How Important are Shoes for your Workout?
It is crucial for an athlete to have the best resources in order to foster maximum performance. Participants of the wildly popular CrossFit training regime must make sure they are ultimately equipped for the countless number of grueling exercises in which they partake. Along with strong will and determination, the CrossFit competitor must also have the correct footwear. In choosing their shoes the athletes consider a plethora of factors including support, durability, weight, heel-to-toe drop, and comfort. They can also choose from a wide-range of athletic brands such as New Balance, Puma, and Reebok. Reebok, in fact, is generally thought to be the forerunner in CrossFit footwear innovation with their Nano 3.0 and 4.0 shoes. When deciding on a purchase, it ultimately comes down to the individual’s own unique preference and foot-type, but by exploring various options one is able to make the best decision.
With strenuous activity and a wide range of body movement, the shoes CrossFit athletes wear should be fully supportive. Without the proper stability the chance for injury increases dramatically, threatening the trainee with a sprained ankle or torn ligament. The Adidas PowerLift Trainers are the optimum shoes for stability. Iron-pumpers will appreciate the hook-and-loop strap for lock-down security, as well as an elevated heel perfect for engaging one’s quads and gluteus during squats or deadlifts. To avoid wobble and instability, the PowerLift Trainers are manufactured with a rigid sole and weight distribution plate that works wonders for those adorning the shoes.
Like the diligent CrossFit enthusiasts, the shoes they wear must also be built tough and made to last.
Durability can be a major factor in determining which shoes to purchase for CrossFit. Due to the intense activity, footwear in this sport tends to deteriorate quickly. Therefore, to avoid purchasing a new pair every month, athletes may seek a shoe designed to take a pounding. Puma’s BioWeb Elite is a great model perfect for lifting and training exercises because of the flexible heel wrap. Runners are also considered in the shoe’s design thanks to an outsole with flex grooves promoting easy strides during jogs. Most importantly, the BioWeb is built to last. The composite BioWeb technology is engineered to effectively distribute foot pressure, preventing deterioration on singular areas of the shoe.
While being “light on one’s feet,” is a compliment commonly used to describe a smooth dancer, that fluidity of movement is also sought by CrossFit participants. A feather-weight training shoe can promote a natural feel and is frequently requested by athletes of all types. The 6.5 ounce New Balance Minimus 20v3 is a prime example of a shoe that provides its wearer with minimal drag while also offering cushioned support for high impact aspects of CrossFit such as jumps and sprints. These New Balances even contain a welded seam that prevents foot chaffing while the sportsman or woman runs sock-free. For the most intense fitness freaks, every little bit (less) makes a difference.
A number of hardcore CrossFitters consider the heel-to-toe drop when choosing their work-out footwear. This factor is defined by the differential between the height of the heel and the height of the toe. Shoes with a small drop, in essence a flatter shoe with less distance between toe and heel height, place emphasis on a runner’s midfoot strike rather than the heel strike. Athletes seeking a stronger heel strike look for a shoe with a larger drop, typically with a ratio of 12mm. The Merrell Hammer Gloves have a 0mm drop, providing a stable and secure feel when the athlete performs lifting and jumping movements.
All shoe qualities considered, overall comfort is the main factor that shoe-buyers consider. While this encompasses a multitude of influences, it truly boils down to the individual’s personal preference. With that in mind, the footwear gurus at Reebok have created a shoe which delivers a customized fit for every individual. After the Reebok Crossfit Lifter is first preheated in the oven for three minutes at 200 degrees, then the owner is to (cautiously) put on the shoes and let them mold perfectly to their feet. The results are a pair of shoes specifically shaped to the individual’s foot anatomy, providing a fit like no other.
The quintessential CrossFit shoe line for 2013 and 2014 is produced by Reebok as well. Known as the Nano 3.0 and Nano 4.0, there is much debate among gym-rats as to which model is superior. Both the 3.0 and the 4.0 are extremely light, each weighing 10.1 ounces. Each model gives their wearer cushioned, springy, support without making the competitor feel weighed down. Price-wise, while the 3.0 can now be bought at a “last season” discount of $100, both are billed originally at $120 per pair. Although similar in appearance as well (both are color-customizable online), the 4.0 has some updated breathability factors enhanced by less of the plastic “Duracage” on the outsole and more spaces where the mesh is exposed. In addition, the 4.0’s eyelet lacing design provides a substantial lock-down fit as opposed to the linear lacing system used by the 3.0. Another difference is the narrower toe-box design on the 4.0 model. CrossFitters generally agree that this streamlines the shoe and that the slimmer silhouette fosters a smoother stride during runs. However, the toe-box construction still leaves the wearer with enough toe room to move and wiggle freely. While the 4.0 contains all the amazing qualities of the 3.0, Reebok has tweaked the Nano recipe and fine-tuned their design on the 4.0, making it the better model.
With time spent in the fitness world, the CrossFit contestant comes to know his or her body extremely well. What they desire in a shoe may come from support, durability, weight, heel-drop, comfort, or a little of each factor. Ultimately, these preferences will be unique for every individual, requiring the athlete to discover their own personal tastes. That being said, the only way to find them is to get out there and start training!Here you can find an overview of the top 5 best crossfit shoes for both men and women.