I’d seen chatter about LALO footwear for quite some time and it always peaked my interest. A number of my buddies from various Special Operations units have picked them up and I figured I would give LALO a shot as well. I got my hands on a pair of the BUDS Grinder cross trainers and Shadow Amphibian boots. Both pairs of footwear have killer features, but I’ll just be covering the BUDS Grinder in this review.
The BUDS Grinders are different from just about any other shoe I’ve worn before. They’re covered with vents that achieves outstanding airflow. The vents not only keep my feet ventilated and cool, but also work great when the Grinders are in the water. I wore them on a three-day raft trip with great success. We hit some nice holes, did a bit of cliff jumping along the way, and the Grinders drained the water as advertised. There was a bit of residual water left over, but I wasn’t sloshing around with water shooting out from around my ankles and toes.
Over the last two months, I decided to make the BUDS Grinder my “sole” athletic shoe and take it in a few environments it’s not intended. When it comes to agility, these things are awesome and about as sticky a shoe as I have ever worn. When running cone drills or any type of quick change in direction, the Grinder soles dig into the surface. I’ve found the best traction to be on asphalt and rubber mat floors. Sometimes sticky can eventually lead to rolled or sprained ankle and joint injuries. The BUDS Grinder has a fairly wide base and sits low to the ground which helps keep a stable platform when changing directions. No injuries as of yet and I don’t count on any with this stability.
The foam/rubber mix is what gives the Grinder its traction, but it is also its downfall when not on man-made surfaces. For shorter runs, the gym, beach, or on the athletic field, the Grinder excels in all the right areas. When taken on the trail, they start to lose an edge. The traction on loose dirt and mud is lacking and the soft foam material takes a serious beating from any type of sharp rocks, roots, or gravel. But, as I stated previously, the BUDS Grinder isn’t made for off-road travel – beach and water are the exceptions.
Although not a so-called “quiver killer,” the BUDS Grinder is a great shoe for gym work, circuits, plyometrics, jumping rope, short runs, cone drills, water based activities, or warm weather. If you need a shoe to run trails, get a trail running shoe.
- Crazy sticky on gym and asphalt surfaces
- Wide base with great stability
- Ventilation and water drainage
- Super Fabric toecaps are very durable
- Heel cup fits well with no slippage
- Overall comfort
- Durability of sole is not great on dirt or rocky surfaces
- Traction is not the best outside of man-made surfaces and sand
- Not really a con, but sized a half-size small, so order up!
- Weight (pair of size 11.5 men) – 17.3 oz (491 grams)
- Drop – 5mm heel to toe drop
- Super Fabric toecap
- MSRP — $130
Overall, these shoes really standout for their intended use. I suggest taking a look at the BUDS Grinder if you are looking for some new cross training footwear or your old shoes need replacing and just aren’t cutting it anymore. Make sure to order a half-size up if you plan on picking up a pair of LALO Grinders online. For comfort, breathability, and turn-on-a-dime traction, I haven’t found better. Use the comments below or Facebook if you have any questions or you want to share your experience concerning LALO footwear.