We have seen a steady rise in the number of people requesting lifting shoes in recent years, this is probably due to the crossfit explosion that has occurred. So this year we decided to start stocking a handful of “lifters”, the model we selected from the limited selection available in the market was the Inov8 Fastlift 335; so we thought it was about time we wrote a review on this highly technical and all round awesome shoe.
Inov8 Fastlift 335 Introduction
The Inov8 Fastlift is both a highly technical and great looking shoe; it’s also excellent value for money when you consider what has gone into the design and construction of it. As well as this it is quite simply a super-solid shoe. For example, the Power-Truss pillars in the heel have been tested past the world deadlift record so won’t fail you! Inov8 have established themselves as a serious crossfit brand that rival Reebok for quality and surpass them when it comes to choice. The Fastlift 335 is testament to this notion as it comes in both the standard laced version, as well as the industry-leading Boa closure version.
On first impressions the Fastlift is an impressive shoe. It simply looks like it means business and has such a technical look, you could never mix it up for anything other than a fully functional lifter. From the TPU (Thermo Polyurethane) Power-Truss pillars to the laser cut upper overlays, every element of the shoe is well designed and certainly pleasing to the eye. If you opt for the Boa version then you will also benefit from the patented neat closure system that is world renowned for use in all sorts of technical footwear.
The fit is quite snug, which makes sense, because you’ll be needing optimum stability and a more secure fit assists with stability. However it’s not overly tight and even moderately wide feet should fit it well. There is also good depth within the shoe, which I personally found very beneficial as I was able to fit my Superfeet Insoles in the shoe without feeling as if I was lifting out of the back of the heel. A big plus for me as the Superfeet help to stop my temperamental knees from converging when I’m squatting or deadlifting. The velcro instep strap also helps to give you that “locked-in” feel, without excessive tightness around the foot.
To Boa or not to Boa?
This was a difficult decision for me. I love the concept of the Boa system, it is world leading and used in all manner of technical footwear, from snowboard boots to golf shoes. It allows for almost infinite adjustment to the fit and also if you’re someone who hates unlacing your shoes it’s a dream-come-true (you simply lift the Boa dial and they open up). It also allows for the most secure fitting possible, due to its great strength. It also looks awesome!
That said, there was something about the good old fashioned lace up version that just felt better for me personally so in the end I bought the lace up! I would recommend trying both if you can, and then deciding, but whichever you choose you won’t be disappointed.
In one word – planted! This is how the Fastlift feels. The flat solid base makes you feel as if you are magnetised to the ground, rolling an ankle or wobbling your foot feels almost impossible. This is all thanks to the solid sticky rubber outsole, teamed with the TPU heel wedge and the injection-moulded external heel counter (EHC), which all work together to make it perfect for exactly the job it’s designed for (being stable under heavy loads). Despite this solid base, the shoe still feels fairly well cushioned and flexible enough for some of the less dynamic Crossfit activities; although certainly not running. The upper is made from a ripstop nylon and this further adds to the solid, yet comfortable feel throughout.
Overall the Inov8 Fastlift 335 is certainly the best lifting shoe we have seen so far. Although Reebok almost have a monopoly on the crossfit market, and Adidas have the heritage in olympic weightlifting; they both need to watch their backs, because this shoe is a serious contender! Highly technical, lightweight (for a lifter), very stable, yet flexible and comfortable all things that make it excellent value for money and a great investment if you are looking to improve your olympic and/or your heavy lifting.
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