simple lacing system but there is also the option to lace lock if you needed a little bit more security for your heel; though I never had any issues with heel slip. These shoes run true to size and I would recommend sizing them as you would your normal running shoes, or half down from your Nano’s. Here are my sizes for reference:

  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 9.5
  • Speed TR – 9
  • NMD/Ultraboost – 10
  • New Balance – 9.5
  • Inov-8 – 10

IMG_9434

Performance:

Here’s where you can take my advice with a grain of salt if you’re a runner, but if you’re a Crossfitter, you might take some of this to heart.

The key feature of the Harmony Road is their tri-zone midsole with “Kooshride”, in which it basically absorbs shock through it’s three layered zones. If you look under the shoe, you can actually see the “Kooshride” layer, that looks like those beads kids used to iron designs with. Another thing to notice is just how much heel cushioning there is, that combined with a 10mm offset really make these shoes look like they’re geared towards heel striking. Coming from running in training shoes, the Harmony Road’s are like heaven on my feet, even with a mid-foot strike. They provide excellent cushioning and energy return, but still feel like there’s structure and stability to the shoe. It actually didn’t take me a ton of effort to adjust from wearing trainers with a flatter drop to the much larger one of the Harmony Road.

I started running a 5k every Sunday for the last month in preparation for Murph, and while I’m still not a great runner, I can at least go the whole 3 miles without stopping, which is a pretty big accomplishment to me. The ride in the Harmony Road’s is smooth and feels consistent with each step. The best way I can make the analogy is that running in the Harmony Roads feels like driving a Honda Accord: reliable, designed to be driven at normal speeds, but has excellent response and handling with superb comfort. I did notice is that the size of the heel and drop can actually drive you to heel strike if you get lazy, but you get much better propulsion running off your mid-foot, which almost feels rewarding when you’re tired. It’s almost like having a built in form check.

IMG_9439

Some people have said the “Kooshride” feels like Adidas’ Boost, but I don’t actually think so; it’s much more stable and less squishy feeling. Stable enough so that I got through the 300 squats in Murph without being annoyed that my feet didn’t feel planted, which is one of my pet peeves in shoes. While there isn’t a ton of lateral stability since they’re a bit tall and the drop is gigantic, I still feel like I could do most metcons in the Harmony Road’s. I wouldn’t go as far as to do any kind of Olympic or power lifts, but they should be fine for swinging kettlebells, jumping on boxes or doing burpees. Traction seems best on asphalt, which is befits the name. I tried the HR’s on a tightly packed dirt trail and they didn’t seem to “catch” as well as they did on the sidewalk, making me have to expend a little more energy.

I weighed the shoes at 11.08 oz per a men’s 9.5, which sounds heavy for a running shoe, but is pretty normal coming from training shoe. The shoes even have a heavy look about them because they just look like there’s a lot of material on the shoe. These shoes aren’t designed to be racing shoes, though they do make a version for that, which I had initially tried, but they were too narrow and the quality seemed sub-par. Since they are running shoes, I shouldn’t have to say they’re extremely flexible, but just in case you were wondering, they are! The flexibility makes the Harmony Road feel a lot less lighter and less clunky than they actually are.

IMG_9438

Value/Conclusion:

The Harmony Road’s go for the pretty standard performance shoe rate of $120, which is around what I was ready to spend. I know a lot of people are still shocked to see Reebok shoes that aren’t CrossFit shoes go for over a Benjamin, but these shoes are ones that are actually worth it. The build quality is among the best in the shoe world and the performance has far exceeded any running shoe that I’ve used (to be fair, not many). Though I still think that they’re in need of some MUCH better colorways, the Harmony Road’s fit comfortably, are built like tanks, and are the best performing running shoe I’ve had the chance to wear. Maybe I’m getting better at running because I kind of look forward to it now. Hell, maybe I’ll run an actual marathon.

If you’ve been following the 2017 Regionals, these are the shoes that most of the Reebok athletes have been wearing for the variation of Murph. They’re probably better athletes than me, and out of all the shoes they have access to, they picked the Harmony Road; so I must not be the only one that’s impressed. Oh and back to “Murph”, I PR’d my time at 46:28 from somewhere around an hour, granted I did it partitioned with a weight vest versus straight up without. The thing I’m really proud of is not stopping during my runs. I’m not dropping CrossFit for running any time soon, but having a great pair of shoes to run in makes me hate running a lot less. If you’re looking to improve your running game, give the Harmony Road’s a shot, you might end up wanting to run more often too.

Buy your Reebok Harmony Road running shoes here!

IMG_9435

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.

IMG_9040

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.

IMG_9045

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

IMG_9043

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.

IMG_9047

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!

IMG_9051

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.