So far we’ve had mixed opinions on the various shoes and boots we’ve reviewed from Lalo Tactical ( www.lalotactical.com ). The Shadow Intruder boots were very cool looking but weren’t up to our standards in the functionality department. The Bloodbird shoes were a good overall training shoe, but lacked outsole durability and didn’t really stand out from the crowd of other “CrossFit shoes” in our testers opinion. However, we’ve saved the best review for last. The Lalo Tactical BUDS/Grinder is the best lightweight athletic shoe we’ve tested or used to date. Weighing in at less than 10 ounces this is also the only training shoe in its class that’s ever been able to hold up to my intense training regimen for more than three months without ripping or tearing. I’ve now, at the time of writing this article, been training with these shoes for a year. My only major complaint is the lack of arch support, which is an easy fix with the purchase of aftermarket insoles.
My experience as an athlete and strength coach has led me to believe that footwear should be designed with at least some arch contour either in the insole or on the inside of the shoe itself simply because that's the shape of the human foot. A shoe with a built in low arch or some arch support in the insole helps prevent eversion of the ankle and the knees going valgus (moving inward), especially in plyometrics, running, jumping, and landing. The foot, upon landing is going to follow the path of least resistance, then the ankles, and the knees will follow. With a shoe that has limited or no arch support, when an athlete lands for instance, it's only natural for the foot to flatten, and as eversion occurs the next step in that movement pattern is valgus knees. The good news is this can all be remedied with the purchase of a high quality insole with tough plastic arch support! More good news is that the outsole on these shoes is very shock absorbent which makes hard impacts during training much easier on the joints and spine. The flat bottom of this shoe on the other hand is great for weight training. Allowing the entire bottom of the shoe to maintain contact with the ground makes this shoe great for Olympic lifts like power clean and snatch, as well as standard lifts like squats.
The durability on the upper part of these shoes is really extraordinary, especially considering how light weight and breathable they are. I usually begin to tear the upper on my training shoes in about 3 months, these have lasted me a year! In that year I’ve done trail runs, rope climbs, speed/agility work, change of direction drills and much more in these shoes. The one thing I did notice is that the tread on the bottom wears out and the shoe becomes a bit slick. Definitely not recommended for trail running, because they can be a little slippery in the dirt. However, that is not what this shoe is designed for, and as I previously mentioned the soft sole provides a nice amount of cushion on impact. The softness of the outsole itself leads to a quicker breakdown than you’d have with a harder sole, but it’s also what makes this such a great cross-training shoe. There will always be a trade-off between comfort and durability, this shoe is the perfect combination of both. We recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a well-built, light weight, cross-training shoe.
Lightweight, breathable, soft outsole provides cushion for heavy impact training.
Lack of arch support and support in general.
9 out of 10 bones
Look - 9 out of 10; very stylish
Comfort - 6 out of 10; during use they tend to rotate my foot inward
Fit - 7 out of 10; fit well at first, but seemed to shrink after a couple weeks and get tighter around my foot
Application - 6 out of 10; because of the inward rotation, some exercises – particularly leg workouts and running – were uncomfortable
Durability - 5 out of 10; in less than 2 weeks the tread on the bottom was almost all worn off
Weight - 10 out of 10; never found a lighter shoe for the functionality
Overview: The shoe is designed as a cross trainer, tailored for those looking to do a range of exercises. While it is extremely light weight, I experienced a lot of inward rotation of my foot while using them. This made running in them rather difficult, as my knees and ankles started to get sore after only a short time. Upon examining the shoes, it seems this is because of an excess of material on the outside of the shoe by the toes, causing them to rotate inward on every step. I had to change my gait when running to compensate for this. The shoes are very versatile in that the material on the top is divided into a couple different sections, allowing for more or less tension in key areas as you lace them. This combined with the light weight design makes things like bike riding and elliptical training extremely easy. They also are very breathable. The material is designed with several openings to allow moisture to vent from the shoes. It can vent from the top or from the sides, allowing for training in wet environments as well as dry.
Pros: Extremely light weight, variable tension during lacing, great for bike or elliptical training
Cons: Tread wears out quickly, inward rotation of the feet, not good for running
Overall Rating: 7 out of 10 bones
Specs (from site):
http://www.lalotactical.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=9044_10228&product_id=386: The Bloodbird features fully articulated mid-foot support for dynamic fit, anatomical lacing system, the LALO OCF Fit System, ceramic-coated SUPER FABRIC™ toecap and Anti Inversion Technology. The Bloodbird offers superior stability in the mid-foot and shines in workouts with less dynamic movements such as weight training, where the focus is on grounding and stability. It is a solid choice for movements requiring attention to balance such as squats, deadlifts, push press, cleans and jerks. KNOWN WHEREABOUTS BUD/s Training, beaches, urban terrain, Crossfit boxes, adventure races, weight-training facilities, MOUT and CQC combat operations. Color: Jungle\Battleship\Desert\BLK OPS Weight: 8.3 oz (based on a men's size 9) Drop: 5 mm active drop.
