Otomix Stingray Escape Weightlifting Shoe

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Otomix Stingray Escape Weightlifting ShoeReview Facts

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.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

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

Cons

May get too warm during longer, intense workouts

No good for running or other outdoor cardio (too little support)

Tech Specs

Tech Specs

Soles are sewn on using Otomix’s traditional stitching method, which makes for a durable bond. The soles are flat and sliced thin, with some traction to aid in grip and balance. Martial artists need to stay light on their feet, and the Stingray Escape aids in that with its flexibility and overall low weight. When lifting, you can feel the gym floor, drive your toes into it, and splay the toes, easily, to help with balance and power. The sole design will involve your entire foot in each lift, leading you to greater gains and less risk of injury.

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.
Company Info

Company Info

Mitchell Bobrow, a professional martial artist, founded Otomix in 1988 to provide footwear to the martial arts industry. Bobrow has kept the company small, with a central facility in Las Vegas. In 1993, Otomix made history by becoming the official footwear provider to the MMA, which was then still in its infancy.

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.
Application

Application

These shoes are best suited to standing Olympic lifts and martial arts including wrestling, MMA, boxing, Tae Kwon Do and others. Founder Mitchell Bobrow made his name winning Tae Kwon Do tournaments starting in the late sixties.

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.

Materials

Materials

We can’t quite determine what materials the Otomix Stingray Escapes are made from. The Otomix website does not specify. To further complicate matters, there is another shoe called the Stingray (no escape), and it has a different upper panel pattern and appears to be made of different materials from the shoe we reviewed (model number MF3000-Otomix-Shoes if you are looking to order based off our review).

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.
The Final Word

The Final Word

The Otomix Stingray Escape is a lightweight and flexible shoe suited for weightlifting, martial arts, and some CrossFit, circuit, or cardio training. They are comfortable enough to wear outside the gym for short periods. There is little arch support or cushioning, and no lifting-specific extras like a squat wedge or lifted heel. Heel to toe drop is zero or close to zero, as the sole is quite thin and designed to keep you on your feet with splayed toes and a heel foundation. The shoe will partially immobilize your foot and ankle while allowing for air circulation and keeping your flexible. The padded oversized tongue, extra ankle support, and speedy, secure lacing all combine into a shoe you can wear for a long time with no discomfort or overheating.