How to Pick a Shoe for CrossFit
By Coach Chris
I don’t have a favorite brand, if they make the best product, I’m likely to buy it. Here are some things you should look for in whatever shoe you choose for classes at CrossFit Wylie.
A Stiffer Sole (less padding):
Most major shoe companies are just copying and pasting the same sole they use for their running shoes to make a “training shoe.”Running shoes, as you can tell by just looking at them, use almost an inch of foam, gel, or both, that separates your foot from the ground. Let’s say you’re going for a new 1RM Back Squat… do you want your weight constantly shifts because your shoe is built more like a mattress than a shoe? NO. You want a shoe that glues your foot to the ground and feels stable no matter the load you’re carrying, squatting, etc.
Minimal Heel to Toe Drop:
The “drop” of a shoe is the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot. A shoe with a 15+mm heel drop will look more like a high heel than a shoe and perform like it. A shoe with a 0mm (zero) drop will be completely flat from the heel to the forefoot.
This is where personal preference and mobility come into play. Someone with poor ankle mobility or someone that struggles to squat deep or keep their chest up should choose a slightly higher heel and then slowly work towards lowering it. A good place to start would be on the higher end, let’s say 6mm. A shoe with a 6mm drop is also a good choice for someone who would like a little more support while running in a CrossFit workout.
For reference the Nike Metcon typically has 6MM, the Nano and NoBull have 4MM. It can be hard to find more than 6MM with a stable sole without transitioning to Weightlifting shoes. WL shoes have a hard stable sole and up to 14mm of drop, perfect for heavy weight training but terrible for everything else.
We create torque from our hips in CrossFit. The result of creating this torque drives our knees out, and also shifts the weight onto the outside of the foot. If you’re wearing a shoe that does not have lateral support, your foot will literally push out over the sole. Shoes with lateral support typically have some sort of outer “cage” or wire in the center of the shoe, keeping the foot over the sole of the shoe. Before you make a purchase, do a few air squats in your shoes, creating that torque we’re talking about and make sure your foot isn’t hanging over the side. Getting the right size will help with this as well!
Before you make your next shoe investment ensure that the shoe meets at least these three traits. Personal preference and style will, of course, come into play during your purchase but I feel that we can all agree that no one in their right mind should be doing anything in a shoe that looks like this!