Item: Risto Sports Tiburon
Manufacturer: Risto Sports
Purchase: Risto Sports
If you are about 80 years old you may remember the neighbourhood cobbler…the old guy who either handmade or fixed your shoes year after year. For the rest of us, shoes come from a huge factory made by faceless people in some far off land and in unknown working conditions with whom we have no connection with.
My friends, you are about to take a step back in time with hand made Olympic lifting shoes produced by craftsmen keeping an age old art form alive.
As I opened the shoe box I had just received, freshly shipped from the US, the rich scent of leather evoked memories of my first baseball glove, which was a nice change to the toxic cloud you sometimes get hit with when opening a new box of shoes.
Materials: The entire shoe is a natural product, consisting of wooden heels, a leather upper and a natural rubber tread. The only synthetic items is the glue used for binding and the velcro.
Look and Feel: The shoes felt great on my feet and the construction made me feel like I had a firm grounding. The wooden heel was something of a spectacle with my fellow Crossfitters. It’s sad that we are so accustomed to plastic or synthetic heels that wood is something we find to be strange. In saying that, many commented on how cool the shoes looked, even if some said they reminded them of traditional bowling shoes.
Build Quality: There were small inconsistencies in the construction such as small bits of glue and little pieces of string at the ends of the stitching. Although that does highlight the fact that at the end of the day these are made by the human hand and constructed with natural products. So if you’re looking for machine perfection these may not be for you.
Shipping: The order took a grand total of 4 weeks from the time of ordering to the time I received them. Then oddly enough, I received a second pair for no reason. I have no idea why, so I emailed them to query this second pair and only received further questions but no answers (Not sure if you class that as bad or good).
Versatility: One thing that was quickly apparent was that they are Olympic lifting shoes and not really well suited for any standard plyometric box work, skipping or other such activities. These shoes are made with one thing in mind, to transfer as much force to the platform with as little absorption as possible. I did rip the rubber sole away from the wooden heel by stomping them on the floor but only because I wanted to push them into uncharted territory and did not stick to pure Olympic lifting. So in summary – there is not a lot in the way of padding that other shoes may offer.
The Tiburon is the budget shoe in Risto’s arsenal costing $114 (USD), with some minor manufacturing inconsistencies. Although these issues are almost inconsequential and made up for due to the small price tag.
The shoes are well suited for Crossfitters that want to spend some time getting serious with a lifting coach and hit a platform. Even first timers that want to try Olympic lifting shoes means the small entry cost it is a far cry from spending up to $300 for shoes.
The Tiburon is a good choice for the consumer that cares about where their products come from and who made them. Knowing that they are a sustainable product is a major selling feature for me and perhaps others. One thing is for sure: For $114 (USD) you are going to get a budget shoe that will last for years if you look after them… happy lifting!