Otomix Stingray Escape Weightlifting Shoe
If you need a lifting shoe with ankle support and a wafer-thin sole, one that also lets you do circuit training and martial arts, the Otomix Stingray Escape could be your pair.
Otomix has long had a reputation for its dedicated lifting/martial arts shoes. They have a distinctive look, with a padded tongue that sits higher than the top of the ankle cuff. The ankle cuff on the Stingray escape is open on the end, which allows you more freedom of movement without losing rigidity in the ankle or over the whole foot.
Besides shoes, Otomix also provides martial arts gear and workout clothes. Their clothing includes the distinctive baggy pants that became standard in gyms during the late 90s. Otomix now offers yoga pants and tops as well, along with fitness-related gifts for kids and adults.
If you go to a lifting gym, you have probably seen Otomix shoes or apparel in use. You may also have seen Mark Wahlberg wearing the classic pants in the 2013 crime film Pain and Gain. Are the Stingray Escapes for you? We took a deep dive into these versatile shoes to help you decide.
Classic look, 13 color choices
Fits true to size according to most reviewers
Blend of stability/rigidity and the ability to move
Shoe weighs very little, lasts a long time with proper care
Grippy outsoles provide great traction
Supportive, but not overly cushioned, so ideal for standing barbell work
Sole straps provide support during boxing, are unobtrusive otherwise
May get too warm during longer, intense workouts
No good for running or other outdoor cardio (too little support)
The extra ankle support, too, will help reduce injury and leg fatigue. The ankle cuff snugs your ankle but doesn’t cause constriction. The missing back part, too, forms the iconic Otomix silhouette while making sure your skin can breathe and helping circulate air for sweat abatement.
Even the eyelets of the shoe are designed for speed and security. Lacing is fast, and you can tuck the tied part of the lace away so it doesn’t get caught on anything and doesn’t pull loose easily.
The shoe fits true to size and will not be excessively tight or loose. Keep in mind that a lifting shoe is made, by necessity, for a snug fit. This helps with immobilizing the foot. The Stingray Escape walks the line between that locked-in feeling and a flexible ride.
Construction is a blend of suede and leather. In our experience, suede can be hard to keep clean. We suggest a bottle of specialty suede cleaning oil, which is only to be used for that purpose. A suede cleaning kit will come with a soft bristle brush, to work the oil through the nap, and a chamois or microfiber cloth to gently remove stains and ensure the shoe surface is dry after cleaning.
The synthetic leather will clean with a lint-free rag moistened in water. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to wipe at stains. Make sure to dry the leather areas thoroughly after cleaning. Too much moisture can cause warping or even mold growth. There are commercial leather conditioners, including lotions and sprays, for less frequent heavy cleaning. Since the Stingray Escapes are only meant to wear in the gym, staining should not be much of an issue.
Because of their lightweight, sole traction, and ability to maneuver quickly, the Otomix Stingray Escapes are suited to all grappling sports. Wrestlers will need a strength-building weightlifting program as part of conditioning, and this shoe makes it possible for them to go from the weight pile right to the mat.
Like more recent startups Fabletics, Realtree, and Nobull, Bobrow’s company built its reputation and following over time by providing a few basic products and making them ubiquitous in gyms and MMA training facilities. More recently, Otomix began offering yoga wear, capris and lycra tops, and thermal shirts. Much of Otomix’s apparel doubles as streetwear.
After nearly a decade of expansion and brand building, Otomix launched its website in 1996. They were one of the earliest fitness apparel providers to do so. Though the website is user-friendly, it is bare-bones and does not have interactive features or links to multiple social media accounts as many fitness companies do. You will appreciate the simplicity and straightforward nature of the website, and there are multiple ways to get in touch with customer service. Reviewers across the board praise Otomix staff and their level of care and attention. This is a company built by athletes for other athletes, and it shows in the quality and durability of all their offerings.
The Otomix Stingray Escape carries on the tradition of design, innovation, and flexibility that have made Otomix shoes a staple of many lifting programs.
That doesn’t mean you have to take them off when you move from lifting to cardio. They will get you through any spin class and most CrossFit style WODs, because of the lightweight, flexibility, and traction. You could also use the traction and grip for indoor or outdoor rock climbing.
If you are a powerlifter, you may want to keep a pair of Otomix Stingrays as a backup to your more heavy-duty lifters. That’s because the Stingrays do not have heel to toe drop, lifted heel, or wedge-shaped inserts for squat assistance. They are a throwback to when lifters wore flip flops or even went barefoot (can you imagine how quickly a commercial gym would shut that down now?). Wearing the shoes will help you maintain form, and will give you a grippy platform to help keep balance, but they are suited to martial arts competition more so than to bodybuilding or powerlifting events.
If you like the shoes and find them comfortable--a lot of reviewers did--they would work just fine for walking around the neighborhood or riding a bicycle. It won’t cause excessive wear and tear, though we’d be very iffy about wearing the shoes for hiking or as work boots. They just aren’t made for that kind of sustained ground-pounding, and the soles and arch will not provide the support most of us need in order to avoid back pain and the like.
Most reviews just go with leather and synthetic fabrics in listing the materials. Looking at photos, the non-leather parts appear to be synthetic suede. This is why we shared instructions for cleaning suede under Tech Specs. The leather appears to be synthetic, too, but we were not able to determine that for sure.
Eyelets are reinforced, meaning you can pull the laces as tight as you’d like without ever ripping an eyelet from the upper.
The tongue is padded, reinforced, and oversized for comfort and security. The outsole is hard rubber, not foam injection or composite. The traction aids on the bottom are molded right into the rubber.