Chuck Taylors On Steroids: The Ballad Of Mark Bell And The Reebok Crossfit TR Lites

Thanks for dropping by!  Here’s the video to go with this if you’d rather watch than read:

 

Originally released in 2014, The Crossfit TR Lite shoe was a joint project between powerlifter and Super Training Gym mogul Mark Bell, and Reebok.  The idea of this new shoe was essentially to allow your feet more room for full use during lifts, whereas a shoe like the Chuck Taylor, which I wrote about in my last article, can tend to be a little to narrow for some lifters.  If you’re pushing hard in your main compound lifts and are performing them correctly, you’re pushing down against the floor with your whole foot.  Most lifters call this “splitting the ground”, or “pressing the ground away”. In essence, the Reebok Crossfit TR Lite was the first ever shoe made strictly for Powerlifting.

Specifications

   

The pictures you’ll be seeing as I go over the specs are of my own pair of TR Lites.  I bought them two years ago and I still use them today.  Just remember something when buying shoes just for training; if you just use them for that your shoes can last a long time and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth regardless of the price.  The shoes themselves are made of a very thin leather, with cotton inside.  But there is leather.  The tongue is made of mesh, which is very beneficial for ventilation, since this isn’t a shoes made out of canvas.

What you’re seeing here is a hi top shoe but I’m sure there were low tops available.  But what you would wear clearly had to be of personal preference.  I felt like the hi tops gave me more ankle support which I needed since I’m already flat footed.  As you can see in the photo above, the toe area of the shoe is a little wide.  It was the most important aspect of the shoe in terms of allowing the lifter to use his/her whole foot because you now had room to use to engage your toes.  The one caveat to this would be that most lifters would find their standard shoe size to be too loose for their feet.  Reebok even suggested on their own website that buyers would benefit from buying at least half a shoe size lower than they’re accustomed to.  My general shoe size is 10.5, so therefore I ordered these in just a 10 and they fit me perfectly.

    

 

The sole is flat, much like Chucks.  This perfect for Deadlifting, of course.  Although, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t use these for any of the other lifts.  In terms of squatting, not everyone prefers raised heel shoes, such as the Adidas Powerlifts.  But again this is just preference.  But the single most important component of the shoe, as seen above, is the sole itself.  It’s a carbon rubber heel with “teeth”, designed to provide traction on the ground.  Stable feet make for a safer lift.  My former gym has a power rack with a diamond plated platform and my feet would slip a bit while preparing to Squat.  Squatting in that rack with my Crossfit TR Lites made all the difference, as I noticed my feet were barely moving around at all, staying exactly where I placed them before I even unracked the bar to start.

What’s In A Name?

This right here is a very important question to ask in terms of business and marketing.   Imagine for a moment that, as you’re about to release the next best thing, you and your marketing team are trying to figure out a name.  You have to ask yourself if that name will resonate with the general public, or at least with your target audience.  Unfortunately, appearances are everything too, especially with clothing, and especially with color.  You need to have an appearance, especially with your target audience, that will appeal to everyone.  So what happened to the Reebok Crossfit TR Lite and why was production stopped?

I think I’ll start with color schemes.

Image result for reebok crossfit tr lites  Image result for reebok crossfit tr lites  Image result for reebok crossfit tr litesImage result for reebok crossfit tr lites  Image result for reebok crossfit tr lites                    Image result for reebok crossfit tr lites

Now granted, some of the shoes shown here might be women’s shoes and that’s okay.  But I personally am not a fan of bright colors.  Some might be but there probably aren’t that many.  Yes, the Crossfit TR Lite was in the first ever shoe made just for Powerlifters; but the colors schemes fit more along the lines of pricey basketball shoes.  Jordans come to mind.  Also, guys who would claim to be “a man’s man!”, would probably prefers a bigger selection of solid colors.  The color of the pair I own is actually the shoe’s primary color, the color you’d see in the ads for it.  But I have to be honest, if that color wasn’t available when I ordered it on Amazon, I don’t know if I would’ve given the other colors a chance.  I myself prefer not just solid colors, but dark colors.  I like black and most shades of blue, but nothing bright.  Call me boring – I might agree!

This leads to the last reason this might failed.  And the reason can be seem on the tongue of the shoe itself:

Unless you’re someone like me, who understood enough about the benefits of the shoe to ignore the name, you probably didn’t want to touch this with a ten foot pole.  I clearly remember reading articles in Mark Bell’s Power Magazine, in which he referred to his own shoe as the “Power Shoe” as opposed to it’s branded name.  In a case of Bad Marketing 101, Reebok decided to call it a Crossfit shoe.  I can see the vision they were going for from a business sense.  Reebok knew that Crossfit is in fact far more popular than Powerlifting, which even now is still somewhat considered a fringe sport; and as it stands, Reebok also sponsors the Crossfit Games every year.

It might’ve sounded good on paper, but let’s be real for a moment.  First off, once Crossfit athletes found out what the shoe was really meant for they probably felt like it wouldn’t properly serve their needs.  And, to be honest, most Powerlifters absolutely hate Crossfit.  Unless they were someone like me, who read enough information about the Crossfit TR Lite to ignore the name and give the shoe a chance, they probably thumbed their noses at the idea of wearing any shoe with the word Crossfit on it.  All of this brings me back to my original point of what exactly is in a name.  Everything.  I just had this discussion with my girlfriend, by the way.  Putting the Crossfit label might’ve sounded like a great mainstream move on paper, but the brass at Reebok either were too out of touch to understand that the two cultures can’t seem to mesh at the moment, or they just refused to listen to Mark Bell’s input.

Thanks for reading!

Make sure to find me on Instagram and Tumblr:

https://unitedinstrength.tumblr.com/

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