When you’re working out 4+ times per week, shoes get to be pretty important. I’m pretty picky about shoes and knowing a lot more about biomechanics of the lower extremities it’s a hard subject not to totally geek out about for me! I started my CrossFit journey out in a pair of Reebok Realflex Transition 2.0’s. I liked the look and they were pretty much a basic crosstraining type of shoe with a nice, squishy sole.
I was surprised when I was sizing them at the shoe store because I am a 9.5-10 in most shoes and these were snug at 10.5! But, sizing is meaningless so no big deal. I wore these for the first 2-3 months of CrossFit and overall I liked them. They broke in pretty quickly and I found them to have good durability, very comfy and with a lot of SQUISH, which is not necessarily the best thing (read on). The tongue of one of my pairs (I bought two because I got a killer sale deal on them) started to rip at the seam where the thread came loose, but they’ve been fine without repair and that pair is my around-town/beater pair now.
A lot of people rave about Inov-8 shoes in the CrossFit community and a few months ago I got a good sale on a pair of F-Lite 230’s on TheClymb.com. They regularly carry sales on Inov-8 and other “minimalist” shoes and they have awesome sales on outdoor stuff in general (it is a “referral” site so if you order something if you’d use my referral link I get a little kickback and would appreciate it! Here it is: http://www.theclymb.com/invite-from/SteveAgocs). Anyway, the 230’s are CRAZY light, have less drop (i.e. the heel is only a few millimeters higher than the toes, which has a lot to do with biomechanics and etc), a much thinner sole and therefore, a much firmer and less squishy feel.
I found the Inov-8’s to have a weird fit at first but they broke in pretty quickly. I bought a size 10 and that seemed right. I liked the firmer sole for all lifting, which is important because a thick, squishy sole is like working out on stability pads and it destabilizes you as well as making your leg muscles work harder. Anyway, the Inov-8’s seemed on the narrow side, although they aren’t super structured in the upper, so there is room for your toes to spread out after a few breaking in WOD’s. I also noticed that the toebox is kind of pointy at the end, with some extra material at the tip that wants to catch on box jumps, lunges, Turkish Get-Ups, etc. I am not the only person I’ve talked to who felt like they fit similarly for them, too.
That being said, I really liked these shoes despite the few shortcomings. We did a 1/2 Murph on Memorial Day a while back and I switched back to the Reebok Transitions because of the running and they were SO much more squishy. Felt good on the runs, but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND something more like the firmer and more minimal sole of the Inov-8’s for all the lifting and stuff in CrossFit.
I’ve really been wanting Reebok Nano 2.0’s since I started CrossFit and finally found some on sale in the Earth/Khaki digital camouflage version, which is probably being discontinued because I found it for around $80-$90 on several sites. Being a cheapskate I can’t pass up a deal even if those aren’t my ideal colors/look! LOL
Being that my other Reeboks were 10.5’s and I know the Nano 2.0’s were wider in the toebox, I ordered 10’s and they were HUGE for me. I went down to 9.5 and they were great. So much for sizing standards, even within the same company!
Like the Inov-8’s they have a more neutral drop (but not neutral/zero drop by any stretch) than a regular running shoe, they are light and the sole is firmer, thinner rubber. Unlike the Inov-8’s they have a wide toe box and lacked the “point” at the end that annoyed me on my Inov-8’s. I’ve only worn the Nano 2.0’s on one WOD (my wife has two pairs and loves hers, including one customized pair. Sigh) and I loved them. My only complaint was on some planks we did during the warmups, my Nano’s didn’t have a great grip on the rubber flooring in the box. The Inov-8’s are basically glued to the floor, but the Nano’s had noticeable slide. I’m guessing this will go away as whatever release agent they use in their molds wears off and/or the rubber breaks in a little, but it could just be the compound they use in the sole, too, which would be a bummer because you don’t want to be slipping around when you’re doing planks and such. I’ll report in after some more use to see if this problem goes away.
Overall, I think the Nano’s are going to be my keepers. I have seen photos of the new 3.0’s and I think they look horrendous, so I hope they keep making 2.0’s for a while because I like them so much.