Review: Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA Weightlifting Shoes

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA weightlifting shoe – black picture from Rogue Fitness

Update 10/7/14: I have updated some information which can be found in red

Inov-8 came out with their first weightlifting shoe in the fall of 2013. Dubbed the “FastLift 335” (or 315 for women), it was an incredibly light pair of weightlifting shoes that had the stability for athletes to squat, clean, and snatch, but the flexible sole to run, jump, and maneuver.  (In case you missed it, here is my review of Inov-8’s FastLift 335/315 weightlifting shoes from Nov. 2013.)

In October 2014, Inov-8 will be following up with a second generation weightlifting shoe known as the FastLift 370* BOA. I was lucky enough to get a testing pair of the 370’s and thought I would share my thoughts. (Note: Inov-8 sent me a white on white pair, but the production versions will be black/black and pink/pink.)

*The number indicates the grams each shoe weighs (women’s are 315g/11oz each, men’s are 335g/12oz each).

Here is the official description from Rogue Fitness:

Utilizing the industry-leading Boa® Closure System, the next generation fastlift™ delivers a precise fit as well as custom comfort with a smooth, even closure and no pressure points. Boasting unrivalled structural stability, the shoe features a stretch-free Boa® Closure System that allows functional fitness athletes a stable platform for absolute power transfer. Micro-adjustability is guaranteed with a quick, one-handed turn of the Boa® dial.

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA – white (testing version only)

LACES – (or lack thereof?)
The first thing that stands out about these shoes is the lacing system. Using a Boa click system like that found on snowboard boots, this is more than just a gimmick. Tightening is done by twisting each dial, first the one on the tongue and then the one on the side. As you tighten the shoe, the wire lacing system disappears into the dial from each side. Each “click” tightens the shoe by 1mm so you know exactly which fit is best for you after a few uses. To release, you’ll need to turn the side dial in the opposite direction, but releasing the dial on the tongue is done simply by pull the dial up (“out”) which releases the tension. I’m not sure why the side dial is not designed this way, but I’m sure it’s intentional.

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA – white (testing version only)

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA weightlifting shoe – pink picture from Rogue Fitness

WEIGHT
Much like the 335/315’s, these shoes are LIGHT. At 13 oz. per shoe for men’s size 9, the FastLifts are the lightest weightlifting shoes on the market. (for comparison, Adidas Adipower’s are 18oz’s each, Nike Romaleo II’s are 15.8oz each, Reebok’s original shoes are 13.4oz (I could not find the weight for their newest Lifter 2.0 Plus) Interestingly, both the men’s and women’s shoes are labeled with the same “370” grams unlike the first version.

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA weightlifting shoe – black picture from Rogue Fitness

CONSTRUCTION
Much like their predecessors, the FastLifts 370’s are made with a synthetic upper and a “Power Truss” heel cage made of cylindrical tubes which I’m sure saves on weight. And just like the 335/315’s, the upper is made from a combination of mesh-like fabric and what I’ll describe as laminate. The laminate is glued on and probably provides stiffer structure to the upper, although in no way does it feel restrictive. The pattern of the laminate is different for the 370s, with a distinct strip running diagonal across the top of the foot. The strap across the top of the foot is made from the same material and “RISE TO IT” is printed across the strap. In terms of the shape and footprint of the shoe, it’s very similar, if not exactly the same as the 335/315’s.

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA – white (testing version only)

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA – white (testing version only)

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA weightlifting shoe – pink picture from Rogue Fitness

FIT
Much like the 335/315’s 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 actually listed as “0.65 inches” on Rogue’s website, but I could not tell the difference between the 370’s and 335’s. (the 335/315’s are listed as 0.75 inches high which is standard for a weightlifting shoe. Some powerlifting shoes are 0.5 inches high). Some people find Inov-8’s to be narrow, while I find them just right. I am a smaller guy (5’8″, 160lbs., size 9 shoe) and these are great.

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA weightlifting shoe – pink picture from Rogue Fitness

USAGE
I’ve had these shoes for about a month and overall, I like them. Since I received the white pair (not going into production), I’ve received pretty polarizing opinions on them, but it doesn’t matter since the production ones will be black on black (guys) or pink on pink (girls). This is a good decision since the white version got dirty very fast, even from my knee sleeves being pulled down at my ankles.

