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Reebok JJ 2 Review (JJ Watt Trainers)

The original Reebok JJ 1 turned out to be a surprise hit. Personally, I had a ton of great training sessions with the shoe, but it was never really enough for me to drop my Nano’s or Metcon’s for. Just because it wasn’t quite there for me, doesn’t mean it wasn’t for other people though. It became my staple recommendation for people looking for a more supportive shoe that they could also run and lift weights in. People that tried the JJ’s, ended up loving them, and for good reason – you could just do anything in them. For the meager $100 asking price, they were a bargain.

Like any other shoe, they weren’t without their problems. Sizing was based off of giants feet but didn’t initially come in larger sizes, they were a little tall and a little too bulky for some people. Depending on how you wanted to lift weights, the heel-toe drop could have been detrimental as well. Either way, they were an excellent training shoe that made for a great alternative CrossFit shoe. The JJ’s are a shoe designed to the exact specifications of JJ Watt and as far as I know, he doesn’t do CrossFit, so Reebok hit the nail on the head with the JJ’s.

Reebok’s new JJ 2’s attempt to fix some of it’s predecessors shortcomings by giving the shoe almost a complete overhaul while maintaining some of the features that made the original so good, but did they go too far?

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Looks/Construction

I didn’t mind the way the original JJ’s looked, but I didn’t love them either. The first colorway was pretty basic, but almost every one after that looked pretty good with the exception of the icing on the cake one. The only colorway for the JJ 2’s at the moment is black with a white midsole and translucent grey outsole, which is safe, but looks good enough to wear from the gym to the street without anyone hating. The silhouette doesn’t have any dashing lines or panels so the shoe overall in black is pretty unoffensive, but boring. If you like black (who doesn’t), you’ll love this colorway.

Other than any shoe in their CrossFit line, Reebok usually puts out shoes that kind of feel cheaply made; this is not the case with the JJ’s. The JJ 2’s feel like tanks built to standards on par with Reebok’s flagship Nano series shoes. Not to be confused with NanoWeave, the JJ’s sport Reebok’s patented FlexWeave (LenoWeave?) upper giving the shoe an even higher quality feeling than the previous JJ’s. Why the difference in name, I have no clue, because they’re pretty much the same exact thing. Like the NanoWeave found on the Nano 7’s, the FlexWeave upper moves with your feet extremely well. Unlike the Nano 7’s, the midsole and outsole combination also does as well. The FlexWeave upper also leads to virtually no hotspots or bunching up, giving you a much more comfortable, seamless feel inside of the shoe. They also feel much less bulky than its predecessors but still feel like a big shoe in comparison to a lot of other training shoes. If you’re on the bigger side like JJ Watt, I’m sure you won’t notice this much at all.

Other tidbits like the tongue have been changed for the better. The once anemic tongue is gone and now there’s a nice padded one that stays in place a lot better. The lacing system is different as well, but I didn’t think the previous one was bad in the first place. Probably the best change to the construction of the shoe is that it’s a low instead of a mid cut. The ankle collar actually has a little more cushioning, it just doesn’t extend down into the shoe as far. Don’t fret, your ankles still feel nice and secure inside of the JJ 2’s.

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Fit

Sizing the JJ 2’s is a little bit more normal now, the sizing feels much more true to Reebok training shoe sizing than the original model’s titan sizing. They’re still very much a wide shoe, but the length is akin to typical running shoes so size them accordingly. Personally, I wore a 9.5 with a fair amount of space in the previous models but now a 9.5 fits me snug, yet comfortable enough to workout in, depending on what socks I wear; I actually think I could probably get away with wearing a 10. The shape of the toe is more pointy like a running shoe, so it does accommodate Morton’s toe pretty well.

My sizes for reference:

  • JJ1 – 9.5
  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 10
  • Speed TR – 9.5
  • NoBull – 10
  • Converse 9.5
  • Oly Shoes – 9.5

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Performance

There are a lot of things that you wouldn’t think the JJ 2 would do well, but actually does. Everything, actually. 

Making a return is the Liquidfoam midsole, but only in name, because it feels a bit different than the original model’s did. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s anything but liquid-y or foamy (Who comes up with these names anyways?). Previously, the JJ’s had a pretty solid and responsive ride with decent amount of support, they just lacked any kind of energy return or bounce. The shoe was also really tall for a training shoe. The new retooled midsole “gives” a little bit more, but is every bit as stable and responsive not to mention, lower to the ground (still tall though). That extra bit of “give” translates into a shoe that has better energy return and just overall feels less clunky. I set my PR mile in the previous JJ’s and I thought they were excellent for running, but I think the JJ 2’s are even nicer to run despite them weighing in at 11.54 oz.

