In Athletes, CrossFit, Videos

February 21, 2011

Video Article

Join Mikko Salo, the 2009 CrossFit Games champion, on his road trip across America—but this trip isn’t quite the same as the CrossFit Journal’s last Road Trip with Dave Lipson, Rob Orlando and Dave Castro. A man of few words, Salo is rarely distracted from his quest to better his training.

Arriving in Boston, Salo and Juha Kangasniemi travel to the headquarters of Reebok International to meet with Chad Wittman and Don Hasselbeck. A 20-year veteran of the company, Hasselbeck talks about how Reebok has embraced CrossFit, and Wittman explains how Reebok and CrossFit will interact going forward.

Standing over Reebok’s incredible fitness facility, Wittman explains to Salo that it’s almost become a ghost town since Reebok opened its CrossFit box. Wittman also offers a sneak peak at some of the products Reebok is developing for CrossFitters. Of course, the designers want some input from one of CrossFit’s greatest athletes.

Says Hasselbeck: “We’re in our infancy stages. … We don’t really have what a CrossFit athlete really aspires to have in terms of footwear or apparel, but I can guarantee you this: by this time next year, we’ll have that.”

11min 51sec

Additional reading: If the Shoe Fits … by Kevin Daigle, published Feb. 7, 2011.

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49 Comments on “Mikko Salo: Coming to America—Boston and Reebok”

1

wrote …

This is a good thing. Cant wait to see what they come up with. It's crazy to think of how far Mikko has come in such a short time. At the 2009 games Castro couldnt even pronounce his name. Now he is the face of the sport. Really cool.

2

wrote …

So much for CrossFit staying underground. I don't know how I feel about this video yet, I guess time will tell. But for me they already have a shoe for CrossFit they are called "Chucks".

3

Darren Coughlan wrote …

Well done to all involved at HQ in bringing a major company with great intentions into our community.

This is nothing but good news for all CrossFitters

4

wrote …

I think this is really cool, Reebok has really great intentions and they are moving at the right pace to put out gear that the CrossFit community agrees with, instead of rushing it and putting out something useless.

5

wrote …

Really happy for Mikko. He's obviously come a long way since winning the 09 Games. Hopefully Reebok puts out some good Crossfit shoes, especially with all the competition from great companies like Inov-8

6

wrote …

The new Reebok's are a ...... knock off Inov-8..... Wait and see

7

wrote …

Who ever said Crossfit would stay underground? As an affilliate owner, Reeboks involvement = big $$$ to me and all the other affilliates who will benefit from the massive exposure that Reebok will bring to our sport.

8

wrote …

Sponsorships increase revenue and help bring Crossfit to the masses, which is a great thing. And I applaud the cooperative marketing and product development efforts between these two organizations. But, a 12 minute informercial on the CFJ? I would have rather seen Mikkko's performance at the Reebox box.

9

wrote …

right there with ya Brad

10

wrote …

It´s a good thing that Reebok is trying to come up with some gear for crossfiters...and that´s all, i hope

11

wrote …

Yea, that just felt like a Reebok infomercial. I doubt most people here give two poops about how employees get half off at the Reebok store. (i'm sure they hooked him up with plenty of gear to wear in mainsite vids) I would have liked to have seen more of Mikko's input on the shoes and clothes, as well as some workout footage, but I get it- they need to keep it a secret for now. And hey, the exposure is going to do wonders for CrossFit, and hopefully me as a Trainer and aspiring affiliate. I'm pumped for that, I pray the products are right. I'm sure Glassman has a firm grip on that. If it takes off, maybe society will realize that meathead does not equal fitness, and the world will be a better, more healthy place. CrossFit is awesome.

12

wrote …

As long as they keep the cost to subscribe to the CFJ down, I have no problem with the occasional infomercial. Reebok is trying to sell shoes and Crossfit is trying to sell their brand. It's the American way.

13

wrote …

Hopefully Reebok gets BMac in there to design a shoe...

14

wrote …

Remember, folks, it's not called the 2011 CrossFit Games this year. It's the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games.


Reebok has clearly paid a king's ransom for this type of exclusive placement within our community. Whether it pans out for them over the long term or not, you have to applaud the ballsiness of the business move. Now I don't pretend to be an expert in the apparel market, but I'd guess they've been losing the PR war versus the hipper Adidas and Nike (who owns Converse, makers of our beloved Chucks). This might be just the market boost they need to power up and to the right over the next couple years. (But you might want to tuck that $125 dress shirt into your jeans there, big fella.)


Meanwhile, it's just plain odd to see Mikko walking around like some sort of shopping store model, only later to get the impression there was nothing he actually wanted to "buy" from their company store. At least not from what they carry today. And that seems to be part of the point. Give them a bit of time, and they'll likely have some cool products. In the meantime, should the boutiques like Life as Rx, inov-8, Forged, etc. be concerned? My guess is no. Unless they're concerned about getting acquired by Reebok, and would that really be such a bad thing?


Funny though. It's hard not to imagine that once Reebok's exclusive contract with CrossFit expires, we'll all go through this warm and fuzzy "meet our new sponsor" video series yet again. With another great fitness company looking to provide their product and services to our ever-growing community.


And finally, to the comment of "so much for CrossFit staying underground" -- wake up, brotha! It was never meant to "stay underground"!


What? We were going to hoard all the benefits for ourselves?

15

wrote …

I got a fever! And the only cure, is more cow bell! I mean more Mikko!

16

Bryce Greenstein wrote …

Most people hear of CrossFit through someone else telling them about. So they clearly aren't following the first rule of Fight Club. Are they hurting CrossFit by spreading the word and essentially not keeping it underground? I don't think so. CrossFit can and has help so many people discover true fitness. Why keep that a selfish secret?

Fran will still be 21 - 15 - 9 of thrusters and pull-ups even with a Reebok sponsorship. And if Reebok makes a shoe as good as Inov-8, I'll buy it, because you pretty much can't buy Inov-8 anywhere right now.

17

wrote …

Crossfit isn't the first 'underground' community to go big. It's a natural reaction to get a bit alarmed, but consider this - one of the biggest alarms is that the Games will be flooded with ex-pro athletes and college/uni almost-made-its. And this will trickle down to the rest of us. We have been big fish in out little pond for a few years. Feels good to be a Crossfitter and Joe public sees us all as fire breathers. Thats cool. But the bar is about to be raised. Big time! Our CF stars of today are the best of the best of the people who have committed to CF. Thats a pretty small pond. Don't get me wrong, our top athletes are fkn unbelievable at what they do! But our pond is about to become a lake. And thats a bit scary for our identity.

Take the challenge, make your answer to our new mainstream direction to raise your own bar higher! This is going to be awesome! Be proud, we were here first. Lets be dignified ambassadors of our little world, open the door wide for the world, and show them what we have been up to! When Joe or Jane Schmoe arrives at your box, all pudgy with his new CF edition Reeboks, and meets Pukie in the parking lot, help him up, put a hand on his shoulder and welcome him, or her, aboard! Their first day is for the same reasons as your first day.

But if you see a CF edition Reebok jogging stroller at the mall, by all means, tear the thing to little shiny pieces!

Peace out!
Ian

18

Sean Villagracia wrote …

I have one question and (as for right now) one question only. Will this stuff be made in America?

You know us... there is a good amount of us who are mega patriots here. We follow the vibe in the community about supporting the US and our troops with stuff like FGB for Wounded Warriors/Disposable Heroes and things like LifeAsRx with the American Apparel shirts, also Inov-8's shoes being made in America (I believe). Is Reebok going to follow that with us? Or are they just gonna be another big company with shirts and shoes shipped in on a big boat from Bangladesh/China/Cambodia etc? Not trying to be a negative nancy, but that is pretty important to a lot of us.

19

wrote …

Hey Sean, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Inov8 is a British company and their shoes are manufactured in China.I still love mine though so what is a guy to do...


As for Reebok .... Kudos! This is blowing up and is great for the community!

20

Sean Villagracia wrote …

Bah... I had a feeling I was off on that one. Not to say everything I own is made US. Probably not even half, but it's nice to have the high quality American made stuff from time to time. I've sent my affiliate shirt and LifeAsRx shirt through tons of washes after WODs and they still show no signs of fading. I would love to be able to say the same for Reebok shirts, but I've had a few and... Eh. Though I am looking forward to the shoes they may come up with. Hopefully they get a good grip on it and not try to give us Crossfit Toning shoes. Jk jk. I don't think they are stupid like that.

Either way, this should be fun and interesting. Honestly, as of right now, I'm definitely for it.

21

wrote …

I believe New Balance is the only major sport shoe manufacturer that makes 'em in the USA. (and not all are, check the tag on tongue to make sure)

I bought a bar and Hi-Temp bumpers from Glenn Pendlay specifically because both are USA made.

Of course we all know of Bill Henniger's commitment to USA made, when I went shopping for rings my shopping stopped as soon I saw Rogue's rings are USA made.

We must make our concerns clear to Reebok. Do you have any suggestions ?

22

replied to comment from Doug Lantz

I hate to break this to everyone but Crossfit is no longer a USA thing anymore. I am from Australia and this thing is becoming phenomenal down here!

I think Rogue's products are awesome but they aren't attainable here (not for the same price as over there!). So from the other side of the world I would love to see a company expand into crossfit and give us Aussies another choice for products.

Keep Rogue USA made but Reebok is international and should be made available to international Crossfitters. If having it made in China means I can find weightlifting shoes here than I am all for it.

Crossfit was conceived in the USA but has been embraced world wide. Kind of like Cricket....... just kidding!

23

wrote …

I'll vote with my dollar if the gear works. If not, chucks for all non-running workouts.

24

replied to comment from Ian Nelson

Listen, When I said crossfit in not underground anymore this is what I mean, I started as a crossfiter then became a affiliate owner and like every good box it grows and became more of a buisness and less of what I joined crossfit for. I love it for what it was, small dirty garage gym with some friends doing WOD's and pissing off the neighbors... When the box stated getting big I focused more on the business then CrossFit, And that’s what i am afraid is going to happen as CrossFit gets bigger and bigger. We will have ex NFL, NBA, Etc. athletes doing CrossFit and opening boxes it just feels to me as it might start taking on a different Feel. This is just my own Feeling. Good comments though.

25

wrote …

Yeah... Reebok just wants to "help" crossfit and its affiliates. MY ASS. They see a great opportunity to make a bajillion dollars off of our community and completely dominate a market niche before Nike does. I'm all about the free market but I dont believe in selling out in the least bit.

26

wrote …

They want to create "Reebok athletes" and "putting together a team that will go out and service the affiliates"... right... they want to service us. You serve people, not "service" them. Asshole.

27

wrote …

As a box owner I'm excited by all of this. If they make a great product this community will buy it, use it, and talk about it. If their product falls short there will be 100 blog posts a day talking about it. Don't believe me check the net for CrossFit supplement products. The virtual connection between all of us on here and on FB has changed how the market works. I think this is great for all of us.

28

wrote …

I don't understand the comments about "selling out" or keeping Crossfit underground. This thing is as underground as you want it to be.If you want to be underground do squats in your garage and Fran when no one's looking and don't post it on youtube.

I come to the site everyday and watch Reebok infomercials because I care about the community as a whole, and I want to keep up-to-date about what's happening. Crossfit has already taught me enough about excercise that if they start doing things that don't jibe with my values, I can just stop coming to the website. I can make up my own workouts and do Chadfit at the park by myself. So far everything they have done is for the good of Crossfit and I don't see that changing, Reebok or no Reebok.

29

replied to comment from chad mckay

Its called a opion, do you really want crossfit shoes with a silhouette like air jordans on them or crossfit jumpsuits. If it continues to go this way you're going to have multi 1,000,000 dollar crossfit gyms opening up being run by buisness men and not crossfitters . I love crossfit I've been doing crossfit for 5 years and thereis nothing else I would rather be doing. I I just don't wanna go into ross and see a bunch of premade crossfit t shirts and Reebok shoes with crossfit logo on it sitting in the sale bin and. people walking around in crossfit t shirts and jumpsuits and don't even know what crossfit is. Again this a opion CrossFit has changed mylife and mabye I just hate to see it get so big.

30

wrote …

I agree if Crossfit got to the point where people are sitting on their couch eating doritos watching the games and weigh 300lbs (and can't squat 500+) that Crossfit will have changed into something I wouldn't want to be involved in. But that is all speculation. I believe you have a valid fear of over-commercialization but I for one trust them to take it in the right direction, based on what they have done so far. When real things start changing I'll re-evaluate my opinion. Personally, if the big money crossfit gyms are making rich people puke then i'm all for it, and I welcome them into the community with open arms.

31

replied to comment from chad mckay

Well put. Looking foward to seeing what these shoes look like. I have not put on a pair of reebocks Since I was 10 and had the high tops that weighed 10lbs.

32

wrote …

First off, growth is bound to happen. It wouldn't be a successful business strategy if they were just happy with being the underground phenomenon that it started out as. Plus, if you were the founder of something that brought a new defintion of your passion to a group of people that desparately needed why wouldn't you want to spread the message/concept/idea of that passion around the world if you truly believed in the idea and that it was helping people.

I'd be happy if they (anyone related to crossfit from HQ to Rogue to Reebok) made an affordable quality product. I think crossfit plays to both sides of the spectrum. Like glassman said in a recent video, in a few years there may be crossfit gyms with enormous membership costs (i.e. a crossfit country club) and yet still the trainer in the park with the can collecting donations will also flourish. I think that crossfitters fall into those two spectrums with regards to equipment and gear. On one hand we have the mainsite highlighting the makeshift garage gym with the duct taped 20lb basketball and the craigslist collection of dumbbells and weights and on the other hand you have the Reebok crossfit affiliate video (I would love to have that guys job though and don't tell you wouldn't want it either). Why can't crossfit live in both worlds? You will always have the traditonal chuck taylor pull ups in a park crossfitter but you will also have the Inov-8's, weightlifting shoes, pendlay bar, eleiko plates, latest gadget gear crossfitter.

I love crossfit and support the community it created. Rogue, Again Faster, Crossfit store (sale items) will get my support and dollars and if Reebok offers a product that I find of value and (doesn't look as outrageous as the zig techs) I will definitely consider purchasing something from them.

33

wrote …

At the moment I am happy to see Reebok getting involved. If it helps gets more people healthier I'm all for it. I am, However, afraid that the cost of gear and box fees will skyrocket, I don't want to have to pay a box 200 dollars a month and 60 dollars for a decent work out shirt

34

replied to comment from Ted Spore

Amen to that!!! Brian Mackenzie should be the guy they corner in talking about shoes to at least get design requirements!

I am a total shoe geek and I thought this was a great read in terms of shoes for crossfitting...

http://www.iamunscared.com/shoes/

I just wish skateboarding shoes as BMac suggests werent so clunky and would breathe more.

If anyone from Reebok is listening, Please reach out to him!!!

35

Frank DiMeo wrote …

Nice work, Reebok & CFHQ!

36

wrote …

I agree with alot that is being stated already. I think the Reebok name will bring alot of awareness to CrossFit and they are a big company so they can bring alot to the table as far as research and development.

As far as clothing I dont know if it will be that big. I personally dont really care what I am wearing as far as T-shirts and shorts. They are usually covered in sweat/blood/chalk/puke/sand/ or in the case of shirts may not even be worn.

I personally look for shirts that are deliberately not name brand and go for clothing from other boxes/competetions/events. OPT Big Dawgs, CrossFit Kandahar, Rogue High Speed Low Drag, Greg Amundsons Fire Breather, all very cool shirts because not everyone has them. In the end I dont think a clothing line made around crossfit will be just athletic clothing that says crossfit or some derivative of it.

