Home » APL TechLoom Tracer Review | Are They Really Worth It?

APL TechLoom Tracer Review | Are They Really Worth It?

APL, which stands for Athletic Propulsion Labs, is a company known for its innovative training shoes that regularly feature patented technology. The APL TechLoom Tracer is a training shoe that is designed for tackling a wide range of activities.

With the APL TechLoom Tracer’s significantly higher price point I was curious, “Is this training really really worth it?” Overall, the TechLoom Tracer performs well in certain cross-training contexts.

I don’t think the APL TechLoom Tracer is a training shoe for everyone and there are definitely cons that cause me to throw a pause for this model and I’ll discuss those in detail below.

In this APL TechLoom Tracer review, I’m going to cover a variety of topics to help you decide if this shoe is a good fit for you and worth the investment. 

APL TechLoom Tracer In Depth Review

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Who Should Invest In the APL TechLoom Tracer?

The APL TechLoom Tracer is going to be best for those wanting a shoe for HIIT workouts, classes, recreational lifting, and athletic-style training. This model has an athletic fit and they’re lightweight with a good level of responsiveness.

The Propelium™ midsole construction gives this shoe a nice level of “pop” when doing plyometrics and the upper locks the foot down well for plyometrics, agility work, and multi-directional training.

APL TechLoom Tracer Review

I think if you’re wanting a model for the above contexts, you have a narrow to neutral-width foot, and you have the money to spend, then the APL TechLoom Tracer can be a viable training shoe to explore.

Conversely, if the price makes you pause, then I’d say pass on this shoe. There are really strong training shoes for half the price and the TechLoom Tracer isn’t the best for heavy lifting and CrossFit-style workouts.

APL TechLoom Tracer

$250

APL TechLoom Tracer Product Shot
4.1
Stability
4.0
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.1

Best For

  • Athletic-Style Training Sessions
  • Recreational Lifting
  • HIIT Workouts
  • Classes
  • Sprints and Agility Work

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting
  • For Wide/Flat Feet
  • For Long-Term Durability

APL TechLoom Tracer Pros

Over the course of my reviewing and testing process with the APL TechLoom Tracer, I’ve found multiple pros to like about this shoe.

  1. Good for Athletic-Style Training, HIIT, and Classes
  2. Propelium Midsole Is Responsive and Reactive
  3. Lightweight and TechLoom Upper Is Breathable

The first thing to like with the APL TechLoom Tracer is its performance for HIIT workouts, class-style sessions, and athletic-style training. For these performance contexts, the APL TechLoom Tracer excels and works really well.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Working Out

This shoe has a more athletic fit to it and I think if that’s something you highly prioritize in your training shoes, then you’ll appreciate that in this model. It feels similar to a Nike Metcon 4 in regard to its fit.

More specifically, I really like this shoe for things like plyometrics and power based exercises. For example, for light power cleans, kettlebell work, jump rope, and box jumps, this shoe did a really good job.

APL TechLoom Tracer for Versatile Training Review

The second pro with the APL TechLoom Tracer is its Propelium midsole construction. Propelium is a compound developed by APL and it provides this shoe with a lightweight, mobile, and responsive feel.

APL states that this compound is better for performance than typical EVA foam. While it’s tough to say that definitively because it’s hard to quantify, I did enjoy the Propelium’s feel when getting more explosive with my training.

APL TechLoom Tracer Propelium

This material also helps contribute to this shoe’s maneuverable and “minimalist-esque” feeling when training. In the context of comfort, the Propelium also does a pretty good job.

The final perk with the APL TechLoom Tracer is its TechLoom upper. This upper breathes well and it does a good job when paired with the lacing system at locking down the foot when training.

APL TechLoom Tracer Upper and Lacing System

When doing multi-directional work and explosive workouts, the upper in this model did a good at preventing any foot sliding or foot overhang which are both musts for power-based movements.

APL TechLoom Tracer Cons

Despite enjoying the APL TechLoom Tracer for more versatile training, there are some cons and drawbacks to note about this shoe before you invest.

  1. Price Point Is Very Hit Or Miss
  2. Performance Is Somewhat Limited
  3. Not Great for Wide and Flat Feet
  4. Hard to Get On and Cosmetic Issues

The first drawback to the APL TechLoom Tracer is its higher price point. Most training shoes will range between $100-150 USD. The APL TechLoom Tracer comes in at a whopping $250 USD, AKA a monthly car payment.

APL TechLoom Tracer Price

In my opinion, I feel like the price point for this shoe is not fully justified with its performance for most athletes and lifters who want a shoe for heavy lifting and general training. I think if you have the money and you plan to use this shoe exclusively for versatile training, then you’ll be happy with it.

However, if this shoe’s price gives you pause, then pass on this model because you find shoes that are just strong performers for about half of the price, if not less.

