Monday, February 9, 2009

Narrowing It Down To A Fine "Shoe"

"Put on your s*#$ kickers and kick some s*#$!

What's in a shoe? How do we know what the BEST shoe for CrossFit is? Is there even a 'perfect' shoe? Or is there more than one?

Well, I guess the answer is it's up to you. I, however, have my preferences.

Since 2007 I have worn five different types of footwear, ranging from the standard Cross-Trainer shoe to Chuck Taylors, Nike Frees to bare feet, to the new love of my life: the VS Athletics weightlifting shoe. Each has its pros and cons, some outweighing others. Nevertheless, shoes are literally the foundation of your training and, I would say, are the most important pieces of equipment one needs in a gym.

The Cross-Trainer

From my experience of seeing new members join at CrossFit Mississauga, the most commonly used style of shoe is the Cross-Trainer. It's what the majority of people wear at regular gyms, and what the general public is recommended to wear for exercise. The cross-trainer is a great shoe to wear for many things like running, aerobics-style classes, as well as freeweight training, to name a few; but it is not a recommended shoe for something like Olympic lifting or weightlifting because it lacks the proper support.

Chuck F%*@#n' Taylors!

Ok. These are, hands down, the most badass shoes you can train in. Not only do they look cool, but they are highly functional in the CrossFit world! It wasn't long before I switched to Chucks - I actually to them specifically because I had heard that people wear them and swear by them. The actual shoe itself is very flat: no soul. So, it allows for you to get the feeling of being barefoot, but at the same time the shoe has a strong platform for landing in. They were a great investment and I still HIGHLY recommend them for anyone; they're cheap, they look cool, and they sure as hell get the job done.

Nike Frees, The Bee's Knees

These have been the most popular choice of shoe at CrossFit Mississauga and I'm sure at many other affiliates, as they are one of the most versatile shoes and can be used virtually for all workouts. It is a lightweight shoe that is measured in terms of flexibility. Mine, for example, are "5's." The low numbers represent a more flexible shoe, while the higher numbers, "7's" for example, represent a less flexible shoe; the lower the number, the closer it is to the flexibility of a bare foot and vise versa. They are absolutely comfortable, and as cliche as this may sound, it's like walking on a cloud. Check out the site and sift through their products. You can order online, or go to your local Nike store and try on a pair first to see what size you need, and what shoe flexibility you are most comfortable with.

Barefoot: Caveman Style

I thought I had a favourite "shoe" to train in, but as I'm writing this I realize that I don't; they are all pretty good choices. Barefoot training is probably the most fun for me. You are, however, limited to certain types of workouts. I wouldn't recommend doing heavy cleans, snatches, jerks, etc. barefoot because at that high level of power, the foot does need proper support to avoid any serious injury; but for something like Angie or a pull-up progression is perfectly fine. My favourite type of barefoot training is heavy squats. I like the 100% foot to floor contact; it allows me to go deeper, as well as help correct my form, which consequently helps prevent injuries. And the best thing about it is you don't have to pay for your feet, they're free!

VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoe: You Love Me And I Love You

I just recently became a proud new owner of a pair of official weightlifting shoes, and WOW...can I just say, what a world of difference they have made on my lifts. It's a completely different feel, and it took a couple of workouts to get used to them, but they feel damn amazing now. One of the first workouts I did with them was the 5-rep back squat WOD from last week. Normally, as a previously mentioned, I like doing heavy back squats barefoot, but I thought I'd try out the shoes and see if I could still put up a good number. I PR'd by 10 pounds, bringing my new PR up to 210. Now, if that doesn't convince you that they are AWESOME, I don't know what will! Here's the site where you can order them. If you are considering getting a pair, keep in mind that the sizes are in men's. I am usually a women's nine, but in men's sizes I am a seven and a half, which is equivalent to a women's nine. You may want to go half a size up or so if you are not sure; either way, if the shoe doesn't happen to fit, VS Athletics will re-ship a new a pair with free shipping.

Le Chateau Pumps Make You Wanna Jump

These shoes have not been widely accepted in the CrossFit world [yet], but I wish to promote them and make people become aware of the benefits of training on four-inch heels; they make for well-defined calves!

p.s. How awesome is that pull-up bar?!?!

Here are some other shoes I haven't tried but have heard great things about:

Rogue Fitness Do-Wins

These shoes are on the official Rogue Fitness site, and they look pretty badass. And they must be good if Rogue is promoting them. A friend of mine owns a pair and has had nothing but good things to say about them.

Vibram Five Fingers

These are probably the weirdest/coolest shoes to date. If you ever go to a CrossFit Gymnastics cert, you will probably see at least one person wearing these. Like the Nike Frees, they attempt to mimic the nature of being barefoot. Notice a trend here? Barefoot rules!

Adidas Adistars

Some people at my gym do Olympic lifting with these shoes. They are also pretty badass. Very well-made and look like they get the job done.

The details for each shoe is listed on the links provided, so take a closer look and see if you like any of them! Go get some s*#$ kickers and get s*#$ kickin'!!


  1. Okay, I'll play.
    I want all of those shoes! They're my drug of choice second to (shhh...sugar). I've kicked one, not sure if I want to kick the other. LOL.

  2. LOL Evelyn, just think of how far you've come...don't let sugar slow you down!!!!!!!

    Fantastic blog by the way :)

  3. I got a pair of five fingers after Christmas and loving them. I wear them for every kind of work out, even running and o-lifts. I'm not sure about heavy o-lifts in them though...

  4. You didn't mention Puma H-streets. Better than Nike Frees and less weird than the Vibrams (which I love BTW)