The Reebok Crossfit Olympic Lifter Shoe is Reebok’s most anticipated offering to the CrossFit community in their freshman year as Title Sponsor. Like it’s cousin, the CrossFit Nano, the Crossfit Lifter U-Form was in R&D for well over 8 months before being released to the public. During this time Reebok tested and tweaked the shoe with numerous CrossFit athletes.
It shouldn’t need to be stated, but Reebok is attempting to do what no other weightlifting shoe company has been able to achieve – create a truly multifunctional Olympic weightlifting shoe. The result of their efforts is, quite honestly, one of the coolest new shoe designs we’ve seen since Vibram Five Fingers. Like any shoe that is created to be “multi-functional” there are always some compromises to be made. In this review we look at all those possible issues and determine exactly where the shoe excels… or fails.
DESIGN AND STYLING:
The Reebok Olys are currently available in 4 different styles – two for men and two for women. The men’s models are white with a black toe and black with red accents while the women’s models are all white with black accents and purple with gray accents. The women’s purple model are actually the sharpest looking pair of the bunch. All models come with two different color of shoe strings.
Unlike most weightlifting shoes, the entire heel and sole are extremely low profile. The shoe is also very lightweight, weighing an impressive 2.4 ounces LESS than a comparable size do-win; all the while still offering a rather wide toe box, a 0.75″ effective heel height and an extremely stable heel.
A few of the ways Reebok has achieved such a light shoe is by utilizing carbon rubber in the sole of the shoe and a TPU heel with pyramid shaped cut-outs in the bottom. These heel voids result in a “jagged” triangular pattern along the outside of the heel. While some people have thought this was just to add flare to the design of the shoe, these triangular wedges actually serve a purpose – to allow one to grip and climb rope easier! Pretty nifty eh?
The heel extends to about the mid-point of the foot, where it is bonded to the sole of the shoe. From here the sole runs the length of the forefoot, thinning down to a mere 0.25″ just behind the ball of the foot. First reaction to such a thin sole would be that it would wear down quickly with all the jumping, pushing and running; however, Reebok has made the sole from carbon rubber which should have excellent durability.
The tread pattern of the sole is actually comprised of narrowly spaced “score” lines which further increase the flexibility of the toe area. The sole itself has great grip on most surfaces we tested. For instance, while wearing these in a squat rack I found that once you planted your feet it felt like you were stuck in cement.
The Velcro shoe strap is 1.5″ wide and made of nylon with a rubber tip to keep it from fraying. The strap is placed intelligently across the mid-meta tarsal region (middle-top foot) and doesn’t hinder flexion at the ankle. While the shoestrings on the pre-retail model were a bit too short, we found these to be a bit too long even when running the laces through both sets of top eyelets. Furthermore, if you do use the top-most eyelet, the shoestrings extend past the tongue of the shoe and can dig into the foot. Luckily we discovered a nifty way to remedy both of these issues – watch the video review for detailed instructions.
Finally, the exterior of the shoe is made up of two different materials. The toe of the shoes is a very supple, full grain leather while the rest of the shoe is a synthetic suede. Some concern arises by how soft the toe of the shoe actually is. Typically the softer the leather, the faster it will wear and the more susceptible it is to aging and environment. So here are a few tips for keeping the toe of the Reebok CrossFit Weightlifting shoe in good shape.
FIT AND SIZING:
While there is still no word from Reebok on whether they fixed the sizing issue on the Nano Flex, our pair of Oly’s appear to run true to your standard Reebok size. The toe box is a good width, coming in somewhere between wide and medium-wide.
The U-Form technology works a little differently on the Reebok weightlifting shoe than it does on the trainer. Instead of using a hairdryer, you need to bake the shoes in a preheated oven at 200 degree Fahrenheit for 3 minutes. When you remove the shoes from the oven, the U-Form logo should be red signaling they are ready to mold to your feet.
At this point you need to just put on the shoes, lace them up and sit with your feet touching the floor for eight minutes. Once the shoes are molded, set them aside and let them cool fully before trying to work out in them. The U-Form process can be repeated as many times as you’d like.
The tongue of the shoe is sewn in place, effectively making it just a sock liner. Lucky it isn’t thick, too long or too short. It does have a non-removable polyurethane insert inside the tongue which makes it very stiff. Most people won’t notice this though and I didn’t have any issues with it.
Other than the shoe string issue, the only other complaint we could possibly make about these are that they don’t have much heel cup or arch support even after the Uform procedures are done. While foot shape is certainly going to vary from person to person, I think a more pronounced heel cup would really make the shoe even more stable.
On a final note, the low profile design of the shoe actually makes them a much easier Oly shoe to transition into versus a traditional Olympic lifting shoe. This will make these shoes a great choice for those just getting into lifting. Overall, the Reebok CrossFit Oly is destined to be one of the hottest selling weight lifting shoes in 2012.
WHERE TO BUY:
The CrossFit Oly will be available directly through the Reebok Store and this is definitely the best store to buy them from.
Rumor has it that Reebok will open up retail options to more vendors later in 2012. One vendor, Rogue Fitness has stated that they may be carrying the Reebok Oly as early as February. Reebok has informed us that Rogue Fitness and Again Faster are the only retail partners they will be selling the CrossFit shoes through.
ADDITIONAL SHOE FEATURES: