Shoes

We’re very fortunate to have another expert review of shoes for CrossFit by Dr. Ben Frazer of CrossFitSouthYarra.com, this time of the Nike Romaleos 2. The Nike Romaleos 2 are Nike’s flagship olympic weightlifting shoe.  Unfortunately they are mostly sold out currently, but there are still a few pairs left at certain sizes from Rogue.  Check them out here.  We’ll be sure to post an update when new shipments come in. As always, we also have the transcript below so that you can read along.

NIke Romaleos 2 olympic lifting shoes for CrossFit

The Nike Romaleos 2 are premium Olympic Lifting shoes for CrossFit. Click on the picture to purchase.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhJPeT283_w

Ben: I’m here to talk about the new Nike [Romaleos 2] weightlifting shoes. Once again, bright colors. I don’t know what happens to me!

I’m really, really happy. This is the second version, and they’re really comfortable shoes.  When the Olympics was on, you saw a lot of weightlifters in these shoes.

They’re very stable. There’s no flex in the shoe whatsoever.  There’s a little bit in the toes but, overall its really stable. There’s also a power Bridge through the center. It’s really quite good. It also has that slight heel that you need in all these shoes.

It’s also, really comfortable. The best thing is it also comes with an extra insert so you can actually lift yourself up just a little bit more.

I’ve had a pair of Do-Wins for years. I’ve been through two or three pairs, and overall they’ve been really good.  However, with the Do-Wins, the front lip starts to come off after a while.  But the Romaleos are much more solid. You kind of just feel how solid it is.

Another great feature with these shoes is that the Velcro goes both ways so you can cross it over.

For me, I have a really narrow foot so the top Velcro doesn’t really do too much for me but some people who have a wider foot it can make a big difference.  For me, the Velcro is always at the ground. So it adds a little bit of value but not that much when it comes to me wearing the shoe. Another great features is that the shoelaces don’t undo. With Do-Wins, I’ve had trouble where – not necessarily during a WOD but during a weight lifting session. I have to stop, tie the shoes up again and pull it tight.

The Do-Wins only have the one Velcro strap over. I think the Reebok Oly Lifters only have one and a few other ones have got that. This is got two which really prevents the shoe laces from coming undone.

Another great aspect is that the Romaleos are built to last.  Our Olympic lifting coach at CrossFit South Yarra has had a pair for about six or seven months they still look brand new.  He’s extremely happy with them and uses them as much as he can. They’re so good that I’m fairly sure the whole Chinese weightlifting team was in a pair of these Nikes. So if the professionals are using it, you might as well throw out a bit of money to get them.

There’s a basic question: How many shoes do you need in CrossFit? If you got a good pair of shoes for CrossFit in general, whether it be the Innov-8 or the Reebok Nanos or whatever it may be and a pair of weightlifting shoes, you’re doing pretty well. So, two pairs of shoes are really good.

However, it depends on what you want to do. You want to get better at Olympic lifting, you need a better pair of shoes. You just can’t do it barefoot or in a kind of crappy pair of sneakers. If you want to hit PRs (personal records) you need to get a good pair of lifting shoes.

WODReview.com: Would you use these in a WOD or would you just use them when you’re working on your Olympic lifting?

Ben: Well it depends on what the WOD is. If the WOD was something off the ground, pull-ups, sit-ups, maybe something like that, even GHDs (glute ham developer situps), maybe. Any form of running, though, no. Because they’re so stiff, that it kind of feels like you’re wearing  flippers] when you first put them on. It takes a little while to get used to because there’s no flexible sole.

But I would use it in the WOD as long as there was no excessive movement. If there’s excessive moment, I get it changed back to kind of my Nanos or my Innov-8s or whatever I’ve got.

They don’t all come in this color. This is I think a special Olympic color but I mean if you’re in Australia, you’re looking around $200. But it’s an investment.