The second drawback that I have with the APL TechLoom Tracer is that its performance is limited. It’s a good shoe for versatile training, but for heavy strength work and even some exercises on turf, this shoe falls short

Reviewing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Working Out

The Propelium started to compress when I was squatting around and over 315 lbs and the lack of rubber tread on some parts of the sole caused some slip issues to happen when doing sled work on turf.

Additionally, I could see the exposed Propelium on the sole being problematic for those who want this shoe for a lot of daily wear. With excessive wear on asphalt or with outdoor training, I’m not convinced this shoe will be super durable.

Reviewing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Durability

Another potential drawback that I could see others having with the TechLoom Tracer is that the run fairly narrow, especially through the midfoot. If you have wide or flat feet, then I don’t think you’ll find this model very comfortable.

In addition, I don’t even think sizing up a half size will mitigate this issue since the entirety shoe runs pretty narrow even in the toe box. I also don’t like that this model is unisex sized. It would be cool if APL offered women’s and men’s sizes that had anatomical differences.

Reviewing the APL TechLoom Tracer Try On

My final drawback with the APL TechLook Tracer is that this model can be pretty tough to get on at times. With the Lycra heel collar and tongue, you get a nice secure and snug boot but this comes at the cost of being easy to get this shoe on.

I think if you have thicker feet, or in my case the other day, sweaty feet, then you’ll be struggling to get this shoe on. I ran into this issue when forgetting my slides one day at the gym and taking this model off with my feet and socks pretty sweaty.

Reviewing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Training

Another thing that I noted with my specific colorway, and this may not be the case for every TechLoom Tracer (I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt) is that my model has visible adhesive where the upper meets the sole. I’m not stoked about this especially for this shoe’s price.

Performance

To discuss the performance of the APL Tech Loom Tracer, I’m going to break down how this shoe does in a variety of performance categories including lifting, versatile training, running, and daily wear.

Since this shoe has a higher price point, I think it’s incredibly important to make sure this shoe’s performance matches the context of your performance wants and needs before investing.

APL TechLoom Tracer Performance Overview

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Lifting

For the context of lifting performance, the APL TechLoom Tracer will perform well for light and moderate loads, but this shoe will fall short for heavier lifting.

In squats, I started to notice midsole compression once I passed 315 lbs and in deadlifts this was when I passed 405 lbs. I did take my squats up to 365 lbs for research purposes and I’d say stick to weights below the 315 lb threshold for better stability.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Lifting

If you’re training below these thresholds, then you should be fine and enjoy this shoe’s stability overall. It gives you enough to accommodate lighter loads for both barbell and accessory exercises.

The Propelium foam midsole will work for those who are much more recreational in nature with their dedicated strength work. More specifically, if you’re someone who likes to blend a little strength work in with things like HIIT workouts classes on a weekly basis, then this shoe’s stability will be fine for you.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Weight Training

The 8mm heel-to-toe drop is also hit or miss in this model depending on what you want out of your shoes. I personally liked the higher for things like squats and lower body movement, but if you’re a minimalist or zero drop love, then you’ll want to consider this if you’re looking into this shoe.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Versatile Training

For versatile training including this like HIIT workouts, class-style sessions, and athletic-style training, the APL TechLoom Tracer does an exceptional job. I think this is the context where this model makes the most sense if you’ve investing in them.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Versatile Training

In regard to excelling for versatile training, there are three things that I really enjoy with the TechLoom Tracer and two notable drawbacks. First, I like the level of responsiveness that you get from the Propelium midsole.

This material feels reactive and responsive and during plyometrics and other explosive activities you get a nice level of ground feedback. Second, I like how lightweight this shoe and that it feel like nothing on the foot.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Jump Rope

If you like having shoes that feel light and more “minimalist” when on the feet, then you’ll enjoy this component as well. Third and lastly, the low-profile and snug fit of this shoe give them a cleat-like feel when training.

For example, if you’ve ever worn a Nike Metcon 4 and enjoyed that shoe’s fit, then you’ll likely enjoy the fit of the TechLoom Tracer.

My drawbacks with this shoe is that the exposed foam on the forefoot led to slip issues when training certain exercises on turf. More specifically, I was having some issues with heavier sled pushes due to this construction component.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for HIIT Workouts

My other drawback includes the fit of this shoe and how it will feel limiting for those with flat and wide feet. If you fall into those foot anatomies, then this shoe will likely feel uncomfortable for you.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Walking, Running, and Daily Wear

For running, this shoe will work fine for runs that are shorter in distance. More specifically, if you’re running let’s say 1-2 miles for a warm-up or cooldown, then this shoe should work just fine for those contexts.

Testing the APL TechLoom Tracer for Daily Wear

For sprints, I really enjoy this shoe’s construction and performance. They give you a nice athletic feeling which is a perk if you want a training shoe for regular sprint work. In regard to long runs, I’d say pass on this model because they could get pretty uncomfortable in that context.

