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- The Reebok Froning shoe, also referred to as the RF1 trainer, is the brand’s special shoe inspired by and co-designed with the CrossFit icon Richard Froning Jr. Among his numerous athletic achievements, Rich was the first man to win the CrossFit Games competition four times in a row which brought him the proud title of “the Fittest Man on Earth.” His collaboration with Reebok started back in 2015, and after three years of hard work, the company is finally ready to present the ultimate Froning-approved cross-trainer. The shoe was crafted by Froning’s demand for a versatile shoe which could be used not only for competition but for regular, everyday needs as well.
- The trainer is designed with durability in mind and has been tested by Rich himself for over a year. What sets the shoe apart from other CrossFit shoes is the hard-wearing Dyneema material in the upper. It is crafted to be more lightweight and durable than the traditional synthetic materials used on training shoes. It is also claimed to withstand the abrasion from rope climbing.
- Stability is also highly prioritized in this model. The trainer is constructed to have a wide base with both the midsole and the outsole protruding upwards to steady the foot in the key areas. The platform under the heel is made sturdy and resistant to compression. Also, the underside has an aggressive multi-directional lug pattern to ensure grip on various surfaces.
- Another significant refinement is the additional gore strap placed on top of the tongue, underneath the shoestrings. It allows the wearer to simply slip in and out of the shoe without having to tie or untie the laces.
The Reebok Froning is available in men’s sizes only, ranging from US 7 to 14, with half sizes in between. It tends to run true to size, and its length corresponds to the sizing scheme of the Reebok Nano 8 and the Speed TR. Widthwise, the shoe comes in a standard D - Medium width profile but features a spacious toe box which allows for a natural toe-splay. The tightness of the fit can be adjusted with the help of laces, but the shoe is permanently secured by a midfoot gore strap on top of the tongue.
The bottom of the trainer is generously wrapped by a hard-wearing rubber unit. It is meant to guard the platform against abrasion during rigorous training sessions. It protrudes up at the heel and on the lateral side for extra stability. It also hugs a large portion of the toe box to keep it protected from bumps.
The outsole utilizes a unique tread pattern to deliver grip on various surfaces and in different directions. The vertically-placed lugs are found under the ball of the foot — they render traction during lateral movements. The rest of the unit is dominated by horizontal lugs which bite the floor during back-and-forward movements. A portion of the lugged outsole extends up on the medial side to deliver grip and abrasion resistance during rope climbs.
A combination of flex grooves helps the platform bend in multiple directions. A deep heel-to-toe cut in the center of the shoe allows it to bend sideways, while the vertical grooves in the front section make the trainer’s forefoot flex together with the wearer’s foot.
The Rich Froning shoe employs a conventional EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam for underfoot support. This material is crafted with a balance of firmness and responsiveness to accommodate various training activities. It does not easily compress under heavy weight during lifting exercises but is still able to cushion the foot during short runs and jumps.
The EVA is raised at the rearfoot section of the shoe. It cups the heel, contributing to the foot stability during weightlifting and lateral movements.
The RF1 trainer sports a combination of a traditional synthetic mesh and the new Dyneema material. The mesh layer is open at the toe box and near the collar to keep these parts aerated. The Dyneema wraps around the toes, the lateral side and the heel to protect the mesh from fraying in these high-wear areas. It is distinguished by the black-and-white checkered pattern on it. The Dyneema is a blend of synthetic materials which form a more durable, flexible, and lightweight coverage than the conventional synthetic overlays.
An additional layer of padding is placed on top of the toes. That is the Toe Tection technology which is meant to keep the forefoot safe during burpees, toes-to-bars, and other exercises where toe bumps are involved.
The inner side of the upper is lined with a rubberized panel. It guards the material against abrasion during rope climbs. The eyelets and the collar are also reinforced with synthetic overlays to reduce the impact of recurrent friction.
A foothold is ensured by both the lacing system and the gore strap. The strap is placed on top of the tongue and is hidden under the shoestrings, keeping the footwear on even when the laces are not tightened. This construction allows wearers to slip the shoe on and off effortlessly without spending extra time lacing up. However, those who like to keep the fit as tight as possible will benefit from the six pairs of eyelets. The last pair is sitting right at the collar of the trainer to allow for the most snug fit. The well-padded tongue will keep the instep free from pressure even when the laces are tightly cinched.
The Froning shoe sports a low-cut silhouette to provide the ankle with a maximum range of motion. At the same time, the padded collar eliminates the chance of friction and irritation.
- Did you know that Rich Froning wore and tested the Reebok Froning trainer for more than a year and even used it during his participation at the 2018 CrossFit Central Regional competition?
- There are several “Easter eggs” incorporated into the shoe design. These little details represent different facts from Froning’s personal and professional life and can be found in various parts of the footwear. For example, the “H,” “L,” and “T” letters on the tongue stand for the names of his three children: Hilary, Lakelyn, and Trice. Can you find the other hidden gems?
- The shoe was launched as part of the Reebok Froning capsule collection which also includes a short, a short sleeve ACTIVCHILL tee, and a long sleeve ACTIVCHILL tee. All of the items feature the athlete’s signature “R” logo and are only available in neutral black and grey hues. The color selection also stems from Rich’s personal preferences as he is always seen wearing these monochromatic colors in the competition scene.