So $200 and you may change them up every year, two years. I think it’s worth it whereas I know a lot of the guys, if you’re doing a lot of rope climbing and things like that, that would burn through [their regular shoes] in about six months and I go through a pair of shoes in three months or so on.

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Welcome to our first video review! Big thanks to Ben Frazer from CrossFit South Yarra for the expert review.  Please find out more about him and CrossFit South Yarra here.

You can purchase the Reebok CrossFit Nano’s shoes here.

Appologies for the background noise.  We’ve put a transcript of the interview below so that you can read it if any of the audio is unclear.  Please let us know what you think and any requests for future reviews!

WodReview.com: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself first?

Ben: I’m head trainer and owner of CrossFit South Yarra. I started it in October of 2010. I used to be a coach for another CrossFit. I got into the fitness industry about seven years ago.

So I got into CrossFit about six years ago. About three years ago I started training  people in CrossFit from home.  I progressed from there and opened my own CrossFit and here we are.

WodReview: In that time you’ve tried a lot of different types of gear and apparel, particularly shoes.

Ben: I started with a normal pair of runners then moved on to what my coach suggested, which was just a pair of Puma indoor soccer shoes.

Then the Inov-8s came out. I got a pair of them. Really good for what they were.  They were the 195s. They were really good.  And now I’ve been trialling the new reebok Nano 2.0s, and really been enjoying that. I have had three pairs of Inov-8s and now this is my first pair of the Reebok Nano 2s. I’ve been really, really impressed with them.

The Nanos are a bit more solid than the Inov-8s.   It feels like more of a shoe.  By that, I mean that the Inov-8s are more of a minimalist shoe. The Reeboks felt more solid and really comfortable.  Also, I wear orthotics and it was easy to put them in. I just had to take the inner sole out.

WodReview: How do the Nano 2.0s rate on the major CrossFit movements?

Ben I found them really good. There is good toe-flex  for double-unders.

The Inov-8 Bare-X have basically no sole. So I found that a little bit difficult to get used to.  With the Nano 2.0’s, they have bigger soles and are more like a normal shoe.  There isn’t such a bit transition, like with the Bare-X going from having a sole to having no sole. The nanos are not as jarring.

Another good feature is that there isn’t much flex in the midfoot compared to the Inov-8 195s, which don’t have much structure through the center.  So I felt during some of the oly (olympic) lifting that the Nanos had more stability and support through that mid-foot, forefoot rang, which is important.

WodReview: What about rope climbing?

Ben: I like the Inov-8 Bare-XF a little bit better because they’ve got some mouled plastic on the side of the shoe for the rope-climbs.  The Nano 2.0s are really comfortable though and importantly, they hold up well. The issue with a lot of shoes is that they’re just not durable enough.  However, this is a bigger shoe and so it has got a little bit of reinforced plastic tape on the side which gives you some grip. So that’s quite good, and they seem to hold up really well.

 

For example, I’ve seen people with Nike Frees and these big foam chunks tend to come out if you do any excessive amount of rope climbs.

Again, the  Innov-8 Bare-XF I find a little bit better for rope climbs but as a whole shoe, the Nanos are really good.  And I’d probably prefer them over the Innov-8 195s for a rope climb.

WodReview: What are the top three aspects of the Nano 2.0s relative to other shoes?

Ben: I really like the size of the toe bed (at the front of the shoe). I like having it a little bit wider. The stability around the ankles is a lot better as well.  It felt like my ankles were quite stable.

And also the stability and to strength through the mid-foot was really, really good or CrossFit.

WodReview Why is stability and strength through the mid-foot important?

Ben: When you’re doing olympic (oly) lifting you want to have a stable foot.  A lot of us, if we’re doing a lot of pure olympic lifting will have some special oly-lifting shoes like Do-Wins or Nike weight lifting shoes.  But, when you’re mixing it with other stuff like double-unders or whatever it may be, you need that stability through that mid-foot as well as flexibility to be able to run and move well, too.

WodReview: What are the bottom or the worst three aspects of the shoe?

