A new shoe is in town
I first saw the f-life 235 when the local rep visited Power In Motion. He was packing a few samples and taking orders. At the time I was a little more interested in what was new on the trail and off-trail front then with another fitness shoe. I mean, I was really happy with the f-life 195s and thought, how could they improve on that. All I remember about the f-lite 235 was the color and the fact that it had a zero drop. Now, I am a 3mm drop kinda guy, so I pretty much dismissed this shoe.
These shoes are not for those that don’t want attention
Fast forward to mid-September, 2014, I get an e-mail from the folks at inov-8 asking if I wanted to test it out and provide them with some feedback on the new shoe. Well sure, who would not want that opportunity? There was a lengthy list of “new and improved” in the e-mail, which quite honestly I glossed over. Go ahead, send me the shoes, I’ll check them out.
A couple of weeks later the shoes came. As I open the box I was hoping they would be the Black/Yellow ones, taking back to my high school alma mater colors, the Hornets. To my disappointment they were the Chili/Blue model. Oh well, I’ll give them a try. So, it was time to slip on my inov-8 socks and do my first WOD in them. As I was lacing them up, my girlfriend walks by and says, “New shoes? Love the color.” Wow, I am not even sweaty and pumped from the WOD and I am already capturing her attention. Okay, I am beginning to accept the color.
Putting them to the test with a WOD and rope climbs
I kicked off that first WOD, which included burpees, and noticed something immediately. My toes were not scrunched with each rep. I vaguely recall something about a ‘improved toe bumper’ and ‘burpee protection’. Well clearly that works. Also included in that WOD were ring rows. The heel felt a bit different than what I was used to. It rocked back and forth nicely as I did reps. Feels like the heel was well engineered for various movements in the gym. I keep moving through the WOD growing more and more fond of these kicks.
A few days later I headed down to Power In Motion for another WOD that included rope climbs. As I was lacing up the shoes I wondered if they engineered anything special for the climbs. Well, as I looked at the shoe, it was obvious that they did. The ropetec was there, but it was expanded and also included the plastic/rubbery stuff on the side of the shoe similar to the Bare XF-210. It is then that I remember something from that e-mail about “360 degree ropetec”. Proof that they did engineer it for the rope.
I wondered how the shoe would perform weighted? Over the next week as part of my strength program I did some lifting, dead lifts, squats, bench presses and push presses with them. Once again the shoes felt great. The sole, and intern, my foot felt extremely stable. The sole has a nice degree of cushion and lift off the ground. I do not even notice these are zero vs 3mm. Again recalling that e-mail I think…It must be that ‘denser heel’ and the ‘outsole flexibility’ at work.
The only thing left to do… run
The only think left to do in these shoes are some runs. Helen was on the program so I would be able to test out the 400m, KBS and Pull-Ups with them. This is a great WOD runner providing just enough cushion and the right fit, not too loose, not too tight. They also performed well with the KBS, making it easy to keep those heels planted firmly on the ground while thrusting with the hips. The pull-ups, well let me tell you, these are the best pull-up shoes money can buy.
So clearly these are THE new shoe for training in the box, garage or gym. I can also attest to the fact that your gym selfies on social media will attract more attention. You may even get comments like…”sickness”, “those look sweet”, “fancy”, “those shoes”, “amazing shoes”, “I want those shoes”, “they look like velvet”, and “i need those”. Yes, I am sold on the new f-life 235s, especially in the Chili/Blue.