Why Do We Wear CrossFit Shoes???
Not just for looks, CrossFit-specific shoes actually help you to perform well in the Sport of Fitness. Below some points as to why this is the case and a quick lo-down on your options:
A sport-specific shoe matters!! Often, we see newer CrossFit athletes wearing running shoes to class. While awesome for running, these aren’t always helpful for WODs.
- When running, you need a more shock absorbent shoe. Because of this, these shoes often have a softer material which makes up the sole. When you are trying to lift weight and pressing feet into the floor, a lot of energy can be lost through this unstable base due to the physics principle of ground reaction force.
This principle comes from Newton's 3rd law which essentially states that if a force acts upon a body, an equal and opposite force must act upon another body.
If you press weight overhead and the vector of your force is going down into the ground, the ground will essentially press back. If you are wobbling around on squishy shoes and too far forward on your toes, the reactionary force of the ground will push you forward and your barbell will likely move forward causing a missed lift or causing you to have to chase after it. If you are able to control this weight, you will likely be scrunching your toes and arches forcefully trying to control the movement which can lead to arch problems like plantar fasciitis. Basically, if you weightlift in jogging shoes, you will feel like you are lifting weights on the beach with a big portion of your energy wasted right into the soft sand.
Most CrossFit WODs will require some combo of jumping/running and lifting so the CrossFit-specific training shoes offer a combination of a solid firm base and flexibility where needed. The also have features which are designed to make things like rope climbs and handstand pushups a bit easier.
Additionally, durability is important to note. Subject a regular running shoe to a few weeks of CrossFit and you will witness those shoes break down real fast. CrossFit shoes are built to take the beating of the types of workouts and movements you are performing: jumping, running, burpees, rope climbs, weight lifting, KB swings, handstands, etc. A durable, stable shoe will help decrease the chance of injury.
The more fatigued you get during a grueling workout, the greater your chance of misstep or loss of form. CrossFit is chock-full of complex moves that require a lot of balance and these sport-specific shoes can be very helpful in mitigating injury-risk. They provide the necessary support to your body, particularly to the knee and ankle joints during your workouts, which is essential when ensuring the longevity of your health and safety against injury.
- I like to recommend the Nike Metcon, the Reebok Nano, the Reebok Speed TR, or the No Bull Trainer. Here is a great article comparing many different CrossFit shoes that are on the market. Everyone is different here and you may find a brand that you prefer over another. Give it a go and try some out.
- If you want more information about weightlifting shoes and why folks wear them when they are squatting and performing Olympic lifts, check out this article. But, your coaches would rather see you in a CrossFit shoe first so no rush to get lifters just yet!!
Next time you find yourself asking the questions “Why CrossFit shoes?” or “Are CrossFit shoes worth the price?” remember that shoes are designed for specific purposes all the time and CrossFit is no different. You ski in a ski boot, hike in a hiking boot, dance in a ballet slipper, and run in a running shoe. Now, you can justify looking the part because its important that you WOD in a CrossFit shoe!