Shoes that feel good running on the trail and the road but also performs in the gym are rare. STRIKE MVMNT hits that target well with the Vimana Carbon running shoe.
There’s carbon fibre in there?
Yes, there is.
Most training shoes are clunky to run in. They excel on the gym floor and the Crossfit box as a stable platform for lifts and HIIT workouts but then feel stiff and flat when out running.
The Vimana Carbon shoe is the carbon version of the Vimana Hybrid, a gym and training shoe that also runs very well. The carbon version takes it one step further and introduces a Carbitex AFX carbon plate just above the outsole which makes the shoe more stable and protective without increasing the stiffness at the forefoot when running.
But how can it do both at the same time? We’ll look at that in a second.
First up though, who’s STRIKE MVMNT?
Who is STRIKE MVMNT?
STRIKE MVMNT is a group of movement entusiasts out of Vancouver, BC, who love moving. It doesn’t matter if it’s parkour, CrossFit or trail running they just want to bring together everyone that loves moving too. They started building shoes that could help them do all of those things in 2010 and released their first in 2012. Their goal is to help build a fit, happy and healthy community around moving.
At PureOutside, we share their love of movement. One of our favourite things is just getting outside in a human-powered way. It doesn’t matter if it’s trail running, mountain biking, paddling or climbing, it’s all human powered and feels great.
STRIKE MVMNT have a few principles that they have created their brand around too:
UNITED BY MOTION® = Unity through movement. Inclusivity of all movement modalities, sexes, ages, races, and orientations.
INTELLIGENT MINIMALISM™ = Perfect balance of versatility and protection for broad-spectrum athletic performance.
NEW ATHLETIC STANDARDS® = Quality. Performance. Timelessness.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thought PureOutside doesn’t have any physical products like shoes, we certainly think exactly the same way as STRIKE.
So that’s STRIKE MVMNT. What’s the deal with the carbon fibre in this shoe?
What is Carbitex AFX?
Carbitex is the big deal in this shoe. It’s carbon fibre but it’s not just any carbon fibre.
Regular carbon fibre can be made to be very stiff or very flexible but it’s usually all very stiff or all very flexible.
Carbitex AFX (Asymmetrically Flexible Carbon) is a specially woven carbon fibre that is flexible one way but not the other. The amount of flex and twist allowed can be tuned for the shoe.
The Vimana Carbon uses a 3/4 length plate of Carbitex AFX between the outsole and the midsole providing support and rigidity without much weight. It bends at the ball of your foot, just like your foot should, but won’t bend the other direction when you need support on the edge of a rock or log. The plate prevents the shoe from twisting in weird directions as well.
The AFX plate not only supports your feet but protects them as well. Nylon rock plates are great but can be stiff and heavy. The AFX plates are lightweight and flex in the right way but still protect your feet when sharp rocks poke through.
- S2 last with anatomical toe box
- 4mm drop from heel to toe
- 3/4 length Carbitex AFX carbon fibre plate
- Cush50™ EVA/EPE midsole
- Meta Platform Outsole with faceted triangular tread pattern
- TRES-FRESH antibacterial treatment on upper and lining materials
Fit and the anatomical toe box
The fit is great out of the box. They are comfortable and didn’t take a lot of getting used to.
The S2 Last shape the Vimana’s are built with is average width in the heel and mid-foot and I found it just wide enough in the toe box. I prefer wide toe boxes like Altra’s. It wasn’t so narrow it was restrictive or caused blisters but for a trail runner or hiking shoe, I like nice and wide.
I’m not sure if the narrow toe is better for the gym. STRIKE likes to make shoes that are good for all kinds of movement, not just one, so they tend towards features and designs that will make the shoes perform better over many kinds of movement, not just trail running.
Grip and the Meta Platform Outsole
The Meta Platform Outsole isn’t like any other shoe sole I’ve seen.
Small rubber pyramids cover the bottom in a consistent pattern. No lugs, just the small bumps across the shoe. STRIKE likes to make shoes that can be used for many different things. They can’t have big lugs if they are going to be any good in the gym.
On the trail, the Vimana’s are comfortable and easy to run with. The carbon plate doesn’t make the shoe stiff at all and adds protection for sharp rocks. I’ve run with thin soled shoes before and it becomes a game of avoiding the sharp pointy things. I was hammering along the trail jumping every pointy thing I could find and had no issues.
Dry dirt and rock are great with the Vimana. There is slightly less grip without big lugs on the bottom but unless the pitch is really steep, they don’t do much.
Wet rock and mud is another story. There’s enough grip for these to be a good option for wet, gross weather running. I found rock a bit slick and muddy hills a bit treacherous to stay upright. Something with bigger lugs (and maybe waterproof) is still my choice for wet weather running.
Clearly that didn’t slow down testers with Strike while the shoe was being developed. One tester was setting ascent and descent records on trail runs and was doing 100km off-road runs in them.
Final Thoughts: Strike Movement Vimana Carbon Shoes
Verdict: Recommend for gym and urban running
I love when a brand uses brand new technology. It increases the performance of the product and brings the level of the whole industry up. The Carbonite AFX plates in the Vimana Carbon shoes is that new technology. They work well ripping around the concrete jungle and the gym. I’ve spent years in the local CrossFit box and it feels good in a good shoe.
The Vimana’s excel on the concrete but need some work for the trail. The small, smooth lugs on the sole just don’t have the traction on wet or loose dirt like we encounter so much in the mountains.
If you are a gym rat looking for something that can handle dry dirt no problem, the Vimana Carbon’s feel great. They’re flexible without the flat gym shoe feel. If you spend most of your days in the mountains, you’ll likely stay on your feet more with something with bigger lugs.
I hope Strike comes out with something with the Carbonite AFX plates with bigger lugs. That would be a killer combination.