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NOBULL Canvas Trainer Review | Great for Lifting and Daily Wear?

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The NOBULL Canvas Trainer delivers a simplistic and consistent performance and construction. This model is suggested to have a “less is more” type of feeling.

I can understand that now after testing these shoes in the gym and in a daily wear context. As a fan of the OG NOBULL Outwork, I was super excited to put the NOBULL Canvas Trainer to the test.

Overall, I think the NOBULL Canvas Trainer is a good shoe for heavy lifting, but it does fall short in some areas like tackling serious CrossFit sessions. I’ll elaborate further on this below.

nobull canvas trainer daily wear

NOBULL Canvas Trainer At A Glance

The NOBULL Canvas Trainer is interesting and I don’t think it’s going to be a training shoe that resonates with everyone. This model has an edge for casual use, but that takes away from its versatility in the gym.

For example, the heavier canvas upper pairs well with both shorts and pants, but it runs warm in the gym. For my serious cross-training workouts, this tends to leave me with warmer feet than I’d prefer.

I think as long as you go into this shoe understanding that it’s better for more casual use and it’s not going to be as dialed as the traditional NOBULL Trainer for CrossFit and cross-training, then you’ll enjoy them.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Stack Height: ~22mm
  • Weight: 13.2 oz (size 10 men’s)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Width: Regular/Medium

NOBULL Canvas Trainer

$109

nobull canvas trainer
4.4
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.2
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Recreational Training
  • Casual Cross-Training Workouts
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Athletic-Focused Training
  • For Plyometrics

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Who Should Invest In the NOBULL Canvas Trainer?

The NOBULL Canvas Trainer is an interesting shoe and it doesn’t perform like the tried and true normal NOBULL Trainer.

The Canvas Trainer has a much more dense rubber sole and slightly more rigid canvas upper which makes it a solid performer in slightly different settings compared to other NOBULL shoes.

If you’re interested in this shoe for lifting, daily wear, and casual cross-training then I think you’ll like this shoe. It looks aesthetic and clean with pants and shorts and under the barbell, it works great at limiting overall compression.

For the bodybuilding, recreational, and powerlifting-focused lifter, you’ll enjoy this model, and I somewhat see it as a more durable Vans.

Do note though, that this model will be capped with its running, plyometric, and overall CrossFit abilities due to its slightly heavier and clunkier construction.

NOBULL Canvas Trainer Pros

When first wearing the NOBULL Canvas Trainer, it was interesting how different the fit and performance were compared to the OG NOBULL Trainer. Below, are three of my favorite aspects of this shoe.

  1. Good Shoe for Recreational and Heavy Lifting
  2. Great Looking Model for Daily Wear
  3. Durable Construction Across the Board

The first pro and aspect to like about the Canvas Trainer is its performance with lifting. This shoe feels like a leveled-up Vans model and provides adequate stability in a variety of lifting settings. If you’re looking for a model to increase your overall stability when training heavy and tackling recreational workouts, then this shoe will work well.

nobull canvas trainer for lifting

The rubber sole does a good job at resisting compression and the lug-pattern fully rubber outsole grips different floors well. Whether you’re training indoors or outdoors, you shouldn’t run into issues with this shoe’s stability and grip.

Another aspect to like about this shoe is that it works really well as a daily driver. I really like this shoe’s simplistic construction and appearance, and I enjoy how it looks in both pants and shorts.

This is a good model to wear out and about, to work, and then to the gym. So, if you’re looking for that “all-in-one” style of shoe that you can also lift in, then the Canvas Trainer is a solid model.

Plus, I like that NOBULL decreased the overall size of the branding on the lateral posterior portion of this shoe. I love wearing my NOBULL High-Top Trainer daily, but the larger branding has always been a turnoff for me.

It’s cool to see that NOBULL limited the branding in this simplistic model. Another aspect to like about this shoe is its overall durability. The canvas upper feels rigid and is easy to clean, which gives this shoe a nice edge for daily wear.

In other canvas shoes that use lower quality canvas, they can be pretty finicky to clean and can start to look “loose” after excessive wear, but that’s never really an issue you run into with the Canvas Trainer.

nobull canvas trainer canvas upper

Additionally, the sole and outsole of this model are also durable. The lug patterning has a good density and thickness to it so even if you’re wearing these on concrete every day you shouldn’t have to worry about the lugs getting worn down too quickly.

NOBULL Canvas Trainer Cons

For certain contexts and training settings, I like the NOBULL Canvas Trainer, but there are a couple of cons I could see bothering others.