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Given the fact that there’s still a ton of midsole, you wouldn’t think that power delivery would be all that great. I didn’t, until I actually put myself under some weight and moved it just as well as I did my comparison Metcon 3’s, which are my preferred squatting everything shoe. The support pillars inside of the midsole actually do their job in keeping it from compressing too much and the heel counter keeps you from shifting around providing great lateral stability.  Slow lifts are fine, but these would not be my go-to Oly lifting shoe because of the 7mm drop, which happens pretty aggressively around the ball of your feet. The JJ 2’s are still a generally flat shoe and for most weight you’ll find in a WOD, they should be okay.  I sometimes found myself on my toes with Oly lifts, but it’s not too hard to adjust to – and like I said, I wouldn’t be shooting for any one rep maxes.

Traction was one of the best features of the original JJ’s and still is with the updated model. I’m not entirely sure why the pattern was changed from the star pattern to the oval pattern, but either way, it works just as well. The style is more like a turf shoe, but grips pavement and rubber flooring just fine; I’ve never found myself at a loss of footing in any situation.

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Value/Conclusion

After all the inflation that’s going on, I still can’t believe these shoes only cost $100. The JJ 2’s are a well built, high performing, excellent quality shoe that can hang with most shoes that cost about half more than Reebok is asking. It easily trounces most shoes in it’s price range, save for the Speed 2.0’s. To say that the JJ 2’s are the bargain of the year would be an understatement. On top of that, these are the shoes that JJ Watt actually wears to work out, not just to make money.

Are the JJ 2’s the perfect training shoe? No, I would love to see them a little bit lower to the ground with a slightly lower cut around the ankle. Still, the JJ 2’s are one of the best training shoes for people that need a little bit more support while retaining stability and don’t want to break the bank. They’re comfortable to spend the day in, look good enough to wear with jeans, and perform well enough to be your one shot training shoe. As an overall shoe, you’d be hard pressed finding anything that outperforms the JJ 2’s for the price.

The Good

  • Flexible, easy to run or jump in.
  • Stable enough to go heavy in.
  • Cheap for a high quality training shoe.

The Bad

  • Could be a little bit lower to the ground still.
  • Still a bit bulky.
  • Oly lifting isn’t great in them.

The Ugly

  • Boring colorway.
  • Sizing will confuse people.
  • 7mm drop

Get your JJ 2’s here!

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Reebok CrossFit Speed TR 2.0 Review

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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.

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Looks/Construction:

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.

Fit:

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

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Performance:

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.

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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.

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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.

Get your Reebok Speed TR 2.0’s here!

Road Runner Sports Black/Gum/Speckled Speed TR 2.0!

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. 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Inov-8 All-Train 215 Shoe Review

We’ve been at a standstill in training shoes for quite some time now, not a ton of technology has really changed. Not that the formula didn’t work, but we’ve really just had the same shoes with different brands on it. It’s just the beginning of the year but 2017 is looking to change all of that. As the sport of fitness evolves, so does the footwear we require.  Interestingly enough, we’re starting to see a departure from the rigid, flat soled shoes into shoes that are a little more geared towards all around performance, with running included. Not that you couldn’t run in flat shoes of old, but they were a little clunky and athletes nowadays are required to be more agile than ever.

Late last year, I reviewed the Inov-8 F-Lite 235v2, which I loved. It has all the makings of a great training shoe: zero drop, flexibility, lightweight, and dense midsole. I don’t mind running in them, but like all wide and rigid trainers, they can be a little choppy to run in.  Leave it to the masterminds at Inov-8 to shake up the formula with the All-Train 215 by fusing their roots in all-terrain running shoes and training shoes to make one of the best all around trainers of the year.

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Looks/Construction:

Honestly, Inov-8 trainers have never been my favorite shoes to look at since the 195. While the 235 and 250 are great performing shoes, their blocky aesthetic and choice of color combinations are probably the biggest reasons why they haven’t really taken off with the mainstream. I don’t really think they care that much to appeal to everyone, but having attractive shoes isn’t a bad thing. The All-Train 215’s are the best looking shoe silhouette that Inov-8 has come up with, period. They look like the spiritual successor to the ever so popular 195 – not overdone, sleek with a little bit of tactical badassery. Most of the colorways fit the design of the shoe and aren’t really outlandish, but this is still an area I think Inov-8 could work on a little bit. When in doubt, just get black.

