One of the best attributes of the Speeds is the immense amount of comfort the insole of the shoe offers. The foot bed provides a sufficient amount of padding, making any sort of high impact movement easy to perform. The cushioned insole of the shoe provides a great deal of absorption upon impact, plus the minimalist sole allows you to still maintain a natural feel of the ground below. Assisting with the shoes' comfort is the anti-abrasion lining designed to help minimize the amount of heat buildup and friction. Additionally, the mesh provides the shoe with breathability and also a specific level of support.
Author performing wall balls in Reebok Nano Speed
The fit of the Nano Speed is much narrower than that of the Nano 2.0 and 3.0. Because the shoe is designed with running in mind, the narrower fit allows the shoe to hug your foot and provide support needed for longer distance running — limiting the ability for your foot to move around inside the shoe. The stiffness of the upper places supportive pressure in all the right areas around your ankle, making your foot feel more stable during movements. This is especially useful when you are dropping down into the squat position and don't want to feel like your foot is wobbling around.
Similar to Reebok's other models, the toe box of the Speed features a protective rubber covering. This covering allows you to perform the various CrossFit movements such as double unders, toes-to-bars, burpees, and box jumps, with ease, not having to worry about smashing in your toes or slicing them with your razor-like jump rope. Another big protective feature of the shoe is the addition of the rope guard technology. This technology includes an extra layer of material covering the medial side of the shoe to guard the upper mesh from friction and tearing, as well as a ribbed medial sole, giving added durability, to help you grip the rope and protect the sole from grinding down and ripping apart.
The sensitivity offered by the Speeds can be most felt while running. The flexibility of the sole helps you to utilize your foot in all the right ways, while the minimalist sole allows you to feel the ground beneath your feet. Additionally, the traction of the sole makes it easy to run on both indoor and outdoor surfaces, also making quick lateral movements, or direction changes, much simpler.
These shoes do a great job of holding up to the demands of weightlifting movements. I would not recommend replacing your lifting shoes in favor of the Speeds. Nonetheless, when performing lifting movements in a daily WOD, you can surely rely on them to provide the support and comfort you need. The thinner sole of the shoe puts your foot closer to the ground, facilitating a more natural stability. The slight elevation in the heel helps continually engage the ground while you assert the pressure through your heels that is needed to drive various lifts. Unfortunately, while I do believe they do a great job with the softer, cushioned foot bed and absorbent sole, as well as the upward curve of the toe box, you do lose some of the support and firmness you would get from, say, a lifting shoe or one of the other Nano models.
Do these shoes live up to their intended purpose: running? In short, yes. Where most other CrossFit shoes lack, the Nano Speeds pick up. They supply you with the right amount of cushioning needed to displace the constant pounding caused by running. They are light in design, as well as form fitting, so they make for a smooth movement through the air. Additionally, many other CrossFit shoes feature a stiffer flat sole that limits the natural positioning of your feet while running. However, the Speeds offer a notable amount of flexibility. I have tested these shoes in sprint workouts, as well as longer mile runs, and I was more than satisfied with how they performed. I felt confident in my strides, most importantly in the sprints. They worked great in quick directional changes, and I never felt any fatigue or pain in my legs that I might normally feel running in more constricting CrossFit shoes.
Hands down these shoes function at their best when used during a running workout. What sets these apart from Reebok's other Nano models is your ability to use them on longer distance runs. A great example of how these shoes could be used would be in the well known hero WOD "Murph" — consisting of a one-mile run followed by 100 pull-ups, 150 push-ups, 200 squats, topped off with another mile run. The transition between running and body weight movements is seamless because of the shoe's light weight construction and level of comfort. The only complaint I would have about these shoes is using them when lifting heavy loads. The inclination of the sole causes them to lose a bit of stability, but that isn't to say they don't function flawlessly when worn during your typical CrossFit WOD — workouts that typically don't feature heavy weights.
Author performing bar facing burpees in the Speed's.
The Nano Speeds offer a great value. These shoes offer you a substantial amount of features for an affordable price, listing at $99. In buying the Speeds, you are paying for a shoe that provides your foot with protection and support through all the movements of CrossFit. Although you are not getting the superior protection of the Nano 7, you are getting something comparable to the Nano 2.0s for a lesser price, along with a higher level of comfort and a better shoe for running. While you do lose some stability in weightlifting, for your average CrossFitter, they make for a great first shoe.
Overall, Reebok has done a great job putting out a successful shoe that does exactly what it is intended to do. The best way to describe the new Speeds, would be to call them a fantastic transitional shoe. While more and more people begin picking up the sport of CrossFit, they'll need to get rid of their running shoes and adopt a pair more suitable for the movements and demands of CrossFit. Why the Speeds are successful is because they straddle the line between a traditional runner and a lifter, more so than the Nano models. People will be able to still experience the comfort and flexibility they are used to from their running shoes, while gaining an introduction into a new level of support and stability needed for lifting and high impact movements. It also doesn't hurt that these are one of the less expensive shoe options on the market.