Inov-8 FastLift 335 / 315
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2013 Inov-8 Fastlift 335 / 315
As CrossFit continues to gain popularity and momentum, Inov-8, the British shoe maker, decided to step up to the plate and take a swing at their first-ever Weightlifting shoe. How’d they do? They hit a home run.
Inov-8 makes 2 models: the Fastlift 335 for Men and the Fastlift 315 for Women. Both shoes are identical. When we took them out of the boxes, the most obvious thing we noticed is how ridiculously light they were. Size 10.5 was only 380g! This is 27% less than Nike Romaleos 2, and 10% less than the current lightweight champ, the Reebok CrossFit Lifter. That is nothing short of amazing.
The appearance is interesting. At first glance they appear to be exactly like the Romaleos, Adipower and CrossFit Lifter, but looks can be very deceiving. Unlike Adidas and Reebok that have leather uppers, the Fastlift 335 is made of synthetic “nylon ripsoft” and “breathable mesh.” It is very thin yet strong and somewhat flexible, resembling more a screen material than fabric. Inov-8 is a major shoe manufacturer, and they have the resources to manufacture the heel with the same TPU composite construction the big boys all use. Adidas has the Torsion System; Nike the Power Bridge. Inov-8 calls theirs Power-Truss. There are stripes of reinforcement about the shoe. These are termed “lightweight welded synthetic overlays.” They are so smooth you can barely feel them, reminiscent of the silver lines on a circuit board. And like most weightlifting shoes, they utilize a single Velcro strap for additional stability. They look very clean with excellent details, but the extreme diet is apparent.
For quality control, we weighed each shoe. The FastLift 335 were within 1.8% of one another. This is about average. The overall pitch should be a primary concern when shopping for a Weightlifting shoe. Inov-8 understands this and publishes the midsole thickness and drop. Most shoppers are concerned with heel height without taking into consideration the midsole thickness. We double checked and found an effective pitch of 7%. This is ~1% lower then the Adipower and Romaleos 2, but higher then the CrossFit Lifter. A higher percentage of pitch will be a real advantage for people who have poor ankle flexibility and lack of balance in the bottom position of a lift.
When we put them on, our first impression was…where’s the shoe? They are VERY light. They fit true to size. To wear them around the gym is a joy. They bend easily with each step. Inov-8 uses the term “meta-flex system” that allows for flexibility and comfort throughout the fore-foot. Whatever they call it, it works great. Because of its ultra-light weight, we were expecting it to be very flimsy when we lifted in them. They’re not. During Snatches and Clean and Jerks, the shoe felt very solid and comforting. They inspired confidence, and we were not reluctant to attempt maximum lifts. It’s amazing they are so lightweight, yet remain solid and offer so much support. The mesh lining was comfortable and kept our feet cool. The slightly lower pitch was marginally noticeable by experienced lifters.
Because the FastLIft 335 / 315 are brand-new on the market, we have to wait to see if the shoe maintains its integrity with substantial use. With lightweight products, we are mostly concerned with tearing, splitting or getting sloppy in the toe box after a few hundred heavy attempts. Inov-8 rated the FastLift moderate for outdoor use. We would agree that this type of shoe is designed for indoor use.
It’s as if Inov-8 took the best qualities from all three major manufacturers, improved on them, and then blended that knowledge into one fantastic shoe. Lighter than Reebok, More flexible than Adidas and more solid than Nike. Additionaly, the price is 25% less than both the Romaleos 2 and the Adipower.
If you are shopping for a shoe specifically to do Squats, Snatches, Cleans or Push Presses in this price range, this will be a good shoe, but also consider the Adidas Power Perfect 2.0. But if you desire a shoe for CrossFit class that will be used indoors on WOD’s that include Weightlifting movements along with high rep box jumps, double-unders, etc., then hands down this is the shoe for you.