Build quality is the typical, excellent quality of Inov-8 shoes though one might initially mistake them for being built cheap because they’re so lightweight weighing in at just 7.5oz/215 grams per shoe. Inov-8 keeps things flexible compared to a lot of the other brands out there with a more normal synthetic and mesh upper. One question might be long term durability, but I don’t think any of us have had these shoes long enough to comment on that. They survived a few rope climbs here and there, but who knows what they’ll look like after a hundred or so.

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Fit:

Inov-8 shoes run small on me, so I went with a size US10. I would always recommend just going with the EU size since I think the sizing is a little more accurate that way, in which case I wear an EU43. Compared to the 235’s, the 215’s feel a little bit more fitted since the shape is more like a running shoe, which I prefer over the more boxy toe. I wouldn’t say the 215’s are narrow shoes, but they’re more so than the 235’s just mainly at the toe. Here are my sizes for reference:

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

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Performance:

Are they running shoes or are they training shoes? They’re both.

The 215’s aren’t marketed as “cross fitness” shoes (which I’m using them for), but rather as a more general training/HIIT gym shoe. It seems that Inov-8 is trying to attract a broader/different audience with the 215’s, or even new grassroots fitness communities, since ours isn’t so much of one anymore. Either way, the 215’s still work excellent for what we do as “cross fitnessers”.

Before receiving the shoes, I was thinking that they might not be good to lift in because of the way they’re marketed. The biggest difference from the 235 is the midsole construction, in that the 215 use an injection molded Fusion EVA midsole rather than a compressed one. While it’s similar in height and drop to the F-Lite 250 (20mm heel/12mm forefoot/8mm drop), the overall feel is different since the 235 and 250 both use the stiffer CMEVA Powerheel. You’ll notice that steps in the 215 have a little bit more “bounce” and are cushioned more, which favor running and plyometric movements, but that doesn’t exactly make them running shoes, as they’re still very responsive for lifting.

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One thing that takes a little bit of getting used to is the forward bias caused by having the larger drop. On the 250’s, you can anchor down more on the heel of the shoe since it doesn’t compress, where you might notice your feet sliding a little forward more in the 215’s due to the slightly more compressible midsole. Even though the majority of the cushioning is at at the heel of the shoe, it doesn’t give enough to detract from most lifts. I’d still use my 235’s for 1RM deadlifts or backsquats, but I felt comfortable enough to do all of my percentage lifting in the 215’s.

Where the 215’s shine the most is in the name: All-Train. These aren’t shoes designed just for lifting, they’re for everything in the fitness world. If you want to go on a trail run, then hit the gym for some lifting, and maybe even go on a swim – the All Train 215’s are the shoe for you. For me, they’re one of the most complete WOD shoes available. They have just enough cushioning to keep my feet comfortable for runs I’m doing in WODs, but I wouldn’t be afraid to wear them for up to a few miles. Since WOD’s don’t typically have 1RMs in them, they’ve been stable for all the lifting I’m doing in a WOD. They’re probably best suited for workouts with a fair amount of plyometric movements since they’re so flexible and most of all, lightweight. You’ll barely even feel like you have shoes on, except that the outsole lug pattern gives you excellent footing no matter what the surface is, asphalt, gravel, rubber or wood. For most people, you’ll never need another pair of training shoes!

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Value/Conclusion:

The All-Train 215’s retail for $110, but you can usually find them slightly discounted if you shop around. At MSRP they’re a steal, but if you can get them cheaper, it’s a no brainer. The All-Train 215’s are currently one of the best deals in training shoes.

I typically favor shoes that are just rigid, flat and favor weightlifting, but it’s impossible to not like the 215’s. If you were a fan of the 195, or more so the 240/230’s, you will no doubt be a fan of the 215. These shoes return to the greatness (not that they ever left) that were the original Inov-8 cross-training shoes. There are better lifting shoes and there are better running shoes, but there are very few shoes that have combined the two as well into a training shoe like the All-Train 215’s. If you’re a cross-fitnesser looking for a WOD shoe and you do your lifting in Oly shoes, or if you’re just someone looking for a damned good pair of training shoes, this is the one.

Get your Inov-8 All-Train 215’s here!

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