Inov-8 recently came out with their own Olympic Lifting shoe – the FastLift 315/335.* The FastLifts are Inov-8’s answer for the CrossFitter who wants an olympic lifting shoe to squat, clean, and snatch in, but also use it for WODs involving running, rope climbs, and box jumps. I’ve had the Again Faster versions for about three months, using them three to five times per week and have had a great experience with them. Here are some pictures and a candid review of the shoes.
*The numbers indicate the grams each shoe weighs (women’s are 315g/11oz each, men’s are 335g/12oz each).
The first thing you’ll notice about the shoes are that they are LIGHT. I had the Rogue Do-wins which were fine, but a bit cumbersome when it came to CrossFit workouts involving box jumps and running. At 12 oz. per shoe for men’s size 9, the FastLifts are the lightest weightlifting shoes on the market. (for comparison, Nike Romaleo I’s were 22oz PER SHOE and their Romaleo II’s are 16.8oz each…Reebok’s are 13.4oz at time of writing) The FastLifts are made with a synthetic upper and a “Power Truss” heel cage made of cylindrical tubes which I’m sure saves on weight. Other weightlifting shoes may have a wooden heel which is great if you don’t want compression, but not so great if you want to keep it light. Although the upper may feel thin and fragile compared to other oly shoes, so far they have held up, although I haven’t tried driving any spikes into the tops of the shoes yet. One thing I did notice was the creasing in the toe box as you can see in pictures. These pictures were taken after only wearing them for a few times, so I was disappointed that they would crease so easily, but after three months they haven’t gotten much worse than the initial creasing.
Aesthetically, I like these the best out of any other weightlifting shoes, especially the Again Faster versions that are black and navy blue. The shoe is sleek and looks more like a sneaker than a weightlifting shoe. In terms of color, I know some people love the colorful Adidas AdiPowers (construction cone orange), but these are more subtle and don’t scream “LOOK AT ME!” Rogue sells a red and black version if you prefer that scheme.
The fit is very similar to Inov-8’s running shoes. I have a few of their 195’s and I find the fit very similar. Sizing is also consistent and is true to size for me. The heel is 3/4 in. high which is standard for an olympic lifting shoe. The Rogues I had were 1/2 in. heels which were a hybrid for powerlifting and olympic lifting. The extra 1/4 in. allows for just a bit more dorsiflexion in the ankle which allows you to achieve a deep squat more easily.
In terms of usage, I feel very stable in these, despite them being more narrow and lighter than other weightlifting shoes. Whether I’m squatting, cleaning, or snatching, the shoes are snug enough and feel like a very stable sneaker.
The only consistent problem I have encountered over three months of solid usage are the laces. They are smooth, which on one hand means they don’t get stuck in the hook-and-loop strap (my Do-Wins always did that and the laces got frayed easily), but the smooth surface also means they don’t stay knotted easily. In fact, most times I knot the FastLifts and the knot immediately becomes loose. This actually is not a huge problem since I tuck all of the laces into the strap anyway, but you will probably notice this when you get the shoes. If it’s a huge problem for you, just double knot.
The other most recent development is the rubber bottom of the shoe. Some of the rubber in the heel is chipping and I’m not sure if that’s from normal usage or a one-time incident. It’s at the very end of the heel and about 1/16 in. deep and 1/4 in. wide, so not a huge deal right now. Just something to note since I have not done much running in these and so you might have more dramatic wear and tear if you do run in these often.
Price: $150 – this is a fair and reasonable price for weightlifting shoes. Adidas Powerlifts are around $90 and a great value for someone just starting out with weightlifting. Rogue Do-Wins are $120 for those looking to save a few dollars and want the option of a 1/2 in. heel (they also now sell a 3/4 in. version of the Do-Wins). Reebok weightlifting shoes are the same price at $150, and Nike Romaleos are $190 and a fantastic weightlifting shoe, but not a great option if you are including box jumps and running. The same goes for the Adidas AdiPowers at $200. I would save the last two for the serious weightlifter who is ONLY squatting, cleaning, and snatching.
The Inov-8 FastLifts are a great hybrid for the CrossFitter that needs a stable shoe for weightlifting, but a light and flexible shoe for running, box jumps, and rope climbs. The advantages of having a light shoe may also turn into disadvantages, particularly when it comes to durability, however three months of consistent usage has seen minimal wear and tear. Some people might find the laces to be bothersome to tie, but the hook-and-loop strap will keep them in place. Overall, this is a great pair of shoes at a solid price if you are a CrossFitter or hybrid athlete.
-flexible for running and box jumps
-aesthetically pleasing (at least to me)
-smooth laces = not getting caught in hook-and-loop strap
-smooth laces = easily undone knots
-questionable durability of rubber bottom
Where to buy:
Again Faster (blue and black for guys/pink, black, and green for girls)
Rogue Fitness (red and black/black and red/pink, black, and green)
Inov-8 (all of the above plus some limited editions)