Strong Women editor Miranda Larbi puts Reebok’s signature strength shoes to the squat test.
You know the person who walks around the weights room or strength class in their socks? That’s me. I own a few pairs of strength training shoes, but they’ve never really felt that secure or comfortable, so it’s often easier to squat, lunge or lift barefoot.
But going around in your socks does have its downsides. White socks quickly turn black with gym floor dirt and you never quite shake off the fear that one day you’ll drop a dumbbell on your foot and you’ll be in a cast for the next six months.
What I’ve been looking for is a pair of shoes that fit tightly, make me feel really supported when lifting heavy and that I can also move faster in. I tend to jog to the gym, and often, classes include things like burpees or jump lunges – plyometric exercises that require a little give.
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Reebok’s Nano X2 shoes are supposed to be an all-rounder, suitable for whatever moves your workout throws at you. I put them to the test during three weights classes, running to the first, cycling to the second and walking to the third.
I often wear garish gym clothes, but I draw the line at outlandish trainers – particularly if I need to wear them to work ahead of my session. This pair, however, is about as chic as gym shoes get. They do come in various shades, but I went for a monochrome vibe (which automatically makes them look less obnoxious). And unlike some of the more bombastically shaped shoes, these look pared-back and flattering – important if, like me, you’re a size 9.
They’re super comfy. As with most strength shoes, I probably wouldn’t want to wear them all day or wear them instead of regular trainers for walking about, but they’re extremely comfortable for gym work. The material in the upper feels really breathable, while the cushioning around the tongue and ankles means that even when your foot is pulling against the shoe on those heavy lifts, you don’t have any sharp fabric digging into your skin.
I tested these shoes for a few things: stability while lifting heavy, comfort while doing more HIIT-style exercises and cardio movement. I’d never dream of running in the other strength shoes I own (or vice versa), but jogging in the Reebok Nanos felt quite good. They’re light, so even if the sole doesn’t bend much, there was nothing to aggravate my (usually sore) tendons.
During my first strength session, I was able to go heavier than I have in months – which I’m sure was down to having better support in my feet. I didn’t love them for HIIT, but that’s because I’m used to getting more bounce from shoes when it comes those really explosive moves; saying that, I actually managed to ‘win’ the finisher competition in the class for the most rounds during the EMOM… so they must have helped in some way.
Value for money
At £110, they aren’t cheap, but that’s also just how much strength shoes seem to be across the board right now. Nike’s Metcons are £114 and Under Armour’s TriBase shoes go for £105 (although Adidas does offer far cheaper options). As with decent running shoes, if you’re going to strength train often, then they’re worth the investment.
These are the only shoes I plan to wear to the gym from now on unless I’m planning to do any treadmill work. They’re everything you want from a pair of strength shoes and they’re versatile enough to wear to HIIT and bodyweight sessions too.
Images: Reebok/author’s own
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