Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reebok Oly Shoes: First Impression

It's been a few days since my Reebok CrossFit Oly shoes arrived, but I haven't yet worked out in them.

Part of me doesn't want to even put them on -- I'd rather just look at them lovingly, and keep them in mint condition forever. But that's just my inner nerdy baseball card / comic book collector talking. The other part of me can't wait to get these suckers on my feet and into the gym.

This afternoon, I broke the shoes out of the box and gave 'em a good once-over.

The Reebok Oly shoe feels a lot lighter than most other weightlifting shoes, owing largely to a heel made of injected thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) rather than wood. I'm guessing the triangular indentations in the heel cut the shoes' weight even further, though I can't say I'm a huge fan of the resulting zigzag design. (It reminds me too much of the barfy-looking outsoles on the Reebok Zigs.)

That said, the vamp of the shoe is extremely soft and flexible. The tread/score lines on the front of the sole underscore the emphasis on free forefoot movement. Combined with the lightness of the shoe (mine weighed just 13.8 ounces -- yes, I checked), I'm guessing these suckers'll do just fine in a WOD that pairs Oly lifts with box jumps or double-unders.

My pair fit well right out of the box -- and not just because the shoe features a nicely-padded collar and a snug heel counter. Reebok appears to have fixed the sizing problem it had a few months ago. (As you may recall, the yellow Nanos sold at the Games ran about one size too big.)

Another issue I had with the prototype Nanos were that the laces were too short. Reebok appears to have addressed that concern as well:

Actually, this photo shows both pairs of laces -- red and black -- that came with the shoe. The red ones are snazzy, but I think I'm going to stick with the black ones.

And let's not forget about the custom-fitting U-Form shoe lining. As with the Nanos, you can bake the Oly shoes in the oven at 200°F for 3 minutes and then put them on. As they cool, the lining of the shoes will mold to the shape of your feet. This may be the closest thing to a perfect-fitting weightlifting shoe on the market.

Mine are now baked and ready to go. 

By the way, it's a little thing, but I love that the little U-Form tab on the sides turn red when the shoes have been baked. (They turn black again once the shoes cool down.)

I know that not everyone's sold on plastic heels over wood ones, and I'll probably stick with my wooden-heeled Adidas weightlifting shoes when I'm focusing on my lifts. But for CrossFit WODs that combine Olympic lifts with jumping around or hanging off a pull-up bar, this flexible, lightweight shoe certainly looks promising. I'll report back once I've had a chance to test drive them a bit more.