Ben: The trade-off with having a stiffer sole is going on longer runs.  So anything over about maybe 400. it might become a bit of an issue. You will feel like you’re really slapping the ground a little bit too much. If you’re pose running, it may not be that much of an issue but I think for majority of the people, anything longer than a 400-meter run or an excessive  number of 400-meter runs, it may have some form of impact. But for your 100, 200-meter sprints, they’re pretty good.

And those 400 meter or lower runs tend to be the most common in CrossFit.  The majority of the time, you might have an 800m at the start, which is not that big of an issue.  But, if you’ve got a lonnger running WOD, then I’d say change to a more of a sole-based shoe.

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So as most of you will have heard, the new CrossFit Reebok Nano 2.0s are out. This is the first major product release that CrossFit Reebok has made for sometime, so it’s quite exciting. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to trial them out yet, but we’ve scoured the web for all the information you need to know to make an informed decision. A full video review will come shortly.

First, the Nano 2.0 has a similar design to the original Reebok Crossfit Nano Shoe. However, there are several core improvements as shown in the picture below.

reebok crossfit shoes

Click on the picture above or here to check them out.

Basically,Reebok has spent the last year interviewing CrossFit athletes to improve the product and determine what features would make the best CrossFit shoe.

The short and fast of it are three key updated features

1) Enhanced stability. This comes in the heel section of the shoe, where stability is most important. In fact a good CrossFit shoe will have stability through the heel but flexibility in the toe (see point 2).

2) Greater flexibility. This comes in two ways. First there is greater flexibility in the forward section of the shoe. This is for pose running, and obviously you need flexibility in the front for other jumping type movements like box jumps.

 3) Increased breathability. The shoe is made from breathable mesh, which will ensure your feet aren’t squelching by the end of your WOD.

Check out this video here!  It talks about the process of designing the new nano.

Other key features are as follows:

  • The inner arch of the shoe is studded with knobs, giving the shoe traction. The bottom part of the shoe, under the soles of your feet have  padding for a cushioned landing (excellent for box jumps!)
  • There is a DuraGrip toe cap that helps with abrasion. This was actually a big improvement as it means the shoes will now withstand rope climbs and not get torn up. You’ll notice that normal fabrics wear out very quickly otherwise.
  • No break in period. Athletes have commented that you can wear it straight out of the box without any problems
  • The front of the shoe is very wide. This allows room for the toes to spread out appropriately, adding to the minimalist feeling of the shoe. Also many people in the past complained that the toe box was too narrow, so this addition will be welcomed by many. Reebok listened!
  • The tongue of the shoe is thin, and stays in place. This is just a minor adjustment, but there were some complaints previously that the tongue was getting out of place and uncomfortable during workouts.
  • The shoes’ opening for the foot is cut low, allowing for ankle mobility.

Pricing

One of the best things is that the Nano 2.0’s are actually CHEAPER than competitor shoes out there. I have to admit that usually CrossFit Reebok charges a premium that can be a bit hard to justify. However, in this case the Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0’s are only $110. That’s $10 cheaper than the Nano 1.0’s, $10 cheaper than innovate shoes (such as the bare-xf 210) and $40 cheaper than the Reebok Crosfit Oly’s.

Style and design

Ok, so appearance isn’t the biggest thing on the mind of the serious CrossFitter, but I have to admit, these shoes do look great. Just by the way, I love the picture below. And guess what shoes they’re wearing ;-).

reebok crossfit nano 2.0

Basically, they come in a lot of great colours and styles  (see picture below). Check them out here

best shoe for crossfit

And  probably the coolest feature of all, the one that best differentiates it from competitor shoes is that you can customize it! Check out the diagram below for how it works. Only downsides are that it costs substantially more ($149 rather than $110) and also can take several weeks to ship.

custom nano 2.0

Check out this awesome shoe that one customer designed.

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So..what are you waiting for? Get more details about the Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0’s here!

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