-Tom Porritt, US Army, MSG, Ret.
Lalo tactical is a hot new tactical footwear company out of California that is currently surrounded by a lot of hype, and for good reason. Their shoes and boots are creative, extremely expensive, aesthetically pleasing, and very well marketed. Their marketing department has tied themselves to U.S. Special Operations Forces, and CrossFit athletes with a vigor. Their skilled marketing team has managed to drum up some major attention for their brand which is backed by the sleek aesthetics of their design. The Shadow Intruder boots are relatively well made with durable materials and marked with catchy SOF inspired slogans such as: “the only easy day was yesterday” on the tongue, and “stealth approach technology” on the heel. However, this is where the creative genius of this company seems to falter. These boots simply do not perform as they were intended to. On top of that they are extremely expensive, $300 for this pair of Shadow Intruders. Finally, it seems that these boots are not even made in America… It pains me to think that a company that ties itself so strongly to our military would send its profits to boost a foreign nation’s economy. But, as always, here at Bone Tactical… We choose what is right over what is popular… And our gear reviews will always be the 100% unbiased report of experts in the field.
As a former competitive athlete of nearly a decade, avid hiker, climber, certified diver, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (NSCA) that works with elite athletes literally on a daily basis I can honestly say that Lalo tactical missed the performance mark with these boots. As soon as I put the boots on my feet I noticed they were hard and uncomfortable with little to no cushion and not designed to fit the contours of the human foot. A step backward in tactical footwear in my opinion. My experience as an athlete and strength coach has led me to believe that footwear should be designed with at least some arch contour either in the insole or in the shoe itself simply because that's the shape of the human foot. A shoe with a built in low arch or some arch support in the insole helps prevent eversion of the ankle and the knees going valgus, especially in plyometrics, running, jumping, and landing. The ankle is going to follow the path of least resistance, the knees will follow. With a flat shoe, when an athlete lands for instance, it's only natural for the foot to flatten, and as eversion occurs the next step in that movement pattern is valgus knees. Not what you want when landing! These boots are marketed for jumping out of planes yet are terrible for human landing mechanics and very hard on knee and ankle joints. As far as climbing goes I traversed a boulder field, and a high elevation scramble for about a mile. It was absolutely miserable due to lack of shock absorption in these boots and I almost completely wore through the supposedly titanium spikes in the “climbing arch”. Lalo set the standards very high for themselves by marketing these boots for our Great Nations elite fighting forces, and seem to have fallen short according to my evaluation.
I set out to test these boots in as close to how they were designed to be used as possible. I worked out in the boots for several weeks to get the initial break-in out of the way. I contacted a friend who’s a great mountain athlete and we planned a trip to summit the highest peak in the state of Utah. Our ruck and scramble to the summit of King’s peak was spread out over two days. The first day we didn’t start till dawn so we quickly hiked in about 7 miles, restocked water supplies, made a hasty dinner, and set up camp near Dollar Lake. Within the first mile I felt blisters starting to form, and stopped to administer mole skin, blister pads, and tape to the sensitive areas. That night I had already developed some nasty blisters on my heels despite the blister pads as well as abnormal joint pain. The blisters were from the boots being too rigid to flex with the foot during natural human movement patterns, and from lack of cushion inside the boot allowing my foot to slip around. I can speculate that the reason the outsole is so rigid is because they are supposed to contain a puncture-proof material. Comfort and durability are always a trade-off in apparel. Perhaps for a SWAT officer who may not put a lot of miles in on his feet during work but needs to be wary of nails and spikes that could penetrate a boot, these would be perfect. If you’d rather have a boot that’s puncture resistant over a boot that’s comfortable for traveling long distances in then these may be a good choice for you. For me, I want a boot I can comfortably operate in, and this is not them. We have not yet tested the puncture resistance capability of these boots but I will update this article when we do. The joint pain was also from lack of cushion as well as lack of shock absorption capability in the insole and outsole. I knew the next day would bring a lot of pain but I always complete what I start. We arose with the sun, made some coffee and prepared more mountain house meals with our jetboil camp stove. We then packed up camp, and completed the final 7 mile hike and scramble to the summit. We ate a quick lunch and then hiked the final 17 miles out to our car. By the time we got to our car my feet were absolutely destroyed. It took me three weeks before I could walk normally and I’m still dealing with tendon and ligament pain at the time of writing this article. These boots are among the worst hiking boots I’ve ever worn, a striking contrast to their cool and futuristic looks. The durability of these boots is good, the materials are high quality, they are relatively light weight, and the ergonomics are terrible at best. The toe cap started to separate from the boot, and as I mentioned before the metal climbing studs wore out quickly. I would recommend these boots to anyone who just wants a cool looking pair of tactical boots to wear to the bar or shooting range, and has money to burn. I’m sure I’ll see several pairs this year at the SHOT show that look like they’ve never been in the dirt. In my opinion these boots are light use only.
Tacticool, aestetically pleasing, durable materials.
Poor design from a functional, athletic, and physiological perspective.
5 out of 10 bones