Review – Reebok CrossFit OLY Shoe

THE REVIEW:

The Reebok CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting Shoes are 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 Oly 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.

 

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. This 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 wear these in a squat rack I found that you once you planted your feet you 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 Oly shoe is good shape.

Don’t get the shoe wet

If the shoe does get wet, take it off as soon as possible and let air dry so you don’t warp the leather – use a leather conditioner like a saddle soap on the toe to clean, condition and protect it.

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 over, 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 Olympic lifting shoe to transition into versus a traditional Oly shoe. This will make these shoes are 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:

Like the Nano, the CrossFit Oly is currently only available through the Reebok CrossFit HQ Store. 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. We will keep this section updated as time reveals what direction Reebok chooses for distribution.

PROS:

Lightweight
Low Profile, Comfortable
Truly Multi-Use Design
U-Form Technology
Should Be Durable if Cared for Properly

CONS:

Price is Steep But Still a Good Value
Needs a More Defined Heel Cup

ADDITIONAL SHOE FEATURES:

Release Date: 2011
Current Price: 149 USD
Availability: In Production
Purpose: CrossFit Shoes, Olympic Weightlifting Shoes, Power Lifting Shoes
Style: Low Top
Heel Construction: TPU
Heel Height: 0.75″
Colors: Black/Red, Purple/Gray, White/Black

Big thanks to our friends at WLShoe.com for this great review

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Comments

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The author

MC

MC is a professional photographer from Manchester in the UK. He has been crossfitting for 3 years now and has travelled, together with different athletes, through Europe to make some impact, and try to connect the European community. Martin is a CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) Trainer, and also has a CrossFit Gymnastics cert. [Fran 3.50. Grace 2.36. Karen 7.30] Martin is one of the founders of BOXROXmedia, so if you have any questions regarding our services, let him know! Want to be a contributor for us - get in touch!