Sunday 11.28.10

I often get questions and discuss with people what types of shoes are best for training, which can become a very involved topic. Many times I see people at the gym take off their shoes for the strength lifts and/or metcons. While this serves a purpose in correcting some of your form problem, and its definitely GOOD to train that way now and again,  the question I ask myself is, “Why is everyone not able to find a shoe that works best for everything!?” Then it struck me. There is too much information out there and its difficult to sift through it all and know what choice is right and what is a sales pitch. Take running shoes for example, shoes are made with more cushioning and heel allowing you to run, wrong…comfortably.  Different shoe brands, Fleet Feet type stores, most runner’s magazines, etc. do little or nothing to correct this.

Then I remembered that I faced this very same conundrum a few years back. When I started training, I trained in my New Balances I found in Sports Authority under the shoe section “Cross Training.” Those shoes had to be the ones because cross training is exactly what we do, train in different modalities. However, the uneven heels and soles made up of some lift and cushion at the ball, a lot of lift and cushion at the heel, and an arch set at a specific height only made my feet hurt and me completely unstable. I had used Chuck Taylor’s when I was heavy into Powerlifting and that was a great shoe, but running in them was not the most comfortable thing because I laced them up so tight to support my ankles that it felt like I was running in ankle braces. So I turned to Adidas Sambas and they worked good and still do for indoor soccer or for everyday comfortable use, but I personally never felt completely stable in them while lifting weights.

So I did some research and who best to turn to then the guy who has ran himself and trained people to run in everything from marathons to ironmans to 100 milers. He is Brian Mackenzie, founder of CrossFit Endurance, and he has studied and played around with more folks’ feet than most. And he understands exactly the type of training we do, because he does it all. When I learned about Mackenzie in 2007, he was talking about using skateboarding shoes, specifically DC’s, for our strength and conditioning due to their versatility to do just about anything we do in the gym. I tried them after all the other shoes and have been using them ever since.  Would I use Vans, Etnies, Converse, Nike, etc. skate shoes?  Sure, but I'm partial to DC's now.

Mackenzie has a blog called ‘I am UnScared’ and wrote a great post on this subject on November 22, 2010, entitled “Shoes”.  Read it, is has great info and he has not changed his view on shoes and he gives great insight on running shoes as well. And if you don’t have time right this second to read it, then at least take two minutes and look at his video from a month or so ago on the topic:

So figure out what shoes work for you because as Brian Mackenzie says, "The fact is, you can run faster with shoes on, and you can lift more with shoes on."  But don't take anyone's word for it.  Try out different types for yourself. cc