Inov-8 FastLift 325 Review

9.5
9.5 score
[Editors rating (9.5)] = (WalkJogRun) score (9.5)/10


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Editor rating: 9.5 / 10
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Weightlifting is more than just wrapping hands around a bar to ready for the ensuing lift. It is a respectable exercise regimen and/or athletic sport which deserves equal respect from us prior to delving deeply into its nuances and finer aspects. We need to learn to center ourselves, both physically and mentally. Furthermore, we need the right kind of gear, as we approach the days’ worth of sets to capitalize on the benefits afforded us. Within this spirit of accomplishment and betterment of self, we examine the Inov-8 FastLift 325. Will this pair stand up to the pressure or will it fall helplessly by the wayside?

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Met-Cradle Lacing

External Heel Cage 

Meta-flex Technology

Power-Truss Technology

Midfoot Strap Lockdown

Cons

Sizing

Better for Beginners

Comfort

Comfort

For what these have the design for, the comfort levels reach our expectations. And although some customers swear by the notion of utilizing these in a cross-trainer scenario, not only do we discourage this, but they do not have the design to meet the standard. These are made with a non-compressible outsole. This is a terrible solution for running and the like. But for weightlifting and the related exercises, thereof, this outsole is the perfect solving of the problem most frequently faced within the genre. That is, weight needs to transfer through the motion of our form. If the outsole is not rigid enough, as can be found in a lot of cross-trainer footwear, then the weight transfers to the foot area and into the shoe. Not only will this cause us to struggle during rigid-related forms, such as powerlifting and squats, but the form, itself, becomes unmanageable. Too much weight is distributed to the outsole and we lose the transitional parts of the form. As such, the non-compressible outsole does increase the overall comfort when utilized correctly. But for running, the opposite is true. This is why these should be only used as part of your weightlifting gear; at least, if you enjoy comfort at all.
Drop

Drop

The heel-to-toe drop is a measurement in the difference between the heel and the forefoot. This difference impacts where weight becomes focused. In the running world, a zero-drop means most of the striking will occur at the forefoot upon landing during the stride; at least in theory, anyway. For weightlifting, a zero-drop piece of equipment will change the form of your lifts versus something having a 16.5-millimeter drop. That is, these have a decent amount of drop, and as such, most of the centering will focus upon the heel. This is exactly what we need to perform optimally when considering form. In addition to form, we, also, need to consider the weight itself and the kind of weight we are contemplating within our approach. This is a pair which excels in a squat, box jump, double under, snatch, clean, and some deadlifting. Because of the 16.5-millimeter drop, the transfer of energy transitions nicely to the heel and aids in correcting form.
Fit

Fit

The fit is one of the downfalls we find in this particular product. For some, the fit is too tight; whereas, others find that the fit is too loose. Some follow the belief that the width is too wide for regular feet, but then others, they swear by the fact that these are too narrow for wide widths. At the end of the day, however, everyone fits a little differently in the same pair of footwear than the next person. With that being said, the best method in choosing the right fit for you is to try these on, first. This means you will need to head to your local athletic sports store and give them a trial fit prior to purchasing online. This ensures the correct fit and a much more pleasant experience when obtaining the product. We did find, overall, that once the correct fit is achieved, then these fit wonderfully while performing. There is no digging in at the top and the toebox gives ample room for toe splay. Furthermore, the external heel cage adds a great deal of stability to increase the overall comfortability of the fit during exercises, such as the deadlift and a squat.
Flexibility

Flexibility

There is a fine line for choosing a pair for weightlifting when discussing flexibility factors. If there is too much flexibility, we lose stability and, therefore, we lose the safe amount of security we need to prevent injury. Furthermore, too much flexibility lends its hand to decreasing performance and the increasing possibility of picking up bad habits (through our form) while attempting to compensate for the loss of stability. Thankfully, these have the design which addresses this issue quite superbly. The outsole is non-compressible, which aids in focusing energy to the lift, itself; a perfect scenario for aiding beginners in form. Also, the Meta-flex design in the forefoot gives us enough flexibility to apply this item to other exercises outside of deadlifts and squats. A double under and a box jump is equally achievable within this pair. In other words, these do have flexibility factors associated with them, so as to not be considered a pure-rigid style. This does mean, however, that transitions can be completed more fluidly and with less effort. Just keep in mind that these are for weightlifting and are not of a CrossFit design.
Grip and Heel

