Everyone has probably noticed a variety of different shoes around the gym. There are people with regular looking shoes, Olympic lifting shoes that look like they weigh a ton, and the strange looking toe shoes, Vibram five fingers, I usually wear. The main question that I get is ?why do you wear those things?. The problem with most tennis shoes is that they push you you up on to your toes. Being on your toes while doing most of the movements we do is a really bad position (with the exclusion of double unders). While squatting or dead lifting on your toes can result in serious knee pain, being on your toes in things like Olympic lifting can result in missed lifts and PRs that are below what you can actually handle.
So what should you wear? This is not some shameless plug where I encourage everyone to go buy the most expensive pair of Olympic lifting shoes they can find. There are plenty of great, and affordable, remedies to the shoe issue. One of the best all around shoes for Crossfit is the Nike Free. The Frees are pretty flat as well as light and flexible. They put your feet in a good position and allow them to move the way they were suppose to. If you really want to get adventurous and love the freedom of being barefoot then Vibram Five Fingers are the shoe for you. Both of these shoes are excellent all around Crossfit shoes. They allow you to really drive through your heels in movements such as lunges and thrusters, and they are much more stable when your in the bottom of a snatch or a clean. These are just two of the many types of shoes that are out there for all around use. There are countless other variations of shoes like these. If you really want to get better at something specific like running or Olympic lifting there are more specialized shoes you can purchase. If you are wondering about specialty shoes talk to the coaches and we can lead you in the right direction. What type of shoe have you found works best for your crossfit needs? Which type works worst?
-Chris Kent aka T.I.