When I think of clothing specific to the crossfit athlete I think of compression gear like Skins; Body Science or the lesser known Zoot and 2XU. I think of shoes like vibrams; Inov8, chucks and olympic lifting shoes. If Reebok is going to make a shoe (or shoes) or some of these other specialty items I think that is great because some of these things are difficult to get in a mainstream store.

The video dosnt really say what they are going to make, are they going to make clothing or a full spectrum operation including rings, plates, med balls etc. yet to be known. In the end the community is smart and will accept or decline something based on quality and value. If these new products are good then expect to see alot of them, if they are junk then expect this to fade out quick.

I disagree with testament that this will commercialize the CrossFit box, there may be some that go a little fancy pants, but I think it will remain unchanged for the most part. I think it will lower the price of boxes in the end as membership will be up with awareness.

37

wrote …

You know, places like Gold's and World's gym started off as underground as well. Funny how you become more like the thing you hate if the price is right.

38

wrote …

as a crossfitter im going to whilhold judgement on Reebok as i jumped the gun and got all pissy about the sectionals being canceled and now and very excited about the open. Soooo, let's see if HQ can once again come through. Hopefully this will work out like everything else does.

as far as my involvement with my company www.2pood.com i am a bit concerned as there are no apparel companies allowed to sponsor the games, we can only be vendors and getting in touch with HQ to actually become a vendor is becoming difficult (can't get a call back after 5 calls). i just hope that the little guys (my company etc) are not pushed out of the market. we make great shorts and our women's line is gonna rock!!!

39

wrote …

@ Steve Millar
Check out Rogue Australia.
http://www.rogueaustralia.com/

40

alvin scafidi wrote …

i think this will end up being more beneficial for Reebok than it will for Crossfit. honestly who buys Reebok gear anymore? once the Reebok brand gets associated with a badass fitness program, they might finally be cool once again.

41

wrote …

Current prices for Crossfit apparel: $50 for shorts, $40-50 for a hoodie, $30 for a freakin t-shirt, $100 for shoes... I hope Reebok comes in and makes some affordable Crossfit labelled clothes. I don't think they can get much more expensive!

42

wrote …

Aaron,

come and live in Australia mate. I dream of paying $50 for a decent hoodie.

43

wrote …

Just like we welcome all the new people to our box, I say welcome aboard to Reebok. I hope the Reebok partnership boosts CF memberships, and I hope Reebok sells a tons of its new CF line of products. It will be great to walk down mainstreet USA and see all fit and happy people around me.

44

wrote …

I think it's cool they are teaming up with reebok. As an affiliate owner I actually hate when my members wear the "Reebok Zigs", or rock catchers as I call 'em. Every time we run outside they come back with rocks stuck in the bottom, I'm talking big rocks, which then fall out and end up all over my box. It's very frustrating.

45

wrote …

The only thing I didnt like about the video was hasselbeck statement of "we want to allow crossfit athletes to give us feedback"....well thanks for "allowing" mikko to help you design products that will go on and potentially make millions of dollars for reebok. I just hope Mikko is being compensated appropriately for his expertise. These top crossfit athletes need to protect themselves and not let others steal their value creation potential. Perhaps I've missed this elsewhere, but I hope these guys sponsorhip/compensation is appropriate. Somehow allowing mikko free reign at the company store doesnt strike me as a fair deal. Maybe its time for some crossfit athlete agents.

46

wrote …

All I can say is:
Nice fire alarm system.

47

wrote …

guess theres money to be made.

48

wrote …

It's cool that CrossFit is expanding, ideally we would have everyone in the world CrossFitting. This however, is a commercial.

49

wrote …

Carey! Great video! Reebok sounds serious and committed!

Walter, calling Carey's work a commercial is not recognizing him for the outstanding journalist that he is. Carey has provided the CrossFit Journal with hundreds of honest and thought provoking videos. CrossFit Media does not make "commercials" disguised as legitimate video journalism. Please re-think your statement.

cheers
sevan

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