Review: Reebok CrossFit Nano

I just received my pair of Reebok CrossFit Nanos .  Having been lucky enough to snatch up one of the first thousand pairs made available to the public, I feel obligated to share my thoughts on these sweet new CrossFit kicks.

A bit of background information: I’ve been CrossFitting since late 2007.  I’m 30 years old,  5’10”, and I weigh in at 149.  All of my training comes courtesy of Eric Kendrew at who programs workouts between five and six times per week.

My choice of shoes only began to matter at the beginning of this year.  I’d been wearing a pair of Adidas Trail Running shoes for about two years and found them less than ideal for the demands of CrossFit, especially Olympic weight lifting.  They had somewhere around a 12mm differential and on top of that, they were bloody heavy.  Then I stumbled onto Inov-8s.  I’ve owned one pair of the 195s since March and I absolutely love them.  They look hot, they feel great and I know for a fact they have contributed to a majority of my gains in the past six months.

When the opportunity arose to purchase Reebok’s CrossFit Nanos popped up the other day, I box-jumped (nice, right?)  at the chance.  The Nanos were also my first pair of Reebok shoes, period.  I’ve been stuck on Adidas most of my life, never really caring to branch out and try something new.  The Nanos arrived five days ago and have been under rigorous scrutiny ever since.

First impression:  I’ll be honest; I was really disappointed by the presentation.  The shoes came in a nondescript blue box with the Reebok logo slapped in the corner.  I was expecting something slightly more colorful; at least the CrossFit logo, but not limited to pictures of the 2011 Games or some killer standout design.  Nope, I got a boring blue box.  Inside were two lonely shoes wrapped in a flimsy piece of Reebok tissue.  What a buzz kill.

I was also disappointed to find the box void of anything other than shoes.  No paperwork, decals, or flashy gimmicks crammed in with my shoes; no directions on how to use the U-form technology, just a small sticker INSIDE THE SHOE directing me to a website where I could learn how to use the U-form.  I set my disappointment aside and slipped the shoes on.

The shoes themselves are nice to look at.  I settled on the black and gray Nanos.

I broke them in at the office, taking a quick stroll outside to see how they fit and how they felt.  I wear a 9.5 so I ordered a 9.5.  They fit fine; I know a lot of people were saying the sizing was off, but I disagree.

Since the Nanos arrived I’ve used them for three workouts.  The first experience was with squat cleans; nothing heavy, just enough to get a feel for balance.  The shoes had great stability and were comfortable.

The second workout was a GI Jane (100 Burpee Pull-ups) with a bonus WOD tacked on: 10 Burpees every minute on the minute for 10 minutes.  200 burpees; what a way to break in the shoes!  And the Nanos did me good.  I finished the GI Jane in 9:25 and the bonus workout was a piece of cake.  Not that the shoes played a huge part, but again they were comfortable, they held a good grip on the floor and were light enough where they didn’t hinder my movement or bog me down.

My third workout was an active rest day jog (4.5 miles on rough trails).  Normally I’d wear my Inov-8s for something like this, but I opted to wear the Nanos and risk getting them dirty (gasp!).  For the most part I was running on sand, dry leaves and protruding limestone cobbles.  The shoes took the impact from the rocks better than my 195s, but I felt like the grip on some of the incline hills could have been better.  Overall I was satisfied with how the shoes performed on the run.  I didn’t exhibit any shin or calf pain after the run and avoided getting hung up on any protruding roots or branches (what I consider a sure sign of a good fit).

Now here’s the bad.  The U-form technology is an absolute waste.  Not only did I feel ridiculous holding my girlfriend’s hair dryer in my shoes, there was absolutely zero difference before and after I made my shoes incredibly warm.  Who in their right mind has time before a WOD to set aside sixteen minutes to heat up their shoes (four minutes to heat each shoe and then eight minutes wait to let them settle)?

My recommendation after living in these shoes for five days straight is to buy them.  I love my Inov-8s and it’ll take a hell of a lot more for me to get rid of them, but the CrossFit Nanos are an ass kicking shoe that deserves a chance.  I’m anxious to see what Reebok has in mind for the future of this series.  I think I’ll skip the Oly, but I’m hoping Reebok will shoot for something a little bit more trail oriented down the line.

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