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA – white (testing version only)

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA – white (testing version only)

I primarily used them for back squats as I’m going through a Smolov squat cycle, but I did get some metcons in that involved running and box jumps. Much like the 335’s, these provide the stability I need in squats, cleans, and snatches, but also the flexibility to run and jump. I did notice that the tongue dug into my ankle more than the 335’s while running. I believe this is from the top dial having its base built into the tongue. It wasn’t painful, but it was noticeable. Also, if I tightened the side dial too much, it created a hotspot of pressure under the dial. This was easy to relieve by just loosening the dial a few clicks. Anecdotally, one day we were snatching and I easily felt the best I ever have while snatching. My first and second pulls felt great and my feet connected solidly with the ground. Could it have been more than just the shoes? Sure, but that’s just a story for those questioning the stability of the 370’s.

My major concern is also the major selling point of the shoe – the BOA system. If it breaks or fails, it is not an easy fix like grabbing another pair of shoelaces. I’m not sure how much the repair costs would be, but serious athletes will want a backup pair on hand at competitions. UPDATE: see below about Boa’s warranty and free replacement parts

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA – white (testing version only)

PRICE
$200 – While the 335/315’s were selling at $150, it will be interesting to see how these shoes fare. At this price point, Inov-8 is competing with the Adidas Adipowers and Nike Romaleos, both shoes that “serious” weightlifters typically wear. CrossFitters like myself would love this shoe for its versatility in both weightlifting and bodyweight movements, but you should not mistake the light weight for instability. The Adipowers and Romaleos may feel more stable, but it comes at the cost of weight. For the CrossFitter who needs to move, this weight will make a difference.

At time of publishing (9/30/14), Rogue Fitness’s website says these shoes will be available in mid October for $200. I am unaware of other retailers offering the shoes, although I imagine a few others will have them in stock (e.g. Again Faster)

PROS
-LIGHT!
-flexible for running and box jumps
-aesthetically pleasing (at least to me)
-sneaker-like fit
-easy and precise lacing system

CONS
-cost (for some)
-not easy or fast to replace BOA system if it fails or breaks
UPDATE from Inov-8: Boa provides replaceable parts at no charge for the life of the product in which we are integrated.  In order to support the continuing improvement of Boa products and the products of the Brands we work with we need the following information in order to provide your parts at no charge.  This will also be used as shipping information to get you the parts you need. For more information about the warranty, visit: https://www4.boatechnology.com/warranty

CONCLUSION
The Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA’s are a great hybrid for the CrossFitter that needs a stable shoe for weightlifting, but a light and flexible shoe for running and box jumps. It is slightly heavier than its predecessor, but tightening the shoe is literally a cinch which can be precisely duplicated each time you lift. While the 370’s could also be a great option for athletes who only weightlift, it will be a hard sell with Nike and Adidas controlling much of that market. A concern might be repair time and cost for the unique lacing system, but considering Boa’s longevity and warranty, this should not be a major concern.

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Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA weightlifting shoe – black picture from Rogue Fitness

WHERE TO BUY
Rogue Fitness (black/black, pink/pink – information only as of 9/30/14)
Inov-8 (link is to their news section as the 370 is not listed as a product as of 9/30/14)

Update: The Fastlift 370 BOA is (or soon will be) available for online purchase through Zappos, Rogue Fitness, Again Faster, Amazon, Road Runner Sports, as well as many other local brick and mortar retailers.

 DISCLOSURE
Inov-8 provided me with a pair of FastLift 370 BOAs for testing purposes. They have encouraged me to give them feedback and provide this information to the public. I was not paid to do so, nor am I obligated to give favorable reviews.

What do you think of the Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA weightlifting shoes? Post thoughts to comments!