Regarding daily wear and walking, this shoe is okay and it has a couple of perks and drawbacks. The perks include that this shoe is fairly comfortable, look good, and has a phantom eyelet for tucking the laces.

APL TechLoom Tracer Phantom Eyelet

This helps give this shoe a nice clean and aesthetic look for daily wear. What I don’t like is the exposed foam on the sole of this shoe when it comes to long-term durability. The tightness of this shoe could also be problematic for some when it comes to all-day wear.

APL TechLoom Tracer Sizing

For the APL TechLoom Tracer, I think most athletes and lifters should be safe going true to size. This model’s length fits true and they have a more narrow and neutral with to them.

For more sizing and fit context, the APL TechLoom Tracer has unisex sizing which is hit or miss, in my opinion. With this shoe’s narrower fit and lower upper volume, I could see them feeling super tight for those with wide feet and high arches.

The ankle of this shoe also runs fairly slim and snug, which can make them a pain to get on and uncomfortable if you have thicker ankles, so their sizing is not something that I think will resonate with everyone.

  • APL TechLoom Tracer Sizing Thoughts: For narrow and neutral width feet, go true to size. For wide feet, pass on this shoe.

APL TechLoom Tracer Sizing and Fit

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the APL TechLoom Tracer or how they fit compared to other training shoes, drop a comment below.

Price Breakdown

For the APL TechLoom Tracer, you can expect to pay $250 USD. This is one of the more pricey training shoes on the market, and honestly, I find it to be a little hit or miss.

If the price of this shoe is a major turnoff for you or if it’s much more than you want to spend on training shoes, then pass on this model. I do not think this is a shoe worth going into a financial bind for and there are plenty of budget-friendly training shoes out there.

APL TechLoom Tracer Boot Construction

That being said, the TechLoom Tracer does perform well in certain contexts though, and if you are really interested in this shoe and you’re not about that paying full price life, then I’d suggest shopping around and finding older colorways that are marked down through different retailers.

For example, I found my colorway for $128 USD, which is a price point that I can get behind and that I think is fair for this model.

APL TechLoom Tracer

$250

APL TechLoom Tracer Product Shot
4.1
Stability
4.0
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.1

Best For

  • Athletic-Style Training Sessions
  • Recreational Lifting
  • HIIT Workouts
  • Classes
  • Sprints and Agility Work

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting
  • For Wide/Flat Feet
  • For Long-Term Durability

Construction Details

There are a lot of subtle construction features that go into the APL TechLoom Tracer. Below are some of the key details that influence the APL TechLoom Tracer’s performance and durability.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 9 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Propelium™ Midsole
  • Lycra Heel Collar
  • Reinforced Lacing System
  • Phantom Top Eyelet
  • Non-Stretch TechLoom  Upper

If you have additional construction questions about the APL TechLoom Tracer, drop a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are APLs worth it?

A:
If the price is a major pause for you with the APL TechLoom Tracer, then I don't think this model is worth it. It performs well in the gym and is fairly comfortable, but they're not worth breaking the bank for.

Q:
Is APL a luxury brand?

A:
Compared to other popular training shoe brands, APL could certainly be considered a more luxurious brand. APL has a variety of patented technologies in their shoes and their products typically cost more than their peers.

Q:
Can you run in the APL TechLoom Tracer?

A:
The APL TechLoom Tracer is a good shoe for sprints and shorter fast-paced runs. Their midsole is responsive for these running contexts, but for long distances, the TechLoom Tracer can be a little uncomfortable.

Q:
Are APL shoes good for lifting?

A:
The APL TechLoom Tracer is an okay shoe for lifting. Its midsole is built with Propelium, a compound developed by APL. For recreational lifting sessions that are light to moderately loaded, then the stability of the TechLoom Tracer is just fine.

Q:
Are APLs comfortable?

A:
The APL TechLoom Tracer is fairly comfortable, however, this shoe runs narrow and has a low volume in its upper. If you have a wider or thicker foot, then you'll likely feel limited and not enjoy the TechLoom Tracer's fit and comfort.

Takeaway Thoughts

The APL TechLoom Tracer training shoes are interesting, to say the least. There are training contexts where the APL TechLoom Tracer performs exceptionally well.

For example, this model is great for athletic-style sessions where power and speed are the goals. They also have an athletic fit to them, so if you enjoy training shoes that have a low-profile cleat-like fit, then you’ll enjoy this.

All that being said, and while I like the TechLoom Tracer, I don’t think it’s a shoe worth breaking the bank for if the finances of this shoe cause a pause in you. Also, this model is not the best for heavy lifting and workouts where abrasion could cause a breakdown.

If you have additional questions on the APL TechLoom Tracer training shoes, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

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Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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