Best Shoes for CrossFit Training at Wolf Valley Performance
Oh my gosh, Becky, look at her shoes. They are like soooooo cool.
But do they provide a stable lifting base?? Do they provide some light support for running? Do they allow for jumping AND back squatting? What purpose do Becky’s shoes serve? Are they good for CrossFit? Or good for running 8 miles?? Let’s take a closer look.
Honestly, I don’t know what kind of shoes Becky is wearing, but I can most certainly tell you what kind of shoes I WANT her to be wearing depending on the type of workout she is doing. Here’s the thing: not all athletic shoes are created equally. Athletic shoes are designed with different purposes and wearing the wrong shoes can make an already challenging activity a heck of a lot harder than it needs to be. Running long distances requires a much different shoe than doing a deadlift workout. Let’s take a look at why this matters.
>>Don’t care about the details and just want us to tell you what shoes to buy? Click HERE.
Running is a high impact activity. (No really it is. All those quick, bouncy steps really take a toll on the knees and ankles and even the back!) Therefore, running requires shoes with not only a lot of support and impact-absorbing ability, but they also typically fit in a way that shifts the wearer's bodyweight into the ball of the foot. This weight shift encourages a mid-foot strike. A mid-foot strike simply means that the initial impact of the foot on the ground each step occurs around mid-foot or, most importantly, *not* at the heel. If you watch an efficient runner, you’ll notice they are not slamming their heel into the ground on each step. They are landing on the midfoot and then continuing the momentum through their step. Running with a heel strike is actually fairly common, however, as most people run casually and are never taught how to avoid it. Most running shoes, therefore, are designed to combat this sneaky assailant and encourage the wearers weight to shift toward the mid-food or ball of the foot. This is GREAT for running!! It is not so great for lifting though.
Lifting requires a stable, grounded base. It is important in lifting to balance the bodyweight through the entire foot. The heel must stay grounded and the ball of the foot must stay grounding. Shifting the bodyweight over the ball of the foot and lifting the heels off of the ground when lifting shifts unnecessary (and arguably somewhat dangerous) pressure into the knees. In addition to this, when the weight shifts out of the heel entirely, the athlete loses a lot of engagement in the posterior change (hamstrings and glutes – those booty and back of thigh muscles). This can lead to overworking the quads (front of the thigh) and under-developing the hamstrings and glutes. Imbalances of this kind often lead to discomfort and pain eventually – typically knee, back or hip pain. No fun!! For this reason, a flatter shoe is recommended when lifting. Think: chucks, vans, even barefoot! Running shoes that shift the bodyweight out of the heel and into the ball of the foot are great for running, but they can be problematic when worn for lifting as they render the athlete unable to effectively stabilize. Similarly, wearing flat, support-free shoes is great for lifting! But those shoes are not ideal for running and will cause a lot of discomfort due to their lack of support and inability to absorb impact.
But guys, CrossFit has running AND lifting… what the heck?? Should I get a running shoe or a lifting shoe..? Am I supposed to CHANGE my shoes mid-workout??
I’m glad you asked. Because CrossFit is so unique and utilizes a wide variety of movements (including lifts and running) – there have been shoes designed *specifically* for our style of exercise! They’re typically called “Cross-Training” shoes. Super cool, honestly. These shoes provide some support for running, but don’t shift the weight into the mid-foot. They allow athletes to stay rooted and grounded in lifting while still providing mild support and absorbing some impact for running. These Cross-Training shoes are *not* great for long distance running. They are fine for short distances in CrossFit workouts, but we actually do recommend a good running shoe if you’re running more than a mile. For our classes, though, Cross-Training shoes are a great fit!
There are three brands that make Cross-Training shoes that we LOVE. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses (and different price-points), but any of the following shoes will set you up for success here at Wolf Valley!
Here they are:
Best Sale Price: $60
Best Sale Price: $99
Best Sale Price: $60
There you have it folks! Again, these shoes are not required to do classes here at Wolf Valley, they simply make things a bit easier. Many folks will wear whatever athletic shoes they have on hand for a while and purchase specific shoes for CrossFit when they wear out. If you're wearing running shoes for your workouts, you are always welcome to take your shoes off and lift in your socks (but not barefoot guys, that is gross) when we are doing lifting sessions! If you're ever unsure if it's a good idea to go socks or shoes - ask your coach! We are happy to help!
Happy shoe-wearing! See you in the gym. :)