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Interview with Jennifer Fugo, Author of “The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper”

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I recently had the chance to interview my friend, Jennifer Fugo, founder of Gluten Free School. As a gluten-free expert, Jen teaches gluten-sensitive individuals simple, savvy and empowering steps to get healthy. Living gluten-free since early 2008 after a gluten sensitivity diagnosis, she knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by the cost and seemingly complicated aspects of going gluten-free. A sought-after expert, advocate & speaker about healthy, gluten-free living, Jen has been featured on Dr. Oz, Yahoo! News, eHow, CNN, and Philadelphia Magazine and is the author behind the ground-breaking book “The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper: How to Eat Healthy without Breaking the Bank.”

Chris: So Jen, for those that don’t know, what do you do and how did you get into it?
Jen:  I’m an advocate, speaker and expert in gluten-free living as well as the founder of Gluten Free School. I became interested in the world of all things gluten-free because  I became sick in my late 20s and, after getting the run-around, found out that I was sensitive to gluten, dairy and eggs which were at the root of my body’s health issues.

Chris:  What were the symptoms of being sick and what do you mean by “run around”?
Jen:  I started Gluten Free School as a way to connect, inspire and empower women (and some open-minded guys) to learn about different approaches to what could possibly be causing issues for them with the pretext that they need to live a gluten-free lifestyle because of gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, thyroid issues or other autoimmune problems. I was a Tylenol pill popper since my early teenage years because of constant headaches.  My weight had increased by nearly 20 lbs and wasn’t helped by changing my diet nor exercising more.  I was getting sick every 6 weeks (so low immunity) and I couldn’t wake up even after sleeping 11 hours at times.  I’d feel like I’d been drugged every night and couldn’t shake feeling like I was in a fog.
My doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me.  One doctor told me to stop exercising so much.  My blood work looked completely normal.  Another doctor told me to try taking some B Vitamins.  But generally, everyone just shrugged off my symptoms and didn’t think to piece anything together.
Even my dad (who’s an MD) didn’t believe that food could cause the issues I was having.  After seeing my physical transformation (which is very apparent in my before and after photo), only then did he finally acknowledge that clearly the food that I was eating was causing issues.

Chris:  Did you get scoped? Can you talk more about the current tests that are out there for gluten sensitivity?
Jen:  No.  I was never tested for Celiac Disease and have never seen a GI doc.  To be honest, I thought my “stomach issues” were normal.  It only took 3 or 4 days being off gluten to feel a huge quieting of my digestive track.  In 2008, celiac disease wasn’t nearly as talked about as it is now and for whatever reason, my nutritionist never suggested for me to go see a GI doc.  I never even knew what celiac disease was until a few months after starting a GF diet.
There are two different views of gluten sensitivity (which is technically called “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” or NCGS).  It’s important to mention that an intolerance and a sensitivity are the same thing.  NCGS is not an autoimmune disease wherein Celiac is.  So that is the large difference.  However people with NCGS can have similar symptoms as those with Celiac and even worse reactions depending on their level of sensitivity as compared with a person with Celiac.
Now, if you ask a “western medicine” doctor, they will tell you that there is no official diagnosis that exists for NCGS as the mechanisms behind it aren’t fully recognized and they seems to be skeptical of other testing that I’ll discuss in a moment that can tell you if you are sensitive to gluten. However if you were to ask a Functional or Integrative physician about NCGS, they would tell you that it absolutely exists and that there are several ways to go about getting tested.
Generally a IgG blood test is how food sensitivities are determined which looks for antibodies to food proteins which have slipped through the lining of the small intestine and are viewed by one’s immune system as an intruder.
Other tests that I’ve seen include a stool test, but those seem to be less popular.  The ultimate determination though is a food challenge because even IgG blood tests can show a false negative if say you’ve taken gluten out for a long period of time.
A food challenge would require someone to remove a particular protein from their diet for a specific number of times (usually 30 or 60 days) and then add it back in to the diet on a particular day (for example, you might eat a big plate of wheat pasta and bread).  Then wait 4 days and see if you experience any symptoms that are not indicative of feeling well.
Some people will mistakenly go to an Allergist, confusing a sensitivity reaction with an actual allergy, and get a skin prick test.  That test seeks to provoke IgE reactions which are much different from IgG reactions.
In my recent podcast with Dr. Charles Parker, he explained the difference between IgE and IgG reactions as such (and I think it’s important for people to know the difference because it’s a big one)…

