After being the first brand to design a shoe to withstand CrossFit movements, inov-8 have added yet another option to their arsenal. But does this new lightweight inov-8 ALL-TRAIN 215 shoe perform as well as it looks?
Wow. I have the orange, black and blue colourway shoe (as you can see) and they definitely stand out in the crowd. The first thing to say is they’re definitely the most colourful fitness shoe I’ve ever worn. I love the colours and they contrast nicely together. Like the new F-LITE 235 V2, these have the ADAPTERFIT modification across the midfoot region to lock down your foot for lateral movement support. Above the ADAPTERFIT stripes is the contrasting inov-8 logo which stands out and allows people to see you’re wearing inov-8s. The heel cage, unlike other newly released inov-8 shoes, is multi-coloured to fit in with the shoes colourful design. This fits the shoe well and allows more contrast between the orange and black divide on the heel. The new META-FLEX material, which runs from the midfoot to the toe equally contrasts the orange but again isn’t too ‘in your face’. This shoe for me is nice enough to wear casually out and about Leeds with a pair of jeans. The ALL-TRAIN 215 for me doubles up as a gym and a casual shoe it’s that good looking.
Don’t let the good looks fool you; this shoe is designed for workout abuse! The ALL-TRAIN is definitely a shoe for longer workouts, as it only weighs 215 grams, but I put my pair through ten sessions of CrossFit to see how they faired moving outside of the gym based comfort zone. As ever my programme varies, but I ensured these shoes tried all of the regular CrossFit movements of weightlifting, burpees, box jumps, squats, rope climbs and handstand press-ups.
The first thing I’ll mention is the 8mm drop from heel to forefoot. This is a godsend. The 8mm drop and the new fusion heel lock is a welcomed combination when it comes to squatting and Olympic weightlifting. The heel lock ensures that this light shoe provides stability when lifting heavy weights, be that for 2 or 22 reps. Although they are lighter than the F-LITE 235s they feel more cushioned underfoot with the fusion midsole and heel.
The new META-FLEX groove which separates the forefoot allows the user to explode out of those box jumps and big lifts. I found this really helpful in workouts which included a number of explosive movements like squats and burpees where efficiency is key. This speed and power transferred into running in the shoe. The shoes’ coloured sticky outsole provides great grip when running or weightlifting. It’s almost like the small craters in the sole act like suction cups when subjected to high impact on a flat surface. This was noticeable in jerks, power cleans and explosive foot movements.
The ADAPTERFIT met-cradle allows the foot to perform lateral and medial movement with very little in shoe slip during workouts. This elastic mesh lining hugs your foot and swells to the foot like a glove. This made running, box jumps, burpees and this fitness based movement transitions feel easier.
To say this shoe is so lightweight it certainly keeps up with the Nike and Reebok heavyweights of the gym world. But because of its 215g body composition, it lacks the same level of ankle support around the heel which you’d expect. This only becomes a problem when lifting heavy weights which can often test ankle mobility. However, when I’m lifting heavier weights I tend to swap my shoes to the inov-8 FASTLIFT 370 BOA lifters and so this would not usually be a problem.
To compete in the CrossFit world, my opinion is that companies are going to have to introduce a handstand press up glide bar on the heel of their shoes. Nike has done it and you wouldn’t believe how much this eradicates wall friction until you try it. In the ALL-TRAINs, rope climbs were a little less grippy without the 360-degree rope-tec like that of the F-LITE 235s. The rope slips through the sole of the shoe on some climbs, but once I got used to the shoe this happened less frequently. However, without the rope-tec, I was afraid of rope climbs damaging the shoes good looks.
I don’t believe that this shoe was designed for CrossFit, but it certainly kept up with all the CrossFit shoes I’ve worn. I think that the All TRAIN is more of a gym shoe. They almost remind me of those good looking shredded fitness models you see in regular gyms. They do all of the hard work whilst looking good doing it. Whereas this shoe brother, the inov-8 F-LITE 235 V2 isn’t as pretty but handles anything you throw at it. I love the way the ALL-TRAIN 215’s look and feel. I was always reluctant to change into my weightlifting shoes for bigger lifts when wearing these. My feet were just that comfy. I recommend getting these for training and dazzling the streets of your local town outside of the gym.