By: Jon Molofsky
I want to start this off on the right foot! Yes, pun intended. This month let's talk about the benefits of proper footwear at the gym. We are going to address it all from brand, style, function, inside, outside and insoles, even laces! Let’s jump in, feet first of course!
Shoes are something I really like, so I want to first address what a new shoe can do for you. Nothing motivates like a fresh pair of kicks. They feel good, they look good, and give you that extra “spring in your step.” In this article, I will discuss what to look for when buying new shoes.
First and foremost, what are you using the shoe for? Defining what you will be using your shoe for is important. If you need a training shoe for the gym or functional fitness space, look for models specifically focused on that. Like to run? Get a shoe that is for your specific style of running be it track, trail or street. If you like weightlifting a pair of lifters make a big difference.
Let’s take a deeper look into the CrossFit training shoes. In the gym we train with weights, run, use rowers, bikes and ski erg’s and move to the end ranges of movement patterns. We need a shoe that is stable, low profile, and has the ability to grip where it's needed (rope climbs, remember those!) and be slick enough to slip in and out of the straps on a rower. Stability is a must. Try and avoid with a large drop (angle from heel to toe) and ones with a rounded bottom (like the large Hoka shoes). We need our feet firmly planted on the ground. This is the foundation of any lift or movement, getting that right is key. Finding a stable shoe is easy, look for reebok Nanos, Nike Metcons, New Balance trainers, and other brands that are unofficially or officially associated with CrossFit. You can't go wrong.
Some shoes come with an inner sock. These are a nice added touch as they give you a custom fit before you even snug the laces up. Look for materials that are abrasion-resistant. Nobull has done a great job with its outer material. Another thing to look at is the lacing system. For the gym, it is best if they have real old fashion laces.
Lifters are another great shoe to have! The stability under load and the connection to the floor make a big difference when squatting and weightlifting. Lifters come in many styles and price points but if you like the barbell, having a pair of these can really help. Lifters have a raised heel that puts the athlete in a better position when doing cleans, snatches, and accessory work for the Olympic lifts like squats.
Now if you need an upgrade and you're serious about what you do. Look no further than a custom pair of footbeds!!!! Wow, this makes a tremendous difference. You will need to take your time “breaking” them in. It takes a bit to get your feet acclimated to the custom arch and added support. Custom footbeds give the user better support and posture while on their feet. While they are expensive they can be used in multiple pairs of shoes. t.
Taking all of this into consideration on your next shoe purchase will hopefully help. And, remember if you're not happy with your choice try something else. There are plenty of options out there!