IgE — think IgE-mergency — as in your throat will close up if you’ve ingested peanuts or shellfish.
IgG — think IgG-host — the symptoms are all over the place and come and go making it often difficult to determine what made you sick

Chris: So it sounds like there are symptoms that people can have that are not “life threatening” but still make them sick. How prevalent do you think this is?
Jen:  Correct.  It’s hard to say.  There are estimates out there that range from something like 6% of the population to some who claim that 50% do.  It really depends on whom you ask, but I honestly don’t think we have any idea what the number really is because there is still a lot that needs to be studied before a determination could be made.  I do think that it underscores the point that people need to understand — we are all different and thus require different food.  What might work for me, might not work for you.
It’s a mistake to assume that everyone should be able to eat the same thing and be just fine.  There are so many variables — genetics, stress levels, toxicity, nutrition, etc. — that it’s best to figure out what foods work for you and which work against your sense of wellbeing.

Chris: You mentioned that you were sensitive to gluten, dairy, and eggs. Most people have a hard time when you take their pasta away, now their cheese omelets??
Jen:  Ha!  It was a real shock to me, too!  I think my circumstances put me in the right place to be an advocate for those struggling with this issue because I’ve lived it.  I’m from an Italian family and I kid you not when I say that I lived off pasta and bread for much of my life.  I ate grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast and PBJ sandwiches for lunch every day in high school.  I loved hard boiled eggs.  To get word that I basically had to give up everything I loved in order to not be sick was, on one hand, devastating.
One of the red flags that many Functional Medicine doctors will talk about is that gluten is like the gateway protein that creates leakiness in the gut.  It allows other food proteins, like dairy and eggs or even something as benign as asparagus or cucumbers, to slip through the gut wall and trigger a reaction by the immune system.
If you work to heal your gut and, in essence, seal it back up, some of the food sensitivities may go away.  However, Dr. Amy Myers told me that she believes about 50% of people with Celiac and NCGS are also sensitive to dairy partly caused by the immune system confusing the dairy proteins for gluten.
So being compliant is a huge issues for people and it’s why I think the information in my book “The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper” is so helpful because it deals with the practical side of sticking to a gluten-free diet that’s more focused on whole food and provides people with options regardless of their financial means.

Chris:  That’s a good segue into your book. What is it about and who will it help?
Jen:  “The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper” is a practical guide to help people who need to live gluten-free do it in a smart and savvy way.  It explains why gluten-free diets are more expensive and highlights why it’s so important to focus one’s diet around real food.  The information is based off my own personal journey of going gluten-free, getting sick from eating the “Standard American Gluten-Free Diet” with Adrenal Fatigue and Candida, and then having to change my diet again only this time with a very small budget after my husband was suddenly laid off.
I had to be so committed to eating well that I couldn’t allow financial restrictions to get in my way, so I found creative and simple solutions that made eating healthy and gluten-free doable.
I’m not a big DIY person and I can’t spend all day making everything from scratch which is a fear for many people who need to balance eating well with a certain level of convenience.
So my steps and strategies are perfect for busy moms, women who work a lot, and families who need help getting food on the table in a reasonable amount of time.  I’ll also say this — eating savvy ISN’T about eating on a shoestring or eating cheap processed foods.  It’s the exact opposite of that because cheap foods are refined and will cause trouble for one’s health.
However, if you know how to “work the grocery store” and “work your freezer” and stock your pantry… if you know how long food can stay in the fridge and if you can freeze it… if you have some semblance of a meal plan each week, the amount of money you will spend on food drops.  I’ve had some clients who’ve tracked their expenses before and after using the strategies in the book cut their grocery bills by nearly 50%!
Then you have the money to spend on better quality meats and locally grown food (maybe you want to get a cow share or a CSA share).  Perhaps you can now afford the kitchen appliances (like a Vitamix or a juicer) that would be helpful in getting healthier.
Being savvy has a lot of upsides to it and it’s a muscle that we work and strengthen with practice.  So for those who might not naturally think to find “hacks” for saving money and time, the book sets them up to start doing just that.