  1. Not the Best for Serious CrossFit and Cross-Training
  2. Toe Box and Midfoot Volume Are Limited

Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly use the NOBULL Canvas Trainer for CrossFit and cross-training workouts, but it’s not my favorite. If you’ve ever trained in the traditional NOBULL Trainer, then it would be wise to go into this shoe with a different expectation and mindset with its performance toward CrossFit.

nobull canvas trainer for crossfit

The Canvas Trainer has a thick rubber sole that doesn’t so much in regard to responsiveness. The high-density foam midsole in the normal NOBULL Trainer is a much better choice for this style of training. The Canvas Trainer can feel rather clunky during plyometrics, running, and other exercises where you need foot mobility or to be explosive.

Another drawback is that this model’s toe box and midfoot volume are a bit limiting and take a minute to break in. If you have thicker feet, high arches, or custom insoles, then this should definitely be something to consider and think about. Rarely do training shoes feel too tight on my feet, but in this model with thicker socks, my feet are pretty uncomfortable.

nobull canvas trainer sizing and fit

If I rock super thin socks, then this shoe fits a bit better. However, it might be safe going up a .5 size for most athletes and lifters and I discuss sizing more in-depth below in the sizing section and in my review video above.

Performance

To discuss the performance of the NOBULL Canvas Trainer, I’m going to break this section into multiple parts covering this shoe’s stability for lifting and CrossFit, performance with versatile training, and how they do for running and daily wear.

nobull canvas trainer performance overview

Stability With Lifting and CrossFit

In the context of lifting, the NOBULL Canvas Trainer excels especially when it comes to resisting compression. This model feels stable in a variety of lifting settings and it reminds me of a more durable Converse or Vans model. The rubber sole provides a nice grip on rubber gym floors, concrete, and machines so you won’t need to fret traction in this model while lifting either.

For CrossFit, this shoe can tackle a brunt of what you’re doing, and in regard to lifting during CrossFit workouts, this model should be fine for tackling pretty much all of your loading capabilities. In more explosive exercises like clean & jerks, the sole feels pretty good and you feel grounded in this model when catching weight.

nobull canvas trainer crossfit

Versatile Training

In the context of cross-training and more versatile training, this model works, but it’s definitely not my favorite shoe for this style of training. The think and non-compressive rubber sole don’t provide a ton of ground feedback and responsiveness so I could definitely see this shoe feeling uncomfortable for some lifters and athletes.

nobull canvas trainer outsole

I think if you’re tackling more casual cross-training, then the Canvas Trainer should work just fine for your needs. For example, if you’re in a workout and box jumps are programmed but they’re only a small portion of the workout, then this shoe will work. Where they fall short is for something like a full-on plyometrics-focused session and workouts similar to this.

Shorter Runs and Daily Wear

For running, I’d say pass on this shoe as a whole. It will work for short runs that are programmed in CrossFit workouts, but outside of those, I think most will find this shoe too uncomfortable for running. It feels similar to running in a classic Vans shoe so if you’ve ever done that, then that would be a good mental comparison to think about.

nobull canvas trainer comfort

On a daily wear basis, I really like this shoe. It looks aesthetic and simple so you can rock them with most pants and shorts and the colorways offered tend to go well with most colors. I also like that the canvas upper in this shoe is easy to clean. For my commuter friends, you already know this is a good thing to have for longevity purposes.

NOBULL Canvas Trainer Sizing

The NOBULL Canvas Trainer’s sizing is interesting and some lifters will be safe going true-to-size while others may want to size up. In my size 10 model, they fit fairly true when wearing super minimalist socks, but when I rock thicker socks their toe box and midfoot volume are pretty limiting.

Note, I have a neutral foot and generally don’t need to size up in most models I review, but for this shoe, I actually think going up a half size might be a safe call. This way, I don’t need to worry about my sock choice or feel like the midfoot is squeezing my foot endlessly.

nobull canvas trainer sizing

If you use custom insoles or inserts in your shoes, then this would definitely qualify you for going up a half to full size and this is due to the lacking volume and rigid canvas in this shoe.

Construction Details

The NOBULL Canvas Trainer is marketed as a “less is more” style shoe and that’s one of the aspects that I really like about this shoe. It comes with on frills and delivers a nice level of consistency.

To be fair, this is also why I like other canvas shoes, too, for daily wear and lifting such as Converse and Vans models. Below are some of the construction details worth knowing for the NOBULL Canvas Trainer.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 13.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Canvas Upper
  • 5 Reinforced Metal Eyelets
  • Lug-Pattern Outsole
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Reflective NOBULL Branding

Takeaway Thoughts

I like the NOBULL Canvas Trainer and I think if you go into this shoe understanding its construction, then you’ll enjoy this model. The Canvas Trainer is very different from the normal NOBULL Trainer, so it’s important to understand this before investing.

For lifting and daily wear, I think the NOBULL Canvas Trainer is a solid model to look into. If you have additional questions about the NOBULL Canvas Trainer, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

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