Grip and Heel

The rubber outsole gives us the much-needed grip we need during our lifts. After all, slipping is not an option if we plan on staying healthy in the long-term. This outsole is made with a herringbone pattern and there is a decent amount of stickiness to the rubber. This allows us to utilize these indoors and is, therefore, perfect for the gym. In addition, the external caged heel provides us with a great amount of lateral stability. And with the 16.5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, this setup serves to focus on improving form; as well as, the ability to increase performance. In other words, both the grip and heel work in conjunction to give us the best amount of safety when it comes to our lifts. Furthermore, this pairing works nicely with aiding in the transitional phases of the correct form. We are able to concentrate more on our form and can worry less over the feelings of wearing an incorrect piece of footwear for the job. These excel in grip and heel, and they do so with both thumbs up.
Overall Weight

Overall Weight

Imagine having 50-lb weights attached to your ankles while attempting your box jump sets. Not only does this sound utterly exhausting, but the potential for tearing of ligaments and muscles will greatly increase, as well. We need to focus on our form and our body, and while doing so, we need to ensure that the building we are achieving is of a positive nature. Awesomely enough, this is a pair which excels in this department. They are extremely lightweight, weighing in at only 325 grams. In other words, they are less than 3/4 of a pound. This is a must-have feature when contemplating your next weightlifting product. More importantly, the stability and comfortability factors do not decrease along with the weight. This means you can concentrate on form and the increasing of your sets as you progress. And all the while, you do not need to worry over the strains of wearing a heavy pair. At the end of the day, the overall weight is impressive and other products have a high bar to reach, as a result.
Price

Price

These are absolutely affordable when we compare to other like products with the same style and quality we observe. In fact, these come in at a fraction of the comparable cost, and as such, these become more than desirable for the beginner who is not ready to invest in the higher-priced versions of this styling. What's more is that these do not decrease in quality, even though the price is so much lower than the others we considered. For the price, the longevity factor does meet what can be expected; that is, these may not last as long as some of the other higher-priced equivalents but does excel in performance during this period. With heavy training, these can be expected to last a few months with consistent practice. Those who do the weekend warrior scenario, you can expect that these will make it longer. At the end of the day, the quality, performance, and longevity all exceed the price. They are worth every penny spent.
Stability

Stability

When it comes to weightlifting, we look for lateral stability. Any product which lacks in this area is unfit for this exercise; let alone, when attempting to apply the item to an actual sport-related event. And although we do believe these are best-suited for training and, more specifically, beginner training, this pair does have the quality desirable to handle a competition event. Along with an external heel cage, these have the Power-Truss technology which both serves to increase lateral stability while providing a solid foundation during a lift. Stability runs high laterally and this is exactly what we demand from a good pair of weightlifting footwear. So, for those who need a little more stability during your lifts, these are a great choice.
Style

Style

This is a style which works well in a gym setting. Although there are minimal color choices available, this is an item which is built around the concept of weightlifting form and performance. These may not hit the front page of the trendiest looks but will certainly make up with allowing you to blend nicely with others around you. It is a respectable brand and, if you are a beginner, you will find that you won't get the stares of others from wearing the wrong kind of footwear to the workout. In fact, you might gain a nod or two for taking the exercise regimen more seriously while sporting these. When it is all said and done, there is a sense of professionalism within a growing sport of enthusiastic lifters.
Upper

Upper

The upper is made of mesh. It works to help the feet breathe in an otherwise hot gym, especially when we are deep into our workout. Not only does this aid in keeping our feet healthy but it, also, works to hand us a decent amount of flexibility. This, in turn, opens up what we can or cannot do during our routines. In addition, the upper works to maintain the lightweight aspect of this design. With the overall weight set to 325 grams, we can focus more on our form (as a whole) and less on our feet. So, although the mesh is not as durable as some other synthetics, or leather for that matter, for the purpose of weightlifting, it serves us well. At the end of the day, we cannot imagine another material for this particular design, as it is well thought out for the job at hand.
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

After we consider everything from quality to performance and pricing to comfort, we quickly realize this is a pair which excels in the areas that matter most. These aid in correcting form and allow us to concentrate on the lift ahead. Transitional parts to each phase of motion seem to work fluidly while wearing these. And although the durability does fall short when compared to others of the same type, the cost-to-value ratio counters this, remarkably. For heavy users, they may only gain a few months of usage, but the quality inside of that duration remains high. More importantly, the price is lower than this gained value. And at the end of the day, quality does matter. As such, these hold up well under scrutiny and do so with high marks.