My Reebok CrossFit Oly shoes are doing well. After two weeks of Olympic Lifting I’ve finally learned to trust them and sit back into my heels when squatting and pulling and I’ve set two new PR’s in that time. I was a little skeptical at first about how much difference they’d make but now I’m sold. While I would recommend these shoes to anyone with the budget or means; I don’t believe everyone “needs” shoes like these if they’re lifting less than 200lbs though. I would recommend you practice your range of motion and flexibility before transitioning to dedicated hard soled lifting shoe. Olympic lifting shoes have two general purposes; increasing range of motion and providing a stable platform for the foot and ankle. If you’ve never learned to squat properly and deep then you’re not likely to experience the full benefit of this type of shoe.
I purchased my shoes from http://www.AgainFaster.com. They set me back $145 which is the price of these Reeboks on every site I searched, so when it comes to these name brand shoes you’re not likely to find them any cheaper for a while. Again Faster sells their own proprietary lifting shoe for $99 including free shipping for those looking for a no-frills simple lifting shoe. They feature old school wood heel blocks and leather construction. Rogue Fitness offers the Adidas lifter trainers for $89 but on further research I realized these shoes are lifting “styled” shoes the heel height is much lower than comparable lifting shoes and made of a softer plastic foam matrix instead of a harder non-compressing material.
The whole point of Oly shoes is to ensure you don’t waste energy, power, and momentum to compression from soft foam materials. This is also why you should lift on a solidly built and level platform when practicing and performing Olympic lifts. Back in the day guys would actually use hard soled dress shoes for lifting and many modern shoes from companies like Pendley and Adidas still reflect this formal style in some of their older models. These high heeled low toe solid shoes also increase the angle of your ankle in relation to the floor and increase the range of motion at the joint and at the knee as well. If you’re used to squatting below parallel then you’ll be amazed at how far back you can sit in a pair of Oly shoes and still maintain stability. Its actually quite confidence inspiring and also allows you to generate more torque through the hips to rise out of the bottom.
I settled on My Reebok CrossFit lifters for several reasons. First I just didn’t like the styling or color options of all the other brands I researched. Second while not as cheap as other options they were definitely less expensive than the $300 Nike and Adidas Oly shoes most Hardcore athletes are wearing. Reebok also features “U-form” technology in the uppers and tongue of the shoe. This allows you to mold the shoe specifically to the topography of your foot. I have a high arch and broad foot so this was appealing to me. Finally the Reeboks were more of a hybrid than other shoes. The front portion of the sole is very flexible and was designed to allow for things like Burpees, double unders, and even a short run if need be without having to change shoes during a workout. During last year’s CrossFit games I saw several athletes competing with them throughout the whole affair.
The shoes fit well. They’re heavy compared to the New Balance Minimus and Inov8 F-lites I normally wear but after awhile you don’t notice and that heavy solid feel really translates well to added stability when you have a bunch of weight suspended on a bar over your head. I should tell you that I was already quite flexible in my squats and can drop my ass to within six inches of the ground at the bottom so these shoes really let me take advantage of that increased range of motion to sit back and reset before coming back up. They also let you receive the bar in a much more upright position during Cleans and Snatches so there’s less forward drag trying to pull you over. The great thing about shoes like these is they work well for any kind of squatting and movement involving squats like Thrusters, Air Squats, Back Squats, and even Overhead moves like presses and Jerks.
I ordered my shoes in a charcoal and light gray combination, but they come in many different color options and Reebok even allows you to custom design your own color scheme on their website though it adds around $50 to the total price of the shoes. I received two sets of laces with my shoes; a dark charcoal and bright red. I prefer dark colors because they seem to wear better and show less dirt so I’ll be sticking to the gray laces. A nice touch was that the shoes arrived in 3 days via FedEx in a neat red box that was designed to resemble a Con-Ex shipping container like those used by Crossfit to set up events and store gear. The Customer service from Again Faster was superb and I will most likely return to them for the majority of my equipment purchases after the many miserable experiences I’ve received dealing with Rogue Fitness and their elitist attitude.
Should you order these shoes? Sure, they’re great shoes and I’ve always had good experiences with Reebok products. They are cheaper than some top of the line models but more expensive than some other options. As far as color choices and size options Reebok has the lead at the moment especially when it comes to women’s sizes. I do have some guilt over buying the “corporate establishment” shoe but in this case Reebok set out to make a shoe for those people who enjoy Cross Training but require an Oly shoe. The shoe doesn’t really compromise anything but does a good job of combining many different style of shoe into a solid all around vehicle. I give it two thumbs up.