I got a great question from @smathis2002 on Twitter this morning:
Any shoes that are best for crossfit/squats/deads/short distance interval sprints & 5k runs?
This is a timely question as I have recently been testing out something a little bit different. I have always worn Olympic Lifting shoes when I squat. However, I recently saw a twitter post from Brian Mackenzie where he told someone that they should only do Oly lifts in Oly shoes and that they should squat in flat shoes. “Flat Shoes” meaning something like Vans or Chuck Taylors. I started trying this out a couple of weeks ago and have been squatting in either my Inov8 F-Lite 195’s or barefoot. The Inov8’s are not quite as flat as Chuck Taylors, but I have not had time to go buy any Chucks. It might be better for me to squat in the flatter shoes, but I’m not lifting as heavy without the weightlifting shoes. I find myself going and grabbing my weightlifting shoes and throwing them on when I want to go for a really heavy weight or PR. So what is the final word? Squatting in flat shoes is probably better for your mobility in the long run, but get you some weightlifting shoes and give them a go as well. You will definitely be able to handle bigger loads with the weightlifting shoes. I have been wearing these Adidas shoes for quite some time and I love them:
So, Weightlifting shoes for Clean and Jerk, Snatch, and Squats (Sometimes. Find what works best for you). Barefoot or flat as possible for Deadlifts, Squats and everything else.
In the fitness world, CrossFitters sometimes take a lot of heat because they like to wear weightlifting shoes for all kinds of things that they may not really need to be wearing them for…box jumps, Kettle Bell Swings, etc. It has definitely become sort of a fad in the CrossFit world to wear weightlifting shoes with knee socks and wraps and all that. I get the criticism, but there are a couple of movements that I think it is beneficial to have a pair of weightlifting shoes handy for: Pistols, Overhead Squats, and Thrusters. There is no question that Pistols are easier when you’re wearing weightlifting shoes. Should you be able to do Pistols without weightlifting shoes? Yes, but for many people it might take a while to get to that point. In the meantime there is absolutely nothing wrong with grabbing a pair of weightlifting shoes to help you get better at Pistols. It is even legal to wear them in CrossFit competitions so why not? With OH Squats and Thrusters, I find that weightlifting shoes give me much better stability throughout a workout on these movements. Especially when the loads get heavier.
For everything else in CrossFit, go barefoot or as light as possible. Five Fingers, Inov8, Reebok Nano, etc. When I first started I went barefoot for a long time unless there was a run, then I would put on my Five Fingers. Right now, I wear the Inov8 F-Lite 195’s. They have a 3mm drop, and work very well for pretty much any WoD.
I have a thing for running shoes. I have tried all kinds of different brands and styles.
I started with the Nike Frees for the road runs, and Salomon for trail runs. I still like those shoes, but I am now running in the Altra Zero Drops. I have the Instincts for road running/intervals and the Lone Peaks for trail running. I have been extremely happy with them! They have a HUGE toe box that might look a little weird, but feels amazing! I ran my last 50 Miler in the Instincts, and decided after that to go ahead and order the Lone Peaks for the trails. The Instincts held up pretty good, but I think something designed specifically for trail running will hold up even better. I have not ran a race in the Lone Peaks yet, but look forward to it. So far I’m sold on the Altras.
So there you go. I have several shoes in my arsenal and use them when needed. Adidas Weightlifting shoes, Inov8 F-Lite 195’s, and Altra Zero Drop road and Trail shoes. This does not mean you need to go out and buy weightlifting shoes, Inov8’s or Altras, but I do recommend going as flat as possible on any shoe that you buy with the exception of weightlifting shoes. In six months I may have some other styles and brands to throw at you, and I will update you if that happens!