Archive for December, 2011
This is our third revision of an old post, updated to include some of the many low profile shoes now available due to the growth of both the barefoot running movement and CrossFit.
Running shoes seem to be the default shoe for all general athletic activities. Going to get some exercise? Put on your running shoes, right? Well, no, not so fast. As many of you have noticed, running shoes may be your poorest choice for the movements we do (especially those involving added weight). Let’s examine why.
Think of setting up for a clean or a deadlift. You bend down to grip the bar, set your back properly, and get ready to drive your heels hard into the ground to lift this heavy weight. You want the force generated by your legs to be transferred directly into the ground. If you’re wearing running shoes, however, that force is being partially stolen by the big old, squishy heel cushion. That heel cushion was made to absorb shock while running, but now it’s absorbing the energy you need to lift the weight.
Now picture yourself doing heavy jerks. Dip, drive, push yourself under the bar…and land, solid, with the weight locked out overhead. Same issue: you want that drive to be strong, you want to push off the ground and force that weight up! In this case, though, not only has the squishy heel stolen some of your power, but it’s also given you an unstable surface to land on. Instead of landing on hard ground, you land on the squish. With heavy weight over your head. Sound safe?
So what shoes do you want to wear while weightlifting? You want a shoe with a thin, non-compressible sole. And if you’re doing Oly-lifting, a wedge heel is preferred. Here are some of the options:
You’ve seen these at the box, stacked in the cubbies. And you might think they’re ugly, but they do the job right. Weightlifting shoes have a non-compressible sole with a wedge heel. Keep in mind that weightlifting shoes can not be used for running, and aren’t so great for high rep box jumps and some other CrossFit exercises. (You’ve probably noticed that those of us with weightlifting shoes put them on and take them off depending on the workout.)
If you want an all-purpose shoe for your time at the box, this isn’t it. But if enjoy and plan to do plenty of deadlifting, squatting, and pressing, you’re getting into Olympic lifting (Clean and Jerks and Snatches), or you have poor ankle flexibility or a hard time getting deep in your squat without rolling forward, consider investing in a pair of weightlifting shoes, as they will improve your performance.
The popular Do Wins are made by Muscle Driver, and you can often find some good deals on that website. VS Athletics has the VS Weightlifting Shoe and the Dynamo. Rogue also sells the Do Wins, along with the Nike Romaleos and the new Adidas PowerLift Trainer. The Adidas Adistars have been considered the gold standard in weightlifting, but really, all of the shoes listed here do the job. There are some other brands and styles out there, so get googling if you’re ready for a pair.
Inov-8s are a popular shoe in the CrossFit world. They’re flat and super light. There are a couple different styles, one of which includes a plastic sheath on the instep to protect the shoes during rope climbs. Nice feature, made just for people like us. It looks like Rogue has a bunch of Inov-8 models for sale, so you can check them out there, or shop around.
We’ve got a load of people at our box wearing the various shoes from the New Balance Minimus series, so they seem to be well-liked. The Trail Minimus has a Vibram sole and athletic look. New Balance also has the Cross Trainer Minimus, as well as several other new minimal shoes coming out over the next six months. Shoes from the New Balance Minimus line are available just down the street at Fleet Feet Santa Rosa, and in fact, Fleet Feet has arranged for New Balance to come to CFSR to demo their minimal shoes with all of us on Saturday, January 7th during the 10 am class, Sweet!
Vibram FiveFingers have been very popular at our box. They come in a variety of styles including the Treksport and Bikila. They can take a little time to get used to, but they definitely allow you to feel closer to the ground under your feet. Be warned that if you wear them outside of the box, you will get some funny looks! These are available locally at Sonoma Outfitters and REI.
Merrel has taken Vibram soles and made the Trail Glove, so you get that close-to-the-earth thing without the toe separation and with more of an athletic look. A small handful of members at the box wear these – ask them what they think and how they like them.
If you’ve got a pair of indoor soccer shoes around, like the classic Adidas Samba, you’re golden. These are great, low profile, all purpose shoes for training. Of course, Chuck Taylors are the original CrossFit shoe. And for basically the same price, you can get Ethletic‘s fair trade version.
What about you? What are your favorite shoes for the work we do at the box?