June 5, 2023

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Product Review: LALO Zodiac Recons Black Ops Shoes

4 min read

M_recon_blkops_1-900x675My interest in the LALO Zodiac Recons got going after my buddy Mike, a running fiend, introduced me to them. With all of his talk about the LALO, I was curious. So I went and got my hands on a pair of them. All of the shoes from LALO have excellent features but I’m going to cover down on these shoes first. My brother and fellow Marine Faris will do a review on the LALO Grinders.

Once I took the shoes from their box I hit the ground running. The first workout I did in the shoes was the Crossfit “Murph.” If you don’t know “Murph” it’s a one mile run followed by 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and an additional mile on the back end, for time. They performed extremely well being fresh off the shelf for this workout. They didn’t feel heavy on my feet at all. To the contrary, they are light-weight, and with the side vents, allow the feet to air out. This is achieved from the light-mesh like material which give the shoe excellent airflow.

My continued use over the next month came by way of preparation for the Kokoro SEALFIT event and afterwards it brought out some more aspects of the shoe. How? The vents allowed the shoe to be used in the water and to drain easily and dry quickly. Great for mobility in sand.

I really liked how wide the shoe was, even in the regular size it supported my feet significantly better than most shoes I have purchased before, and appreciated the wider toe-box. Its light design and flat bottom made it a great running shoe if you’re into a more minimalist style running.

It is a great shoe for WOD’s or workouts where you need to transition quickly from running to body weight or upper body exercises. I also ran the beach multiple times to test the soles on the looser soil instead of regular, compacted earth, and they held up extremely well.


The flat, wide bottom makes them a great shoe for running on the sand or even doing light ruck marches/ runs across most terrain. They have a wide base and provide good traction while also being responsive to doing pivots. They really are different from anything I’ve worn before.

I would recommend steering away from the shoes if you’re doing any sort of workout that involves complex movements (power-cleans, squats, etc.). This shoe isn’t designed to provide that platform to do these sorts of workouts. However, you can do that with the Grinder if he keep the weights lighter and the reps higher. Also, one of the issues I encountered was the stiff heel support. After about two months of wear and tear on the shoe and despite wearing thicker socks I still had a problem of it tearing at my heels. It took some time for it to recover but that should be a pretty simple fix and I think the problem should rectify itself with the aging of the shoe.


I would a still continue to use these shoes. It’s great for functional training or just walking around in. The shoe runs a bit smaller than most but the width is perfect. I still train in these shoes today when doing any sort of body weight workouts or running. I would definitely recommend them to anyone in the market with the same sort of training regimen who is looking to train with a more minimalist shoe. The cost is very friendly,  the shoes definitely hold up through the most rigorous training modalities and they look great! Enjoy!



  • Color: Blk Ops
  • Weight: 9 oz (based on a men’s size 9)
  • Drop: 5 mm active drop


Overall, I was very happy and impressed with how these shoes did for me. I have worn a ton of different athletic shoes in my life. These shoes should be given a field-test by everyone. Lightweight, excellent draining ability, turn on a dime responsiveness, and killer design that many people desire. This is a shoe sure to get attention from any gym rats.

Functionality: 4/5
Weight: 5/5
Durability: 5/5
Cost: 3.5/5
Comfort: 4/5

● Extremely functional
● Comfortable from the start
● Lightweight
● Agile, yet durable
● Great drainage system
● Quick drying

●A bit pricey but sick looking.
● More suitable for the beach than the road. But again, these are a mixed-terrain shoe!



jay-300x300Jay joined the Marine Corps in 2008 as an infantryman, specifically a machine gunner. In 2009 he deployed to Marjah, Afghanistan serving as a machinegun team leader with 3rd Platoon, Alpha Co., 1stBattalion 6th Marines. His career would continue with the same unit throughout deployments to Sangin and Kajaki, Afghanistan and the 22ndMEU.

Jay is an active duty Marine serving as a senior enlisted instructor at The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. He currently serves as a primary instructor for the infantry platoon tactics package. Jay is currently seeking his degree in sport science and will transfer to George Mason in 2017. 






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