Chris:  But what about those frozen gluten free meals I can just buy and heat up? Aren’t those quicker and easier?
Jen:  They’re ridiculously expensive, first of all.  And though you could just buy it and heat it up, you’re likely to not feel full after eating it.  Most are filled with highly refined starches which are awful for your blood sugar aside from containing lots of nasty ingredients hoping to mimic the “normal” gluten-filled version.
What’s really quicker and easier is to cook leftovers that you know are safe, freeze them and then pull them out and heat them up when needed.  It’s hands down healthier, cheaper and safer.  As good as most companies are who offer gluten-free food products, there are recalls that happen for unacceptable levels of gluten and we only find out about them after they’ve gone to market and people may have already gotten sick from them.

Chris:  As we wrap things up, what about people who don’t know what to make? Do you include recipes in your book?
Jen:  Yes, there are 27 recipes.  All are gluten-free and I’d say 95% are dairy-free as well.  Everything is marked based on whether it’s then dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian and paleo.  The book also includes a complimentary bonus guide that has a meal plan and shopping list using the recipes in the book while visually explaining how I teach clients to plan their weekly meals.
I’ll also say this — even if you aren’t gluten-free, the strategies shared in the book are still valuable.  It’s based around food that HAPPENS to be gluten-free.  So if someone is just looking to eat healthier, or veers more toward even a paleo diet, they’ll get a lot of helpful information out of the book.

Chris:  Any parting words or advice for those looking to get healthy?
Jen:  Start with one small step today to make a change… maybe it’s eating an additional vegetable at dinner or replacing your baked white potato with a sweet potato.  Maybe it’s trying out a new spice you’ve never used before.  Or cooking one new dish you’ve never tried each week.  If you just do one new thing, one baby step… you’ll have a lot of change on your hand 52 weeks later that will feel much more like a natural, easy transition to healthier eating than an unsustainable fad diet that you can’t stick to.

Chris:  Awesome, thanks for your time Jen and good luck with the book!

Folks, you can sign up for Jen’s free weekly newsletter at http://www.glutenfreeschool.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.  She also has speaking events up at http://www.glutenfreeschool.com/events which includes speaking on a panel about the gluten-free diet at this year’s PaleoFX conference in Austin, TX.

About “The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper: How to Eat Healthy without Breaking the Bank”
Eating gluten-free is a financial burden for many celiac and gluten sensitive families. What starts out as a quest to get back your good health by going gluten-free can create a huge amount of stress over money since the Gluten-Free Diet can cost about two and a half times more money than your former gluten-filled diet. But, this doesn’t have to happen to you!In The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper, you’ll learn why gluten-free food is expensive, how you can easily reduce your grocery bill by up to 50% and–even cook less! You’ll also learn simple shortcuts to ensure you always have healthy, gluten-free food available even when cooking isn’t necessarily convenient.The book includes lots of simple tips to implement as well as 27 easy-to-make, healthy gluten-free recipes. You’ll also get access to a complimentary menu planning guide (only available to those who purchase the book) that teaches you the steps to save money and time while cooking and shopping smarter.

Buy book
Buy Kindle version

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Misto Spray Bottle for Paleo Cooking

Tonight I cooked fish. Normally I’ll use ghee or coconut oil in a pan to cook eggs, chicken, etc. but sometimes I just need a little bit of non-stick goodness. While I could get out the jar of ghee or coconut oil, it’s just easier to get the Misto spray bottle and spritz a little bit of olive oil in a pan so the fish doesn’t stick.

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Hardcore science people will say that olive oil is more fragile than coconut oil/ghee/lard and will oxidize more quickly. Well, this is true, but again, I am not deep frying my fish in olive oil, just coating the pan so the food doesn’t stick. So I’m not worried about the oxidation as much as the convenience of a paleo-friendly oil (unlike canola oil) in a quick and easy spray bottle. The bottle is easy to refill and it’s also more convenient to use olive oil you already have vs. buying a dedicated olive oil spray from the store.

Just make sure you don’t put coconut oil, ghee, or lard in these bottles as these fats are typically solid at room temperature!

Click any of these pictures to buy these bottles from my Amazon store. A few cents to me, same price for you!

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